Blog

Hog River Journal

Celebrate 20 Years With Us

By Kendall Wiggin    (c) Connecticut Explored Inc., Fall 2022 Subscribe/Buy the Issue!                                                       Welcome to our 20th anniversary special issue. As the newly elected board president of Connecticut Explored,

Posted in Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Celebrate 20 Years With Us

Passing Through, Putting Down Roots — Summer 2022

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Summer 2022 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! In Winter 2011/2012 we decided to leave the State of Connecticut—editorially speaking—and explore stories about Connecticans who made their mark abroad. We followed up in Winter 2016/2017 with an issue about Connecticans in the American West. Various issues about wars take readers

Posted in Hog River Journal, Summer 2022 | Comments Off on Passing Through, Putting Down Roots — Summer 2022

Preserving Historic Craftsmanship — Spring 2022

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc., Spring 2022 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Welcome to our latest issue about historic preservation. This is our eighth, nearly bi-annual, issue with this theme. (The first was our second issue: Winter 2003). We return to this rich topic time and again with support from the State Historic Preservation

Posted in Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Preserving Historic Craftsmanship — Spring 2022

Don’t Take Our Word For It!

By Elizabeth Normen There is perhaps nothing more powerful than personal testimony, and so, in this issue, we’re featuring Connecticans’ own words. (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Winter 2021-2022 I’ve come to appreciate voices from the past, especially those of people who are not well represented in traditional histories. I value the perspective, which often provides

Posted in Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Don’t Take Our Word For It!

Fall 2021: Victorian Connecticut—”Excess and Empire”

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Fall 2021 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! The Fall 2021 issue, which focuses on the fascinatingly complicated and disruptive Victorian era, was put together with the assistance of guest editor Briann Greenfield. It’s one of her favorite topics, and not just because she served as the executive director of

Posted in Back Issues, Hog River Journal, News Flash! | Comments Off on Fall 2021: Victorian Connecticut—”Excess and Empire”

No Place Like Home – Summer 2021

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Summer 2021 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! This issue’s stories are about the cities, towns, and neighborhoods where we live and the way in which human intervention shapes the built environment and our experience of it. Two stories from New Haven show that human intervention can take very different

Posted in Hog River Journal | Comments Off on No Place Like Home – Summer 2021

Take a Hike!

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Spring 2021 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! When I was a kid my family visited Yosemite National Park and we all bought the park’s t-shirts emblazoned with sayings such as (complete with punctuation) “Go climb a rock.” and “Go for a hike.” Well, springtime is here, so go for

Posted in Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Take a Hike!

Our Readers Still Love Print — But Virtual is Good, Too

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Winter 2020-2021 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! The Winter 2020-2021 issue looks back at the ways in which we’ve communicated in the past, including two 20th-century developments: radio and community access television. But it also looks at perhaps one of the first ways humans communicated—cave drawings. But the drawings

Posted in Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Our Readers Still Love Print — But Virtual is Good, Too

Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of World War II

By Elizabeth Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Fall 2020 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! We salute our veterans this Veterans Day, November 11, with the Fall 2020 issue marking the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. In these pages we bring you personal stories—stories of ordinary Connecticans who did extraordinary things: acts brave, selfless,

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal, War Stories | Comments Off on Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of World War II

Connecticut & the Vote to Ratify the 19th Amendment

By Elizabeth Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Summer 2020 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! In the critical months leading up to state-by-state ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote, Connecticut’s state legislature was not in session. While the general assembly now meets annually (since 1970), alternating a long session

Posted in Connecticut History, Governing the Colony & State, Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Connecticut & the Vote to Ratify the 19th Amendment

The Congregational Church: Nothing More Connectican

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Spring 2020 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! In what must be one of my earliest memories, I can conjure an image of my childhood church in West Avon, built in 1818, before it was moved across the road in 1969 as part of much-needed renovations. Recent projects I’ve been

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Congregational Church: Nothing More Connectican

What About the Struggle for Black Suffrage in Connecticut?

By Ramin Ganeshram and Elizabeth Normen LINK to Op-Ed as it appeared in The Hartford Courant, February 23,  2020 As we prepare for the 2020 election and celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage it’s time to reexamine the state’s record on voting rights and to appreciate what women suffragists gleaned from the struggle for black suffrage.

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal, Uncategorized | Comments Off on What About the Struggle for Black Suffrage in Connecticut?

Disrupters in Small Packages

by Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Winter 2019-2020 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Disruptions are the inflection points of history. Sometimes disruptors are major historical figures. Sometimes their names are lost to history and come in small packages—such as the child knitters who struck for better wages in our story on page 46. Children more

Posted in Childhood, Connecticut History, Hog River Journal, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Disrupters in Small Packages

Venture & Meg Smith–A Connecticut Family

by Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Fall 2019 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! “Family” is the theme of this issue, and one Connecticut family in particular has been very much on my mind this last year. Venture and Meg Smith and their family lived in Haddam during the late-colonial and American Revolutionary era. Smith’s autobiography, A

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Venture & Meg Smith–A Connecticut Family

Contested Land–An Issue Full of Surprises

by Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Summer 2019 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! When we decided to go with one-word themes for our issues this year (Winter 2018-2019: Create, Spring 2019: Water, Summer 2019: Land, Fall 2019: Family), we didn’t fully anticipate the range of stories that approach would yield. We often don’t get a

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Contested Land–An Issue Full of Surprises

Spring 2019: Water–Connecticut’s Big Story

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc.  Spring 2019 SUBSCRIBE/BUY THE ISSUE Give a Gift/Become a Friend As part of my pursuit of a master’s degree in American Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, I signed up for a summer course at the Frank C. Munson Institute of American Maritime Studies at Mystic Seaport.

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal, Landscape/Environment | Comments Off on Spring 2019: Water–Connecticut’s Big Story

Are You Fanning Your Creative Spark?

By Elizabeth Normen, Publisher (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Winter 2018-2019 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Long before I discovered a love of history—and particularly Connecticut history—I was a student artist who eventually realized that I was not meant to BE an artist. But in my second job I was “artist-adjacent.” I worked as the membership coordinator at

Posted in Art History, Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Are You Fanning Your Creative Spark?

Where the Constitution of 1818 Fell Short

By Elizabeth Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Fall 2018 SUBSCRIBE/BUY THE ISSUE This special issue commemorating the 200th anniversary of the state’s adoption of a constitution includes a two-sided centerfold poster presenting the complete text of the constitution, annotated by members of the Connecticut Supreme Court Historical Society (CSCHS). Pull it out and refer to

Posted in African American History, Connecticut History, Governing the Colony & State, Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Where the Constitution of 1818 Fell Short

Sports Give Connecticut a National Profile

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored, Summer 2018 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Sports have a way of putting Connecticut on the map. UConn basketball is Exhibit A. I’m sure I’m not alone in this experience: While I was poking around La Quinta, California on vacation last February, a local shop owner raved about UConn basketball

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Sports Give Connecticut a National Profile

Connecticut history revealed down a long driveway, under 10 feet of water, and in a barn

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Spring 2018 SUBSCRIBE/BUY THE ISSUE I’m a sucker for a property with a long driveway. I love the anticipation as you turn in from the road and drive through a tunnel of forest, ideally following a few twists and turns—the suspense building—until, bam! A clearing bathed in

Posted in Historic Preservation, Hog River Journal, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Connecticut history revealed down a long driveway, under 10 feet of water, and in a barn

A Valentine to You

by Elizabeth Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Winter 2017-2018 Happy Valentine’s Day! What better theme is there as we celebrate our 15th anniversary than one inspired by the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday and our passion for Connecticut history? SUBSCRIBE/BUY THE ISSUE In this issue you’ll read stories about love, hate, and rivalry in Connecticut’s past.

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal, Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Valentine to You

CTExplored Featured on WTNH with Ann Nyberg!

WTNH’s Ann Nyberg recently interviewed Betsy Fox about Connecticut-made cocktail shakers, the subject of Betsy’s Summer 2017 story. Nyberg and Fox talk about cocktail shakers, CT Explored’s 15th anniversary, and Betsy’s upcoming Winter 2017-2018 story about Connecticut’s intimate-apparel industry (think CT-made corsets!) Watch the interview HERE Read the story HERE Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Celebrate with

Posted in Hog River Journal, News Flash!, Uncategorized | Comments Off on CTExplored Featured on WTNH with Ann Nyberg!

60 issues, 3,800 pages, Hundreds of Stories

by Elizabeth J. Normen, Fall 2017 With this issue, Connecticut Explored celebrates its 15th anniversary! Since our first issue in Fall 2002 we’ve produced 60 issues, more than 3,800 pages, hundreds of stories, a book, a website, a podcast with more than 30 episodes (approximately 900 minutes of Connecticut history), and—launching this fall—a social studies

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal, Uncategorized | Comments Off on 60 issues, 3,800 pages, Hundreds of Stories

Connecticut’s First Prohibition Law

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Summer 2017 The theme of this issue—food and agriculture—is not only seasonally on point, it’s fertile territory. The last time we dug into Connecticut’s historic foodways was Spring 2006. In that issue we featured stories about émigré Jewish farmers in eastern Connecticut, the state fish (American shad),

Posted in Connecticut History, Food, Governing the Colony & State, Hog River Journal, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Connecticut’s First Prohibition Law

Connecticut in World War I, Part II

By Elizabeth J. Normen, Publisher (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Spring 2017 This issue is produced in collaboration with the Connecticut State Library and its commemoration of the 100th anniversary of World War I. On April 6, 1917 the United States officially entered the war. Earlier issues of Connecticut Explored, including the Winter 2014-2015 issue, focused

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Connecticut in World War I, Part II

CT Explored Fighting “Fake History” With New Textbook for Third/Fourth Grade

We’re as shocked as anyone that some students in Connecticut are reading a whitewashed history of Connecticut (http://m.ctpost.com/news/article/Fourth-grade-textbook-s-take-on-Connecticut-10779004.php?cmpid=fb-desktop#photo-12002718).  Luckily help is on the way. CT Explored will be launching a pilot of Where We Live: Connecticut, a social studies textbook and web site about Connecticut for third/fourth grade, in January 2017 with the intent of a full

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal, News Flash!, Uncategorized | Comments Off on CT Explored Fighting “Fake History” With New Textbook for Third/Fourth Grade

The Influence of Connecticut in the American West

By Leah S. Glaser (c) Connecticut Explored, Inc. Winter 2016-2017 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Connecticut Explored invited CCSU history professor Leah S. Glaser to write this issue’s column about this issue’s theme “Connecticans in the American West.” Last summer, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy staged a high-profile filibuster demanding the passage of gun control legislation and moved

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal, Landscape/Environment, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Influence of Connecticut in the American West

True Crime Stories

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Fall 2016 Our Puritan forefathers dealt with crime swiftly and harshly. Punishment, not incarceration, was their preferred method of bringing a wayward lamb back into the fold. In 1773 Connecticut’s General Assembly decided to try a different approach, opening what is generally considered America’s first modern prison,

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal, Uncategorized | Comments Off on True Crime Stories

We’ll Get By with a Little Help from Our Friends

By Elizabeth J. Normen As our Fall issue went to press, we receive word that, due to Governor Malloy’s line-item veto of funding for Connecticut Humanities (CTH) in the state budget, we will not receive funding from CTH this year. Many have asked how this will affect CT Explored. The answer is that we’ll need to rely on our Friends

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal, News Flash!, Uncategorized | Comments Off on We’ll Get By with a Little Help from Our Friends

Even with History, Go Local

By Elizabeth Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc.,  Summer 2016 Anyone who knows historian Bill Hosley (and many, many do) knows that his passion for Connecticut history is boundless—and infectious. Bill’s particular passion for local history and the museums and historical societies in small towns was the inspiration for this issue. We invited him to put

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Even with History, Go Local

Our Hard-Won Right to Vote

by Elizabeth Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc., Spring 2016 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! In this presidential election year, we decided to focus our spring issue on stories about voting rights and civic engagement. These stories remind us how hard-won our right to vote is. Often the story of women’s suffrage in this state focuses on the

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Our Hard-Won Right to Vote

Launched from a Connecticut Kitchen

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc., Winter 2015-2016 In the Winter 2015-2016 issue, we tell the stories of some of Connecticut’s iconic brands—and we mean the majors! Connecticut has been home to such nationally and internationally-known brands as Pepperidge Farm, Bigelow Tea, Timex, Stanley (now Stanley Black & Decker) and more. I love

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Launched from a Connecticut Kitchen

Time, Talent, Treasure

By Elizabeth J. Normen FALL 2015 I was raised in a philanthropic family. That doesn’t mean I was raised with wealth. Like many others, my parents shared their time, talent, and treasure, as they were able, with their church and community. They did it quietly; I understood they were taking part in a long tradition,

Posted in Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Time, Talent, Treasure

Historic Preservation: It’s not just about buildings

By Elizabeth J. Normen Summer 2015 Is historic preservation only about saving old buildings from demolition? Unless you’re deeply involved in the field, you might not know that current thinking looks at the bigger picture and appreciates that individual buildings are components of something larger, such as a neighborhood or a community, that deserves preserving,

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Historic Preservation: It’s not just about buildings

The Upside to Our Proximity to New York City

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Spring 2015 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! One upside to Connecticut’s proximity to New York City is that so many of our nation’s most creative people have wandered over the border to find refuge and inspiration among our rolling hills and fertile valleys and along our rocky shoreline. Our state

Posted in Art History, Hog River Journal, Notable Connecticans | Comments Off on The Upside to Our Proximity to New York City

WWI’s Impact on Connecticut

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored, Winter 2014/2015 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! “Knowledge Wins!” proclaims a World War I-era poster featured in the Winter 2014-2015 issue’s photo essay. That seems an apt theme for the entire issue. Last August marked the centennial of the advent of World War I, and though the U.S. would officially

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal, War Stories | Comments Off on WWI’s Impact on Connecticut

Can You Trust What You Read?

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc.  Fall 2014 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! It’s starting to feel a bit like the Wild Wild West out there. And I’m not talking about gun control. I’m referring to the apparent relaxing of standards by some publications (in print and on the Web) and writers that suggests a

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Can You Trust What You Read?

Why Connecticut Didn’t Go Dutch

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc.  Summer 2014 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! 2014 marks the 400th anniversary of Adriaen Block’s 1614 voyage up the Connecticut River. Block is credited as being the first European to explore the interior of Connecticut. Unlike the English settlers who arrived 20 years later, Block and his crew weren’t

Posted in Connecticut History, Historic Preservation, Hog River Journal, Landscape/Environment | Comments Off on Why Connecticut Didn’t Go Dutch

Is it Best to be First?

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Spring 2014 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Here’s why I’m wary of claims of being “first” in history. Last fall I was researching online other publications comparable to Connecticut Explored and came across New York Archives, a magazine published by the New York State Archives Partnership Trust. Their Spring

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal, Made in Connecticut | Comments Off on Is it Best to be First?

Work: Are We Making Progress?

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Winter 2013/2014 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! How often do you shake your head and think, “How times have changed!” Then again, how often do you surprisingly find yourself thinking, “Some things never change!” And that goes for work, which is the subject of this issue and a year-long

Posted in Hog River Journal, Labor History | Comments Off on Work: Are We Making Progress?

The Diversity of Connecticut

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Fall 2013 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! In our Fall 2012 10th Anniversary issue we explored Connecticut’s enduring reputation as The Land of Steady Habits—a term that stood for nearly 200 years during which political leadership was drawn from a handful of founding families. That tradition, as State Historian

Posted in Childhood, Hog River Journal | Comments Off on The Diversity of Connecticut

Why the Sperm Whale is our State Animal

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc.  Summer 2013 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! The sperm whale was designated the Connecticut state animal in 1975. Why do we have a state animal that’s not indigenous to the state or its coastal waters? According to the State of Connecticut Web site, the sperm whale was chosen “because

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal, Maritime History | Comments Off on Why the Sperm Whale is our State Animal

Appreciate Historic Connecticut By Bike!

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Spring 2013 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! One of my new favorite things to do on vacation is to go on bike tours. I enjoy the deeper sense of being in a place that you get from the seat of a bicycle—something you don’t get whizzing by on a

Posted in Historic Preservation, Hog River Journal, Landscape/Environment | Comments Off on Appreciate Historic Connecticut By Bike!

The Emancipation Proclamation: Who Celebrated in Connecticut?

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc.  Winter 2012-2013 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! True or False: ____   Connecticut was a slave colony/state for more than 200 years. ____   Slavery in Connecticut was more benign than it was in the South. ____   Connecticut was a stronghold of abolitionism, and our soldiers went off to fight the

Posted in African American History, Connecticut History, Hog River Journal, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Emancipation Proclamation: Who Celebrated in Connecticut?

Are We the If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It State?

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Fall 2012 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! 40 never looked so good. With this—our 40th—issue, and a number of terrific events this fall (see page 11), we round out our year-long 10th-anniversary celebration! We have big news, too. Connecticut Explored has incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization independent of

Posted in Governing the Colony & State, Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Are We the If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It State?

War of 1812: Was This Our Finest Hour?

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Summer 2012 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Anniversaries provide a wonderful impetus for refreshing our understanding of big moments in history. Last year’s kick-off of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the celebration of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 200th birthday, and the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the

Posted in Governing the Colony & State, Hog River Journal, War Stories | Comments Off on War of 1812: Was This Our Finest Hour?

Nutmegger or Connectican?

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Spring 2012 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! The spring issue’s publisher’s letter is creating some buzz. Here’s what people are talking about: We’re calling ourselves Connecticans, not Nutmeggers. It seems appropriate that in an issue about documenting and defining our state’s boundaries that I go on record about an

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal, News Flash!, Uncategorized | Tagged | Comments Off on Nutmegger or Connectican?

Yea for 10 Years!

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Winter 2011/2012 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! You know that feeling you have when you turn out to be right, after all? With this issue, we begin our 10th volume, and we’re feeling it. Arms pumping, fists in the air, proud, amazed, thrilled! 10 years! When we started Connecticut

Posted in Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Yea for 10 Years!

Remembering 9/11

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Fall 2011 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! As a history magazine, we usually draw the line for our editorial coverage at mid-20th century. But as the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 approached, we felt this event had already made an indelible mark on our

Posted in Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Remembering 9/11

Is It Ok To Admit You Like Uncle Tom’s Cabin?

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Summer 2011 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! I signed up to take part in the 24-hour read-a-thon of Uncle Tom’s Cabin at the Harriet Beecher Stowe House on June14. Starting at 10a.m., in honor of the 200th anniversary of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s birth, we volunteers will begin reading aloud

Posted in Hog River Journal, Notable Connecticans | Comments Off on Is It Ok To Admit You Like Uncle Tom’s Cabin?

What About Connecticut in the Civil War?

By Matthew Warshauer (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Spring 2011 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! One might not immediately think of Connecticut when considering the American Civil War. We were, after all, a relatively small state, both geographically and in terms of population, when compared to other Northern states. There were no battles fought here, and though some

Posted in Hog River Journal, War Stories | Comments Off on What About Connecticut in the Civil War?

Embracing Technology in the History Field

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Winter 2010-2011 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! By the time you read this, I hope to be well on our way to figuring out whether we can some time in 2011 deliver Connecticut Explored to your Kindle, Nook, iPad or other e-reader. I expect this will elicit one of

Posted in Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Embracing Technology in the History Field

History Can Lead to Land Preservation

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Summer 2010 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Here at Connecticut Explored, we’re interested not just in the past but in its connection to the present and future. Perhaps nowhere is this connection more apparent than in the areas of land conservation and urban “green” initiatives. The way a parcel

Posted in Hog River Journal, Landscape/Environment | Comments Off on History Can Lead to Land Preservation

Facing Hard Times

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Spring 2010 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! I was recently rereading my great-great grandmother’s journal, a record of her ship-board travels with her husband who captained the barque Hoogly in the 1860s, and came across a heartbreaking entry (August 20, 1867): “I can hardly realize that this passage is

Posted in Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Facing Hard Times

Modernism & The Austin House

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Winter 2009/2010 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! If you’re lucky enough to get a tour of The Austin House in Hartford (the former residence of Wadsworth Atheneum director Chick Austin and his wife Helen Goodwin Austin, built in 1930, and now owned by the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art),

Posted in Historic Preservation, Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Modernism & The Austin House

Whalers Fans and Our New Name

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Fall 2009 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Welcome to the new Connecticut Explored, the magazine of Connecticut history. You may notice we’ve renamed this column (which was formerly the publisher’s letter) Hog River Journal. That’s our way of keeping our original name, of which many of you and all

Posted in Hog River Journal, Sports | Comments Off on Whalers Fans and Our New Name

Our New Name & We Join Facebook

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Summer 2009 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! You’ve waited with bated breath, and now we’re ready to reveal our new name…drumroll, please; Connecticut Explored. We’ll implement the change with the next issue. Even with our new name, we’ll be the same magazine you’ve come to love, offering stories that uncover

Posted in Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Our New Name & We Join Facebook

Our Salty and Seafaring History

by Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored, Spring 2009 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! So often, the great arc of American history is portrayed in terms of westward expansion and manifest destiny. Connecticut played a small part in that movement, claiming and settling 3,500,000 acres in northeastern Ohio in the late 1700s. (Okay, not very far west,

Posted in Hog River Journal, Maritime History | Comments Off on Our Salty and Seafaring History

Connecticut’s Rogues—and Reformers, too

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Winter 2008/2009 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! The editorial team has been chomping at the bit to address the theme of vice in Connecticut, and this issue is the result. It’s not quite what some team members wanted—an edgy, unvarnished look at the seamier side of our past. Blame

Posted in Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Connecticut’s Rogues—and Reformers, too

Tooting our Horn, Musically Speaking

By Jennifer LaRue (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Fall 2008 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! In one of our usual freewheeling brainstorming sessions to plan upcoming issues, I proposed an issue devoted to the state’s musical history. The idea initially met with mixed reviews. After all, Connecticut’s not especially known for its music scene. For all the state’s

Posted in Art History, Hog River Journal, Notable Connecticans, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tooting our Horn, Musically Speaking

Connecticut’s National Park Quest

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Summer 2008 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! This wouldn’t be the first time I was a little “late to the party.” I admit I’d only been paying partial attention to the considerable effort by Senator Christopher Dodd, Senator Joseph Lieberman, and Congressman John Larson, along with a host of

Posted in Hog River Journal, Made in Connecticut, Travel & Transportation | Comments Off on Connecticut’s National Park Quest

Getting There: a Quick Transportation History

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Spring 2008 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Do you remember going for a Sunday drive? “Back in the day,” my family would pile into the car after church and go for a spin—just for the enjoyment of the scenery. My brother and sister and I thought the windy, bumpy

Posted in Hog River Journal, Travel & Transportation | Comments Off on Getting There: a Quick Transportation History

Trailing Halyards & Nutmeg Tales

by Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Winter 2007/2008 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! I recently discovered that both my husband and I are descended from Mayflower Pilgrims John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley. What an eerie feeling it was, then, to discover that it is “by the grace of God,” as Howland himself might have said,

Posted in Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Trailing Halyards & Nutmeg Tales

We Made it!

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Fall 2007 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! I was all set to crow in this space about how “We Made It!” that is, how HOG RIVER JOURNAL made it to its 5th anniversary, when Jennifer LaRue Huget, HRJ’s editor, e-mailed me a New York Times article (May 17, 2007)

Posted in Hog River Journal, Made in Connecticut | Comments Off on We Made it!

The Three Rs and “Aha” Moments

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Summer 2007 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Without fail, each issue of HOG RIVER JOURNAL provides me with an “aha!” moment. When I handed the spring (2007) “Bite the Bullet” issue to my mother, she informed me that our family tree included a Sweet, a member of the bonesetting

Posted in Childhood, Hog River Journal | Comments Off on The Three Rs and “Aha” Moments

A Passion for Art History

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Winter 2006/2007 Subscribe/Buy the issue! With this issue, HOG RIVER JOURNAL begins its 5th year of publication. To the many, many of you who have been with us from the beginning, a hearty thanks for your support and enthusiasm. For those readers who are just discovering HRJ,

Posted in Art History, Hog River Journal | Comments Off on A Passion for Art History

Fire! A Threat and a Resource

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Fall 2006 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! After wandering through the bucolic Connecticut landscape in our summer issue, we “Turn Up the Heat” for fall by examining the ways in which fire, passion, and the pursuit of warmth have left their marks on our state. The 225th anniversary of

Posted in Historic Preservation, Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Fire! A Threat and a Resource

Stories of Great Escapes & Landscapes: Summer 2006

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Summer 2006 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! I love it when a story idea surfaces that confirms the old adage, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” And this issue, dedicated to pastimes, pleasures, peculiarities, and prominent features of summers in “Olde” Connecticut, has a “beaut,” a marvelous tale that seemingly

Posted in Hog River Journal, Travel & Transportation | Comments Off on Stories of Great Escapes & Landscapes: Summer 2006

The Way We Ate

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Spring 2006 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Food, glorious food. We’ve become such a nation of “foodies,” it seemed natural for HRJ to celebrate Connecticut’s culinary past. We dove into the theme with relish (my last food pun, promise), discovering food historians and learning a new academic term for

Posted in Food, Hog River Journal | Comments Off on The Way We Ate

Architectural Treasures Saved, Threatened, and Demolished

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Winter 2005/2006 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Some themes are so good, they’re worth revisiting. We last explored the built environment and historic preservation in our second issue. In this issue, we revisit the realm of architectural treasures saved, threatened, and demolished—and, in Kevin Murphy’s account of the building

Posted in Historic Preservation, Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Architectural Treasures Saved, Threatened, and Demolished

Liberty & Justice For All

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Fall 2005 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! “Washington slept here.” This claim, often of dubious veracity, long ago became our national cliché. It seemed every inn, tavern, and historic home wanted to claim a piece of the legend of our nation’s first president. But George Washington really did sleep

Posted in Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Liberty & Justice For All

A Connectican in Hawaii

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc.  Summer 2005 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Thousands of miles from home, on the “Big Island” of Hawaii, I stood half-listening to the patter of the Lyman House Memorial Museum tour guide, absorbed by my surroundings. I snapped to attention, though, as he said, “… built by the Lymans of New

Posted in Hog River Journal | Comments Off on A Connectican in Hawaii

The Silicon Valley of the 19th Century

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Spring 2005 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! “Hartford was the Silicon Valley of the 19th century,” asserts historian Bill Hosley, member of HRJ’s editorial board and ardent keeper of the Colt Manufacturing flame. That is to say, Hartford was at the leading edge of the Industrial Revolution, a hotbed

Posted in Hog River Journal, Made in Connecticut | Comments Off on The Silicon Valley of the 19th Century

Art History 101

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explorded Inc., 2004 Nov/Dec/Jan 2005 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Can anyone really claim, “There’s nothing to do in Hartford?” I can’t imagine anyone could, unless, perhaps, they have no interest in music, dance, theater, film, poetry, or art. The energy and importance of the Hartford region’s arts scene is becoming

Posted in Art History, Hog River Journal, Notable Connecticans | Comments Off on Art History 101

Politics & Power

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Aug/Sep/Oct 2004 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! As election season heats up, the HRJ team could not resist an issue on the theme of politics and power. After all, Hartford is the capital city, a designation it held from English settlement until 1701 and later wrested back after sharing

Posted in Governing the Colony & State, Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Politics & Power

All in a Day’s Work

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. May/Jun/Jul 2004 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! My husband says my work experience is incomplete because I never waited tables. He considers his stints as waiter, short-order cook, and bartender as important learning experiences in what we now call multitasking and serving the customer. A seminal work experience I

Posted in Hog River Journal, Labor History | Comments Off on All in a Day’s Work

STORIES FROM THE HOG RIVER

An Apple a Day There’s something deliciously macabre about the history of healthcare. Shivers ran up my spine as I read submissions for this issue [Feb/Mar/Apr 2004, Vol 2 No 2] that describe the devastating effects of our ancestors’ diseases and afflictions—and the sometimes more devastating treatments that were inflicted in response. Seriously though, what

Posted in Health & Medicine, Hog River Journal, Landscape/Environment, The Sampler | Comments Off on STORIES FROM THE HOG RIVER

On the Home Front

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. 2003 Nov/Dec/Jan 2004 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Last spring, during the buildup to the war with Iraq, when opinions and passions ran high both against the war and in support of President Bush, this issue of HOG RIVER JOURNAL was born. In discussing a possible war-themed issue, HRJ’s

Posted in Hog River Journal, War Stories | Comments Off on On the Home Front

Women’s Work

(c) Connecticut Explored Inc., Summer 2003 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! I simply can’t watch those “reality” TV series. But offer me a “historical reality” show and I’m glued to the television set. I took the bait part way through the first of the genre a couple of years ago. In the BBC’s 1900 House, a 21st-century

Posted in Hog River Journal | Comments Off on Women’s Work

Pastimes and Great Baseball Memories

By Elizabeth J. Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Spring 2003 Subscribe/Buy Back Issues! A common thread running through the Spring 2003 issue on Pastimes is the sense of community that leisure-time activities engendered or were designed to foster. In the 18th century, one’s leisure-time choices may have been more limited but the objectives were often

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Pastimes and Great Baseball Memories

Do We Try too Hard to Preserve the Past?

By Elizabeth Normen (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Winter 2003 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Built It/Razed It is the theme of the Winter 2003 issue, in which we look at some of Greater Hartford’s significant historic structures and their surprising sagas.  The dust had barely settled after an SUV crashed through the front parlor of Hartford’s 221-year-old

Posted in Connecticut History, Hog River Journal, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Do We Try too Hard to Preserve the Past?

Introducing the Magazine of Connecticut History

(c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Fall 2002 NOTE: Connecticut Explored began in fall 2002 as Hog River Journal: Hartford and the region’s magazine of history, culture, and the arts. By fall 2009, we’d changed our name and gone statewide. Here’s the publisher’s column for the first issue.  By Elizabeth Normen, Janice Mathews, and Cindy Cormier Welcome

Posted in Hog River Journal, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Introducing the Magazine of Connecticut History

The U.S. National Park Service’s Founder, Director, and Champion

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Summer 2022 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Stephen Tyng Mather was born and educated in California, but he considered the ancestral 1778 Mather homestead in Darien his true home. He summered there as a boy, inherited the home from his father in 1906, and was buried on the grounds

Posted in Landscape/Environment, Notable Connecticans, State Historian, Summer 2022 | Comments Off on The U.S. National Park Service’s Founder, Director, and Champion

The New London Ghost Ship & the Oval Office

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Spring 2022 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! How many know about Connecticut’s connection to the president’s desk in the Oval Office—and the preservation and craftsmanship stories it embodies? The story begins when Captain James Buddington of Groton and a skeleton crew of 11 sailed into New London Harbor on

Posted in Maritime History, State Historian | Comments Off on The New London Ghost Ship & the Oval Office

Two Tales of a City

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Winter 2021-2022  Subscribe/Buy the Issue! As Connecticans in the 1800s joined the throngs of pioneers seeking a better life in the American West, they eagerly sought first-hand accounts of potential settlement sites. Such reports often came as letters from friends or relatives. Sometimes they appeared as open

Posted in State Historian | Comments Off on Two Tales of a City

Albert Pope and the Extraordinary Ordinary

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Fall 2021 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! One of the characteristics that defined the Victorian era was its many advances in invention and technology. One of the most significant of those advances was brought to the United States and produced in Hartford by Colonel Albert Augustus Pope. The Ordinary

Posted in Made in Connecticut, Notable Connecticans, State Historian | Comments Off on Albert Pope and the Extraordinary Ordinary

The American Factory Village—Made in Connecticut

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Summer 2021 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! In the late 18th and early 19th centuries a perfect storm of problems caused Connecticut to pivot away from its agricultural and mercantile past toward an industrial future. The result, found just about anywhere along the state’s rivers and streams where falling

Posted in Historic Preservation, State Historian | Comments Off on The American Factory Village—Made in Connecticut

The Energy of Our Great River

by  Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Spring 2021 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! In an issue whose theme is “Environmental History,” no subject is more fitting than New England’s “Great River,” the Connecticut River, and its 7.2-million-acre watershed. Reaching from within 200 yards of the Canadian border in New Hampshire 410 miles to Long Island

Posted in Landscape/Environment, State Historian | Comments Off on The Energy of Our Great River

Women’s Letters Kept Family Connected

by Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Winter 2020-2021 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! A private collection of family letters exchanged between Mary and Harriet Miller of Middlefield, Connecticut and female relatives and friends who emigrated west between 1820 and 1870 has given me profound appreciation for letters as communications binding women across time and space

Posted in State Historian | Comments Off on Women’s Letters Kept Family Connected

Connecticut’s First World War II Hero

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Fall 2020 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Of the 17 Connecticans among the 2,403 people who died at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, only 12 served on U.S. Navy ships. Five others were connected with military flight operations at the Army’s nearby Wheeler and Hickam airfields. After the

Posted in Connecticut History, State Historian, War Stories | Comments Off on Connecticut’s First World War II Hero

Emmeline Pankhurst: Freedom or Death in the Fight for Suffrage

By Walter Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Summer 2020 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! When Emmeline Pankhurst arrived in Hartford in late November 1913, she was one of the most famous—and infamous—women in the world. As founder in 1903 of England’s Woman’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), an openly militant suffrage organization, Pankhurst was a flashpoint figure

Posted in Connecticut History, State Historian | Comments Off on Emmeline Pankhurst: Freedom or Death in the Fight for Suffrage

Hogpen Hill Farms: A Place to See

By Walter W Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Spring 2020 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! One of Connecticut’s most eye-opening places is not only off the beaten path, it is off limits to most of us most of the time. But for one or two weekends a year, Edward Tufte’s Hogpen Hill Farms in Woodbury is open

Posted in Art History, State Historian | Comments Off on Hogpen Hill Farms: A Place to See

In Honor of the “Nonner”

By Walter Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored, Winter 2019-2020 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! The week the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian opened in 2004, construction workers uncovered a large number of 17th-century human remains on Stonington’s Mason’s Island. Police called in State Archeologist Nick Bellantoni, who, realizing this was a previously unknown First Peoples burial

Posted in Native Americans, State Historian, Uncategorized | Comments Off on In Honor of the “Nonner”

The Beechers: Connecticut’s Most Accomplished Family?

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Fall 2019 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Connecticut has long produced families of great ability whose accomplishments span generations. Perhaps no family stands out in this regard more than the Lyman Beecher family of Litchfield. The son of a New Haven blacksmith, Lyman Beecher (1775 – 1863) became one

Posted in Connecticut History, Notable Connecticans, State Historian | Comments Off on The Beechers: Connecticut’s Most Accomplished Family?

The Wade-In of 1964

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Summer 2019 SUBSCRIBE/BUY THE ISSUE In 1926 a group of eastern Connecticut investors, seeking to capitalize on the state’s expanding highway system and growth in leisure-time activities, purchased Cheney Hollow, a large spring-fed wetland in Andover, Connecticut. During the next year they cleared trees, cut new roads,

Posted in African American History, Connecticut History, State Historian | Comments Off on The Wade-In of 1964

One Governor, Two Rivers, an Irish Fish, and a Movie Star

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored, Inc. Spring 2019 SUBSCRIBE/BUY THE ISSUE Call this a fish story. It’s about two rivers, one governor, an Irish fish, and a Hollywood legend. It took place a long time ago—back in 1965. That’s when John Dempsey, the only foreign-born Connecticut governor since the colonial era, returned to

Posted in Connecticut History, State Historian | Comments Off on One Governor, Two Rivers, an Irish Fish, and a Movie Star

Every Single Day . . .

by Walter W. Woodward As state historian, I begin each day excited about building greater awareness for the history of our state. Helping more people better appreciate all the important, curious, fun, unique, profound, strange, and (insert your favorite adjective here) _________ things that happened in our past is what I live and breathe for.

Posted in State Historian, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Every Single Day . . .

Historic Holiday Recipes

Listen to Grating the Nutmeg Episode 61! State historian Walt Woodward interviews Keith Stavely and Kathleen Fitzergerald about traditional holiday recipes. Find the recipes here! Savory Connecticut Thanksgiving Chicken Pie Mince Pie Roast Venison Roast Capon Sweet Apple Pie English Plum Pudding Marlborough Pie Pippin Tart Plumb Cake Puff Pastry Pumpkin Pie Short Pastry

Posted in State Historian, The Sampler, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Historic Holiday Recipes

The Revolution of 1818

State historian Walter Woodward’s column is expanded to a full story in the Fall 2018 issue. Read it HERE. Listen to his Grating the Nutmeg podcast on this topic, “Trouble in the Land of Steady Habits,” HERE.

Posted in Connecticut History, State Historian, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Revolution of 1818

Two Controversial Connecticut Statues: Standing … At Least for Now

By Walter W. Woodward  (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Spring 2018 With all the recent talk about removing offensive statues from public view, it is instructive to realize this phenomenon is nothing new. More than one Connecticut statue has a long history of provoking heated controversy and demands for its removal. Consider, for example, the statue

Posted in Art History, Historic Preservation, Notable Connecticans, State Historian | Comments Off on Two Controversial Connecticut Statues: Standing … At Least for Now

From Afar, They Still Loved Connecticut

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Winter 2017-2018 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! In the fall of 1858, William Ransom was really homesick. Like tens of thousands of Connecticans affected during the first half of the 19th century by such issues as tapped-out farmland, economic downturns, high taxation, climate change, and political repression, he had

Posted in Connecticut History, State Historian, Uncategorized | Comments Off on From Afar, They Still Loved Connecticut

Connecticut, America’s First Research Laboratory

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Fall 2017 Thanks to John Winthrop Jr., the colony of Connecticut could rightly be called America’s first scientific research laboratory. One of the leading figures in early New England settlement, Winthrop totally confounds the stereotype of the stern, bigoted, anti-enlightenment Puritan. He was outgoing, tolerant, and passionately

Posted in Connecticut History, Notable Connecticans, State Historian | Comments Off on Connecticut, America’s First Research Laboratory

Sweet Democracy . . . The History of the Connecticut Election Cake

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Summer 2017 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! At last summer’s Democratic national convention, delegates introduced Connecticut as “the home of the pizza and the hamburger.” They might more appropriately have praised us as the home of the Connecticut Election Cake. From the earliest days of the republic until the

Posted in Connecticut History, Food, Governing the Colony & State, State Historian | Comments Off on Sweet Democracy . . . The History of the Connecticut Election Cake

The German Invasion of Connecticut

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored, Spring 2017 SUBSCRIBE! On June 4, 1921, a German army of 150,000 troops under General von Kluck invaded Connecticut, quickly establishing a line from Bridgeport to Danbury to the town of Washington. Its target was the state’s vast industrial resources and arms manufactories. New York City had capitulated

Posted in Connecticut History, State Historian, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The German Invasion of Connecticut

When the West was North

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored, Inc. Winter 2016-2017 Many people know that Connecticans became pioneers of manifest destiny through their late-18th-into-early-19th-century emigrations west to Pennsylvania’s Wyoming Valley and Ohio’s Western Reserve. Fewer are aware that before Connecticans went west, many thousands migrated north, following the Connecticut River to what became the states of

Posted in Connecticut History, State Historian, Uncategorized | Comments Off on When the West was North

The Hanging of Moses Paul

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored. Fall 2016 On September 2, 1772, thousands gathered in New Haven’s First Congregational Church to watch a rare encounter between two Native Americans. One represented the stereotype many colonists believed most Indians in New England had become—dissolute, drunken, prone to violence; the other symbolized what colonists hoped Indians

Posted in Native Americans, State Historian, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Hanging of Moses Paul

A Little Town Begets a Big College

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Summer 2016 In early 1735 the village of Lebanon Crank (now Columbia) was looking for a new minister. The previous minister, hired fresh out of Yale a decade earlier, displayed too much fondness for drink and had been forced to resign. His replacement, another fresh Yale graduate,

Posted in Connecticut History, Historic Preservation, Native Americans, State Historian | Comments Off on A Little Town Begets a Big College

Darkness and Duty

by Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Spring 2016 It had been a terrible winter. Jedediah Strong, clerk of the Connecticut General Assembly, called it “the severest hard winter within the memory of man,” marked by an “abundance of snow and frequent storms,” and “the extreme degrees and long continuance of the cold.” The

Posted in Connecticut History, State Historian, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Darkness and Duty

Our State Seal: The Most Enduring Brand of All

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored, Inc., Winter 2015-2016 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Connecticut’s most enduring brand is unquestionably our state seal. While nicknames come and sometimes go—the Provision State, Nutmeg State, Constitution State, Land of Steady Habits, and Arsenal of Democracy (all except the last of which I’ve written about in this column)—the state

Posted in Connecticut History, State Historian | Comments Off on Our State Seal: The Most Enduring Brand of All

The Picture Not Taken

By Walter W. Woodward FALL 2015 In our image-saturated world, nothing is missed more than the picture not taken. Who among us has not regretted—on many occasions—that a particular moment, event, or place wasn’t captured in an image, so we could remember it by eye as well as by mind. Historians know pictures are worth

Posted in Connecticut History, State Historian, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Picture Not Taken

The Chips are Down for the Pequot Museum

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc.  SUMMER 2015 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Last December, in a move that surprised many members of the state’s museum and history communities, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center closed its doors, laying off 45 of its 55 employees. Fortunately, the hiatus was seasonal, a wintertime shutdown to

Posted in Connecticut History, Native Americans, State Historian | Tagged | Comments Off on The Chips are Down for the Pequot Museum

Benjamin Collins, Rock Star

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Spring 2015 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! In the early 1700s cemeteries in Connecticut’s Puritan towns took on a new and vital role in community social and cultural life and gravestone carvers became our earliest “rock stars.” Where once the houses of the first settlers, clustered around village greens,

Posted in Art History, Connecticut History, Notable Connecticans, State Historian | Tagged | Comments Off on Benjamin Collins, Rock Star

A Pint-Sized View of War

By Walter Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Winter 2014-2015 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! This image, taken at Bradley Airfield in Windsor Locks on September 9, 1943, gives one pause. It shows happy school children signing a 4,000-pound blockbuster bomb—the same kind as was used so effectively against German cities and civilians in World War II—under the

Posted in Childhood, Connecticut History, State Historian, War Stories | Tagged | Comments Off on A Pint-Sized View of War

Birth Control and Zones of Privacy

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc.  Fall 2014 Volume 12 Number 4 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Rarely is the pen more powerful than when it expresses a majority opinion of the United States Supreme Court. Sometimes eloquent, sometimes tediously legalistic, the decisions of the justices often turn words into history, even as they shape

Posted in Connecticut History, Health & Medicine, Notable Connecticans, State Historian | Comments Off on Birth Control and Zones of Privacy

Henry Green and the Final Underground

By Walter W. Woodward, Summer 2014 Volume 12 Number 3 Almost all Connecticans have at least one significant encounter with the underground. It comes at the end our lives, when the earth itself becomes our final resting place.  When Henry Green was buried on June 17, 1911 in Hartford’s Cedar Hill Cemetery, he became the

Posted in African American History, Connecticut History, State Historian | Comments Off on Henry Green and the Final Underground

A Revolutionary Gamble …Again

By Walter W. Woodward, Spring 2014 Volume 12 Number 2  Recent history has not gone easy on Connecticut. The state whose innovation and manufacturing ingenuity made it a leader in the industrial revolution, has, in recent decades, found more to celebrate in historic achievements than future prospects. Since the 1990s, the Land of Steady Habits

Posted in Connecticut History, State Historian, Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Revolutionary Gamble …Again

A Historian Comes Home

By Walter W. Woodward, Winter 2013 Volume 12 Number 4 This is a story about a house. Not just any house, but a house with long, deep roots—roots that wind through time, cross through space, and wrap themselves around my consciousness. It is a house that affects in the most primary way my sense of

Posted in Connecticut History, State Historian, Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Historian Comes Home

Immigrants All…

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc.  Fall 2013 Volume 11 Number 4 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! All Connecticans, from the first indigenous settler to the state’s most recent arrival, are immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. The Laurentide ice sheets that covered our state with a mile-high wall of ice 22,000 years ago made

Posted in African American History, Connecticut History, Labor History, Latino & Puerto Rican History, State Historian | Comments Off on Immigrants All…

“Sui Generous”: The Story of a Shepherd and His Flag

By Walter Woodward, Spring 2013 Volume 11 Number 2 For the better part of a century, history in Connecticut benefited from the generous mind and spirit of Shepherd M. Holcombe. Scion of several of Hartford’s founding families, a decorated World War II veteran, and founder of the actuarial firm Hooker & Holcombe, Shep managed to crowd

Posted in Connecticut History, State Historian, Uncategorized | Comments Off on “Sui Generous”: The Story of a Shepherd and His Flag

Connecticut’s Slow Steps Towards Emancipation

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Winter 2012/2013 Volume 11 Number 1 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! As Connecticans reflect on the meaning and importance of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, it might be good to consider our state’s own history regarding emancipation. It presents a record that is both mixed and sobering. After

Posted in African American History, Connecticut History, State Historian | Comments Off on Connecticut’s Slow Steps Towards Emancipation

The Unsteady Meaning of “The Land of Steady Habits”

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc.  Fall 2012 Volume 10 Number 4 Why has “The Land of Steady Habits” endured as a moniker for Connecticut for more than two centuries? One reason is that its meaning has proven to be remarkably elastic, capable of changing with the times, the issues, and the attitudes of

Posted in Connecticut History, State Historian, The Sampler | Tagged , | Comments Off on The Unsteady Meaning of “The Land of Steady Habits”

War of 1812–The War Connecticut Hated

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc.  Summer 2012 Volume 10 Number 3 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! For most Connecticans, the War of 1812 was as much a war mounted by the federal government against New England as it was a conflict with Great Britain. More precisely, they saw it as a politically based and

Posted in Connecticut History, State Historian, War Stories | Tagged | Comments Off on War of 1812–The War Connecticut Hated

The Map That Wasn’t a Map

By Walter W. Woodward, Spring 2012 Volume 10 Number 2 The key document mapping out Connecticut’s original boundaries wasn’t in fact a map. It was, instead, a royal charter. The Charter of 1662—arguably the most important document in Connecticut’s history—contains among its other provisions a written description of the colony’s boundaries that served the same

Posted in Connecticut History, State Historian, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Map That Wasn’t a Map

Discovering the Explorer Hiram Bingham

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc.  Winter 2011/2012 Volume 10 Number 1 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Of all the Connecticans who have left their mark in distant places, perhaps none made a more lasting—or more controversial—impression than Hiram Bingham III. Born in 1875, this scion of two generations of New England missionaries to Hawaii

Posted in Connecticut History, Latino & Puerto Rican History, State Historian | Comments Off on Discovering the Explorer Hiram Bingham

The Final Journey of Nathaniel Lyon

By Walter W. Woodward, Spring 2011 Volume 9 Number 2 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Except for an occasional descendant in search of lost roots, visitors to the old Phoenixville Cemetery in Eastford these days are few, and very far between. But 150 years ago, on September 5, 1861, thousands of men, women, and children ringed the

Posted in Connecticut History, State Historian | Comments Off on The Final Journey of Nathaniel Lyon

Where Were You…

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Fall 2011 Volume 9 Number 4 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! Everyone who reads this has lived through some of them.  Some of us have lived through many of them. They are events of such profound impact that they are seared into our memories the instant we hear about

Posted in Connecticut History, State Historian | Comments Off on Where Were You…

“Must Read Book” is 160 Years Old

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Summer 2011 Volume 9 Number 3 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! As a professional historian—not to mention the state historian of Connecticut—one might expect that I would have read Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. After all, this is one of the few books that actually changed history. Stowe’s panoramic

Posted in Connecticut History, State Historian, Uncategorized | Comments Off on “Must Read Book” is 160 Years Old

Celebrating Connecticut’s Founding

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc.  Fall 2010 Vol 8 # 4 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! On a cold afternoon last February, Governor M. Jodi Rell stepped out of the State Capitol accompanied by the Governor’s Foot Guard, legislative leaders Don Williams, Chris Donovan, and Denise Merrill, some 50 school children, invited state officials,

Posted in Connecticut History, State Historian, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Celebrating Connecticut’s Founding

Bruce Fraser. The End of a Life. The End of an Era.

By Walter Woodward, State Historian (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. Fall 2010 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! For the last 30 years, virtually every history program of substance produced in Connecticut could have carried the credit line, “Brought to you in part by Bruce Fraser.” His June 13 death after a hard-fought battle with cancer leaves an unfillable

Posted in Connecticut History, State Historian, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Bruce Fraser. The End of a Life. The End of an Era.

Nutmeg Adds Spice. But is it Nice?

By 
Walter 
W.
 Woodward ©Connecticut
Explored Winter 2007 Volume 6 Number 1 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! State 
historian 
Walt 
Woodward 
tells 
us 
the 
story 
behind 
the
 state’s 
association
 with 
nutmeg 
and
 sheds some 
light 
on 
an
 unusual 
object 
in 
the 
collection 
of 
the 
Museum 
of
 Connecticut 
History: 
a
 wooden 
nutmeg
 carved
 from
 a 
piece 
of 
the 
famous

Posted in Connecticut History, State Historian, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Comments Off on Nutmeg Adds Spice. But is it Nice?

Re: Collections: The “Genius of Connecticut”

By Walter Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc. WINTER 2006/07 Subscribe/Buy the Issue! A once-fallen angel will again soar above the skies of Hartford, providing an object of inspiration to gridlocked citizens on Interstate 84 and to our governmental leaders. The “Genius of Connecticut,” the Randolph Rogers sculpture that stood atop the summit of the state

Posted in Art History, Connecticut History, Governing the Colony & State, State Historian | Comments Off on Re: Collections: The “Genius of Connecticut”

Are We the Constitution State?

By Walter W. Woodward (c) Connecticut Explored Inc., Spring 2005 Volume 3 Number 2 Subscribe/Buy the Issue In 1973, in a fit of pre-Bicentennial fervor, the state legislature mandated that Connecticut ‘s license plates should display the state slogan the assembly had adopted 14 years earlier. Since the blue tags with white lettering declaring Connecticut

Posted in Connecticut History, Governing the Colony & State, State Historian | Tagged , | Comments Off on Are We the Constitution State?

What’s a Puritan, and Why Didn’t They Stay in Massachusetts?

By Walter Woodward, Summer 2005 Volume 3 Number 3 How do we in the 21st century come to honest understanding of the Puritans, those influential culture shapers from the 1600s? Answering two questions helps us not only get at the heart of Puritan beliefs but also understand why Puritanism in Connecticut differed in at least

Posted in Connecticut History, State Historian | Comments Off on What’s a Puritan, and Why Didn’t They Stay in Massachusetts?