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…

December 4: The Great East Thompson Train Wreck

  Today in 1891, one of the largest train disasters in American history — and the only one to involve four different trains — occurred outside of the small town of East Thompson.  Located in the extreme northeast corner of the state, nestled right against the Massachusetts and Rhode Island borders, the tracks in East…

December 3: The Barkhamsted “Lighthouse”

  The Connecticut shoreline is home to many beautiful, historic lighthouses that have steered ships in Long Island Sound to safety for hundreds of years.  One of the state’s most historically significant “lighthouses,” however, is located over sixty miles inland — and refers not to a navigational structure, but to a unique settlement established on…

December 2: The First Successful Permanent Artificial Heart

  Born in 1946, renowned medical scientist Robert Jarvik grew up in Stamford, Connecticut, and developed an affinity for the medical field at an early age, having frequently accompanied his father, an accomplished physician, to work.   As a young man, he became fascinated with the intricate tools his father used during surgeries, and invented a…

December 1: PEZ Candy Opens Visitor Center in Orange

  Today, PEZ candy conjures up images of whimsical plastic dispensers full of small, brick-shaped little candies.  First invented in Austria in the early 20th century, PEZ candy has quite a storied history — one that visitors can learn for themselves with a visit to the PEZ Visitors Center in Orange, Connecticut, which first opened…

November 30: Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Marry in Greenwich

  Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, two of the most famous entertainers in the history of American television, first met in 1940, over a decade before their mega-hit sitcom “I Love Lucy” first aired.  Ball, already well-known as a model and Broadway actress, and Arnaz, a popular Cuban bandleader, met on the set of Too…

November 29: Connecticut’s Presidential Portrait Painter

  On this day in 1982, a very special delivery was received at the White House: a stunningly photo-realistic portrait of President Jimmy Carter, painted by Connecticut artist Herbert E. Abrams.  The painting was President Carter’s official White House portrait, and after viewing it, White House curator Clement Conger declared Abrams the best contemporary artist…