July 9: “The Year Without a Summer”

  The winters of the early 19th century — the last decades of what the “Little Ice Age” that chilled North America and Europe for centuries — were among the coldest in Connecticut’s recorded history, with salt-water harbors freezing over on a regular basis and blizzards that regularly dumped several feet of snow on the…

July 8: Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”

During the 1730s and 1740s, New England was in the midst of a sweeping religious revival now known to history as the Great Awakening.  During this period, charismatic ministers like the internationally-famous George Whitfield traveled from town to town on a mission to invigorate congregations with a renewed sense of Christian piety and devotion, often…

July 7: The Burning of Fairfield

  Throughout the duration of the Revolutionary War, Connecticut citizens lived in fear of devastating British raids on shoreline communities.  In the eyes of the British, Connecticut was a nest of rebel activity, home to a government that ardently supported the Patriot cause and scores of residents who smuggled, spied, and fought against the King’s…

July 6: The Hartford Circus Fire

  What began as an innocent day at the circus ended in one of the worst fire disasters in U.S. history, on this day in 1944. In early July of that year, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus had set up one of their largest “Big Top” tents in a field in Hartford’s…

July 5: New Haven’s New State House

  From 1701 through 1878, the Colony (and later State) of Connecticut had not one, but two capital cities: Hartford and New Haven.  During these 177 years of of shared governance, each co-capital built a series of State Houses to host the Connecticut General Assembly, which would meet in Hartford and New Haven on alternating…

July 4: Delegates Selected for Connecticut’s New State Constitution

  Today in 1818, the voters in every Connecticut town gathered at 9:00 am to select their town’s delegates to a convention at Hartford that would produce – a few months later – the first state Constitution ratified by a vote of the people themselves. The constitutional convention was the result of a decades-long struggle…

July 3: Charlotte Perkins Gilman Born in Hartford

  Author, feminist, and social reformer Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born on this day in 1860.  Since her father was absent for most of her childhood, Gilman often spent her time visiting her great aunts, the famous Beecher sisters: author Harriet Beecher Stowe, education reformer Catherine Beecher and suffragist Isabella Beecher Hooker. Between her aunts’…

July 2: Connecticut Refuses to Fight in War of 1812

  It would be an understatement to say that the War of 1812 was unpopular in Connecticut. As a region, New England as a whole was fiercely opposed to the War of 1812, which they viewed as a frivolous and economically disastrous war waged by President James Madison against the British Empire.  But Connecticut in…

July 1: State Department of Corrections Created

  Today in 1968, the Connecticut General Assembly voted in favor of consolidating the state’s prisons into a single organization, creating the State Department of Corrections.  Previously, every prison in the state had been independently managed, with its own Board of Directors, administrative staff, and policies for inmate behavior and rehabilitation. This sweeping reform of…

June 30: Middletown’s Dean Acheson Awarded Presidential Medal of Merit

  On June 30, 1947, President Harry Truman awarded Dean Acheson the Medal for Merit, a special honor given to civilians for “exceptionally meritorious conduct” in service of the Allied powers during World War II.  The Medal for Merit was awarded for a period of ten years, from 1942 – 1952, and during that time…

June 29: Governor Signs Bill Requiring History in Schools

  Connecticut history made history on this day in 1943, when Governor Ray Baldwin signed a law setting new standards for citizenship education in Connecticut schools.  The new law required that any college or grade school that received state funding — public or private — include a comprehensive study of American history and government in…

June 28: Mianus River Bridge Collapses

  Early in the morning of June 28th, 1983, at around 1:30 am, a 100-foot span of Interstate 95 in Greenwich collapsed into the Mianus River in one of the most infamous American bridge disasters of the 20th century.   Three people died and three more were seriously injured as a car and two tractor-trailers careened…