March 14: The “King of Diamonds” Was A Connecticut History Gem

  Few people did more to shape twentieth-century popular culture in Connecticut than the man they called “the King of Diamonds” – the jeweler and marketing genius Bill Savitt, who died  today in 1995, at age 94. Savitt combined a  P. T. Barnum-worthy sense of marketing possibilities with a passion for sports and philanthropy to…

February 27: The Man Who Defined “Early America” for the Greatest Generation

  Many Americans think of Eric Sloane as the man whose paintings, drawings, books, and stories defined early American life, work, culture, and values to a post-World-War-II generation of proud and patriotic Americans.  But even a cursory examination of Sloane’s extraordinarily diverse accomplishments reveals him to be a true Renaissance person, one of the most…

February 6: The “Blizzard of ’78” Takes Connecticut by Storm

  Today in 1978,  Connecticans went to work well aware that snow –possibly even heavy snow –  was predicted,  if  a storm developing off the North Carolina Coast fully lived up to its “impressive potential.” But the snow that was supposed to have begun falling during the night had not materialized, nor had the predicted…

February 4: Woodstock Helps A New Nation Create a New Kind of Education

  Today in1802, responding to post-revolutionary war Connecticans’ desire for secondary education suited to the needs of a new kind of nation,  the Woodstock Academy, Connecticut’s oldest coeducational secondary school, welcomed its first students. It’s creation helped mark a  new era in the state support of secondary education and  was a key event of in…

December 24th: The Ghost Ship Sails Into New London

  Perhaps no object symbolizes the importance of craftsmanship and historic preservation better than the ghost ship Captain James Buddington and a skeleton crew of 11 sailed into New London harbor on Christmas Eve 1855. The prize vessel, which the veteran whaler had discovered abandoned on an ice floe off Baffin Island three months before,…

September 22: The Man Who Proved You Are What You Eat

  Wilbur Olin Atwater, who died today in 1907, was a nineteenth-century pioneer in nutrition science who talked about food and metabolism 150 years ago in a way that would seem totally at home on the pages of a health magazine or nutrition brochure today. The son of a New York minister and librarian, Atwater…

September 8: “Old Nan” Comes to the End of the Line

  When  Amtrak’s Northeast Regional train 67  crossed the Niantic River  on its nighttime  run from Boston to New York at 11:39 p.m. on September 7, 2012, it was the last train ever to travel on “Old Nan,” the 105 year old railroad drawbridge  between East Lyme and Waterford,  a historic “choke point” on the nation’s busiest rail line.  At…

August 31: Hurricane Carol, A Storm So Devastating They Stopped Using Its Name

  After living through 10 consecutive years without a single hurricane, complacent Connecticans and all New Enganders  received a rude and disastrous awakening the morning of August 31, 1954, when giant Category 5 hurricane Carol, with winds gusting to 130 miles per hour, moved swiftly across Long Island, and then slammed into the area between…

July 14: Bridgeport Throws Express Train 172 a Deadly Curve

  Whenever a train approached Bridgeport’s “Jenkins Curve,” the sharpest curve of the New Haven Railroad system, safety regulations required the engineer to slow down to 30 mph. At 3:42 in the morning of July 14, 1955, however, the driver of  New Haven Railroad’s express train 172, from New York City to Boston, inexplicably continued…