June 23: The Supreme Court Case New London Won, and Everybody Lost

  On June 23, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Kelo v. City of New London, a case that redefined — and vastly expanded — the permissible boundaries of eminent domain in the United States. In 2000, the New London Development Corporation (NLDC), acting under the city’s authority, moved to seize over 100 privately held…

June 21: “Poor Judgment” Costs a Governor His Job

  “I acknowledge that my poor judgment brought us here,” said John Rowland to a sea of reporters standing on the back lawn of the Connecticut Governor’s Mansion in Hartford. The date was June 21, 2004, and Rowland was announcing his resignation amid a federal corruption investigation and impeachment inquiry. His Lieutenant Governor, M. Jodi…

June 4: America’s First “Lemon Law”

  Today in 1982, in response to an increasing number of consumer complaints about seriously defective new automobiles (colloquially called “lemons”), the Connecticut legislature passed the nation’s first “Lemon Law.” Introduced by freshman representative John J. Woodcock III of South Windsor, the law was loosely modeled on a set of consumer protections for automobile buyers…

May 31: Rev. Thomas Hooker Declares “the People” the Foundation of Government

  To many students of Connecticut history and colonial America, Thomas Hooker is considered the “founding father” of Connecticut. A Puritan minister who journeyed from England to Holland to Massachusetts in search of a place where he could preach his message of reformed Christianity free from persecution, Hooker served with distinction as the first established…

April 28: Corruption Paves the Way for the Merritt Parkway

  Connecticut’s historic Merritt Parkway is the oldest scenic parkway in the United States. One of the first limited-access, divided-lane highways in the country, its novel use of entrance and exit ramps preceded the Eisenhower interstate system by decades. Lined with trees, carefully maintained green spaces, and with dozens of uniquely designed stone overpasses, the…

April 19: Connecticut Ratifies the Bill of Rights — 150 Years Late

  Today in 1939, Connecticut became the last state in the the union to ratify the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights — 150 years after the list of amendments was first proposed. Why the delay? It certainly wasn’t because Connecticans didn’t care about securing individual rights. Connecticut’s colonial government codified one of the earliest sets…

April 5: P.T. Barnum Elected Mayor of Bridgeport – Not His Greatest Show

  Today in 1875, Phineas T. Barnum was elected Mayor of Bridgeport, at the age of 64. Though internationally acclaimed as an entertainment impresario and well respected as a politician at the state level, Barnum’s short mayoral tenure was not the greatest showing for a man still remembered as one of America’s most successful entertainers,…

March 17: A Now Forgotten Civil War Hero, Statesman, and Patriot

  A Civil War general who served in the First Battle of Bull Run, the Siege of Petersburg, and other notable campaigns, Connecticut’s Joseph R. Hawley was, during his lifetime, one of Connecticut’s most distinguished and celebrated citizens. A graduate of Hamilton College in New York, Hawley had a gift for both writing and public…

March 7: New Haven Hides the Killers of an English King

  Soon after the then-separate Connecticut and New Haven colonies were established in the 1630s, their country of origin, England, was thrown into a long and brutal civil war pitting English Puritans against King Charles I. The Parliamentarians, as the king’s enemies called themselves, were ultimately victorious, and, after taking control of the government, they…