August 12: Gidget Born in Bridgeport

  Today in Connecticut history, actress Deborah Walley was born in Bridgeport in 1941. With nationally famous ice skaters and choreographers Edith and Nathan Walley as her parents, young Deborah caught the show business bug at an early age, performing on the ice with her parents for the first time at the age of three….

June 25: The Hollywood Superstar & The Roxbury Writer

  Today in 1956, the small, rural, western Connecticut town of Roxbury was swarmed by reporters who had learned that the internationally famous starlet Marilyn Monroe was there visiting her fiancé, Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Arthur Miller. The couple had been dating for months, and they had announced their plans to marry the week before. Miller,…

June 20: CT Resident Helen Keller Honored by President Kennedy

  Today in 1961, Easton resident Helen Keller received a birthday greeting from President John F. Kennedy containing high praise for her lifetime’s worth of hard work and advocacy for people who, like herself, were blind and/or deaf. In it, he wrote: “You are one of that select company of men and women whose achievements…

June 15 Connecticut’s First Television Station Takes to the Airwaves.

  Today in 1948, Connecticut’s first television station WNHC-TV, Channel 6 (now WTNH Channel 8) began broadcasting in New Haven. The introduction of this new media to Connecticut was the brainchild of Aldo DeDomenicis, an Italian pasta-wholesaler who had previously found success buying radio time on Italian programs and selling that time as radio ads…

April 21: On This Day, Rumors of His Death Were NOT Greatly Exaggerated

    Today in 1910, Mark Twain, one of America’s most famous authors and Connecticut’s most famous residents, died at his home in Redding. Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, he grew up in Missouri and traveled extensively, working as a newspaper reporter and fiction writer, until settling with his family in 1871 in the wealthy “Nook…

March 9: He 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 fourth lieutenant aboard the U.S. frigate Constitution. Born in 1773 in Derby, Connecticut, young Isaac was raised…

February 12: England’s Most Famous Detective Was Born in Hartford

  A scion of one of Connecticut’s oldest and most prominent families, world-famous actor and playwright William Hooker Gillette was born in Hartford in 1853. Drawn early to the theater arts, he left the city at the age of 20 to seek his fortune as an actor and stage producer. He met with moderate success…

February 5: The Stray New Haven Pup Who Became an American War Hero.

  Today in 1918, an unlikely future war hero in the shape of a small, short-tailed puppy arrived at the front lines in France alongside the 102nd Regiment of the Yankee Division, a unit of mostly Connecticut soldiers recruited in New Haven. Named “Stubby” by his comrades because of his tiny tail, the contraband puppy…

January 7: The Explorer Who Became Connecticut’s Governor For Exactly One Day

  It would be an understatement to say that Hiram Bingham III, Connecticut’s famous archaeologist, explorer, professor, pilot, politician, and best-selling author who likely was the inspiration for the fictional adventurer Indiana Jones, accomplished much in his lifetime. It remains an irony, however, that one of Bingham’s most well-known accomplishments was also one of the…