August 12: Gidget Born in Bridgeport

  Today 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 of three….

August 11: A Piano Maker’s Play to Cut Insurance Rates Nets Him Millions

  As the Industrial Revolution transformed American market towns into industrial cities during the 19th century, the risk of urban fires – always a hazard – sharply increased. This was especially true in the era that preceded the establishment of building and fire codes. In response to the sharp increase in fire-related damage claims in…

August 9: The Worst Tornado Ever to Hit Connecticut

  On the afternoon of August 9, 1878, the worst tornado to ever touch down in Connecticut roared through Wallingford, wreaking unimaginable destruction across 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. So…

August 8: The Body in the Shoebox

  Today in 1886, three men on a logging road near Wallingford noticed a large wooden shoe box nestled under some bushes, 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 long and a foot…

August 7: Connecticut Grinds to an Angry 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 Broadcasting’s Ban the Beatles Boycott

  “She loves you, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!” . . . . Well, maybe not. 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 the preceding March, when journalist…

August 3: Choosing Delegates For a Congress of Future Revolutionaries.

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

August 2: Connecticut’s Final Public Hanging

  In 2012, Connecticut became the 17th state to outlaw the death penalty. For the first 200 years of Connecticut’s history as colony and state,however, public executions with large crowds attending were viewed as an effective deterrent of serious crimes. They were major community events, attracting hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of onlookers to watch the…

August 1: Hartford’s First Home Team Gets A Major-League Trophy.

  The Charter Oak Base Ball Club, founded in the summer of 1862, was the first baseball team to be formed in Hartford. Their stated mission was to “establish on a scientific basis the health-giving and scientific game of Base Ball, and to promote good fellowship among its players.” In the age before national professional…