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 to the premier issue of Hog River Journal: Hartford and the region’s magazine of history, culture, and the arts. In these pages we’ll discuss and debate, “What happened here?” Through compelling stories and intriguing images, Hog River Journal will explore the region’s cultural heritage with the aim of revealing connections between our past, present, and future. 

A Sense of Place is the theme of our inaugural issue because our ultimate goal is to gain a greater sense of what makes this region unique. And we do mean region. We’ll cover topics from Simsbury to Glastonbury, Manchester to Bristol. With interest in the region’s cultural heritage on the rise, now is the ideal time for a publication that covers the depth and breadth of our region’s history in articles of high quality but with a dash of irreverence that will make for lively reading and wide appeal. 

Why the name? As this issue’s photo essay reveals, the Connecticut River isn’t Hartford’s only waterway. The lesser known Hog River also flows through–well–under the city. It once meandered past tenements, factories, and grand mansions alike gathering pungent refuse along the way and then flooding them all without prejudice. In response, civic leaders tore down the tenements, put in a park and changed the river’s name. But by any other name, the now “Park” River smelled just as–um–aromatic and continued to flood. Only by burying it deep, deep down could it be tamed. We’ve taken inspiration from this little river’s colorful history and dedicated our publication to uncovering the region’s “buried” treasures and lost tales. 

Above all, Hog River Journal is a meeting place in print--a place where readers encounter the fascinating and often little told, stories of our region’s people, places, and events. You’ll also encounter our authors’ ideas, their interpretations, their points of view. And like the Hog River, it may not always be pretty. Our region has much to be proud of–and much to account for. So while you may not always agree with every article, we hope each and every issue of Hog River Journal will inspire you to think more deeply about our region’s history. 

We’d like to hear from you. With your input, this publication will truly reflect the interests of the community. We know there are many fans of local history out there and this is a magazine for you and by you. Please suggest story ideas and writers. We can be reached by email at or write to us at P.O. Box 271561, West Hartford, CT 06127-1561. 



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