May 5: The First Woman to Receive a U.S. Patent

  Even though the U.S. Patent Act of 1790 allowed American citizens to apply for patents regardless of gender, women were discouraged from doing so due to local coverture laws that made it difficult, if not impossible, for a married woman to own property and titles independently of her husband. But today in 1809, nearly…

May 4: Landscape Art for an Industrializing America

  Today in 1826, iconic American landscape painter Frederic Edwin Church was born in Hartford. The internationally famed artist’s Connecticut roots ran deep: he was a direct descendant of one of the original English Puritans who settled Hartford with Rev. Thomas Hooker. His father, a prominent silversmith, also became a director of Hartford’s Aetna Insurance…

May 3: A Medal for the Common Soldier

  “The road to glory in a patriot army and a free country is thus opened to all.” So said George Washington when he created the Badge of Military Merit, which he first awarded today in 1783, to two brave enlisted Connecticut soldiers at the Continental Army headquarters in Newburgh, New York. Prior to this,…

May 2: The Baby Boomer’s Baby Doctor

  Most people reading this story were either raised, or raised their own children, following advice they found written in a book by pediatrician Benjamin Spock, who was born in New Haven today in 1903. The most influential doctor of the Baby Boomer generation and a graduate of Yale University and Columbia University’s College of…

May 1: The Deadly Pequot War Begins

  Today in 1637, Connecticut colonists formally declared war against the Pequots, the Native American tribe whose territory covered some 250 square miles in southeastern Connecticut and Rhode Island. Relations between the colonists and the Pequots had been tense ever since the English arrived in the Connecticut River valley in 1633. Both the Pequots and…

April 30: New England Patriots’ Trick Play: Pass Before the First Kickoff

  In 1998, Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots pro football team, was seeking a new home for his franchise, which had outgrown their small and outdated stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. After failing to secure stadium deals in South Boston and then Rhode Island, Kraft set his sights on Connecticut. His quest for…

April 28: Corruption Paves the Way for the Merritt Parkway

  Connecticut’s historic Merritt Parkway is the oldest scenic parkway in the United States. One of the first limited-access, divided-lane highways in the country, its novel use of entrance and exit ramps preceded the Eisenhower interstate system by decades. Lined with trees, carefully maintained green spaces, and with dozens of uniquely designed stone overpasses, the…

April 27: Patriot Payback – The Battle of Ridgefield

  Today in 1777, one day after troops under William Tryon destroyed the Continental Army’s supply depot in Danbury, Patriot soldiers and militiamen struck back in the town of Ridgefield. Tryon’s raid on Danbury took local Patriots by surprise. They had assumed the Connecticut town was safe from a British coastal raid. And though regulars…

April 26: Sarah Boone Gets a Patent For a Better Way to Iron

  Today in 1892, African American inventor Sarah Boone of New Haven patented an ironing board, which was the precursor to the modern appliance residing in many of our homes today. When Sarah Boon was living in New Haven, the fashion of the time was for women to wear corsets. Since the late-1800s, New Haven…

April 25: Oliver Winchester Aims for Success in The Rifle Industry.

    In early 1857, businessman Oliver Winchester bought controlling interest in a struggling Connecticut firearms company from two inventors named Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson. With access to machine tools, raw materials, and a number of valuable patents — especially rights to the Henry Repeating Rifle, the world’s first multiple-round-firing longarm — Winchester formed…

April 24: New Haven Founded as a “New Jerusalem”

  In the 1630s, John Davenport, like many Puritan ministers preaching in cosmopolitan and decadent London, yearned to create a “New Jerusalem.” This “heavenly city” would be located in a place free from the religious persecution and political pressures Puritans experienced in England. Its settlers would all live pure and godly lives. Arriving in the…