Ok, Ok, you're a super-rational public radio listener but you live in a place drenched in supernatural legend. In fact, historians like David Hall and David Hackett-Fischer have argued that the new world was imbued with notions of magic and superstition from Jumpstreet. One of the paradoxes of the Puritan migration was that even as they imported a belief system that rejected popish superstition in favor of what they saw as leaner, cleaner Calvinist faith, they somehow also brought all kinds of magical nuttiness. And, you could say it never left.
Shivers ran down the collective spine of visitors, and at least one person took several steps back, and stayed a safe distance away. What scared the history out of these participants in a Behind-the-Scenes tour at the Connecticut Historical Society one Saturday early in October? The Corpse Preserver, a coffin-shaped contraption raised on ornate metal legs, which was designed to preserve bodies and allow them to be viewed by mourners.
Today, many people carry cameras around with them in their pockets or purses; the iPhone 4, 4s and 5 are the three most popular cameras on the photo-sharing site Flickr. With cameras all around us, it’s difficult to imagine an era in which making a photograph was a time-consuming process that required an understanding of chemistry and a willingness to cart around heavy equipment and inhale noxious fumes, but upon its invention in 1839, and for several decades after, it was just that.
It's become a cliché to say everything has a story, but in baseball, you could make the argument that everything really does. Even the baseball itself is a story -- one of geography and symbolism -- an almost holy relic of American culture. Sportswriter Steve Rushin tells the story of these objects in his latest book, The 34-Ton Bat.
In 1650, representatives from New Netherlands and New England met in Hartford to try to settle their boundary disputes. The Dutch trading post called the Huys de Hope—the House of Hope—located on the Connecticut River at the mouth of the Little River had been established in 1633; Thomas Hooker and his party had arrived three years later, establishing Hartford just upstream from the Dutch post. English settlers kept pouring in during the 1630s and 1640s, establishing new towns up and down the river and along the coast.
An old myth maintains that you should only eat oysters during those months with the letter “R” in their names. This was both because of the higher bacteria content—and therefore the greater chance of disease—during summer months, and because of the health hazards associated with shipping raw seafood in an age before refrigeration.
Yung Wing had a dream. He wanted Chinese youth to study American technology to improve China’s engineering and infrastructure. As a boy, he had attended Monson Academy in Massachusetts and then graduated from Yale in 1854. Upon his return to China, he became a strong advocate for the western education of Chinese students, and was able to convince the Chinese government to support his project. He was assisted in large part by the 1868 Burlingame Treaty that provided for mutual rights of residence and attendance at public schools for citizens of the United States and China.
When the Peabody's Great Hall of Dinosaurs opened in 1931, it was a state of the art exhibit, reflecting years of meticulously mounted fossils, and information for visitors based on the most current research on dinosaurs. Derek Briggs, director of the Peabody Museum, said that in the 80 years since its opening, scientists know a lot more about dinosaurs. "For example," he said, "the giant Saurapod, known as Apatosaurus, is depicted in a very static way [in the exhibit]. The notion at the time was it perhaps couldn't even hold up its weight. We now know this was a very active animal that lived in groups, and could move like a modern elephant."
It's an art form that came out of the chaos of World War One, when times were desperate, yet the art world was still celebrating still lifes, landscapes and nudes. In protest, artists began rebelling with politically aware ironic work, making bold, sometimes vicious points with their art. Times have changed, and Dada resurfaces periodically, like in the exhibition at the Pump House in Hartford opening on the 26th.
Kent Falls State Park, Kent, Conn. Postcards, ca. 1920s. Credit: The Connecticut Historical SocietyEdit | Remove Mount Tom, Bantam, Conn. Postcard, ca. 1910. Credit: The Connecticut Historical SocietyEdit | Remove
Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 2:07 pm
Think about this: You wake up in New York City, decide to go for a stroll, head east after breakfast, and a short time later, still on foot, you find yourself in Morocco. Three hundred million years ago, you could have done that! There was no civilization back then, no cities, no countries, no people, but the land was there, so take a look at this map.
Connecticut’s response to the firing on Fort Sumter and Lincoln’s call for three-month volunteer troops was immediate and significant. Throughout the state, men of military age enlisted for what most people thought was going to be simply a show of strength that would dissuade southerners from supporting secession.
The executive director of Amistad America Inc., a New Haven-based non-profit, asserts that all money it has received from the state has been used appropriately. Amistad America owns and operates the Freedom Schooner Amistad, and recently lost its non-profit status after falling behind in filing federal tax returns.
We all heard the story. Dave Chappelle had a bad night in Hartford. He got heckled, he walked offstage. He later called the audience “evil”.... “an arena full of suburban torturers” and “young, white alcoholics” as he joked about North Korea dropping a bomb on the Capital City.
We may be a laugh line for Chappelle, but does Hartford deserve the bad press? The label as a place filled with racists?
By 1781 it was becoming apparent to both sides that outright British victory in the American Revolution was unlikely, in part due to the commitment of French troops and other resources that would culminate in the successful Yorktown campaign in October 1781.
More than 200 years after his death, the remains of an 18th century Connecticut slave will soon receive a proper burial.
The slave is known as Fortune. He, his wife, and three children were owned by a doctor whose medical practice was in Waterbury.
After Fortune died, the doctor used his skeleton as a teaching tool for students. Later, it was donated to the Mattatuck Museum and put on display. The skeleton was called “Larry." After the display was removed in the 1980s, researchers determined that the bones were, in fact, those of the slave, Fortune.
Our brains are marvels, hard-wired by millions of years of evolution to boast a number of mental shortcuts, biases, and tricks that allow us to negotiate our complicated lives without overthinking every choice and decision we have to make.
Unfortunately, those ancient shortcuts don't always work to our advantage in our modern lives-when we don't also think slowly and rationally, those hard-wired habits can trip us up.
Trivia Question: In which state, besides Connecticut, does a verified grandchild of the Charter Oak tree grow? Missouri. On May 3, 1904, during the Dedication Ceremony of the Connecticut State Building at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, a seedling from the grounds of Mr. James Holcombe was planted in front of the State Building. That grandchild of the Charter Oak is one piece of evidence that symbolizes Connecticut’s participation in World’s Fairs from the late nineteenth century through the early twentieth century.
It’s almost September and families are flocking to the beaches to get in their last days of summer sunshine. One of Connecticut’s most popular summer spots is Rocky Neck State Park in Niantic.
The stretch of beach was not always a designated area for sunbathing, swimming, or hiking. In the 1800s, long before beachgoers were able to enjoy the park, the 710-acre property was used as a stone quarry and dairy farm. A railroad track and pier were installed in the 1850s to help transport stone from the quarry by both land and water.
Political campaigns may be going more and more digital, but hopefully that doesn’t mean the end for buttons. Look at how much history you can sum up in these photos of campaign buttons! All of these photos come from the Connecticut State Library’s Flickr page.
The day was cool and 10,000 spectators crowded the stands at Charter Oak Park to see the gray stallion Alcryon come from behind to beat the great trotting mare Geneva S. and the flagging favorite Nelson in the Charter Oak Stakes on August 28, 1889.
Charter Oak Park opened in 1873 near the Hartford/West Hartford line. In addition to a race track, it also came to include Luna Park, a popular amusement park, and the grounds served as the venue for the Connecticut State Fair, an annual two week event.
The linguist John McWhorter joins us to talk about his book What Language Is (And What It Isn't, and What It Could Be). From Standard English to Black English; obscure tongues only spoken by a few thousand people in the world to the big ones like Mandarin—What Language Is celebrates the history and curiosities of languages around the world and smashes our assumptions about "correct" grammar. Plus, a look at the career con man and serial impostor Clark Rockefeller, who wasn't, ya know, actually a Rockefeller at all.
Railroad mishaps have been in the news in 2013, from the Metro-North derailment and collision in May to the runaway oil train explosion in Canada and the Spanish high speed train crash, both in July. While a broken rail is suspected in the Metro-North incident, human failure seems to be involved in the other two disasters.
July 31 marks the 43rd anniversary of the Powder Ridge Rock Festival—or would if the festival had gone off as planned. Instead, it marks the 43rd anniversary of the intersection of 30,000 young people, no food or entertainment, and lots of hallucinogenic drugs.
You might’ve noticed a slideshow at the Hartford Courant website comparing what used to be on various downtown street corners, and what’s there now. It shows some pretty stark contrasts. Multiple, narrow stone structures were demolished to make way for, in some cases, enormous buildings that take up half a city block... and in others, maybe no buildings at all.
On July 26, 1847, a group of settlers in a small colony on the west coast of Africa issued a Declaration of Independence, creating the independent Republic of Liberia, with a constitution based on the political principles of the United States. Many of these former African-Americans were freed slaves; others were free blacks who had left the United States seeking greater opportunities for themselves and their children.