December 4: The Great East Thompson Train Wreck

  Today in 1891, one of the largest train disasters in American history — and the only one to involve four different trains — occurred outside of the small town of East Thompson.  Located in the extreme northeast corner of the state, nestled right against the Massachusetts and Rhode Island borders, the tracks in East…

November 7: Washington Slept Here — But Wasn’t Happy About It

  Throughout the eastern United States, claims that “George Washington slept here” at some local home or landmark are so exceedingly plentiful — and frequently fabricated to boost business — that the term has become something of a cliché.  Connecticut, however, can point to many locations where George Washington did pass by or spend the…

November 2: The “Best Built Car in America” Hits the Road

  On this day in 1902, the Locomobile Company of America delivered its first four-cylinder, gasoline-powered car, designed by engineer and former racecar driver Andrew Riker, who personally drove the $4,000 car from Bridgeport, Connecticut to New York City to present it to its new owner. The Locomobile Company, whose headquarters and main factory were…

November 1: The Wilbur Cross Parkway Opens

  Today in 1949, ten long years after construction first began, the Wilbur Cross Parkway finally opened to the public following a formal ceremony in at the brand-new West Rock Tunnel in West Haven.  There, Lieutenant Governor William T. Carroll proclaimed the newest stretch of Route 15, named after Connecticut’s popular governor who led the…

October 22: From Yankee Peddler to Railroad Tycoon

  Collis Potter Huntington was born on this day in 1822, the sixth of nine children born to William and Elizabeth Huntington of Harwinton, Connecticut.  The Huntington family, owners of a farm in a section of Harwinton fittingly known as “Poverty Hollow,” constantly struggled to make ends meet, forcing Collis to set off on his…

October 10: “Father of American Civil Engineering” Born in Wethersfield

  Benjamin Wright, the chief engineer behind some of the most famous civil engineering projects in United States history — including the Erie Canal — was born to Grace and Ebenezer Wright of Wethersfield on this day in 1770.   Ebenezer’s accumulated debts had forced young Benjamin to forego most of his formal schooling to take…

October 9: The Hindenburg Flies Over Connecticut

  Today, the name “Hindenburg” is most closely associated with the fiery, disastrous crash that destroyed the famous dirigible in 1937.  Before its demise, however, the massive, 800-foot-long German airship was considered the pinnacle of modern aerospace engineering and luxury travel, and often attracted crowds of awe-struck spectators wherever it went.  Built over a period…

October 8: Hartford’s Record-Setting Stone Arch Bridge

  For most of the 19th century, travelers passing between Hartford and East Hartford crossed the Connecticut River over a wooden covered bridge, constructed in 1818 and expanded several times to include additional lanes and, eventually, room for trolleys.  In 1895, the entire structure burned down in a spectacular fire that, according to newspapers, some…

August 23: Famous Aviator Wiley Post Visits Connecticut

  Today in 1933, Wiley Post, one of the most famous pilots in the world, flew into Hartford’s Brainard Field, just a few weeks after completing a record-breaking solo flight around the world. In the 1930s, Wiley Post was a household name second only to Charles Lindbergh in terms of famous American aviators.  Post, a…

August 22: Hartford Hosts the First Presidential Car Ride

  Theodore Roosevelt was no stranger to Connecticut; his mother and second wife were Connecticans and his sister lived in Farmington for most of her adult life.  While Roosevelt’s several visits to the Connecticut to visit his family and friends often attracted plenty of press, his visit of August 22, 1902 was memorable for not…

August 20: John Fitch Shows Off America’s First Steamboat

  Today in 1787, Connecticut-born inventor John Fitch successfully sailed America’s first steamboat up the Delaware River in hopes of gathering financial support from influential members of Congress. Born in Windsor, Connecticut in 1743, Fitch displayed an insatiable drive for dabbling in mechanics at an early age.  As a young man, he tried his hand…

August 7: Statewide Strikes Bring Connecticut to a Halt

  Today in 1919, Connecticut companies throughout the state were effectively shuttered as thousands of workers across a multitude of different industries joined in a massive regional strike that, within the course of a week, spread from Maine to New York and brought New England commerce to a screeching halt. Connecticut, like many other states…