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…

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: Helicopter Pioneer Igor Sikorsky Arrives in United States

One of Connecticut’s greatest immigrant success stories began today in 1919 when Russian-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 a…

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 Avenue,…

November 10: Unusual Funeral Ends Connecticut’s Tong Wars

  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: 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….