June 18: The Flowering of America’s Oldest Municipal Rose Garden

  For over a hundred years, crowds of visitors have flocked to Connecticut’s Elizabeth Park in June to witness thousands of roses in bloom in the park’s historic Rose Garden. One notable example of this annual pilgrimage occurred on this day in 1933, when nearly 15,000 people — some from as far away as California…

June 16: The Liberty Bell Comes to Connecticut

  On this day in 1903, one of the most iconic symbols of American freedom — the Liberty Bell — arrived in Connecticut as part of a multi-state tour. Most Americans today think of the Liberty Bell as a stationary, permanent fixture of Philadelphia; a typical “look but don’t touch” museum piece viewed from behind…

June 8: Civil War Composer Henry Clay Work Dies at 51 in Hartford

  Henry Clay Work, one of the most popular songwriters of the Civil War era, died today in 1884 at age 51, while in Hartford visiting his mother. Work, who composed such still-sung songs as “Marching Through Georgia” and “Kingdom Coming” (you know the tune), was born in Middletown in 1832 into an activist family…

June 5: Mandatory “Registration Day” for the Great War.

  The United States’ entry into World War I on April 6, 1917 marked the end of a long period of military non-intervention, resulting in a scramble to recruit men to fill the ranks of America’s army and navy before engaging the enemy in Europe. After a national volunteer recruitment drive only attracted a fraction…

June 1: The Nation’s Oldest Public Art Museum Established

  On this day in 1842, Connecticut governor Chauncey Cleveland signed an act formally incorporating the Wadsworth Atheneum, creating what would become the first and oldest continuously operating public art museum in the United States. Construction immediately began on the iconic, castle-like building that remains the centerpiece and most recognizable feature of the Atheneum campus,…

May 31: Rev. Thomas Hooker Declares “the People” the Foundation of Government

  To many students of Connecticut history and colonial America, Thomas Hooker is considered the “founding father” of Connecticut.  A Puritan minister who journeyed from England to Holland to Massachusetts in search of a place where he could preach his message of reformed Christianity free from persecution, Hooker served with distinction as the first established…

May 13: Hartford’s Pope Company Debuts Electric Automobile in 1897

  On this date in 1897, outside his factory in Hartford, successful bicycle manufacturer Albert Augustus Pope unveiled what he considered to be the future of the automobile industry: the battery-powered Columbia Motor Carriage.  It was the first demonstration of a mass-produced electric car in American history. Weighing in at 1800 pounds and reaching a…

May 11: Connecticut’s Old State House Opens in 1796

  At the historic center of Hartford stands the Old State House, a beautiful federal-era building that served as Connecticut’s capitol for 83 years.  Designed by pioneering American architect Charles Bulfinch, the State House opened for business today in 1796, as the state legislature met insides its spacious chambers for the first time. Built with…

May 6: The Hartford Whalers Leave CT

  May 6, 1997 marks a day that will forever live in infamy in the eyes of Connecticut sports fans.  On that day, Peter Karmanos, owner of the Hartford Whalers, announced that he was moving the NHL team to North Carolina and renaming them the Carolina Hurricanes.  Connecticut has lacked a major professional sports franchise…

April 30: The Day the New England Patriots Left Connecticut in the Cold

  In 1998, Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots pro football team, was seeking a new home for his franchise, which had outgrown their small and outdated stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. After failing to secure stadium deals in South Boston and then Rhode Island, Kraft set his sights on Connecticut. His quest for…

April 21: Mark Twain, American Author & Satirist, dies in Redding

  On this day in 1910, Mark Twain, one of America’s most famous authors and Connecticut’s most famous residents, died at his home in Redding, Connecticut. 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…

April 17: Businessman and Financier J. P. Morgan Born in Hartford

  Today in 1837, John Pierpont Morgan, one of the most famous businessmen and financiers in American history, was born in Hartford. Born into a wealthy and influential Connecticut family, J. P. Morgan was groomed to be a successful financier from an early age.  He quickly moved up the ranks of his father’s banking companies…