January 15: They Got On the Wrong Train.

  Today in 1878, right after hearing the famed evangelist Dwight Moody preach that “repentance is grabbing your bag and coat and getting out of the wrong train and onto the right one”, a group of revival-attending passengers in Hartford boarded a specially-ordered train that took them to one of Connecticut’s deadliest train disasters.  When…

January 2: The Connecticut Turnpike Opens

  January 2nd remains a date in Connecticut history that is bound to provoke strong feelings among the state’s road warriors: On this day in 1958, the Connecticut Turnpike — better known today as Interstate 95 — first opened to the public. The course of the well-traveled highway largely paralleled the path of U.S. Route…

December 29: Preserving America’s Maritime History in Mystic

  The village of Mystic, Connecticut — which is actually not its own town, but a borough straddling the two towns of Groton and Stonington — has been associated with sailing, fishing, and shipbuilding for hundreds of years.  The village’s earliest shipbuilding enterprises date to the late 17th century, when English settlers set up shop…

December 16: First Connecticut Stretch of Interstate 84 Opens

  By the 1950s, overcrowded highways became an increasingly familiar annoyance to Connecticut commuters as the state basked in post-WWII economic prosperity and the increase in population — and automobile traffic — that came with it.  At the time, most of Connecticut’s inland east-west travel utilized U.S. Route 6, an old and overburdened road that…

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…