November 14: Paul Sperry Invents the Boat Shoe

  Today in 1939, New Haven-born sailor-turned-shoemaker Paul Sperry received a patent for one of the most famous and enduring pieces of American footwear: the Sperry Top-Sider, or “boat shoe.” Born in 1895, Sperry’s life revolved around the sea; growing up along the Connecticut coast, he developed a lifelong love for sailing at an early…

November 13: Emmeline Pankhurst Delivers “Freedom or Death” Speech in Hartford

  Today in 1913, British suffragist Emmeline Pankhurst delivered her famous “Freedom or Death” speech to a crowd of supporters at the Parsons Theater in Hartford, Connecticut.  The famous activist, well-known to Americans for her aggressive tactics she employed at suffragist rallies in England, was invited to speak by architect Theodate Pope of Farmington, and…

November 12: A Presidential Celebration Draws a Huge Crowd in Middletown

  November 12, 1909 was a momentous day for the city of Middletown, as thousands of cheering, flag-waving residents lined the streets to enjoy a day full of pomp and circumstance and an evening full of dancing and fireworks.  The Hartford Courant covered every detail of the day’s festivities in a breathless, three-page spread under…

November 11: Connecticut’s Last World War I Casualty

  For many countries around the world, November 11 is known as Armistice Day in honor of the truce that marked the end of hostilities on the Western Front between German and Allied forces, enacted on November 11, 1918.  While a lasting peace was not formally established until the Treaty of Versailles was signed in…

November 10: The Tong Wars Come to Connecticut

  In the late 19th century and early 20th century, as Chinese immigrants flocked to American shores in increasing numbers, insular Chinese-American communities known as “Chinatowns” sprang up in large coastal cities like San Francisco and New York.  Here, recent immigrants could more freely speak their native language and observe Chinese customs while adapting to…

November 8: The Last Wooden Whaling Ship Arrives in Mystic

  On this day in 1941, the 19th century wooden whaling ship Charles W. Morgan, one of Connecticut’s most beloved historical icons, made her permanent home in Mystic, Connecticut.  The massive wooden vessel, with a deck measuring over feet in length and a main mast rising 110 feet into the air, once numbered among a…

November 6: JFK’s Last-Minute, Late-Night Rally in Waterbury

  The first week of November 1960 was a grueling one for Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who was finishing up the last stretch of his rigorous — and ultimately successful — campaign for President of the United States against Republican Richard Nixon.  In the early morning hours of November 6, after a full…

November 5: Ella Grasso, First Female Governor

  Born to Italian immigrants in 1919, Ella Rosa Giovanna Oliva Tambussi grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood of first and second-generation Americans in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.  Her parents, determined to invest in a better future for their daughter, saved up enough money to send Ella to the prestigious Chaffee School in Windsor.  Afterwards, she…

November 2: The “Best Built Car in America” Hits the Road

  On this day in 1902, the Locomobile Company of America delivered its first four-cylinder, gasoline-powered car, designed by engineer and former racecar driver Andrew Riker, who personally drove the $4,000 car from Bridgeport, Connecticut to New York City to present it to its new owner. The Locomobile Company, whose headquarters and main factory were…

November 1: The Wilbur Cross Parkway Opens

  Today in 1949, ten long years after construction first began, the Wilbur Cross Parkway finally opened to the public following a formal ceremony in at the brand-new West Rock Tunnel in West Haven.  There, Lieutenant Governor William T. Carroll proclaimed the newest stretch of Route 15, named after Connecticut’s popular governor who led the…

October 28: The Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association Formed

  On this day in 1869, at a meeting in Hartford attended by civil rights luminaries including Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and William Lloyd Garrison, Isabella Beecher Hooker and her husband John formally established the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association. Isabella was born into the famous Beecher clan of Litchfield in 1822.  She and…

October 26: Hartford’s Underwood Typewriters Speed Past the Competition

  The first few decades of the 20th century were heady years for the American typewriter industry, after the invention of portable typing machines in the late 1800s revolutionized the business world by making clerical work faster, cheaper, and easier.   Connecticut was home to several of the world’s most popular and innovative typewriter companies…