history

Coltsville
8:23 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Hurdles Remain Before Hartford's Coltsville Is a National Historical Park

It could take years to transform the Coltsville section of Hartford into a National Historical Park.
Aaron Knox Creative Commons

Congress recently gave final approval to a defense spending bill that includes language creating the Coltsville National Historical Park -- but much work remains before the park is a reality.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Connecticut's Changing Relationship With Guns

This gun is of the first production automatic pistols made by Colt, an M1900. Two hundred of these were delivered to the U.S. Navy.
Naval History and Heritage Command Creative Commons

Earlier this week, the Senate confirmed Vivek Murthy to be the nation’s next Surgeon General. His confirmation had been held up for more than a year by pro-gun lobbyists, because of his support for new gun control measures. Murthy founded the group Doctors for America, which had advocated for gun restrictions, but he has said his focus as Surgeon General will be on tackling the nation’s obesity problem.

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History
8:14 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Hartford Seen: Photographs By Pablo Delano

Elm Street, 2013.
Pablo Delano

Houses, apartments, businesses, schools, places of worship. Like all cities, Hartford’s built environment—its physical structures and shape—has changed over time for many different reasons. As the population grows and changes, different voices influence the city’s identity, and new building materials and resources become available (or disappear). This year, with a series of onsite and offsite exhibits, the Connecticut Historical Society is exploring the history of Hartford’s modern cityscape, as well as the city’s urban spaces today.

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Col. Claus
7:11 am
Fri December 19, 2014

NORAD's Santa Tracker Began With A Typo And A Good Sport

Col. Harry Shoup came to be known as the "Santa Colonel." He died in 2009.
Courtesy of NORAD

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 9:45 pm

This Christmas Eve people all over the world will log on to the official Santa Tracker to follow his progress through U.S. military radar. This all started in 1955, with a misprint in a Colorado Springs newspaper and a call to Col. Harry Shoup's secret hotline at the Continental Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD.

Shoup's children, Terri Van Keuren, 65, Rick Shoup, 59, and Pam Farrell, 70, recently visited StoryCorps to talk about how the tradition began.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
8:49 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Cracking the Code of Alan Turing

Priscilla Lydia McKenzie worked in Bletchley Park, recording movements of German ships.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Let me set the stage a little: A movie called "The Imitation Game" will be released nationwide Christmas day, the latest of several attempts to tell the story of Alan Turing. That story is so big, it can only be told in little pieces.

The piece most people focus on is Turing's work as the single most important code breaker in World War 2, the man who built a machine that broke apart the deeply encrypted Nazi code, and then gave the Allies an advantage that they were forced to conceal.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:23 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Hartford Convention: 200 Years Since We Started the Fight Over States' Rights

Matt Warshauer is a professor of History at Central Connecticut State University and the author of several books including "Connecticut in the American Civil War"
Chion Wolf WNPR

Legend holds that years after the the Hartford Convention, a visitor from the South was touring the Old State House and asked to be shown the room where the Convention met. Ushered into the Senate chamber, the southerner looked at the crimson in the face of George Washington in the Gilbert Stuart portrait hanging here and said, "I'll be damned if he's got the blush off yet.

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Photography
2:57 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Watch: Connecticut Photographer Explains 19th-Century Tintypes

A tintype photograph of John Dankosky.
Chion Wolf WNPR

In the age of Snapchat and Instagram, smartphones and tablets, it’s almost impossible to imagine a time when horses carted around darkrooms, and photo portraits took several hours, rather than a few minutes or seconds.

But such a time existed. And one Connecticut photographer is set on bringing it back. 

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Higher Education
10:48 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Quinnipiac's Irish Famine Museum to Launch Digital Database

"Burying the Child" by Lilian Lucy Davidson.
Ireland's Great Hunger Museum Quinnipiac University

Ireland's Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University is launching a digital database with about 1,500 articles and illustrations related to Ireland and the Great Famine.

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Mayflower II
9:31 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Mayflower Replica Heads to Mystic Seaport for Restoration Work

The Mayflower II in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in a 2013 photo.
Robert Linsdell Creative Commons

The replica of the ship that brought the Pilgrims to America has set sail from Plymouth, Massachusetts, to another historic port in Connecticut where it will undergo a restoration. 

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National History
8:50 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Congress Approves Historic Coltsville Park in Hartford

Colt's Armory in Hartford around 1906.
Library of Congress

Connecticut officials are celebrating congressional approval of a new national park in Hartford centering on the historic Colt firearms factory building with the blue, onion-shape dome. 

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History
11:44 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Finding a Home For Connecticut History

The Connecticut Historical Society. The CHS is currently housed in the former home of Curtis Veeder, located at One Elizabeth Street in the West End of Hartford.

The Connecticut Historical Society moved into its current headquarters building at One Elizabeth Street in Hartford in 1950. However, the organization pre-dates the move to this location by more than 100 years and it had several earlier locations.  The CHS was founded in 1825 and is one of the oldest state historical societies in the country.

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Setting the Bar
2:36 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

America, the Greatest*

Two of the Founding Fathers carved in stone.
Credit Dean Franklin / Creative Commons

The United States of America has always been imperfect. In some ways, it was designed that way. Despite the fact that their faces are on money and engraved into the side of a mountain, the "Founding Fathers" were actually humans with all of the flaws and fallacies that accompany the species. Many, if not all of them, knew that too.

At what point in history did America start thinking of itself the "greatest country in the world"?

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The Colin McEnroe Show
1:00 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

The Scramble: Journalism Gone Awry, and Northern Racism

Rolling Stone and The New Republic are in crisis mode this week.
Credit Ken Hawkins / Creative Commons

The Scramble reacts to new developments in the University of Virginia case of alleged sexual assault and Rolling Stone’s concern about some its reporting. 

Then there's a second magazine story: what’s behind the mass -- and we do mean mass -- resignations at The New Republic. Most of its full-time staff and stable of contributing editors quit on the same day. Why?

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History
10:00 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Busy Sidewalks and Wonderful Memories

G. Fox Holiday Catalog, 1957.
The Connecticut Historical Society, Ephemera Collection

Right after Thanksgiving, G. Fox & Company decorated their magnificent store. People from across the state drove into Hartford just to marvel at the marquee. In the 1950s it featured big candles and colorful boxes. However, the marquee most people remember was the charming Colonial Village. The village included small replicas of Colonial churches and houses from across Connecticut. The front display windows were also festive and inviting. Children pressed their noses to the glass to get a better look at the brightly lit mechanical ice skating animals.

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Theatrical History
12:31 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Happy 100th Birthday to New Haven's Shubert Theater!

The Shubert Theater in New Haven.
Shubert Theater Facebook

This year marks the 100th anniversary of New Haven’s Shubert Theater. 

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The Faith Middleton Show
10:08 am
Thu December 4, 2014

A Mini-Musical About the Shubert Theater, 100 Years Old

Credit Toby Simkin/flickr creative commons

If you charted the course of American musicals, a major stop on this extraordinary journey would be The Shubert Theater in New Haven. The Shubert was considered Broadway's try-out house, a stop where our local audiences determined whether New York producers had a hit or a disaster on their hands. How did this happen? Who got the nod and who earned thumbs down? 

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:37 am
Tue December 2, 2014

The Plight of the Composeress

Paula Matthusen.
Chion Wolf WNPR

For centuries, female composers have often found themselves overshadowed by their male counterparts. Take Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Anna Magdalena Bach, and Alma Mahler, for example. Their names don't roll off the tongue quite as easily as Felix Mendelssohn, J.S. Bach, and Gustav Mahler's do. 

But why?

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History
10:00 am
Fri November 28, 2014

The Interstate Highway System Comes to Hartford

Construction of the “Dike Highway.” Photograph, ca. 1945. Due to wartime restrictions construction of this route was delayed until 1945.
Connecticut Historical Society, 2003.191.4

Beginning in the mid-1930s, state and federal governments examined ways to improve road transportation around the country. While some federal roads linked major population centers, most areas still struggled with a variety of state, county and town roads, ranging in condition from decent to abominable. With the run-up to World War II the federal government looked for ways to improve transportation that would be needed if the U.S. went to war. 

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History
1:49 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

The Most Modern Room in the House

Woman Putting Sunday Dinner in the Oven. 1950. The Connecticut Historical Society, Gift of Northeast Utilities, 1982.28.61.

In a November 1934 article, Agnes Heisler Barton recognized the kitchen as the most modern room in the house.  Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, kitchens changed more radically than other rooms.  The styles of chairs and other furnishings might change, but a new appliance for cooking might easily be a brand new invention.

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Handiwork
10:49 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Exhibit Celebrates Life of Bristol, Connecticut Quilter

Laura Hudson with a student.
Institute for Community Research

The patchwork of Connecticut is one of incredible intricacy and texture, stitched together by the stories of the people that have come to call our small state home. The Hudson family of Bristol has one such story.

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Lyme Disease
8:57 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Scientist Who Identified Origin of Lyme Disease Dies at 89

Dr. Willy Burgdorfer identified the bacterium responsible for Lyme Disease.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease

Dr. Willy Burgdorfer, the Swiss-born researcher who gained international recognition for discovering the origins of Lyme disease, has died.

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Underwater Archeology
10:36 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Discovery of 17th-Century Shipwreck Provides Window Into Violent Past

Kroum Batchvarov, assistant professor of maritime archaeology at UConn, measures a cannon under water.
Dean Winter

There's only so much history you can learn from books. Sometimes, you just need to go underwater and travel back in time.

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Remembrance
5:48 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Connecticut Judge and POW John T. Downey Dies at 84

John T. Downey talking in New Britain following his release from China in 1973.
Bettman Corbis

Connecticut Judge John T. Downey has died. Downey was the longest-held captive of war in U.S. history.

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History
10:55 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Life After the Last Shift

Underwood Typewriter Factory, Capitol Avenue, Hartford. Drawing by Richard Welling, 1960s.
Connecticut Historical Society Gift of the Richard Welling family, 2012.284.5705

What do the Bigelow Carpet Company of Enfield, Underwood Typewriter Company of Hartford, and Cheney Brothers Silk Manufacturing Company of Manchester have in common? They, and many other companies, had factories in Connecticut which survive to this day, while the companies that built them do not.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:00 am
Fri November 14, 2014

From Lovelace to Jobs: Talking Innovation with Walter Isaacson

Credit David Shankbone / Flickr Creative Commons

We live in amazing times. But where did all this stuff come from? And by stuff, I mean computers and the internet, and all the amazing platforms like Wikipedia, that exist on the internet. There are many answers to those questions. A common theme is, people who were very good at math. But that includes a woman, crippled by measles, living in the nineteenth century as the daughter of one of the most famous poets of all time, and a man living a hidden homosexual life in an era when that was a criminal offense, leading a team of code-breakers in England during WW2. Those were two of the most famous innovators investigated by Walter Isaacson.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Connecticut Was Built By Rock (and Roll), Glaciers, and Lava

Chion Wolf WNPR

We take certain things for granted. Like the mountains, rivers and rocks around us.

So what made Connecticut look the way it looks today? As you kayak on the Connecticut River, drive over Talcott Mountain, or swim in Long Island Sound...there are millions of years of history underneath you.

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Music
4:46 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

What's a Lautenwerk? Find Out at Annual Concert in Hartford

The keyboard of Edward Clark's lautenwerk.
Ray Hardman WNPR

This Friday night, Concora presents a concert featuring keyboard music from the time of Johann Sebastian Bach.

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Polish Stories
5:52 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Polish Stories Project: WWII Vet Henry Kawecki Married His German Sweetheart

Henry and Gertrude Kawecki, married 69 years
Catie Talarski

Henry Kawecki was born on April 30, 1924 in Warsaw, Poland. At 90 years old, he's seen more than most. In fact, he could write chapters of a history book.

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World War II
6:32 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Connecticut Veteran Witnessed Major WWII Battle From Unique Vantage Point

Herb Philbrick (in white Navy Cap) saluting the Flag at Wethersfield's Veteran's Day Ceremony
Ray Hardman WNPR

On Tuesday, I attended the Wethersfield Veteran's Day Ceremony at town hall. Among the many veterans in attendance, I had the chance to talk with Herb Philbrick, 97, who served in the Navy during World War II. Philbrick was a Chief Machinist Mate, and among his many memories of serving his country, he clearly remembers watching the battle of Iwo Jima, including the now iconic raising of the American Flag on Mount Surabachi from his ship, the U.S.S. Oceanus.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Remembering Connecticut's Role in Slavery and the Holocaust

Anne Farrow is a journalist and the author of “Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited From Slavery and most recently, “Logbooks: Connecticut’s Slave Ships and Human Memory”
Anne Farrow

Connecticut played a big role in slavery and the Holocaust...but most of us don't know about it.

First, a powerful New London merchant and ship owner sailed his ships to West Africa and the Caribbean for more than 40 years during the late 18th century to trade in slaves whose labor lined the pockets of his most respected family.

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