Ice cream stand along highway near Berlin, 1939

Ice cream stand along highway near Berlin, 1939
– Library Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

A catchall term for fads, popular amusements, mass-marketed goods, and almost anything else that captured the public’s fancy, popular culture reveals much about the lifestyles and aspirations of Connecticut residents in every age. In colonial times, the desire for British tableware and other imports spoke to notions of what it meant to remain civilized on the frontier. Centuries later, the Colonial Revival craze re-imagined frontier life as a time of simplicity and stability—the perfect escape from the pressures industrialization. From horse and automobile racing and the state’s folklore tales to performers like William Gillette and Sophie Tucker, Connecticut’s past passions have influenced and enriched society in many ways.

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“Connecticut Trolley Museum,” 2016. Link.
“Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo,” 2012. Link.
“Durham Fair,” 2012. Link.
Department of Energy & Environmental Protection. “Gillette Castle State Park,” n.d. Link.
“Lake Compounce,” 2017. Link.
“Quassy Amusement Park,” 2012. Link.
“The Barnum Museum,” 2017. Link.
“The Carousel Museum,” 2017. Link.
“The Eli Whitney Museum and Workshop,” 2016. Link.


Lehman, Eric D., and Amy Nawrocki. A History of Connecticut Food: A Proud Tradition of Puddings, Clambakes and Steamed Cheeseburgers. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2012.
Harrison, Don. Connecticut Baseball: The Best of the Nutmeg State. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2008.
Faude, Wilson H., and Joan W. Friedland. Connecticut Firsts. Chester, CT: Globe Pequot Press, 1978.
Monagan, Charles A. Connecticut Icons: 50 Symbols of the Nutmeg State. Guilford, CT: Insiders Guide, 2007.
Faude, Wilson H. Connecticut Miscellany: ESPN, the Age of the Reptiles, Cowparade & More. Charleson, SC: History Press, 2013.
Faude, Wilson H. Hidden History of Connecticut. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2010.
Philips, David E. Legendary Connecticut: Traditional Tales from the Nutmeg State. Hartford, CT: Spoonwood Press, 1984.
Mangan, Gregg. On This Day in Connecticut History. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2015.