January 23: A Pie in the Sky Idea Takes Off.

  In 1871, a Civil War veteran and baker by the name of William Russell Frisbie opened the Frisbie Pie Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut, later building a large factory on the city’s east side to accommodate the growing demand for his pastries.  Little did he know that one day, several decades in the future, his…

January 22: NYC’s “Mad Bomber” Arrested in Waterbury

  On this day in 1957, millions breathed a collective sigh of relief as detectives arrived at the Waterbury home of George Metesky and arrested the man responsible for terrorizing New York City residents for sixteen years by placing pipe bombs throughout the city. New Yorkers first encountered Metesky’s handiwork in 1940, when an unexploded…

January 21: World’s First Nuclear Submarine Launched at Groton

  On January 21, 1954, at 10:57am, the USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear submarine, slid off a dry dock at General Dynamics in Groton, Connecticut and splashed into the waters of the Thames River, officially launching the United States Navy into the nuclear era. First Lady Mamie Eisenhower christens the USS Nautilus moments before…

January 20: Windsor Locks’ Army Air Base Becomes “Bradley Field”

  In 1941, even though the United States had not yet formally entered World War II, the U.S. military was anxious to shore up defenses along the eastern seaboard, which some feared was a vulnerable target for a German attack.  Early that year, the Connecticut General Assembly approved the purchase of 1,700 acres of former…

January 19: Connecticut’s First African-American Female Pharmacist

  Born in Hartford on January 19, 1886, young Anna Louise James was the eighth of eleven children born to Willis James, a former slave who had successfully escaped from a Virginia plantation via the Underground Railroad.  As a child, Anna’s family moved from Hartford to Old Saybrook, where she graduated high school and, as…

January 18: Hartford Civic Center Roof Collapses

  At 4:19am on January 18, 1978, downtown Hartford narrowly missed being the site of one of the deadliest disasters in American history when the entire roof of the Hartford Civic Center arena — covering an area of nearly 2.5 acres and weighing 1,400 tons — suddenly collapsed onto a coliseum of 10,000 empty seats. …

January 17: Hartford Becomes America’s First Steam-Powered City

  On January 17, 1901, the city of Hartford took its first step into the steam-powered future with the delivery of a state-of-the-art steam turbine-powered generator.  The massive 90,000-pound machine arrived on a custom-designed railroad car following a long journey from the Westinghouse Machine Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where it was manufactured as a special…

January 16: Yale Breaks Graduate Students’ Grading Strike

    On this day in 1996, graduate student teachers at Yale University finally turned in final grades for the classes they taught during the previous semester — a deceptively simple action that ended what had become an incredibly tense standoff over teacher compensation and labor rights that was closely watched by students and university…

January 15: They Got On the Wrong Train.

  Today in 1878, right after hearing the famed evangelist Dwight Moody preach that “repentance is grabbing your bag and coat and getting out of the wrong train and onto the right one”, a group of revival-attending passengers in Hartford boarded a specially-ordered train that took them to one of Connecticut’s deadliest train disasters.  When…

January 14: Tragedy at the Hazardville Gunpowder Mill

  The community of Hazardville, Connecticut unintentionally lived up to its name on this day in 1913, when an errant spark of unknown origin caused a deadly chain reaction of four massive explosions at the Hazard Powder Company. Situated on the banks of the Scantic River in the southern half of the town of Enfield,…

January 12: Mary Townsend Seymour, Civil Rights Champion

  Born in Hartford in 1873, lifelong civil rights activist Mary Townsend lost both her parents at the age of 15, and was adopted into the family of local black activist and Civil War veteran Lloyd Seymour.  A few years later, she married one of his sons, Frederick Seymour, and the newlyweds settled in the…