January 23: A Pie in the Sky Idea Takes Off

  In 1871, a Civil War veteran and baker by the name of William Russell Frisbie opened the Frisbie Pie Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He later built a large factory on the city’s east side to accommodate the growing demand for his pastries. Little did this simple but successful pieman know that one day, several…

January 18: The Day the Roof Caved In

  At 4:19am on January 18, 1978, downtown Hartford narrowly missed being the site of one of the deadliest disasters in American history when the entire roof of the Hartford Civic Center arena — covering an area of nearly 2.5 acres and weighing 1,400 tons — suddenly collapsed onto a coliseum of 10,000 empty seats….

January 11: New England Whalers First Game at Hartford Civic Center

  On this day in 1975, Hartford became home to a professional hockey team for the first time in its history as the New England Whalers played their first home game at the brand-new Hartford Civic Center. The Whalers had been organized in 1972 as one of the inaugural teams of the World Hockey Association,…

December 12: Battered “Bat” Battalino Battles Back Bigtime

  Today in 1930, “Bat” Battalino, cheered on by Governor John Trumbull and 1,500 Connecticut fans, battled back from a battering first round knock-down to defeat Cuban boxing sensation, Kid Chocolate, in a fifteen-round decision at Madison Square Garden. Christopher Battalino was born in Hartford in 1909, the son of Italian immigrants. His boxing ring…

September 30: Babe Ruth’s Final Swing

  Today in 1945, a promotion-minded Hartford jeweler and a sports legend well past his prime joined together to make baseball history. Superstar Babe Ruth delighted 2,500 Connecticut fans by participating in an exhibition game between the semi-pro Savitt Gems of Hartford and the New Britain Codys. The Gems had been founded by successful local…

September 7: A Game-Changer For Sports . . . and Television

  Today in 1979, at 7:00pm Eastern time, the first cable channel devoted exclusively to sports and entertainment went live from its studio in Bristol, Connecticut. The Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) was the dream of Bill Rasmussen, a former communications director for the New England (later Hartford) Whalers, who spent the better part…

August 30: The 92 Million Dollar Kickoff

  What does a  flagship state university striving for greater respect among peers and public do to achieve  that goal in a directly visible way? Well, of course they invest in faculty, labs, and infrastructure. But these landmarks achieve their goals slowly, through the incremental increases in knowledge and discovery thy provide. The fast track…