June 15 Connecticut’s First Television Station Takes to the Airwaves.

  Today in 1948, Connecticut’s first television station WNHC-TV, Channel 6 (now WTNH Channel 8) began broadcasting in New Haven. The introduction of this new media to Connecticut was the brainchild of Aldo DeDomenicis, an Italian pasta-wholesaler who had previously found success buying radio time on Italian programs and selling that time as radio ads…

June 13: An Old New England Tradition Goes International

  Today in 1914, the people of Manchester turned a time-honored New England tradition on its head. Rather than celebrating Old Home Days – an annual event held in communities across New England to bring emigrated Yankees back for a visit to their “Old Home” town – the city celebrated “Homeland Day,” where Manchester’s foreign-born…

March 30: Ukranian Helicopter Pioneer Igor Sikorsky Arrives in United States

  One of Connecticut’s greatest immigrant success stories began today in 1919 when Ukraine-born Igor Sikorsky first arrived on American shores. While Sikorsky is best known as the inventor of the world’s first practical helicopter and the founder of the Sikorsky Aircraft manufacturing company headquartered in Stratford, he first made a name for himself as…

March 29: Catholic Immigrants Unite to Protect & Support Each Other & the United States

  Late-19th century Connecticut was marked by growing hostility toward a massive recent influx of Catholic immigrants from Europe, dangerous working conditions in factories that left many families fatherless, and a marked increase in the formation of fraternal benefit societies. In response to these societal pressures, Father Michael J. McGivney, the 29-year-old Irish immigrant and…

November 15: The Unlikely Stardom of Rosa Ponselle

  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. To express that talent, she began her musical career as a teenager, singing ballads in local movie theaters to keep audiences entertained while the projectionist…

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…

October 21: 1892 – When Columbus Stood For Inclusion & Columbus Day Came 9 Days Late

  At a time when immigrants – many from Italy – were pouring into America in numbers that seriously alarmed the “old stock” descendants of the original Puritan settlers, the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s even-then-disputed “discovery” of America proved an ideal time for Connecticans to assess the contributions of newcomers while expressing a common patriotism….

September 15: Catastrophe at the Climax Fuse Company.

  Today in 1905, an employee using a hot iron to clear fuse debris from a reeling machine touched off a muffled explosion in the main building of the Climax Fuse factory in Avon. Though the blast was barely heard 300 feet away, the sheets of flame it triggered instantly engulfed the factory, suffocating seven…