Sunday, January 13, 2019

Connecticut First in Flight in 1901

Ask many to name details of the first powered flight and you'll likely get the standard answer, the Wright Brothers, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on the 17th of December, 1903. Even a quick Google Web Search seems to confirm those details, so how could there be any question?

The great thing about published history is it serves as a marker in time. Something published in a newspaper as contemporary news one day becomes valuable historic proof a century or more later. Case in point is an article found in an issue of the Bridgeport Sunday Herald, published on Sunday, August 18, 1901. This was two years and four months before the Wright Brothers flight, yet includes intricate details to support the claim that inventor and aviator Gustave Whitehead had, in fact, flown a heavier than air, powered and navigable craft long before. 

This discovery was made by Connecticut genealogist Dan Lynch while he was researching newspapers in the Google Newspaper Archives. The collection includes more than 60 million digitized images of newspapers, many more than a century old and an invaluable tool for family and local historians.

Rather than rewrite history, we'll transcribe the original article on a separate page so you can read it for yourself. It will be interesting to see how aviation historians and others at the Smithsonian now react to this recently uncovered evidence in the ongoing debate over the First in Flight claims.


Monday, October 8, 2018

Cristoforo Colombo (Christopher Columbus)

Throughout the State of Connecticut and elsewhere in the United States of America and the world, statues of the famed Italian explorer Christopher Columbus stand watch - often unnoticed. Columbus was just 54 years old when he died in 1506 and there are interesting and credible claims from more than one country as to where his remains are laid to rest.

As we collect photographs of the many Columbus statutes throughout Connecticut, we'll share them on this page with whatever information we have.

Columbus Statue in the City of Hartford
Christopher Columbus, City of Hartford CT

Columbus Statue in the City of Waterbury
Christopher Columbus, City of Waterbury CT

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Garlic Festival

If you're a fan of Garlic, then you're in luck. The Bethlehem Fairgrounds (Route 61 in the Town of Bethlehem, Litchfield County) will host the 2018 Garlic Festival on Saturday and Sunday, October 6-7. Even if garlic isn't your favorite, there will be a great selection of food, crafts, music and fun for all ages. Come spend some time outdoors just as the leaves are beginning to show their colors! 

Garlic Festival Bethlehem Connecticut

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Indian Summer in Connecticut

For those living in or visiting Connecticut, it's no secret there is a little something for everyone as far as the weather is concerned. With four distinct seasons — winter, spring, summer and fall — Connecticut headlines range from blizzards in January and February to sweltering 100-degree days in July and August.

One of the most enjoyable times every year is the 'season' known as Indian Summer. A definition published more than a century ago in The Met Office Meteorological Glossary describes 'a warm, calm spell of weather occurring in autumn, especially in October and November.' That certainly seems consistent with this writers observations over the years. Cool, crisp mornings and evenings, but warm and sunny days perfect for dozens of outdoor activities. The fact that the leaves are changing color at the same time is a visual reward for spending time outdoors.

So, if you're inside reading this and it's still light outside, take a break from your computer. This posting will still be here when you get back. Head outside, go for a walk or a jog, perhaps a round of golf or a bike ride, head to a nearby lake or river and just stare at the water, visit one of the many historic cemeteries or Connecticut state parks. Reward yourself with the splendor of Indian Summer in Connecticut.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Demolition Planned for Trinity Episcopal Church in Waterbury, Connecticut

It's hard to know just the right way to start a post like this one. Much of the information shared on this site is thought to celebrate the great State of Connecticut, its history, people, culture, natural beauty and so much more. Every now and again, however, we learn of something that makes us wonder if anyone is paying attention to the absurd things happening right under our noses. This is one such case.

For many today, myself included, it's hard to envision the splendor of Connecticut's major cities in the late 1800s. Manufacturing provided steady jobs, which in turn attracted immigrants from around the globe to our small state. Waterbury was the quintessential American melting pot. In fact, the pot itself was likely manufactured in the Brass City! The ethnic neighborhoods were not unlike those in lower Manhattan in the era of Ellis Island immigration. Often, the central hub within these neighborhoods was a house of worship. The spires still dot the landscape throughout Connecticut, but many are much harder to see as decades of urban development forever changed the landscape of our state. 

We recently learned about the planned demolition of Trinity Episcopal Church, located in downtown Waterbury. Once prominent and visible just off the central square, it was later relegated to forever stand in the shadows of the beautiful Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. It turns out that 'forever' is a relative term, however. The Immaculate purchased the building and property some years ago and rather than invest any money in maintenance and renovation, it is slated for demolition so the space can be used instead for parking.

Below are just a few select photographs from many that were taken today, hopefully they can be used to help spread the word about the travesty of this planned demolition of a historic structure.   

Saturday, July 7, 2018

1876 Centennial Tree - Falls Village

Another post in my ‘Connecticut Roadside History’ series. A friend and I were cycling around the hills of Connecticut’s northwest corner today and we came across this tree. The sign reads ‘Centennial Tree planted 1876’ Falls Village-Canaan Historical Society. The 142 year old tree looked good for its age. While I know there were Centennial Trees planted throughout the state, and also in many towns individually, to commemorate our nations 100th birthday, I can’t say with certainty the history behind this specific tree. If I recall correctly, it is located on Music Mountain Road. Stay tuned for updates.