January 4: Mary Goodrich Jenson, Connecticut’s First Female Pilot

  In the heady days of early American aviation, when tales of plucky pilots and ingenious innovators were a dime a dozen, few pilots stood out from the crowd as much as Mary Goodrich Jenson, the first woman to earn a pilot’s license in the state of Connecticut.  Born in Hartford in 1907, young Mary…

November 22: The National Society of Colonial Dames

  Among the many hereditary societies that formed in the later decades of the nineteenth century, the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA), founded in 1892, distinguishes itself as one of the most active and successful groups to pursue a mission of historic preservation.  This invitation-only, all-female society, composed of descendants of…

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…

August 3: Connecticut Chooses its Delegates for First Continental Congress

  Today, Americans are so familiar with the imagery and historical stories surrounding the creation of the Declaration of Independence that they often forget just how radical an event it was.  The very notion that representatives from all thirteen American colonies would meet in secret to discuss a coordinated, organized resistance to British rule as…

July 1: State Department of Corrections Created

  Today in 1968, the Connecticut General Assembly voted in favor of consolidating the state’s prisons into a single organization, creating the State Department of Corrections.  Previously, every prison in the state had been independently managed, with its own Board of Directors, administrative staff, and policies for inmate behavior and rehabilitation. This sweeping reform of…

June 8: John Adams Writes of Connecticut’s Natural Beauty

    On this day in 1771, thirty-five-year-old lawyer — and future President of the United States — John Adams traveled by horse southward along the Connecticut River, from Windsor through Hartford and Wethersfield to Middletown, as part of a Connecticut sojourn intended to improve his health. Adams, a prolific writer, kept a detailed diary…

May 27: Oldest Operating Volunteer Fire Department in New England

  From the earliest days of Connecticut history, fire posed one of the greatest mortal dangers to Connecticut residents — especially to the English settlers whose homes, barns, fences, and other structures were made of timber and often clustered closely together.  In the 17th and early 18th centuries, before the advent of portable water pumps,…

May 22: Washington & Rochambeau Plan Yorktown Campaign in Wethersfield

  This day in Connecticut history marked the beginning of the end of the Revolutionary War, as General George Washington of the Continental Army and Comte de Rochambeau of the French Army met in Wethersfield, Connecticut to plan the Yorktown Campaign of 1781. Wethersfield was a logical choice for such a crucial meeting: it was…

May 1: The Pequot War

  On this date in 1637, Connecticut colonists formally declared war against the Pequots, the Native American tribe whose territory covered approximately 250 square miles of land in southeastern Connecticut and Rhode Island. Relations between Connecticut colonists and the Pequots had been tense ever since the first permanent English settlements had been established along the…