De-railed train, Hartford – Connecticut Historical Society

From natural to manmade, disasters in our state’s history help define who we are as a community. In Connecticut’s early centuries, fires were among the most frequently occurring manmade disaster. For example, wood-framed mills and factories housed volatile manufacturing materials, which made them vulnerable to devastating blazes. Natural disasters have included storms, floods, and other forms of severe weather, capable of ravaging the landscape in a matter of minutes. Catastrophic though disasters are, they also remind us of the fragility of the natural and built environments—and of the ability of Connecticut’s people to rebuild and fortify the state.


The Surprising Prevalence of Earthquake Activity in Connecticut

Connecticut has experienced thousands of earthquakes since European settled the area, the most active site being the village of Moodus in East Haddam. …[more]

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“Timeline Connecticut Disasters.” Connecticut State Library, 2012. Link.


Hanley, Rich, and Connecticut Public Television. When Disaster Struck Connecticut. Vol. 1. Connecticut Collection. Hartford, CT: Connecticut Public Television, 2006.


Connecticut State Library. “Aerial Survey of the 1938 Hurricane - Digital Collections,” 2017. Link.
Connecticut State Library. “Manuscript Collections Finding Aids Index: Hartford Circus Fire Private Records, 1944: RG 069:112,” 2015. Link.


Allen, Everett S. A Wind to Shake the World: The Story of the 1938 Hurricane. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company, 1976.
Grant, Ellsworth S. Connecticut Disasters: True Stories of Tragedy and Survival. Guilford, CT: TwoDot, 2006.
Kendrick, John. History of the Wallingford Disaster. Hartford, CT: Case  Lockwood & Brainard Company Printers, 1878. Link.
New England Historical Events Association. Photo Record, Hurricane and Flood, New England’s Greatest Disaster. New York, NY: New English Historical Events Association, 1938.
O’Nan, Stewart. The Circus Fire: A True Story. New York: Doubleday, 2000.
Western Connecticut’s Great Flood Disaster, August 19, 1955. Waterbury, CT: Waterbury Republican-American, 1955.