November 14: Paul Sperry (and His Dog) Invent the Boat Shoe

  Today in 1939, New Haven-born sailor-turned-shoemaker Paul Sperry received a patent for one of the most famous and enduring pieces of American footwear: the Sperry Top-Sider, or “boat shoe.” Born in 1895, Sperry’s life revolved around the sea; growing up along the Connecticut coast, he developed a lifelong love for sailing at an early…

November 13: One of the 20th Century’s Greatest Speeches – “Freedom or Death”

  Invited by celebrated architect and socialite Theodate Pope, and introduced by the equally well-placed and notably outspoken Katherine Houghton Hepburn, a militant English suffragist took the stage at Hartford’s Parson Theatre today in 1913, and delivered what is now regarded as one of the greatest speeches of the twentieth-century.  Emmeline Pankhurst, whose unwavering advocacy…

November 12: A Two-President Celebration Draws a Huge Crowd in Middletown

  November 12, 1909 was a momentous day for the city of Middletown, as thousands of cheering, flag-waving residents lined the streets to enjoy a day full of pomp and circumstance and an evening full of dancing and fireworks. The Hartford Courant covered every detail of the day’s festivities in a breathless, three-page spread under…

November 10: The Tong Wars Come to Connecticut

  In the late 19th century and early 20th century, as Chinese immigrants flocked to American shores in increasing numbers, insular Chinese-American communities known as “Chinatowns” sprang up in large coastal cities like San Francisco and New York. Here, recent immigrants could more freely speak their native language and observe Chinese customs while adapting to…

November 7: Washington Slept Here — Not His Favorite Place

  Throughout the eastern United States, claims that “George Washington slept here” at some local home or landmark are so exceedingly plentiful — and not infrequently fabricated to boost business — that the term has almost become a tourism cliché. Connecticut, however, can point to many locations where George Washington did pass by or spend…

November 3: After 47 Years, Joshua Hempstead Writes His Last Diary Entry.

  Today in 1758, the last word was written in one of the most important documents the people of Connecticut have to help them understand the realities of day-to-day life in our region during the colonial period. Ironically, that document was painstakingly created by a person who primarily intended it to be read by only…