September 23: The Great September Gale of 1815i

  On the morning of September 23, 1815, the first major hurricane to hit New England in 180 years made landfall at Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Since the word “hurricane” was virtually unknown in early America, residents later identified the monstrous storm as the “Great Storm” or “Great Gale” of September 1815. With estimated sustained winds…

August 19: Back-to-Back Hurricanes Wreak Devastation Across Connecticut

  On this day in 1955, torrential rains from Hurricane Diane — the second hurricane to hit Connecticut in five days — triggered catastrophic flooding across the state. After Hurricane Connie dumped six inches of water across the state earlier in the week, the 14 – 20 additional inches of rain from Diane proved too…

August 15: When State Parks Turned 100

  On August 15, 2013, the Connecticut State Parks system celebrated its centennial by launching a Summer Outdoor “Sojourn” (a portmanteau of “Summer Outdoor Journey”) that linked the northeast and southwest corners of the state in a single, 195-mile journey. The Sojourn began in Quaddick State Park in Thompson and ended in Sherwood Island State…

August 11: First Forester and Founding Father of Conservation Gifford Pinchot

  The next time you hear someone talking about the sustainable use of our environmental resources, you might want to give thanks to forester and founding father of the modern conservation movement Gifford Pinchot (pronounced “pin-show”), who was born in Simsbury today in 1865. Son of a wealthy merchant family, Pinchot’s passionate early interest in…

July 27: The River That Made Us.

  On this day in 1998, Vice President Al Gore officially designated the Connecticut River as an American Heritage River, one of only fourteen such waterways in the nation to be labeled as such. In his remarks, Gore recognized the central role the Connecticut played in shaping not only the environment and physical character of…

April 22: Noah Webster Calls for Environmental Sustainability – in 1817!

  On this day in 1817, Noah Webster’s visionary essay on environmental sustainability, which he modestly titled “Domestic Consumption,” was published on the front page of the Connecticut Courant.  Born in what is now West Hartford, Connecticut and a graduate of Yale College, Webster is best known to history as the creator of the first American…

March 28: Aquaculture Comes Out Of Its Shell.

  By the time the U.S. Bureau of Commercial Fisheries first assigned a resident scientist to study Connecticut’s shellfish industry in the 1920s, Connecticut residents had been harvesting oysters and clams from the waters of Long Island Sound for hundreds of years.  Created in the late 19th century, the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries’ mission was…

July 29: Heavy Rains Devastate Bridgeport

  On this night in 1905, heavy summer rains brought sudden disaster to southwestern Connecticut.  In the span of only seventeen hours, more than 11 inches of rain fell on the greater Bridgeport area, causing widespread street and coastal flooding.  As the deluge stretched into the early morning hours of the following day, the Ward’s…

July 27: The Connecticut River Becomes an “American Heritage River”

  On this day in Connecticut history, twenty years ago, Vice President Al Gore officially designated the Connecticut River as an American Heritage River, one of fourteen such waterways to be labeled as such.  In his remarks, Gore recognized the central role major waterways like the Connecticut played in shaping not only the environment and…

June 8: John Adams Writes of Connecticut’s Natural Beauty

  On this day in 1771, thirty-five-year-old lawyer — and future President of the United States — John Adams traveled by horse southward along the Connecticut River, from Windsor through Hartford and Wethersfield to Middletown, as part of a Connecticut sojourn intended to improve his health. Adams, a prolific writer, kept a detailed diary of…