December 31: Middletown’s Nathan Starr Arms the Nation

  As a major in the Continental Army, Nathan Starr forged and repaired weapons as part of his service during the Revolutionary War.  After the war was over, Starr returned to his hometown of Middletown, Connecticut, and made a living manufacturing blades of a different sort: mostly agricultural tools like scythes for local farmers. In…

December 30: A Mutiny at “Connecticut’s Valley Forge”

  When Americans think of the hardships faced by starving, shivering Continental Army troops during the harsh winters of the Revolutionary War, the infamous winter encampment of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania of 1777 – 1778 usually comes to mind.  What few realize, however, is that the eastern division of the Continental Army under the command of…

December 28: When Eastern Pennsylvania Belonged to Connecticut

  While Connecticut stands today as one of the smallest states in the Union in terms of land area, in the 17th and 18th centuries, ambitious Connecticans dreamed of expanding the colony’s control over vast swaths of territory located far to the west.   Connecticut’s Royal Charter of 1662, issued by King Charles II, had originally…

December 27: Hero of the 1955 Floods Receives Medal of Valor

  In August 1955, Connecticut experienced some of the worst flooding in its recorded history after two major hurricanes — Connie and Diane — dumped between 20 and 30 inches of rain across the state in the span of a single week.  All of the state’s major waterways, including the Connecticut, Quinebaug, Farmington, and Housatonic…

December 17: Ensign Jimmy Carter Finishes Submarine School in Groton

  Decades before he became President of the United States, a young James “Jimmy” Earl Carter, Jr. had his sights set on a lifelong career in the U.S. Navy.  As a teenager, Carter dreamed of attending the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and after graduating from high school in rural Plains, Georgia at the…

December 11: The World’s First Jet-Powered Helicopter

  Today in 1951, aerospace engineer Charles H. Kaman’s modified K-225 helicopter took its first test flight in Bloomfield, Connecticut, changing the future of helicopter aviation forever.  As the first helicopter to use a jet engine to power its drive shaft, the K-225 demonstrated a way to make helicopters able to fly faster and higher,…

November 23: Connecticut’s First African-American Civil War Regiment

  In late May of 1863, nearly six months after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation declared that all black men and women in slave-holding Confederate states were free, the Federal government created the Bureau of Colored Troops, effectively authorizing the use of black troops throughout the Union Army. While some Northern states quickly raised their…

November 11: Connecticut’s Last World War I Casualty

  For many countries around the world, November 11 is known as Armistice Day in honor of the truce that marked the end of hostilities on the Western Front between German and Allied forces, enacted on November 11, 1918.  While a lasting peace was not formally established until the Treaty of Versailles was signed in…

October 2: The First Company Governor’s Foot Guard

  One of the largest and most effusively celebrated civic holidays in 18th century Connecticut was Election Day, when the freemen of the colony gathered in town centers to cast their votes for local officials.  Many townspeople viewed Election Day as a fine excuse to gather together and socialize under the guise of exercising their…

September 29: The USS Connecticut and the “Great White Fleet”

  On this day in 1904, the USS Connecticut was launched as the flagship of a new class of heavy battleships intended to show off a new era of American naval dominance in the early 20th century.  These battleships were the hallmark of President Theodore Roosevelt’s signature initiative to modernize the American navy. The USS…

September 25: Remembering the Civil War’s Pivotal “Petersburg Express”

  The Siege of Petersburg was one of the most significant military campaigns of the final year of the Civil War.  From June 1864 to March 1865, Union troops continuously besieged and harassed the Confederate railroad hub city of Petersburg, Virginia and surrounding environs in hopes of depleting both the Confederate Army and its nearby…