April 28: Corruption Along Connecticut’s Historic 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 United States, its novel use of entrance and exit ramps preceded the Eisenhower interstate system by decades.  Lined with trees, carefully maintained green spaces, and passing underneath dozens of uniquely decorated stone…

April 19: Connecticut (Finally) Approves U.S. Bill of Rights

  Today in 1939, Connecticut became the last state in the the union (which consisted of 48 states at the time) to ratify the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights — 150 years after the list of amendments were first proposed. Why the delay?  It certainly wasn’t because Connecticans didn’t place a high value on securing…

April 9: Abraham Ribicoff, Governor & Barrier-Breaker

  On April 9, 1910, Abraham Alexander Ribicoff was born in a New Britain tenement house to Ashkenazi Jewish parents who had immigrated to Connecticut from Poland.  Over the course of his lifetime, he would spend nearly fifty years in public service, including overcoming entrenched anti-Semitism to become the state’s first governor of Jewish faith….

March 17: Connecticut Statesman and Civil War Hero Joseph Hawley Dies

  Perhaps best known as a Civil War general who served in the First Battle of Bull Run, the Siege of Petersburg, and other notable engagements, Connecticut’s Joseph R. Hawley proved to be an equally accomplished leader off the battlefield, as one of Connecticut’s foremost statesmen of the late 19th century. A graduate of Hamilton…

February 1: The Third State Census in Seven Years.

  Since 1790, people in the United States have participated in a census of the population once every ten years.  During the American Revolution, however, Connecticut conducted three censuses in only seven years, each in response to different demands created by the revolutionary struggle. The third and final count was conducted today in 1782, and…

January 26: The Provocative Postmaster General

  Today in 1802, Gideon Granger of Suffield took office as the nation’s fourth postmaster general, ushering in a new era for the U.S. postal service — for better and for worse.  A Yale graduate, Granger practiced law in his hometown of Suffield and served in the Connecticut General Assembly beginning in 1792.  Following an…

January 9: Connecticut Joins the United States

  Today in 1788, the delegates at the Connecticut state convention ratified the United States Constitution by a vote of 128 to 40, making Connecticut the fifth state to join the Union.   While certain states, most notably New York and Virginia, remained skeptical of the new Constitution and required lots of convincing in order to…

July 16: The “Connecticut Compromise” Saves the U.S. Constitution

  On this day in 1787, the vision of a new federal government for the fledgling United States of America was saved from the scrap heap of history as the delegates to the Constitutional Convention narrowly voted to adopt a key provision known as the Connecticut Compromise (or, alternately, the Great Compromise). For weeks, delegates…

July 5: New Haven’s “New” State House

  From 1701 through 1878, the Colony (and later State) of Connecticut had not one, but two capital cities: Hartford and New Haven.  During these 177 years of of shared governance, each co-capital built a series of State Houses to host the Connecticut General Assembly, which would meet in Hartford and New Haven on alternating…

July 4: Delegates Selected for Connecticut’s New State Constitution

  Today in 1818, the voters in every Connecticut town gathered at 9:00 am to select their town’s delegates to a convention at Hartford that would produce – a few months later – the first state Constitution ratified by a vote of the people themselves. The constitutional convention was the result of a decades-long struggle…

June 30: Middletown’s Dean Acheson Awarded Presidential Medal of Merit

  On June 30, 1947, President Harry Truman awarded Dean Acheson the Medal for Merit, a special honor given to civilians for “exceptionally meritorious conduct” in service of the Allied powers during World War II.  The Medal for Merit was awarded for a period of ten years, from 1942 – 1952, and during that time…

June 23: Eminent Domain Redefined in New London

  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 the year 2000, the New London Development Corporation, acting under the city’s authority, moved to seize over 100 privately-held…