December 16: First Connecticut Stretch of Interstate 84 Opens

  By the 1950s, overcrowded highways became an increasingly familiar annoyance to Connecticut commuters as the state basked in post-WWII economic prosperity and the increase in population — and automobile traffic — that came with it.  At the time, most of Connecticut’s inland east-west travel utilized U.S. Route 6, an old and overburdened road that…

December 15: The Hartford Convention Discusses Secession

  Today in 1814, delegates from every New England state but Maine (which was not yet a state of its own, but still part of Massachusetts) met at the Old State House in Hartford to take action against what they saw as the federal government’s misguided and inept handling of the War of 1812. While…

December 14: The First Recorded Meteorite Strike in the United States

  At approximately 6:30am on December 14, 1807, residents of Fairfield County were startled by the sight of a blazing fireball in the early morning sky, followed by the terrifying sound of three loud explosions that could be heard as far as forty miles away.  After the sun rose, strange rocks could be found on…

December 13: New Haven’s Shubert Theatre Dodges the Wrecking Ball

  New Haven’s iconic Shubert Theatre, which earned the nickname “Birthplace of the Nation’s Greatest Hits” after decades of distinctive dramatic debuts, first opened its doors in December 1914.  It was the second theater built by the Shubert Organization, a family-run theater management business, and was patterned after the original Shubert Theatre in New York…

December 12: Battling “Bat” Battalino Scores A Comeback Win

  Today in 1930, “Bat” Battalino, cheered on by Governor John Trumbull and 1,500 Connecticut fans, battled back from a battering first round knock-down to defeat Cuban boxing sensation, Kid Chocolate, in a fifteen-round decision at Madison Square Garden. Christopher Battalino was born in Hartford in 1909, the son of Italian immigrants.  His boxing ring…

December 11: The World’s First Jet-Powered Helicopter

  Today in 1951, aerospace engineer Charles H. Kaman’s modified K-225 helicopter took its first test flight in Bloomfield, Connecticut, changing the future of helicopter aviation forever.  As the first helicopter to use a jet engine to power its drive shaft, the K-225 demonstrated a way to make helicopters able to fly faster and higher,…

December 10: Horace Wells “Discovers” Anesthesia

  On December 10, 1844, Hartford residents were treated to a special performance of famous showman and former medical student Gardner Colton’s “Laughing Gas Entertainment.” Colton had first encountered “laughing gas,” or nitrous oxide, while in medical school and soon found he could make quite a bit of money traveling the country demonstrating its hilarity-inducing…

December 9: Jim Morrison Arrested in New Haven

  On this night in 1967, The Doors, a psychedelic rock band, were scheduled to headline a show at the New Haven Arena.  What should have been an ordinary night of music and revelry turned into something more memorable for everyone who attended, thanks to the antics of Doors lead singer and frontman Jim Morrison….

December 8: “The Learned Blacksmith”

  Elihu Burritt, a self-educated lecturer who was arguably the most famous pacifist of the 19th century, was born in New Britain, Connecticut on this day in 1810.  As the tenth child of a shoemaker, young Elihu (rhymes with “Tell-a-few”) was unable to devote much time to schooling; as a teenager, he apprenticed himself to…

December 7: Civil War Veteran, Governor, and Baseball Hall of Famer

  Morgan Gardner Bulkeley, long-time Connecticut politician and successful businessman, was undoubtedly one of the most accomplished men to ever hold the office of state governor.  However, while many Connecticans are familiar with Bulkeley’s many namesakes in the Hartford area (including a school, a street, and the long, stone-arch bridge that carries Interstate 84 over…

December 6: Palko v. Connecticut Names Your Most Important Rights

  On December 6, 1937, the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision that had a lasting impact on how American courts interpreted and applied the fundamental freedoms found in the Bill of Rights.  The landmark case, Palko v. Connecticut, specifically involved the application of the Fifth Amendment, which protects accused parties against double…

December 5: America’s First Law School’s First Hire

  As a professor at the first law school established in the United States, Connecticut legal luminary James Gould helped educate some of the most important legal minds in early 19th century America.  Born in Branford, Connecticut on this date in 1770, Gould’s parents initially doubted his promise as a scholar on account of his…