September 30: Babe Ruth Plays His Last Baseball Game in Hartford

  On this day in 1945, baseball superstar Babe Ruth delighted 2,500 fans in Hartford by participating in an exhibition game between two local semi-pro teams: the Savitt Gems of Hartford and the New Britain Codys. The Gems had been founded by a successful local jeweler, Bill Savitt, who used his money and influence to…

September 29: The USS Connecticut and the “Great White Fleet”

  On this day in 1904, the USS Connecticut was launched as the flagship of a new class of heavy battleships intended to show off a new era of American naval dominance in the early 20th century.  These battleships were the hallmark of President Theodore Roosevelt’s signature initiative to modernize the American navy. The USS…

September 28: The Seed That Became UCONN Planted at Mansfield

    On this day in 1881, the small agricultural school that would later become the state of Connecticut’s flagship university held its first classes in a former orphanage building located in Mansfield.  The Storrs Agricultural School, consisting of just three faculty members and thirteen students when it first opened, offered young men the opportunity…

September 27: Theodate Pope Riddle’s Architectural Masterpiece

  As one of the first licensed woman architects in the United States and the first to be licensed in both Connecticut and New York State, Theodate Pope Riddle was one of Connecticut’s great designers and innovators of the early 20th century. Born into a wealthy family in 1867, young Effie Pope attended school at…

September 25: Remembering the Civil War’s Pivotal “Petersburg Express”

  The Siege of Petersburg was one of the most significant military campaigns of the final year of the Civil War.  From June 1864 to March 1865, Union troops continuously besieged and harassed the Confederate railroad hub city of Petersburg, Virginia and surrounding environs in hopes of depleting both the Confederate Army and its nearby…

September 24: Connecticut’s Last Whaling Voyage

  In the 19th century, New London, Connecticut was one of the busiest whaling hubs in the entire world, outranked only by Nantucket and New Bedford, Massachusetts.  Whale oil was a crucial and versatile resource that played a huge role in powering the Industrial Revolution, serving as both fuel for lamps and as a lubricant…

September 23: The Great September Gale of 1815

  On the morning of September 23, 1815, the first major hurricane to hit New England in 180 years made landfall at Old Saybrook, Connecticut.  Since the word “hurricane” was virtually unknown in colonial America at the time, residents later identified the monstrous storm as the “Great Storm” or “Great Gale” of September 1815.  With…

September 22: Nathan Hale Hanged as a Spy

  In early September 1776, the Continental Army was enduring some of the darkest days it would ever encounter in the entire Revolutionary War.  George Washington and his troops had just been soundly defeated in the Battle of Brooklyn, and had just barely escaped annihilation during their retreat.  It looked more and more likely that…

September 21: The Treaty of Hartford Ends the Pequot War

  On this day in 1638, an “agreement between the English in Connecticutt and the Indian Sachems” was signed in Hartford, marking the end of the Pequot War which had ravaged both the English and Indian inhabitants of the colony of Connecticut for sixteen bloody months. On May 1, 1637, leaders among the English settlers…

September 20: Establishing Connecticut’s Presence at the Big E

  One of the most enduring and beloved examples of New England regionalism is the annual Eastern States Exposition fair, colloquially known as “The Big E.”  Whereas most other states in the U.S. feature their own state fairs in the summer or fall seasons, the Big E represents all six New England states in one…

September 19: Remembering Old Saybrook’s “Battle of the Books”

  In 1701, the Connecticut General Assembly passed an act establishing a “Collegiate School” in hopes of creating a place “wherein Youth may be instructed in the Arts and Sciences who [through] the blessing of Almighty God may be fitted for [public] employment both in Church & Civil State.”  For the first several years of…

September 18: Twain Becomes a Mark for Local Thieves

  In the later years of his life, famous American author and satirist Samuel Langhorne Clemens — better known as Mark Twain — savored the tranquil days spent at his Italianate mansion in Redding, Connecticut.  Initially named “Innocents at Home” as an homage to his famous novel Innocents Abroad, Twain soon renamed his new home…