October 4: The Last Run of the State’s Greatest Fair

  Today, when it comes to annual autumn fair traditions, Connecticans have plenty of options to choose from, with dozens of local fairs held within the state and “The Big E” Eastern States Exposition located just over the Massachusetts border in West Springfield.  For over 110 years, however, the Danbury Fair was the biggest agricultural…

October 3: Windsor Locks Devastated by Massive F-4 Tornado

  On this day in 1979, one of the most devastating freak storms in state history spawned a massive F-4 tornado that tore through north-central Connecticut.  Just after 3:00pm, a funnel cloud touched down in the Poquonock area of Windsor and carved a path four miles long and a quarter-mile wide northward through Windsor Locks,…

October 2: An Honorable (& Sober) Guard for the Governor

  One of the largest and most effusively celebrated civic holidays in 18th century Connecticut was Election Day, when the freemen of the colony gathered in town centers to cast their votes for local officials.  Many townspeople viewed Election Day as a fine excuse to gather together and socialize under the guise of exercising their…

October 1: Same-Sex Civil Unions Become Law in Connecticut

  On October 1, 2005, Connecticut became the third state in the union to legally recognize same-sex civil unions.  Four years earlier, Vermont became the first state to do so after the Vermont Supreme Court mandated that denying same-sex couples the benefits of marriage violated their state constitution. In 2004, Massachusetts’s Supreme judicial court similarly…

September 30: Babe Ruth Plays His Last Baseball Game Ever in Hartford

  On this day in 1945, baseball superstar Babe Ruth delighted 2,500 fans in Hartford by participating in an exhibition game between two local semi-pro teams: the Savitt Gems of Hartford and the New Britain Codys. The Gems had been founded by a successful local jeweler, Bill Savitt, who used his money and influence to…

September 29: The USS Connecticut and the “Great White Fleet”

  On this day in 1904, the USS Connecticut was launched as the flagship of a new class of heavy battleships intended to show off a new era of American naval dominance in the early 20th century. These battleships were the hallmark of President Theodore Roosevelt’s signature initiative to modernize the American navy. The USS…

September 28: The Seed That Became UConn Planted at Mansfield

    On this day in 1881, the small agricultural school that would later become the state of Connecticut’s flagship university held its first classes in a former orphanage building located in Mansfield. The Storrs Agricultural School, consisting of just three faculty members and thirteen students when it first opened, offered young men the opportunity…

September 27: Theodate Pope Riddle’s Architectural Masterpiece

  As one of the first licensed woman architects in the United States and the first to be licensed in both Connecticut and New York State, Theodate Pope Riddle was one of Connecticut’s great designers and innovators of the early 20th century. Born into a wealthy family in 1867, young Effie Pope attended school at…

September 26: Connecticut’s First English Settlement

  On this day in 1633, a small band of English settlers from Eastern Massachusetts sailed past an openly hostile Dutch trading fort near modern-day Hartford and defiantly staked their own claim near the shores of the Connecticut River. There, at a site that would soon be known as Windsor, they built a trading post…

September 25: Remembering the Civil War’s “Petersburg Express”

  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 in hopes of depleting both the Confederate Army and its nearby…

September 24: Connecticut’s Last Whaling Voyage

  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 Great September Gale of 1815i

  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…