March 15: Who Owns the Connecticut River?

  In the late 19th century, the city of Boston, like most of New England’s other cities, experienced a period of incredible growth thanks to increasing industrialization and a rising tide of European immigration. By the early 20th century, Boston city officials realized they were only a few decades away from a full-blown crisis if…

March 14: Eli Whitney Patents the Machine He Thought Would Help End Slavery.

  Today in 1794, Eli Whitney, one of Connecticut’s most influential inventors, received a patent for the Cotton Gin, a machine that revolutionized cotton production by optimizing the laborious task of cleaning seeds from raw cotton bolls. Born in Massachusetts in 1765, Eli had exhibited both interest in, and talent at, manufacturing early in life,…

March 12: The “Great White Hurricane” Paralyzes Connecticut.

  When snow started falling across the state in the early hours of March 12, 1888, Connecticut residents thought nothing of it. It wasn’t unusual to have light to moderate snowfall in early March, and the forecast for that day called for “fair weather, followed by rain.” Later that morning, amid moderate snowfall, most Connecticans…

March 11: She Taught a Man’s World How to Build a Business

  When Beatrice Fox Auerbach became president of Hartford’s G. Fox & Company in 1938, in an era where there were scarcely any female retail executives in the United States, neither she nor any of the popular department store’s board members expected her to remain in the position for very long. But instead of stepping…

March 9: The Man Who Put the Iron in “Old Ironsides”

  Today in 1798, 25-year-old Isaac Hull, who was destined to become one of the United States’ most famous heroes of the War of 1812, began his distinguished career in the Navy after accepting a commission as a 4th Lieutenant aboard the U.S. frigate Constitution. Born in 1773 in Derby, Connecticut, young Isaac was raised…

March 8: A Fearful and Spreading Disease? Or A Vampire Attack?

  Today in 1845, 24-year-old Lemuel Ray died in Jewett City, a borough in the rural Eastern Connecticut town of Griswold. The young man, one of several children born to the Ray family, had died from tuberculosis, a disease then commonly known as “consumption” because of the way its victims would lose weight and become…

March 7: New Haven Hides the Killers of a King

  Soon after the then-separate Connecticut and New Haven colonies were established in the 1630s, their country of origin, England, was thrown into a long and brutal civil war pitting English Puritans against King Charles I. The Parliamentarians, as the King’s enemies called themselves, were ultimately victorious, and, after taking control of the government, they…

March 6: The Oldest Man at the Alamo

  On March 6, 1836, 189 men who had pledged allegiance to the newly formed Republic of Texas lost their lives defending a small, fortified mission known as the Alamo near San Antonio, Texas. Following a thirteen-day siege, Mexican troops under General Antonio López de Santa Anna stormed that mission, a critical and savage moment…

March 5: Candidate Abraham Lincoln “Wakes Up” Hartford

  Today in 1860, sectional tensions over slavery and its expansion into the country’s newly formed states and territories was nearing the breaking point. It was a crucial election year, and members of the nation’s political parties were actively trying to decide who would be their standard bearers in the upcoming presidential campaign. For the…

March 4: Crossword Champs Cross Wits in Stamford

  Today in 1978, the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, the first competition of its kind ever held in the United States, kicked off a weekend of fierce competition at the Marriott Hotel in Stamford, Connecticut. Founded by New York Times puzzle editor Will Shortz, the tournament attracted over 100 enthusiasts who battled over a series…