May 12: Katharine Hepburn born in Hartford

  Today in 1907, film star Katherine Hepburn was born in Hartford.  Widely considered to be one of the greatest film and theater actresses in American history, Hepburn holds the record for the most Academy Awards ever won by an actor or actress (four) and starred in over 80 feature films, TV shows, and stage…

May 11: Connecticut’s Old State House Opens in 1796

  At the historic center of Hartford stands the Old State House, a beautiful federal-era building that served as Connecticut’s capitol for 83 years.  Designed by pioneering American architect Charles Bulfinch, the State House opened for business on this day in 1796, as the state legislature met insides its spacious chambers for the first time….

May 10: Connecticans Ethan Allen & Benedict Arnold Capture Fort Ticonderoga

  Today in 1775, two Connecticut-born patriots — Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold — forced the surrender of British-held Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York in one of the most significant strategic victories in the early years of the American Revolution. Fort Ticonderoga was first built by French forces in 1755 at a critical location…

May 9: Abolitionist John Brown Born in Torrington

  On this day in 1800, abolitionist John Brown was born in a humble saltbox house in Torrington, Connecticut. The fourth of eight children, Brown left Torrington at the age of five when his father moved his family to the Western Reserve of Ohio.   As a young man, Brown briefly returned to Connecticut to attend…

May 8: Author and Illustrator Maurice Sendak Dies

  Today in 2012, longtime Connecticut resident Maurice Sendak died in Danbury from complications following a stroke.  Sendak was a prolific children’s book author and illustrator whose wrote and illustrated dozens of books for over a fifty-year period.  Born into a Jewish family in Brooklyn in 1928, Sendak was a self-taught illustrator who found work…

May 7: Birth of Edwin Land, Inventor & Founder of Polaroid

  Today in 1909, Edwin Land, a self-taught inventor and co-founder of Polaroid who revolutionized the way the world experienced photography, was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. After graduating from the Norwich Free Academy in southeastern Connecticut (which later named their library after their famous alumnus), Land attended Harvard University for one year before dropping out…

May 6: The Hartford Whalers Leave CT to become the Carolina Hurricanes

  May 6, 1997 marks a day that will live in infamy in the eyes of Connecticut sports fans.  On that day, Peter Karmanos, owner of the Hartford Whalers, announced that he was moving the NHL team to North Carolina and renaming them the Carolina Hurricanes.  Connecticut has lacked a major professional sports franchise ever…

May 5: Mary Kies Becomes First Woman to Receive a U.S. Patent

  On this day in 1809, Mary Kies of Killingly, Connecticut became the first woman in American history to obtain a patent for “a new and useful improvement in weaving straw with silk or thread.” Little is known about Kies or the specifics of her patent, which was destroyed in 1836 along with thousands of…

May 4: Painter Frederic Edwin Church born in Hartford

  On this day in 1826, iconic American landscape painter Frederic Edwin Church was born in Hartford, Connecticut.  The artist’s Connecticut roots ran deep: He was a direct descendant of one of the original English Puritans who settled Hartford under the leadership of Thomas Hooker, and Frederic’s father was a prominent silversmith and later a…

May 3: Connecticut Patriots Receive the First “Purple Hearts”

  On this day in 1783, General George Washington awarded the Badge of Military Merit to two brave Connecticut soldiers at the Continental Army headquarters in Newburgh, New York. The last few years of the Revolutionary War, which would formally end in September 1783, were particularly grueling for American soldiers; a frustrating lack of progress…

May 2: Pediatrician Benjamin Spock Born in New Haven

  Today in 1903, pediatrician Benjamin Spock, the most influential doctor of the Baby Boomer generation, was born in New Haven.  A graduate of Yale University and Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, Spock is considered to be the first doctor to apply Freudian psychoanalysis to child care. In 1946, Spock published The Common…

May 1: The Pequot War

  On this date in 1637, Connecticut colonists formally declared war against the Pequots, the Native American tribe whose territory covered approximately 250 square miles of land in southeastern Connecticut and Rhode Island. Relations between Connecticut colonists and the Pequots had been tense ever since the first permanent English settlements had been established along the…