February 10: “General Tom Thumb” Marries “The Queen of Beauty”

  Born in 1838 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, legendary entertainer Charles Sherwood Stratton, a.k.a. “Tom Thumb,” began touring with the internationally famous showman and fellow Connectican P. T. Barnum at the tender age of five.  Stratton had first attracted Barnum’s attention because of his unusually small size — Stratton was a dwarf who never grew taller…

September 2: High-Flying Hijinks Over the Connecticut River

  Silas Markham Brooks, Connecticut’s first documented hot air balloonist, was one of many native Connecticans who pursued a colorful — if unpredictable — career as a consummate showman in the 19th century.  Born in Plymouth in 1824, Brooks worked in a local clock-making factory before being hired by P. T. Barnum to help manufacture…

April 5: P.T. Barnum Elected Mayor of Bridgeport

  Today in 1875, Phineas T. Barnum was elected Mayor of Bridgeport at the age of 64.  Already nationally famous as a showman of the first order, his mayoral tenure was merely one of many accolades and successes for the man who would become one of America’s most famous entertainers, entrepreneurs, authors, and philanthropists. P….