August 15: When State Parks Turned 100

  On August 15, 2013, the Connecticut State Parks system celebrated its centennial by launching a Summer Outdoor “Sojourn” (a portmanteau of “Summer Outdoor Journey”) that linked the northeast and southwest corners of the state in a single, 195-mile journey. The Sojourn began in Quaddick State Park in Thompson and ended in Sherwood Island State…

August 11: First Forester and Founding Father of Conservation Gifford Pinchot

  The next time you hear someone talking about the sustainable use of our environmental resources, you might want to give thanks to forester and founding father of the modern conservation movement Gifford Pinchot (pronounced “pin-show”), who was born in Simsbury today in 1865. Son of a wealthy merchant family, Pinchot’s passionate early interest in…

August 6: Dale Earnhardt Smokes the Competition in Stafford

  For a small state sandwiched between two of America’s largest cities, Connecticut has enjoyed its fair share of exposure to professional sports. While Connecticut is best known for its association with professional hockey and baseball teams and for the many Olympic athletes who grew up in its suburbs, the state has also played host…

August 1: “Base Ball” in 19th Century Hartford

  The Charter Oak Base Ball Club, founded in the summer of 1862, was the first baseball team to be formed in Hartford. Their stated mission was to “establish on a scientific basis the health-giving and scientific game of Base Ball, and to promote good fellowship among its players.” In the age before national professional…

July 29: The Andover Lake “Wade In”

  In 1926, a group of eastern Connecticut investors hoping to capitalize on the state’s new car culture, expanding highway system, and Roaring 20’s prosperity, purchased a large spring fed-wetland in Andover Connecticut. They cleared trees, cut roads, and built the 550 foot long dam that created beautiful Andover Lake.  When completed in 1928, they…

July 18: Connecticut’s Largest Shoreline Park Opens to the Public.

  Hammonasset Beach State Park, Connecticut’s largest public beach and one of the state’s most popular attractions, first opened to the public on this day in 1920. Located in Madison, Hammonasset features a continuous two-mile-long stretch of sandy beaches that line a shoreline peninsula that juts southward into Long Island Sound. Before opening to the…

July 17: The First Annual Nutmeg Games

  As the largest amateur multi-sport event in Connecticut, the Nutmeg State Games have promoted camaraderie, healthy competition, and the Olympic spirit among student athletes for over thirty years. On July 17, 1986, the first Nutmeg State Games took place as 300 amateur athletes gathered in Canton, Connecticut to compete against each other in a…

July 15: Creating Connecticut’s Largest Lake

  With an area of 8.4 square miles and over 60 miles of coastline, Candlewood Lake is the largest lake in the state of Connecticut. Located in five towns and straddling both Litchfield and Fairfield counties, its shores are also home to some of the state’s highest-priced real estate.  It has served as a recreational…

June 18: The Flowering of America’s Oldest Municipal Rose Garden

  For over a hundred years, crowds of visitors have flocked to Connecticut’s Elizabeth Park in June to witness thousands of roses in bloom in the park’s historic Rose Garden. One notable example of this annual pilgrimage occurred on this day in 1933, when nearly 15,000 people — some from as far away as California…

May 6: The Hartford Whalers Leave CT

  May 6, 1997 marks a day that will forever live in infamy in the eyes of Connecticut sports fans.  On that day, Peter Karmanos, owner of the Hartford Whalers, announced that he was moving the NHL team to North Carolina and renaming them the Carolina Hurricanes.  Connecticut has lacked a major professional sports franchise…

April 30: The Day the New England Patriots Left Connecticut in the Cold

  In 1998, Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots pro football team, was seeking a new home for his franchise, which had outgrown their small and outdated stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. After failing to secure stadium deals in South Boston and then Rhode Island, Kraft set his sights on Connecticut. His quest for…

April 18: A Deadly Boxing Match in Waterbury

  Even though it had been a documented pastime for millennia, amateur (or “Olympic-style”) boxing experienced a popular renaissance in the United States during the turn of the twentieth century, thanks to celebrity heavyweights like John L. Sullivan and the inclusion of the sport in the 1904 Olympic games.  During the early twentieth century, amateur…