September 10: Boxing Sensation Willie Pep K.O.s the Competition

  Today in 1942, Connecticut boxer Willie Pep began his meteoric rise to stardom when he when he knocked out featherweight Frankie Franceroni of New Jersey just two minutes into the first round, shocking a crowd of thousands at Madison Square Garden.  Just two months and five more wins later, the twenty-year-old Pep became the…

September 9: Connecticut’s Two Brother Governors

  When Phineas Chapman Lounsbury of Ridgefield, Connecticut won the Republican party nomination for governor on September 9, 1886, it marked the beginning of a short-lived but unique political dynasty.  Phineas would go on to win the governor’s race later that year and serve a single term as Connecticut’s 53rd governor before retiring from political…

September 8: Timothy Dwight IV Becomes President of Yale

  On this day in 1795, one day before Yale’s annual commencement ceremonies were scheduled to take place, the college officially instated Timothy Dwight IV as its new president. Dwight would be the eighth man to preside over the venerable college, which had been founded in 1701 and was the third-oldest institution of higher education…

September 7: ESPN Goes Live from Bristol

  On this day in 1979, at 7:00pm Eastern time, the first cable channel devoted exclusively to sports and entertainment went live from its studio in Bristol, Connecticut. The Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) was the dream of Bill Rasmussen, a former communications director for the New England (later Hartford) Whalers, who spent the better…

September 6: Benedict Arnold’s Deadly Raid on New London and Groton

  Today in Connecticut history marks the anniversary of a horrible homecoming by one of Connecticut’s most infamous native sons — Benedict Arnold. In early September 1781, the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War was in full swing, with major battles waged across Virginia and North and South Carolina earlier in the year.  With so…

September 5: Lead-foot Celebrities on the Merritt Parkway

  Every day, tens of thousands of commuters from Connecticut and its neighboring states use the Merritt Parkway as an alternative to the often-congested Interstate 95 highway in an attempt to more quickly get to their destination — and every day, a number of them are ticketed for going a little too quickly.  Connecticut, in…

September 4: The USS Everett Larson Honors A Brave Connecticut Marine

  Born in Stamford, Connecticut in 1920, Everett Frederick Larson was one of thousands of young Connecticans who answered their country’s call to service during World War II.  In January 1942, Larson enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve and, several months later, participated in the Guadalcanal Campaign, a major offensive by the Allied…

September 3: Lafayette Returns to Connecticut on his American Tour

  On this day in 1824, Revolutionary War hero Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier — better known as the Marquis de Lafayette — began his second journey through the state of Connecticut as part of his 1824-1825 grand tour of America. Having joined the Revolutionary War effort almost fifty years earlier as a…

September 2: High-Flying Hijinks Over the Connecticut River

  Silas Markham Brooks, Connecticut’s first documented hot air balloonist, was one of many native Connecticans who pursued a colorful — if unpredictable — career as a consummate showman in the 19th century.  Born in Plymouth in 1824, Brooks worked in a local clock-making factory before being hired by P. T. Barnum to help manufacture…

September 1: Industrial Genius Elisha K. Root Dies in Hartford

  The man at the root of Connecticut’s 19th century industrial greatness – Elisha King Root – died in Hartford on this day in 1865. Root’s machine tool genius revolutionized axe production in Collinsville and the Colt Firearms Company in Hartford an worldwide icon of precision manufacturing. Born in western Massachusetts in 1808, Root became…

August 31: Glenna Collett Vare Wins Record 6th Golf Championship

  On August 31, 1935, thousands watched New Haven-born golf sensation Glenna Collett Vare win a record-breaking 6th U.S. Women’s Golf Championship at the Interlachen Country Club in Hopkins, Minnesota. Born in New Haven in 1903, Glenda Collett Vare was an active youngster, excelling at a variety of sports including swimming, diving, and golf.  She…

August 30: The UConn Huskies’ First Football Game at Rentschler Field

  On this day in 2003, the UConn Huskies football team kicked off a new era in Connecticut college sports as they played their first-ever game in a brand-new, 92 million, 40,000-seat stadium stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.  The new stadium was the result of a decade-long search for a suitable new home for…