August 14: Aviation Pioneer Gustave Whitehead Flies Into History

  One of the most controversial events in aviation history took place in Fairfield, Connecticut on this day in 1901, as inventor Gustave Whitehead executed a half-mile-long flight in his Flying Machine No. 21 at a height of 50 feet off the ground — over two years before the Wright Brothers made their much more…

August 13: Daniel Bissell Becomes a Spy for the Continental Army

    During the eight long years of the Revolutionary War, both British and American commanders employed creative and dangerous tactics in an attempt to gather valuable military intelligence that could give their armies an edge on the battlefield.  One common but incredibly risky method of obtaining such intelligence was to have a soldier pretend…

August 12: Actress Deborah Walley born in Bridgeport

  On this day in Connecticut history, actress Deborah Walley was born in Bridgeport in 1941.  With nationally famous ice skaters and choreographers Edith and Nathan Walley as her parents, young Deborah caught the show business bug at an early age, performing on the ice with her parents for the first time at the age…

August 11: A New Haven Piano Maker Patents the Automatic Fire Sprinkler System

  As the Industrial Revolution fueled the growth of American cities at an unprecedented rate during the 19th century, the risk of urban fires increased in turn — especially in an era that preceded building and fire codes.  In response to the increase in fire-related damage claims, insurance rates for inner-city businesses skyrocketed in the…

August 10: World Premiere of “Annie” in East Haddam

  On this day in 1976, one of America’s most beloved musicals, “Annie,” had its world premiere at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam. The new musical, based off the popular Harold Gray comic strip “Little Orphan Annie,” had to endure several “hard knocks” of its own before becoming the world-famous production it is…

August 9: The Worst Tornado in Connecticut History

  On the afternoon of August 9, 1878, the worst tornado to ever hit the state of Connecticut roared through Wallingford, wreaking unimaginable destruction throughout the entire town.  In the late 19th century, most Connecticans lived under the impression that the monster tornadoes that annually devastated the Great Plains could never happen in New England;…

August 8: The Shoe Box Murder of 1886

    On this day in 1886, three men on a logging road near Wallingford noticed a large wooden shoe box nestled under some bushes and unwittingly breaking open one of the strangest and most gruesome murder mysteries in Connecticut history. Joseph Samson, Edward Terrill and Joseph Terrill first noticed the box, about 30 inches…

August 7: Statewide Strikes Bring Connecticut to a Halt

  Today in 1919, Connecticut companies throughout the state were effectively shuttered as thousands of workers across a multitude of different industries joined in a massive regional strike that, within the course of a week, spread from Maine to New York and brought New England commerce to a screeching halt. Connecticut, like many other states…

August 6: Dale Earnhardt Smokes the Competition in Stafford

  For a small state sandwiched between two of America’s largest cities, Connecticut has enjoyed its fair share of exposure to professional sports.  While Connecticut is best known for its association with professional hockey and baseball teams and for the many Olympic athletes who grew up in its suburbs, the state has also played host…

August 5: The Statue of Liberty’s Connecticut Cornerstone

  While scores of Connecticut men and women have left an indelible mark on American history, sometimes it’s easy to forget that objects from Connecticut can have their own stories of national significance, too. In fact, some of the most monumental objects in Connecticut history can be traced to a single point of origin: a…

August 4: Connecticut Radio Stations Ban the Beatles

  On August 4, 1966, several Connecticut pop music radio stations joined a nationwide boycott and refused to play Beatles music in response to perceived anti-Christian remarks made by John Lennon. The offending interview actually took place in March of 1966, when journalist Maureen Cleave asked John Lennon a series of questions about the rock…

August 3: Connecticut Chooses its Delegates for First Continental Congress

  Today, Americans are so familiar with the imagery and historical stories surrounding the creation of the Declaration of Independence that they often forget just how radical an event it was.  The very notion that representatives from all thirteen American colonies would meet in secret to discuss a coordinated, organized resistance to British rule as…