September 26: Connecticut’s First English Settlement

  Today in 1633, a small band of English settlers from Eastern Massachusetts sailed past an openly hostile Dutch trading fort near modern-day Hartford and defiantly staked their own claim near the shores of the Connecticut River. There, at a site that would soon be known as Windsor, they built a trading post surrounded by…

September 20: Bringing Connecticut to “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 11: Twenty-One Years. So Many Connecticans. Still Like Yesterday.

  Today in Connecticut history, we remember all the victims, and especially those from Connecticut.  On September 11, 2001, the course of United States history was forever altered as terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners, crashing two into the Twin Towers in New York City, one into the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and the fourth into…

September 9: A Pair of Shoemakers Try On the Governor’s Office

  When shoe-manufacturer Phineas Chapman Lounsbury of Ridgefield, Connecticut won the Republican party nomination for governor on September 9, 1886, it marked the beginning of a short-lived but unique political dynasty. Phineas would go on to win the governor’s race later that year and serve a single term as Connecticut’s 53rd governor before retiring from…

August 26: 42 Years After Independence, Connecticut Finally Gets A Constitution.

  Today in 1818, delegates to the state’s first ever Constitutional Convention gathered at the State House in Hartford for the first time, charged with the formidable task of restructuring Connecticut state government by creating the state’s first formally written constitution. Writing a new constitution was no small task, given the social, cultural, and political…

August 21: The Death of the Charter Oak

  In the early morning hours of August 21, 1856, the Charter Oak — the ancient living symbol of Connecticut’s most cherished values and icon of its core identity — crashed to a ground-shaking death amid the fierce winds and blinding rain of an overnight summer storm. The giant white oak had stood atop a…

August 15: How Do You Celebrate A Century of Suntans and Sojourns?

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 Park…

August 2: Connecticut’s Last Public Hanging

  In 2012, Connecticut became the 17th state to outlaw the death penalty. For the first 200 years of Connecticut’s history as colony and state,however, public executions with large crowds attending were viewed as an effective deterrent of serious crimes. They were major community events, attracting hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of onlookers to watch the…

July 5: Connecticut’s Other (for 177 Years) State Capitol

  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 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 years….

July 2: Connecticut Refuses to Fight for the United States

  It would be a gross understatement to say that the War of 1812 was unpopular in Connecticut. As a region, New England was fiercely opposed to the War of 1812, which the Yankees collectively viewed as a frivolous and economically disastrous war waged by President James Madison against the British Empire. But Connecticut took…

June 2: A Symphony for Connecticut by a Superstar Composer

  Today in 1935, a packed house of 1,500 enthusiastic music lovers in Norfolk heard the world premiere of internationally renowned conductor and composer Henry Hadley’s latest work, “The Connecticut Symphony,” a piece composed to celebrate that year’s 300th anniversary of the Constitution state’s founding. Hadley, one of his era’s most popular and widely played…

May 11: The 1796 State House: Connecticut’s Message to a New Nation

  In the early years of the American Republic, Connecticut held itself up to the nation as a model for creating the kind of stable, citizen-selected-and-run government that was central to the success of the American project. Thanks to the Royal Charter of 1662, which had given Connecticut virtual independence 114 years before the Declaration…