June 9: Saving the Oldest Wooden House in Connecticut

  June 9, 1915 marked the start of a new lease on life for the Thomas Lee House in East Lyme, which has the distinction of being the oldest extant wood-framed building in Connecticut. Amid a flurry of pilgrim’s pride and pomp and circumstance, even a former President came to help dedicate the opening of…

June 8: The Man Whose Songs the Soldiers Sang Dies in Hartford

  Henry Clay Work, one of the most popular songwriters of the Civil War era, died today in 1884 at age 51, while in Hartford visiting his mother. Work, who composed such still-sung songs as “Marching Through Georgia” and “Kingdom Coming” (you know the tune), was born in Middletown in 1832 into an activist family…

June 6: In the Skies of France, A D-Day Message From Mom

  In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, Private Robert C. Hillman became one of over 13,000 American paratroopers to leap out of a plane over Normandy as part of the “D-Day” invasion of occupied France — one of the largest offensives of World War II. A member of the legendary 101st Airborne…

June 5: Mandatory “Registration Day” for Service in the Great War.

  The United States’ entry into World War I on April 6, 1917 marked the end of a long period of military non-intervention, resulting in a scramble to recruit men to fill the ranks of America’s army and navy to fight the enemy in Europe. After a national volunteer recruitment drive only attracted a fraction…

June 4: America’s First “Lemon Law”

  Today in 1982, in response to an increasing number of consumer complaints about seriously defective new automobiles (colloquially called “lemons”), the Connecticut legislature passed the nation’s first “Lemon Law.” Introduced by freshman representative John J. Woodcock III of South Windsor, the law was loosely modeled on a set of consumer protections for automobile buyers…

June 3: A Historic & Presidential Commencement at the Coast Guard Academy

  While the commencement ceremonies at the United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA) are always filled with a dazzling degree of pomp and circumstance, the Academy’s 78th commencement, on June 3, 1964, was especially memorable. For the first time in history, the President of the United States delivered the commencement speech. Plans had been made…

June 2: A Symphony for Connecticut by a Superstar Composer

  Today in 1935, a packed house of 1,500 enthusiastic music lovers in Norfolk heard the world premiere of internationally renowned conductor and composer Henry Hadley’s latest work, “The Connecticut Symphony,” a piece composed to celebrate that year’s 300th anniversary of the Constitution state’s founding. Hadley, one of his era’s most popular and widely played…

June 1: America’s First Public Art Museum

  Today in 1842, Connecticut Governor Chauncey Cleveland signed an act formally incorporating the Wadsworth Atheneum, creating the first public art museum in the United States. Construction immediately began on the iconic, castle-like building in Hartford that remains the centerpiece and most recognizable feature of the Atheneum campus, and the institution officially opened two years…

June 30: The Highest Award a Civilian Can Receive

  On June 30, 1947, President Harry Truman awarded Dean Acheson the Medal for Merit, a special honor given to civilians for “exceptionally meritorious conduct” in service of the Allied powers during World War II. The Medal for Merit was awarded for a period of 10 years, from 1942 – 1952. It was the highest…

June 29: In the Middle of a World War, a Vote for History

  Connecticut history made history today in 1943, when Governor Ray Baldwin signed a law setting new standards for citizenship education in Connecticut schools. The new law required that any college or grade school receiving state funding — public or private –had to include a comprehensive study of American history and government in its curriculum….