November 17: The First Clock Patent in United States History

  Today in 1797, inventor and famous clock manufacturer Eli Terry of Plymouth received the first clock-making patent ever issued in the United States, launching an incredible career in manufacturing that helped make Connecticut the epicenter of quality clock manufacturing for the duration of the 19th century. Born in the eastern division of Windsor in…

November 9: The First Person Buried in New Haven’s Grove Street Cemetery

  In the 1790s, a deadly epidemic of yellow fever swept throughout the eastern United States, hitting densely-populated urban centers like New Haven especially hard. As fever-related fatalities multiplied, the burying grounds located behind the churches on the New Haven green — which had been in operation for nearly 150 years at that point —…

November 7: Washington Slept Here — But Wasn’t Happy About It

  Throughout the eastern United States, claims that “George Washington slept here” at some local home or landmark are so exceedingly plentiful — and frequently fabricated to boost business — that the term has become something of a cliché. Connecticut, however, can point to many locations where George Washington did pass by or spend the…

November 3: Joshua Hempstead’s Remarkable Diary

  Born in New London in 1678, Joshua Hempstead lived a rather unremarkable life for a colonial freeman. He was one of nine children, and being the only son, he inherited his father’s house. After marrying in his early 20s, Joshua and his wife had nine children before she passed away in 1716. He never…

October 29: The First Issue of the Country’s “Oldest” Newspaper

  In October of 1764, 29-year-old Thomas Green, a fourth-generation printer, suddenly found himself out of a job working at the Connecticut Gazette print shop in New Haven. The Gazette, Connecticut’s very first newspaper, had been established several years earlier by the enterprising Benjamin Franklin, who had just sacked Green in order to install his…

October 14: Hartford Shuts Down Over Influenza Fears

  Today in 1918, as a deadly and highly contagious strain of influenza spread throughout Connecticut, Hartford city leaders considered drastic action in order to minimize further public exposure. To many Americans, the global Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918 – 1919 was arguably just as — if not more — terrifying than the First World…

October 5: A Revolt Against the State Income Tax

  One of the largest protests in Connecticut history took place on this day in 1991, as tens of thousands of Connecticans gathered on the lawn of the State Capitol in Hartford to call for the repeal of the brand-new state income tax. 1991 was a tumultuous year in state politics; during the summer, legislators…

July 31: All Aboard The Branford Trolley Line!

  Today in Connecticut history, one of the first electrically-powered trolley lines in the United States began service between Branford and East Haven, Connecticut. July 31, 1900 marked the inaugural run of the Branford Electric Railway, which was hailed as a more efficient and sanitary way to transport people along the Connecticut shoreline than the…

May 27: The Oldest Volunteer Fire Department in New England

  From the earliest days of Connecticut history, fire posed one of the greatest mortal dangers to Connecticut residents — especially to the English settlers whose homes, barns, fences, and other structures were made of timber and often clustered closely together.  In the 17th and early 18th centuries, before the advent of portable water pumps,…

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…

July 31: All Aboard The Branford Trolley Line!

  On this day in Connecticut history, one of the first electrically-powered trolley lines in the United States began service between Branford and East Haven, Connecticut.  July 31, 1900 marked the inaugural run of the Branford Electric Railway, which was hailed as a more efficient and sanitary way to transport people along the Connecticut shoreline…

June 20: End of the Line for the Naugatuck Valley Trolley

  The morning of June 20th, 1937 was the first of a new era of public transportation in Connecticut’s Naugatuck Valley.  After nearly 50 years of uninterrupted trolley service between Ansonia and Derby, the last electric trolley had finished its final run shortly after midnight, replaced by public bus transportation. The electrically-powered trolley line that…