June 18: Crowds Bloom at America’s Oldest Municipal Rose Garden

  For over a hundred years, crowds of visitors have flocked to Connecticut’s Elizabeth Park in June to see the thousands of roses in bloom in the park’s historic Rose Garden. One peak example of this annual pilgrimage occurred today in 1933, when nearly 15,000 people in one day — some from as far away…

June 17: The First Black Playwright To “Take a Giant Step” to Broadway

  Award-winning playwright and filmmaker Louis Peterson spent his career creating dramatic stories that explored conflict and relationships especially as they turned around issues of race. He achieved a number of firsts, becoming the first Black playwright to have his work produced on Broadway and one of the first Black Emmy nominees – but before…

June 16: The Liberty Bell’s Whistle-Stop Tour of Connecticut

  Today in 1903, just after 6:00 p.m., one of the most iconic symbols of American freedom — the Liberty Bell — arrived in Connecticut. Over the next 24 hours, it would visit five Connecticut cities and towns, giving tens of thousands of Connecticans a chance to see and be seen in its presence, before…

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 14: The Cold War Gets a Game-Changing Submarine

  Today in 1952, President Harry S. Truman journeyed to Groton, Connecticut to dedicate the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus. The keel-laying ceremony took place at the Electric Boat shipyard on the banks of the Thames River and was hailed in the press as “The Birth of the Atomic Era Navy.” Before a…

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…

June 11: UCONN’s 1st Black Basketball Player

  Harrison “Honey” Fitch, arrived on the University of Connecticut (then Connecticut State College) in the fall of 1932 and he made a solid impression, fast. Fitch, the first Black basketball player for the University of Connecticut (then Connecticut State College) and at the time the only Black student, had already earned the nickname “Honey”…

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…