July 9: “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 centuries — were among the coldest in Connecticut’s recorded history, with salt-water harbors freezing over on a regular basis and blizzards that regularly dumped several feet of snow on the state…

December 14: The First Recorded Meteorite Strike in the United States

  At approximately 6:30am on December 14, 1807, residents of Fairfield County were startled by the sight of a blazing fireball in the early morning sky, followed by the terrifying sound of three loud explosions that could be heard as far as forty miles away.  After the sun rose, strange rocks could be found on…

November 20: Great American Mastodon on Display in Hartford Saloon

  Today in 1845, awestruck visitors gathered at Gilman’s Saloon in Hartford to view the skeleton of an extinct  great American mastodon recently unearthed at a marl pit near Newburgh, New York.  At a time before the discovery of the great dinosaurs, when ideas about the world’s origins conflicted with deeply held theological views of…

September 23: The Great September Gale of 1815

  On the morning of September 23, 1815, the first major hurricane to hit New England in 180 years made landfall at Old Saybrook, Connecticut.  Since the word “hurricane” was virtually unknown in colonial America at the time, residents later identified the monstrous storm as the “Great Storm” or “Great Gale” of September 1815.  With…