April 5: P.T. Barnum Elected Mayor of Bridgeport – Not His Greatest Show

Today in 1875, Phineas T. Barnum was elected Mayor of Bridgeport at the age of 64.  Though internationally acclaimed as an entertainment impresario and well respected as a politician at the state level, Barnum’s short mayoral tenure  was not the greatest showing for a man still remembered as one of America’s most successful entertainers, entrepreneurs,…

March 18: A Rising Star Falls Twice

  The day after St. Patrick’s Day was anything but a lucky one for John G. Rowland, who found himself on the wrong end of the law on March 18, 2005, and then again ten years later on March 18, 2015. Once considered one of Connecticut’s best and brightest politicians, Rowland first won elected office…

March 17: Connecticut Statesman and Civil War Hero Joseph Hawley Dies

  Perhaps best known as a Civil War general who served in the First Battle of Bull Run, the Siege of Petersburg, and other notable engagements, Connecticut’s Joseph R. Hawley proved to be an equally accomplished leader off the battlefield, as one of Connecticut’s foremost statesmen of the late 19th century. A graduate of Hamilton…

February 19: Roger Sherman Baldwin, Governor and Abolitionist

On this day in 1863, in the midst of a bloody Civil War that pitted Americans against each other over questions of slavery and freedom, scores of Connecticans mourned the passing of Roger Sherman Baldwin, one of Connecticut’s most ardent abolitionist lawyers and accomplished politicians. Baldwin was born in 1793 to a well-to-do Connecticut family,…

February 16: A National Statesman and the First Mayor of New Haven

  In the midst of the American Revolution, one of the most chaotic and turbulent times in the nation’s history, it seems fitting that one of the most even-tempered and widely trusted statesmen would hail from the Land of Steady Habits.  That statesman was Roger Sherman, and even though he was a reluctant public speaker,…

February 9: Connecticut’s 1st African-American Congressman

Today in 1953, future Congressman Gary A. Franks was born in Waterbury.  The youngest of six children in a family of limited means, his parents put a high value on education. All six of their children went to college, and three obtained doctoral degrees.  Gary was an All State high school basketball player, and went…

December 26: Connecticut’s “Crowbar Governor”

  While the state — and colony — of Connecticut has been helmed by a number of colorful personalities over its long history, few of them can compare to the widely-accomplished Morgan G. Bulkeley: Civil War veteran, financier, insurance executive, baseball enthusiast, and strong-arm politician who earned himself the nickname “the Crowbar Governor” while in…

November 24: William O’Neill, Connecticut’s Longest-Serving Governor

    In many respects, Governor William A. O’Neill lived the life of a quintessential 20th century Connectican.  Born in Hartford in 1930, he attended public schools in hEast Hampton, took classes at the Connecticut Teacher’s College (now Central Connecticut State University), and subsequently held jobs in two of Connecticut’s major industries: first at Pratt…

July 24: Hiram Bingham III “Finds” Machu Picchu

  Hiram Bingham III was, without a doubt, one of the most colorful people to grace the annals of Connecticut history.  Born in 1875, over the course of his lifetime he became an Ivy League-educated scholar of Latin America, pilot, amateur archaeologist, Yale professor, United States senator, best-selling author, and Governor of Connecticut (although only…

June 21: Governor John Rowland Resigns

  “I acknowledge that my poor judgment brought us here,” said John Rowland to a sea of reporters, standing on the back lawn of the Connecticut Governor’s Mansion in Hartford.  The date was June 21, 2004, and Rowland was announcing his resignation amid a federal corruption investigation and impeachment inquiry. His Lieutenant Governor, M. Jodi…

June 13: Senator Thomas Dodd Censured

  Today in 1967, the U.S. Senate took up a motion to censure Connecticut Senator Thomas J. Dodd, stemming from accusations of using funds from his reelection campaign for personal use.  Dodd was only one of six people formally censured by the Senate in the 20th century, and the first since Joseph McCarthy in 1954….