July 18: Connecticut’s Biggest Beach & State Park Welcomes Its First Crowd

  Hammonasset Beach State Park, Connecticut’s largest public beach and one of the state’s most popular attractions, first opened to the public today in 1920. Located in Madison, Hammonasset features a continuous two-mile-long stretch of sandy beaches lining a shoreline peninsula that juts southward into Long Island Sound. Before opening to the public in 1920,…

July 17: Bridgeport Baseball Team Arrested. . . Again

  Today in 1913, arrest warrants were issued in Bridgeport for players on the Bridgeport Mechanics minor league baseball team. It was not the first time members of the Bridgeport nine had faced justice. They had, in fact, been arrested, tried, and convicted twice previously during the preceding two months. Their crime? Playing baseball on…

July 16: Connecticut Saves the U S Constitutional Convention From Collapse

  Today in 1787, the vision of a new federal government for the fledgling United States of America was saved from the scrap heap of history as the delegates to the Constitutional Convention narrowly voted to adopt a key provision advanced by delegates from Connecticut. That provision is known to history as the Connecticut Compromise…

July 15: Constructing Connecticut’s Largest Lake

  With an area of 8.4 square miles and over 60 miles of coastline, Candlewood Lake is the largest lake in the state of Connecticut. Located in five towns and straddling both Litchfield and Fairfield counties, its shores are also home to some of the state’s highest-priced real estate. The lake has served as a…

July 14: Bridgeport Throws Express Train 172 a Deadly Curve

  Whenever a train approached Bridgeport’s “Jenkins Curve,” the sharpest curve of the New Haven Railroad system, safety regulations required the engineer to slow down to 30 mph. At 3:42 in the morning of July 14, 1955, however, the driver of New Haven Railroad’s express train 172, from New York City to Boston, inexplicably continued…

July 13: P. T. Barnum’s Greatest Performance Wasn’t on a Stage

  Today in 1865, Connecticut’s Greatest Showman Phineas Taylor “P T” Barnum was as busy as ever – but not on a stage or in a tent. Rather, he was giving an impassioned speech in the Connecticut legislature, where he was serving his first of several terms as a state representative. The seasoned showbiz veteran…

July 12: The Car of the Future — in 1933

  R. Buckminster Fuller, the inventor, architect, author, and futurist best known for his popularization of the geodesic dome, was one of the most prolific public intellectuals of the early 20th century. In the early 1930s, Fuller coined the word “Dymaxion” — a portmanteau of the words “dynamic,” “maximum,” and “tension” — and applied it…

July 11: The Neptune Returns with Astonishing Wealth

  Today in 1799, the merchant ship Neptune sailed into New Haven harbor after an absence of two years and eight months with the most lucrative haul of cargo Connecticut had ever seen. Captained by New Haven native Daniel Green, the Neptune set sail in late 1797 with a crew of 45 “young, sturdy, and…

July 10: The Worst Tornado Outbreak in Connecticut History

    Today in 1989, the worst recorded tornado outbreak in state history tore through the state, as multiple twisters devastated a historic forest, left behind numerous swaths of destruction, killed two people, and injured hundreds more. Local meteorologists had warned residents about the high potential for severe weather on July 10, 1989, but no…

July 9: A Hard Overnight Freeze in “The Year Without a Summer”

  The winters of the early 19th century — the last decades of the “Little Ice Age” that chilled North America and Europe for over five centuries (1300-1850) — were among the coldest in Connecticut’s recorded history. Salt-water harbors froze over months at a time, and blizzards regularly dumped several feet of snow on the…

July 8: The Sermon That Terrified Its Way Into History

  In the early 1740s, New England was in the midst of a sweeping religious revival now known as the Great Awakening. Charismatic evangelical ministers traveled from town to town on a mission to invigorate congregations with a renewed sense of Christian piety based on fear of damnation. They were inspired by the internationally famous…