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.Â
In a November 1934 article, Agnes Heisler Barton recognized the kitchen as the most modern room in the house.Â Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, kitchens changed more radically than other rooms.Â The styles of chairs and other furnishings might change, but a new appliance for cooking might easily be a brand new invention.
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.Â The Hudson family of Bristol has one such story.
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.
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.
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.
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.Â Oceanus.
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.
Before the age of the computer, typewriters fulfilled our need to write faster than our pens would allow.Â The gentle click of keys on a keyboard are no match for the loud strikes of a letter key pressing paper to inked ribbon and platen to create an inked letter upon a clean white page.Â The end of a line of type was signaled by the loud ding of a bell followed by the slamming of the carriage as a new, fresh line of paper appeared.Â
Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 3:58 pm
NPR â€” along with seven public radio stations around the country â€” is chronicling the lives of America's troops where they live. We're calling the project "Back at Base." This is the first installment of the ongoing series.
Even 10 years after the battle for Fallujah, it's hard for Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Torain Kelley to talk about some things that happened.
"We had people shooting at us from up [on] the rooftops, from the houses, from the sewers or wherever they could take a shot at us from," he says.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of American composer Irving Fine. Concerts and celebrations are taking place in New York, Washington, and coming up this weekend, here in Connecticut.
Ever since 1778 when Thomas Jefferson, revising the laws of Virginia, wrote something called a Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge, there's been an ongoing debate about how to make sure people know what they need to know to participate fully as citizens of this democracy.
As is so often the case with Jefferson, his ideas and words seem visionary and eternal until you poke around in them a little bit and then it gets more complicated especially vis-a-visÂ who he thought was really fit to lead the American people.
Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 11:58 pm
German authorities say they're investigating possible neo-Nazi involvement in the theft of an iron gate at the former Dachau concentration camp bearing the infamous phrase: "Arbeit Macht Frei" or "Work Makes You Free."
Those eerie words greeted some 200,000 prisoners who arrived at Dachau, which was the first concentration camp the Nazi regime opened in Germany. Tens of thousands of people sent there died from starvation and overwork as well as from medical experiments, torture and violence between 1933 and 1945.
Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 6:10 am
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame artist Carlos Santana has won 10 Grammys and sold more than 100 million records. He has become one of the world's most celebrated musicians, a destiny that was difficult to imagine during his childhood in a small Mexican town. His father, also a musician, was Santana's first teacher, but he really learned his craft playing on the street and in strip clubs in Tijuana.
Just off Route 202 in Simsbury is the former Pettibone Tavern, a local landmark that has served travelers since 1780. Built by Jonathon Pettibone Jr., the establishment became an important stop along the Boston-to-Albany Turnpike and hosted important figures like George Washington and John Adams.
The bidding is over, and the abandoned village of Johnsonville sold on Auction.com for $1.9 million. No word on the identity of winner of the village, or their intentions for the 62-acre parcel of land in East Haddam, Connecticut. First Selectman of East Haddam, Mark Walter, said he would like to see the village, including the restaurant and chapel, restored and reopened for business.
Shade tobacco came to Connecticut in 1900 from the island of Sumatra, which was beginning to dominate the world of cigar wrappers. The leaf had a light color, delicate texture, and mild flavor that cigar lovers love.
The 19th century saw an explosion in the popularity of jewelry made from human hair. Because hair does not decompose after its removal from the body, it was considered a symbol of eternal life. Locks of hair were often given as tokens of friendship, love, or grief and these locks were sometimes incorporated into jewelry. In the mid-19th century, enterprising jewelry makers braided, wove, and sewed hair into such keepsakes, offering a variety of shapes and sizes.
Whenever I see a production of Hamlet, I am newly floored by its impact on language, no matter how many times you tell yourself that a lot of our spoken language is in this play, you're freshly assaulted by how many things people say all the time that come from Hamlet. It's crazy.
But then there are all sorts of questions about staging Hamlet. There can be, and there have been many theories about what to emphasize in the play. Themes of sex, politics, indecision, suicide, and reality testing are either brought to the fore, or pushed to the back. No matter what happens on the stage, it's a really, really good story.
When visitors to the Connecticut Historical Society are told the building was once the home of Hartford industrialist Curtis Veeder, their first question often is: â€śDid he have anything to do with the Veeder-Root Company?â€ť Curtis Veeder did, in fact, start the Veeder Manufacturing Company, one of the two companies which merged in 1928 to form Veeder-Root. Many area residents know someone who worked for this company which began making devices that â€ścount everything on earthâ€ť and continues today as the â€śthe number one supplier of automated tank gauges in the world.â€ť