October 11: Polar Explorer Richard Byrd Tours Connecticut

  In the 1920s and 1930s, few real-life figures captured the American imagination like Richard E. Byrd, the dashing Navy hero and polar explorer who gained international fame after becoming the first man to fly over the North and South poles. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy and serving with distinction as a Navy…

April 18: A Deadly Boxing Match in Waterbury

  Even though it had been a documented pastime for millennia, amateur (or “Olympic-style”) boxing experienced a popular renaissance in the United States during the turn of the twentieth century, thanks to celebrity heavyweights like John L. Sullivan and the inclusion of the sport in the 1904 Olympic games.  During the early twentieth century, amateur…

February 9: Connecticut’s 1st African-American Congressman

Today in 1953, future Congressman Gary A. Franks was born in Waterbury.  The youngest of six children in a family of limited means, his parents put a high value on education. All six of their children went to college, and three obtained doctoral degrees.  Gary was an All State high school basketball player, and went…

January 22: NYC’s “Mad Bomber” Arrested in Waterbury

  On this day in 1957, millions breathed a collective sigh of relief as detectives arrived at the Waterbury home of George Metesky and arrested the man responsible for terrorizing New York City residents for sixteen years by placing pipe bombs throughout the city. New Yorkers first encountered Metesky’s handiwork in 1940, when an unexploded…

January 5: Ezra Warner Invents the Can Opener

  In the early 1800s, responding to Napoleon’s request to find a more efficient way to feed his armies in the field, French inventor Nicholas Appert discovered that heating food stored in glass jars would sterilize it, keeping it safe to eat for long periods of time.  Shortly thereafter, Englishman Peter Durand invented a similar…

November 6: JFK’s Last-Minute, Late-Night Rally in Waterbury

  The first week of November 1960 was a grueling one for Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who was finishing up the last stretch of his rigorous — and ultimately successful — campaign for President of the United States against Republican Richard Nixon.  In the early morning hours of November 6, after a full…

October 11: Polar Explorer Richard Byrd Tours Connecticut

  In the 1920s and 1930s, few real-life figures captured the American imagination like Richard E. Byrd, the dashing Navy hero and polar explorer who gained international fame after becoming the first man to fly over the North and South poles.  After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy and serving with distinction as a Navy…