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 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”…

May 14: Did This Man Ever Rest?

  What didn’t he do? Today in 1752 was the birthday of Timothy Dwight IV – minister, scholar, theologian, war chaplain, songwriter, political leader, travel writer, college president, and one of a group of early American poets and writers known as the Hartford Wits. The eldest of 13 children born into an influential family in…

May 4: Romanticizing Nature for an Industrializing America

  Today in 1826, iconic American landscape painter Frederic Edwin Church was born in Hartford. The internationally famed artist’s Connecticut roots ran deep: he was a direct descendant of one of the original English Puritans who settled Hartford with Rev. Thomas Hooker. His father, a prominent silversmith, also became a director of Hartford’s Aetna Insurance…

May 2: The Baby Boomer’s Baby Doctor

  Most people reading this story were either raised, or raised their own children, following advice they found written in a book by pediatrician Benjamin Spock, who was born in New Haven today in 1903. The most influential doctor of the Baby Boomer generation and a graduate of Yale University and Columbia University’s College of…

April 25: Oliver Winchester Aims for Success in The Rifle Industry.

  In early 1857, businessman Oliver Winchester bought controlling interest in a struggling Connecticut firearms company from two inventors named Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson. With access to machine tools, raw materials, and a number of valuable patents — especially rights to the Henry Repeating Rifle, the world’s first multiple-round-firing longarm — Winchester formed the…

April 24: New Haven Founded as a “New Jerusalem”

  In the 1630s, John Davenport, like many Puritan ministers preaching in cosmopolitan and decadent London, yearned to create a “New Jerusalem.” This “heavenly city” would be located in a place free from the religious persecution and political pressures Puritans experienced in England. Its settlers would all live pure and godly lives. Arriving in the…

April 4: Saving the Elm City’s Elm Trees – The First Time

Today in 1909, the last in a series of “campaign documents” aimed at mobilizing citizens to save the trees that had given New Haven its reputation as one of the world’s most beautiful cities was published in the New Haven Sunday Union. Decades before the 1936 arrival of the devastating Dutch elm disease, the “City…

March 29: Catholic Immigrants Unite to Protect & Support Each Other & the United States

  Late-19th century Connecticut was marked by growing hostility toward a massive recent influx of Catholic immigrants from Europe, dangerous working conditions in factories that left many families fatherless, and a marked increase in the formation of fraternal benefit societies. In response to these societal pressures, Father Michael J. McGivney, the 29-year-old Irish immigrant and…

March 20: The First CT U.S. Figure Skating Championships Held in New Haven

  Today in 1914, the first “International Style” Figure Skating Championship competition in the United States was held in New Haven, Connecticut. While amateur ice skating had been a popular American pastime since the colonial days, modern figure skating — an artistic blend of dance moves and other technical feats performed on ice — was…