December 15: The Hartford Convention Discusses Secession

  Today in 1814, delegates from every New England state but Maine (which was not yet a state of its own, but still part of Massachusetts) met at the Old State House in Hartford to take action against what they saw as the federal government’s misguided and inept handling of the War of 1812. While…

December 12: Battling “Bat” Battalino Scores A Comeback Win

  Today in 1930, “Bat” Battalino, cheered on by Governor John Trumbull and 1,500 Connecticut fans, battled back from a battering first round knock-down to defeat Cuban boxing sensation, Kid Chocolate, in a fifteen-round decision at Madison Square Garden. Christopher Battalino was born in Hartford in 1909, the son of Italian immigrants.  His boxing ring…

December 10: Horace Wells “Discovers” Anesthesia

  On December 10, 1844, Hartford residents were treated to a special performance of famous showman and former medical student Gardner Colton’s “Laughing Gas Entertainment.” Colton had first encountered “laughing gas,” or nitrous oxide, while in medical school and soon found he could make quite a bit of money traveling the country demonstrating its hilarity-inducing…

December 7: Civil War Veteran, Governor, and Baseball Hall of Famer

  Morgan Gardner Bulkeley, long-time Connecticut politician and successful businessman, was undoubtedly one of the most accomplished men to ever hold the office of state governor.  However, while many Connecticans are familiar with Bulkeley’s many namesakes in the Hartford area (including a school, a street, and the long, stone-arch bridge that carries Interstate 84 over…

November 25: María Colón Sánchez, “La Madrina” of Hartford

  María Colón Sánchez arrived in Hartford at the age of 28 in 1954, one of thousands of Puerto Ricans who moved to Connecticut in search of better economic opportunity during the mid 20th century.  Within a few years, she had saved up enough money to open a convenience store, Maria’s News Stand, on Albany…

November 23: Connecticut’s First African-American Civil War Regiment

  In late May of 1863, nearly six months after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation declared that all black men and women in slave-holding Confederate states were free, the Federal government created the Bureau of Colored Troops, effectively authorizing the use of black troops throughout the Union Army. While some Northern states quickly raised their…

November 22: The National Society of Colonial Dames

  Among the many hereditary societies that formed in the later decades of the nineteenth century, the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA), founded in 1892, distinguishes itself as one of the most active and successful groups to pursue a mission of historic preservation.  This invitation-only, all-female society, composed of descendants of…

November 20: Great American Mastodon on Display in Hartford Saloon

  Today in 1845, awestruck visitors gathered at Gilman’s Saloon in Hartford to view the skeleton of an extinct  great American mastodon recently unearthed at a marl pit near Newburgh, New York.  At a time before the discovery of the great dinosaurs, when ideas about the world’s origins conflicted with deeply held theological views of…

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 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…