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The Socially Dynamic Drumlin of Foss Hill

February 23, 2023 • Education, Environment, Middletown

The changing nature of Foss Hill (on the campus of Wesleyan University) tells the story of evolving cultural influences that altered the landscapes of universities across the country.


The Van Vleck Observatory: A Reflection of Environmental Conditions

January 20, 2023 • Architecture, Environment, Middletown, Science

Designers of the Van Vleck Observatory overcame numerous environmental and geographical challenges to help Wesleyan University make an impact on the world’s understanding of the universe.


MT. Higby Reservoir

Middletown’s Reservoirs Drive Growth Throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries

The Laurel Brook and Mount Higby Reservoirs helped provide reliable sources of water that drove the growth of Middletown.


Wesleyan Hills Helps Redefine Suburbia

The design of the Wesleyan Hills community in Middletown, Connecticut, stands in stark contrast to the uninspiring, cookie-cutter suburbs of the Post-World War II era.


A Different “Type” of Connecticut Industry

In the middle of the 1800s, the invention of the…


Computer generation of a hurricane over the northeast United States

Hurricane Gloria: “Storm of the Century”

September 16, 2022 • Enfield, Disaster, Middletown, Milford, Stonington, Weather

In September of 1985, Hurricane Gloria made landfall in Connecticut, causing approximately $60 million of damage in the state.


Indian Hill Cemetery and the Landscaping of Burial Grounds in the Mid-19th Century

The landscaping of Indian Hill Cemetery speaks to 19th-century reactions to industrialization and urbanization and the search for peaceful natural environments.


Leatherman in Wallingford, 1880s

The Old Leatherman Alive in Our Memories

This enigmatic, solitary figure has captured the public imagination since the mid-1800s when he began walking a 365-mile interstate loop over and over again.


Steamer City of Hartford

A Night to Remember: When the Steamboat Took on the Railroad—and Lost

A case of mistaken identity causes a vessel to crash into a bridge and results in new a rule for marking safe passage with red lights.


Providing Bundles for Britain and News for America

Janet Huntington Brewster Murrow was a Middletown native who grew up to be one of America’s most trusted news correspondents, philanthropists, and the wife of Edward R. Murrow.


Andrus Field 1831–1911: Athletics and the Environment

The building of Andrus Field on the campus of Wesleyan University demonstrates changes made to the built environment to meet the changing needs of a local community.


The White Pine Acts – Who Knew?

The British government made it illegal for colonials to cut down white pine trees over 24 inches in diameter—preserving the trees for use as masts on British naval ships.


Chapel, Industrial School for Girls, Middletown

Thanksgiving and Christmas at Long Lane, 1874

In 1874 Superintendent S. N. Rockwell and his wife were…


Portrait of Amos Beman.

The Rev. Amos Beman’s Devotion to Education, Social Activism, and New Haven

Amos Beman spent much of his life a religious leader and social activist in New Haven, fighting the stereotypes and other obstacles he encountered because of his race.


The Seth Wetmore House: A Storied Structure of 18th Century Middletown

Seth Wetmore was a merchant, judge, and deputy to the General Court of Connecticut. His house is one of Middletown’s oldest homes and one of thirty-three in the city listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company

Samuel Colt and Elizabeth Jarvis Marry – Today in History: June 5

On June 5, 1856, Samuel Colt married Elizabeth Hart Jarvis,…


A receipt for two prints of John Trumbull paintings

Jeremiah Wadsworth, “foremost in every enterprise”

Had this Hartford merchant lived in another era, his wealth and influence might have made him comparable to a 19th-century financial tycoon or a 20th-century venture capitalist.


African American baseball team, Danbury

Swinging for the Fences: Connecticut’s Black Baseball Greats

In Connecticut, African Americans played organized baseball as early as 1868. In the years that followed, some of the game’s biggest stars played for teams throughout the state.


The City of Hartford steamboat after collision with railroad bridge

Steamboat Accident – Today in History: March 29

On March 29, 1876, the steamboat City of Hartford, of…


Portrait of James Williams from his biography

James Williams, More than Trinity College’s Janitor

James Williams was an escaped slave who became a janitor at Trinity College from the institution’s founding in 1823 until his death in 1878.


Map of the West Indies, 1717

Connecticut and the West Indies: Sugar Spurs Trans-Atlantic Trade

This profitable exchange brought wealth and sought-after goods to the state but came at the price of supporting slavery in the bargain.


Starr Mill

Buckling Up For Auto Safety

Controversy over seat belt laws has long been a part of their evolutionary history.


Currier & Ives, The drunkards progress. From the first glass to the grave

The Temperance Movement in Connecticut – Today in History: October 27

October 27, 2020 • Hartford, Middletown, Social Movements

Wo to Drunkards – Increase Mather On October 27, 1841,…


Indian Hill Cemetery and the Vernacular of the Times

Indian Hill Cemetery’s founders promoted their property as a place to find peace, both with the natural environment and with the area’s indigenous past.


Portland Passenger Bridge, ca. 1906

The Longest Highway Drawbridge – Who Knew?

August 22, 2020 • Middletown, Portland, Who Knew?

… that in 1896, when the Middletown and Portland Bridge…


Joel Barlow

The Hartford Wits

Eventually taking the name the “Hartford Wits,” some of the most influential figures of the 18th century got together to write poetry that documented the state of the times.


An Eccentric Middletown Polymath and Fossil Collector: Dr. Joseph Barratt

Despite his struggles with mental illness, Joseph Barratt was a significant contributor to the study of natural history in the Connecticut Valley.


Comstock covered bridge

The Comstock Bridge Brings East Hampton Residents Together

Over the Salmon River in East Hampton rests the Comstock…


William C. Redfield

William Redfield Born – Today in History: March 26

On March 26, 1789, William C. Redfield, the noted American…


Olin Library and The Debate About Open Space at Wesleyan University

The history of Wesleyan’s library system includes a debate that reveals how values associated with the environment in the early 1900s helped shape the campus’s development.


Hotchkiss & Sons Artillery Projectiles

Connecticut Arms the Union

Colt, Sharps, and other gun-makers weren’t the only Nutmeg-based firms that supplied armaments during the Civil War. Makers of kitchen utensils, sewing machines, textiles, and other goods re-geared production lines to meet demand.


Sleeping Giant, Mount Carmel, Hamden

A Volcanic Giant Sleeps in Hamden

The town of Hamden lies between two trap rock formations…


General Mansfield's uniform epaulets

One of the Honored Dead: General J. K. F. Mansfield

A resident of New Haven and Middletown, Joseph Mansfield rose to the rank of brigadier general in the Union army before losing his life at the Battle of Antietam.


Ruins of North College, Wesleyan University, Middletown

Fire at Wesleyan’s North College – Today in History: March 1

On March 1, 1906, North College at Wesleyan University in…


Nathan Starr Cutlass

Nathan Starr’s Cutlass Fought the War of 1812

On May 18, 1808, the Navy Agent Joseph Hull of New London negotiated a contract with Nathan Starr of Middletown for 2,000 cutlasses.


Starr Mill

Understanding the Environmental Effects of Industry by Examining the Starr Mill

The development of resources both in and around the Coginchaug River in Middletown were representative of prevailing attitudes about industrial expansion and environmental protection.


Designed to Heal: The Connecticut General Hospital for the Insane

The design of this state facility in Middletown reflects 19th-century beliefs about the environment’s ability to influence mental health.


Echoes of the Old World: The Architectural Legacy of Ithiel Town

Ithiel Town was one of the first professional architects in Connecticut and one of the first to introduce the architectural styles of Europe to the United States.


Selma, Not So Far Away

Father Leonard Tartaglia was sometimes called Hartford’s “Hoodlum Priest.” Like the 1961 film of the same name, Tartaglia ministered to the city’s poor and disenfranchised.


Over Time: Middletown’s Historical Population

December 4, 2013 • Hide Featured Image, Middletown

Census data, from colonial times on up to the present, is a key resource for those who study the ways in which communities change with the passage of time.


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