September 25: A Civil War “Dictator” Is Installed at the State Capitol

  The Siege of Petersburg was one of the most significant military campaigns of the final year of the Civil War. From June 1864 to March 1865, Union troops continuously besieged and harassed the Confederate railroad hub city of Petersburg, Virginia and surrounding environs. The goal of the lengthy siege was to deplete the Confederate…

September 24: Connecticut’s Whaling Industry Sets Sail For Extinction

  In the 19th century, New London, Connecticut was one of the busiest whaling hubs in the entire world, outranked only by Nantucket and New Bedford, Massachusetts. Whale oil was a crucial and versatile resource that played a huge role in powering the Industrial Revolution, serving as both fuel for lamps and as a lubricant…

September 23: The First Hurricane in 180 Years Slams into Connecticut

  On the morning of September 23, 1815, the first major hurricane to hit New England in 180 years made landfall at Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Since the word “hurricane” was virtually unknown in early America, residents later identified the monstrous storm as the “Great Storm” or “Great Gale” of September 1815. With estimated sustained winds…

September 22: Revolutionary War Hero Hanged

  In early September 1776, the Continental Army was enduring some of the darkest days it would ever encounter in the entire Revolutionary War. George Washington and his troops had just been soundly defeated in the Battle of Brooklyn, and had just barely escaped annihilation during their retreat. It looked more and more likely that…

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 21: A Punishing Treaty Ends the Pequot War

  Today in 1638, an “agreement between the English in Connecticutt and the Indian Sachems” of the Narragansett and Mohegan tribes was signed in Hartford, marking the end, at least as far as Connecticut was concerned, of the Pequot War. That war was the first major Anglo-Indian conflict in the region that became New England….

September 20: Bringing Connecticut to “The Big E”

  One of the most enduring and beloved examples of New England regionalism is the annual Eastern States Exposition fair, colloquially known as “The Big E.” Whereas most other states in the U.S. feature their own state fairs in the summer or fall seasons, the Big E represents all six New England states in one…

September 18: Mark Twain Robbed in Redding

  In the later years of his life, famous American author and satirist Samuel Langhorne Clemens — better known as Mark Twain — savored the tranquil days spent at his Italianate mansion in Redding, Connecticut. Initially named “Innocents at Home” as an homage to his novel Innocents Abroad, Twain soon renamed his new home “Stormfield.”This…

September 16: A Hero Dies at the Battle of Harlem Heights

  Today in 1776, one of Connecticut’s most valiant heroes of the Revolutionary War, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Knowlton, died while commanding his men at the Battle of Harlem Heights in New York City. Born in Massachusetts but raised in Ashford, Connecticut since early childhood, Knowlton was a seasoned veteran who had served under fellow Connectican…

September 15: Catastrophe at the Climax Fuse Company.

  Today in 1905, an employee using a hot iron to clear fuse debris from a reeling machine touched off a muffled explosion in the main building of the Climax Fuse factory in Avon. Though the blast was barely heard 300 feet away, the sheets of flame it triggered instantly engulfed the factory, suffocating seven…