December 11: The World’s First Jet-Powered Helicopter Flies Over Bloomfield

  Today in 1951, aerospace engineer Charles H. Kaman’s modified K-225 helicopter took its first test flight in Bloomfield, Connecticut, changing the future of helicopter aviation forever. As the first helicopter to use a jet engine to power its drive shaft, the K-225 demonstrated a way to make helicopters fly faster and higher, with less…

December 3: A “Lighthouse” For Outcasts, Far From the Ocean

  The Connecticut shoreline is home to many beautiful, historic lighthouses that have steered ships in Long Island Sound to safety for hundreds of years. One of the state’s most historically significant “lighthouses,” however, is located over 60 miles inland — and refers not to a navigational structure, but to a unique settlement established on…

November 28: The Portland Gale Leaves Connecticut Buried

  Today in 1898, after two relentless days of wind and snow,  a massive storm that became known as The Portland Gale finally moved off the Connecticut shoreline, but not before bringing the state to a stand-still. The storm had formed on November 26th, when two large storms intersected over New York state, then marched…

November 7: Washington Slept Here — Not His Favorite Place

  Throughout the eastern United States, claims that “George Washington slept here” at some local home or landmark are so exceedingly plentiful — and not infrequently fabricated to boost business — that the term has almost become a tourism cliché. Connecticut, however, can point to many locations where George Washington did pass by or spend…

November 2: Introducing the “Best Built Car in America”

  Today in 1902,  former race car driver Andrew Riker, personally drove the first production model of the luxury $4000,  four-cylinder, gasoline-powered car he had designed, engineered and manufactured in Bridgeport  into New York City to present it to its new owner. Since its founding in 1899, the Locomobile Company, whose headquarters and main factory…

November 1: A Popular Governor Gets a Parkway

  Today in 1949, 10 long years after construction first began, the Wilbur Cross Parkway finally opened to the public following a formal ceremony at the brand-new West Rock Tunnel adjacent to the New Haven-Woodbridge town line. There, after a motorcade procession through the 1200-foot-long tunnel, Lieutenant Governor William T. Carroll proclaimed the newest stretch…

October 22: A Poor Yankee Peddler from Harwinton Becomes a Railroad Tycoon

  Collis Potter Huntington was born today 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 own as…

October 10: Home-Schooled Wethersfield Native Engineers the Erie Canal

  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 today in 1770. Ebenezer’s accumulated debts had forced young Benjamin to forego most of his formal schooling to take up odd…