July 31: All Aboard The Branford Trolley Line!

On this day in Connecticut history, one of the first electrically-powered trolley lines in the United States began service between Branford and East Haven, Connecticut.  July 31, 1900 marked the inaugural run of the Branford Electric Railway, which was hailed as a more efficient and sanitary way to transport people along the Connecticut shoreline than…

July 30: Powder Ridge: The Epic Rock Concert That Never Was

  On this day in 1970, a sea of nearly 30,000 concertgoers circumvented police roadblocks and hiked up Beseck Mountain in Middlefield, Connecticut with high hopes of attending a rock concert — and party — for the ages.  In an attempt to ride the momentum of the wildly popular rock n’ roll megaconcert at Woodstock…

July 29: Heavy Rains Devastate Bridgeport

  On this night in 1905, heavy summer rains brought sudden disaster to southwestern Connecticut.  In the span of only seventeen hours, more than 11 inches of rain fell on the greater Bridgeport area, causing widespread street and coastal flooding.  As the deluge stretched into the early morning hours of the following day, the Ward’s…

July 28: New Haven Serves Up the First Hamburger

  July 28, 1900 was shaping up to be an average summer day for lunch wagon owner and German immigrant Louis Lassen, who was serving sandwiches and other hot meals to factory workers in New Haven during their lunch breaks.  Suddenly, a local businessman, Gary Widmore, rushed up to Lassen’s wagon and desperately asked for…

July 27: The Connecticut River Becomes an “American Heritage River”

  On this day in Connecticut history, twenty years ago, Vice President Al Gore officially designated the Connecticut River as an American Heritage River, one of fourteen such waterways to be labeled as such.  In his remarks, Gore recognized the central role major waterways like the Connecticut played in shaping not only the environment and…

July 26: The “Wide Awakes” Rally for Abraham Lincoln in Hartford

  1860 proved to be one of the most intense election years in American history, with political tensions over slavery and secession reaching a breaking point.  Connecticut’s hotly-contested race for the governor’s seat, pitting Democrat Thomas Seymour against Republican William Buckingham, was viewed as a bellwether for the national presidential election that would take place…

July 25: The Carpenters Top the Charts

  On this day in 1970, The Carpenters, the iconic pop music duo consisting of New Haven-born siblings Richard and Karen Carpenter, experienced the first major breakthrough of their musical careers as their second album, “Close to You,” reached #1 on the Billboard charts, where it remained for the next four weeks. Born in 1946…

July 24: Hiram Bingham III “Finds” Machu Picchu

  Hiram Bingham III was, without a doubt, one of the most colorful people to grace the annals of Connecticut history.  Born in 1875, over the course of his lifetime he became an Ivy League-educated scholar of Latin America, pilot, amateur archaeologist, Yale professor, United States senator, best-selling author, and Governor of Connecticut (although only…

July 23: Joseph Schick Patents a New Safety Razor

  On this day in 1929, former U.S. Army Colonel Joseph Schick, then residing in Stamford, Connecticut, patented a new type of safety razor that made shaving quicker, easier, and more affordable, and fueled the creation of one of America’s most recognizable personal hygiene brands. Born in 1877, Schick served in both the Spanish-American War…

July 22: Mohegan Minister Samson Occum Tours England

  Samson Occom, one of the Mohegan tribe’s most famous members and a direct descendant of the great 17th century tribal leader Uncas, was born in 1723 in southeastern Connecticut.  As a teenager, he converted to Christianity after attending one of the many revivals held throughout Connecticut as part of the first Great Awakening religious…

July 21: Testing the World’s First Military Submarine — in 1776

  While Connecticut has been home to an outsized share of American innovators and creative geniuses, few of them have had as long-lasting an impact as David Bushnell, inventor of the Turtle — the world’s first combat submarine. Born in Saybrook in 1740, Bushnell decided at age 30 to sell his share of the family…

July 20: Reverend Sun Myung Moon Arrested in Danbury

  Sun Myung Moon, the late 20th century Korean evangelist whose Unification Church once claimed over 3 million members worldwide, was a figure dogged by controversy throughout his entire life.  Born in occupied North Korea in 1920, Moon developed strong anti-Communist views as an adult and founded the Unification Church in Seoul, South Korea, so…