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 2: The Last Public Hanging in Connecticut

  In 2012, Connecticut became the 17th state to outlaw the death penalty. For the first 200 years of Connecticut’s recorded history, however, public executions were viewed as an effective deterrent of serious crimes. They were also major community events, attracting hundreds if not thousands of onlookers to watch the morbid spectacle. Speeches and moralizing…

July 5: New Haven Builds A New State Capitol Building.

  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 2: Connecticut Refuses to Fight in War of 1812

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

June 2: “Connecticut Symphony” debuts at Norfolk Music Shed

  Today in 1935, a packed house of 1,500 enthusiastic music lovers in Norfolk, Connecticut heard the world premiere of internationally-renowned conductor and composer Henry Hadley’s latest work: The Connecticut Symphony, written to celebrate the Constitution State’s tercentenary. Hadley’s half-hour-long work was played by a 65-piece orchestra at the Norfolk Music Shed, a venue built…

May 11: Connecticut’s Old State House Opens in 1796

  At the historic center of Hartford stands the Old State House, a beautiful federal-era building that served as Connecticut’s capitol for 83 years.  Designed by pioneering American architect Charles Bulfinch, the State House opened for business today in 1796, as the state legislature met insides its spacious chambers for the first time. Built with…

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 8: Connecticut Becomes “The Constitution State”

  What’s in a name?  Or… a nickname? Connecticut has had its share of diverse nicknames over the course of its nearly 400 years of recorded history — some of them more flattering than others. During the American Revolution, the colony and soon-to-be state of Connecticut became known as “The Provisions State” because of its…

March 31: The First Statewide Aerial Photography Survey in the US

  In 1933, Connecticut Governor Wilbur L. Cross, determined to move forward with infrastructure improvements in spite of budget constraints caused by the Great Depression, presented the State Planning Board with a formal request for an aerial photographic survey of the entire state.  Governor Cross reasoned that a detailed set of photographs would be an…

March 18: A Rising Star Falls Twice

  The day after St. Patrick’s Day was anything but a lucky one for John G. Rowland, who found himself on the wrong end of the law on March 18, 2005, and then again ten years later on March 18, 2015. Once considered one of Connecticut’s best and brightest politicians, Rowland first won elected office…

March 16: Connecticut Chooses An Official State Song

  In late 1977, temporarily setting aside the politics of a struggling national economy and election-year posturing, the Connecticut General Assembly took up the task of selecting an official state song for the state of Connecticut.  The request for a state song first came from then-governor Ella Grasso’s predecessor, Thomas Meskill, who was reportedly sick…