On January 24, 2005, state legislators unveiled a plan to establish an official Connecticut Hall of Fame to honor the state’s most distinguished citizens. Supported by individual donations, state grants, and Connecticut-based businesses, the Hall of Fame was created to recognize the accomplishments of notable inventors, entertainers, artists, politicians, athletes, and others with an unmistakable Connecticut connection.
The Hall of Fame’s physical manifestation — a list of names in brass lettering on a large, wooden wall — was installed in an open, high-visibility area on the second floor of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. There, it fosters curiosity among visitors and provides an ideal educational stopping point for the thousands of Connecticut students who tour the Legislative Office Building annually.
In 2007, the Hall of Fame welcomed its first class of inductees: acting legend Katharine Hepburn, American literary giant Mark Twain, and Igor Sikorsky, inventor of the world’s first helicopter. Since then, a bipartisan committee annually reviews submitted applications for new honorees, who are formally inducted in a ceremony during “Connecticut Hall of Fame Day.” Inductees to date include American lexicographer Noah Webster, baseball hall-of-famer Jackie Robinson, Revolutionary War hero Nathan Hale, musicians Dave Brubeck and Stephen Sondhiem, author Harriet Beecher Stowe, and actors Paul Newman and Meryl Streep. A new tradition highlighting Connecticut’s best and brightest began on this day in Connecticut history.
“History of the Connecticut Hall of Fame,” Connecticut General Assembly website