June 14, 2013 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the “Swing Bridge” across the Connecticut River in East Haddam, Connecticut. While most drawbridges have a section that moves up and down to accommodate river traffic, the East Haddam bridge has a section that swings open like a gate to allow vessels to pass through.
The Connecticut River has always been at the heart of this little hamlet, which was originally known as Goodspeed’s Landing. A bustling thoroughfare, the waterway offere... read more
For many of today’s drivers, tools like Google Maps and GPS devices have made turn-by-turn directions a familiar—even essential—part of getting from point A to point B. But this isn’t a new idea and didn’t start in Silicon Valley. In the early days of the automobile, “route guides” included turn-by-turn directions compiled by amateur and professional “pathfinders.” In 1901, Charles Howard Gillette, a Hartford native, published the Official Automobile Blue Book. Not to be confused with the Kel... read more
“The foundation of authority is laid firstly in the free consent of people.” That principle lies at the heart of the representative system by which the United States has governed itself for more than two centuries.
But when the Reverend Thomas Hooker declared those words in a sermon in Hartfo... read more
Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War, as a way to honor those Union and Confederate soldiers who died in that conflict. A large collection of photographs of Connecticut Civil War soldiers in the Connecticut Historical Society’s collection recalls the origins of the holiday... read more
As the weather warms up this spring, so does the lure of the open road, and all that comes with it- scenic views, the ocean breeze along the coast, and everyone’s favorite road food! While it may not be warm enough to go for a swim in Long Island Sound, it is perfect weather for a stop at one of... read more
Ella Tambussi Grasso was born to Italian immigrant parents in Windsor Locks, Connecticut on May 10, 1919. She attended the Chaffee School in Windsor and earned a scholarship to Mount Holyoke College where she earned both BA (1940) and MA (1942) degrees. At an early age, she displayed an interes... read more
In an age when we hear instantly of any news, good or bad, it is hard to imagine that information was not always so readily available. On May 7, 1915, the RMS Lusitania sank off the coast of Ireland from damage caused by a German submarine’s torpedo. For hours, it was little more than an unconf... read more
When he perished while fighting a fire on May 24th, 1878, Hartford photographer Daniel S. Camp died as he had lived: in harm’s way and in the line of duty. Besides being a respected photographer, Camp was a volunteer firefighter, Second Lieutenant in the City Guard, and a veteran of the Civil War... read more
Mary Pamelia Felt was born in New York City on January 1, 1848, and in 1867 married John Emery Morris of Hartford. She would have remained just another Hartford resident if not for her penchant for clipping newspapers. Her collection of 188 obituary and social scrapbooks were donated to CHS in 19... read more
A handful of maps of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, published I Philadelphia during the early 1850s, bear the name of E. M. Woodford. Edgar M. Woodford was born April 15, 1824, in Avon, Connecticut , where his family had a farm. Self-taught as a civil engineer, Woodford... read more
With over thirty books published and millions of magazines devoured by fans eager to organize their homes, prepare delicious meals, and simply be crafty, Martha Stewart has become known as the most successful modern domestic advisor in the United States. But domestic advice of the kind Stewart d... read more
Steam power captivated the popular imagination in the nineteenth century. Regular steam navigation on the Connecticut River dates back to the early 1820s. Hartford and New York were linked by steamers whenever the river was ice free, typically from March through November of each year.
Advance... read more
Needlework samplers provided a place for young girls to practice stitching and create a variety of motifs, from alphabets and numbers to houses and animals. One popular motif for decorating samplers was flowers. Found almost everywhere and in many varieties, flowers offered girls the chance to... read more
Looking at stereo views was a popular form of home entertainment throughout the second half of the nineteenth century and on into the early twentieth century. Stereo views were taken with a special camera with two lenses, resulting in two nearly identical photographs which created a 3-D effect w... read more
“It is believed that much good, which might be accomplished, remains unaffected, from the mere fact that mankind either do not know that it can be done, or are ignorant of the means to accomplish it.” ... read more
The Hartford & Wethersfield Horse Railroad originated in 1863, with horse-drawn cars riding over steel rails, carrying passengers along Hartford’s Main Street and Wethersfield Avenue. Over the next two decades, as the Railroad expanded its routes throughout Hartford and into surrounding towns, it... read more
Two hundred years ago, the United States was at war with Great Britain. On September 10, 1813, an American naval force led by Major Commandant Oliver H. Perry captured six vessels from the British Royal Navy, the most powerful maritime force in the world. Perry’s famous exclamation, “We have met... read more
The first time George Washington traveled through Connecticut, in 1756, he was an ambitious young Virginia colonel headed for Boston on a mission he hoped would advance his career in the British military. When he last visited Connecticut in1789, he was the first president of the new United States... read more
Did you know that the first cookbook ever written in America was published in Hartford? The book, American Cookery, is assumed to have been self-published because the words “For the Author” appear on the title page. It was printed by Hudson and Goodwin Company of Hartford, Conn. in 1796, only t... read more
Storefront churches, a flock of chattering birds, a meaningful phrase repeated against a plain background: architect and artist Clifford Mitchell told a variety of stories in a distinctive style, using pencil and pen, oil paint, watercolors and collage. An African-American architect and artist bo... read more