August 22: The First Presidential Car Ride

  Theodore Roosevelt was no stranger to Connecticut; his mother and second wife were Connecticans and his sister lived in Farmington for most of her adult life. While Roosevelt’s several visits to the Connecticut to visit his family and friends often attracted plenty of press, his visit of August 22, 1902 was memorable for not…

August 21: The Death of the Charter Oak

  In the early morning hours of August 21, 1856, the Charter Oak tree — arguably Connecticut’s most iconic symbol — fell amid fierce winds from an overnight summer storm. The giant white oak had stood atop a hill in Hartford for at least 250 years before it fell; Dutch explorer Adriaen Block had noted…

August 20: John Fitch Launches a Transportation Revolution

  Today in 1787, Connecticut-born inventor John Fitch successfully sailed America’s first steamboat up the Delaware River in hopes of gathering financial support from influential members of Congress. Born in Windsor, Connecticut in 1743, Fitch displayed an insatiable drive for dabbling in mechanics at an early age. As a young man, he tried his hand…

August 19: Back-to-Back Hurricanes Wreak Devastation Across Connecticut

  On this day in 1955, torrential rains from Hurricane Diane — the second hurricane to hit Connecticut in five days — triggered catastrophic flooding across the state. After Hurricane Connie dumped six inches of water across the state earlier in the week, the 14 – 20 additional inches of rain from Diane proved too…

August 17: Suffragist Catherine Flanagan Arrested for Picketing

  Today in 1917, 28-year-old Connecticut activist and women’s suffrage advocate Catharine Flanagan was arrested for picketing in front of the White House in Washington, D.C. Flanagan and a small group of fellow suffragists had been picketing for twelve days in the same location, carrying a variety of banners bedecked in purple and gold (the…

August 16: Mary Hall, Connecticut’s First Female Lawyer

  Today in 1843, Mary Hall was born in Marlborough, Connecticut. Growing up on a farm in antebellum America, when high Victorian culture placed an increasingly stringent emphasis on female domesticity, made her perhaps one of the most unlikely candidates to defy gender norms and become the first woman in Connecticut to be admitted to…

August 15: When State Parks Turned 100

  On August 15, 2013, the Connecticut State Parks system celebrated its centennial by launching a Summer Outdoor “Sojourn” (a portmanteau of “Summer Outdoor Journey”) that linked the northeast and southwest corners of the state in a single, 195-mile journey. The Sojourn began in Quaddick State Park in Thompson and ended in Sherwood Island State…

August 14: Were the Wright Brothers Wrong?

  One of the most controversial events in aviation history took place in Fairfield, Connecticut today in 1901, as inventor Gustave Whitehead is thought by many to have 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…

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: Gidget 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: First Forester and Founding Father of Conservation Gifford Pinchot

  The next time you hear someone talking about the sustainable use of our environmental resources, you might want to give thanks to forester and founding father of the modern conservation movement Gifford Pinchot (pronounced “pin-show”), who was born in Simsbury today in 1865. Son of a wealthy merchant family, Pinchot’s passionate early interest in…