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 15: Rosa Ponselle, Opera Singer Extraordinaire

  Born to Italian immigrants living in Meriden, Connecticut in 1897, Rosa Ponselle (born Rosa Ponzillo) displayed a natural talent for both singing and instrumental music at an early age.  Ponselle, who was destined to become a musical celebrity and one of the most famous opera singers in American history, began her musical career as…

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…

November 5: Ella Grasso, First Female Governor

  Born to Italian immigrants in 1919, Ella Rosa Giovanna Oliva Tambussi grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood of first and second-generation Americans in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.  Her parents, determined to invest in a better future for their daughter, saved up enough money to send Ella to the prestigious Chaffee School in Windsor.  Afterwards, she…

April 14: Titanic sinks with 33 Connecticans Aboard

  On this day in 1912, the ocean liner RMS Titanic was struck by an iceberg in the North Atlantic ocean and sank, killing over 1,500 passengers and crew in one of the most infamous disasters of the 20th century.  The Titanic was the world’s largest ship afloat at the time, billed with great fanfare…

March 30: Igor Sikorsky, Inventor of the Helicopter, Arrives in United States

The Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, based in Stratford, Connecticut since 1929, is a world leader in military and commercial helicopter production and is one of Connecticut’s most historically significant and globally influential businesses.  Sikorsky helicopters are used extensively in all five branches of the United States military, and its most recognizable craft — the UH-60 Black…

March 29: Knights of Columbus Incorporated in New Haven

Late-19th century Connecticut was marked by the growing prevalence of fraternal benefit societies, hostility toward a recent influx of Catholic immigrants from Europe, and dangerous working conditions in factories that left many families fatherless. In response to these societal pressures, Father Michael J. McGivney, the 29-year-old assistant pastor of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven,…