Connecticut

Connecticut

One of the original 13 colonies and one of the six New England states, Connecticut is located in the northeastern corner of the country. Initially an agricultural community, by the mid-19th century textile and machine manufacturing had become the dominant industries. The home of Eli Whitney and Samuel Colt, Connecticut was a leading manufacturer of guns and other arms. Today Connecticut lies in the midst of the great urban-industrial complex along the Atlantic coast, bordering Massachusetts to the north, Rhode Island to the east, Long Island Sound to the south and New York to the west. Hartford, in the north-central part of the state, is the capital. The state is roughly rectangular in shape, with a panhandle extending to the southwest on the New York border. In area it is the third smallest U.S. state, but it ranks among the most densely populated. The state’s greatest east-west length is about 110 miles, and its maximum north-south extent is about 70 miles. Connecticut takes its name from an Algonquian word meaning “land on the long tidal river.” “Nutmeg State,” “Constitution State” and “Land of Steady Habits” are all nicknames that have been applied to Connecticut.

Date of Statehood: January 9, 1788

Capital: Hartford

Population: 3,574,097 (2010)

Size: 5,544 square miles

Nickname(s):Constitution State; Nutmeg State; Land of Steady Habits; Provisions State

Motto: Qui Transtulit Sustinet (“He who transplanted still sustains”)

Tree: White Oak

Flower: Mountain Laurel

Bird: American Robin

Interesting Facts

  • The Fundamental Orders was the first constitution to be adopted by the American colonies in 1639. It established the structure and boundaries of the newly formed government and ensured the rights of free men to elect their public officials—principles that were later embraced within the U.S. Constitution.
  • During a candle-lit dispute that occurred when Sir Edmund Andros attempted to seize Connecticut’s Royal Charter by order of King James II in 1687, the lights went out and the charter was whisked away to safety amid the chaos. Captain Joseph Wadsworth hid the charter inside a grand white oak tree, which became a symbol of freedom and, later, the official state tree.
  • Benedict Arnold, whose name has become synonymous with the word “traitor” after he conspired with the British to turn over the post at West Point in exchange for money and a command in the British Army, was born in Norwich, Connecticut. In 1781, he led British troops in the Battle of Groton Heights, which devastated New London, Connecticut.
  • The construction of Connecticut’s Old State House was completed in 1796. In 1814, it hosted the Hartford Convention, a meeting of Federalist leaders in which the adoption of seven proposed amendments to the Constitution was considered by many to be treasonous.
  • Connecticut and Rhode Island were the only two states that failed to ratify the 18th Amendment, which prohibited the manufacture, sale or transportation of alcohol.
  • The USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear submarine, was constructed in Groton, Connecticut, between 1952 and 1954. Much larger than its diesel-electric predecessors, it traveled at speeds in excess of 20 knots and could remain submerged almost indefinitely because its atomic engine required only a very small quantity of nuclear fuel and no air. After 25 years of service, the Nautilus was decommissioned and opened to the public as an exhibit in Groton.
  • The Connecticut-born Revolutionary soldier and spy Nathan Hale, who was hanged by the British in 1776, became Connecticut's official state hero in 1985.

PHOTO GALLERIES






Connecticut — History and Culture

The spirit of Yankee self-determination still dominates much of Connecticut, just as it did in the 1600s when the 13 headstrong colonies entered into an alliance. The state enjoyed its glory early on, with bustling seaports and loads of industry. To experience the colonial face of Connecticut, you need to venture inland to its tiny historic towns or cruise along the coast to see how little things have changed since the 18th century.

History

Connecticut was one of the 13 original American colonies and established self-governance in 1637. The first English settlers moved inland from the Bay Colony and Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts, founding the towns of Windsor (1633), Wethersfield (1634), and Hartford (1636).

The Pequot War was the first major conflict between the Native American tribes and the Europeans. Bouts of smallpox brought on by the Europeans and pressures of regional trading led the Pequot tribe to attack Wethersfield. In retaliation, the English colonists slaughtered the entire tribe and began to expand their settlements further along the fertile river valley.

In 1662, the Connecticut Colony gained a royal charter from England. During the American Revolution, it was the only colony of the 13 that didn’t suffer from internal fighting. Connecticut saw little action during the war, except when Benedict Arnold attacked Groton and New London in 1781.

During the early years of new federal America, Connecticut was a stronghold. The state prospered greatly in the early 1800s, as its seaports like Mystic Harbor boomed with commerce and a textile industry emerged. The residents of Connecticut embodied the Yankee work ethic of New England, and their state attracted top inventors and innovators.

The 18th and 19th centuries were Connecticut’s golden era. After the Civil War, the economy remained totally dependent on industrial production. When the Great Depression hit, Connecticut never really recovered. Its towns and cities fell into a slump that continues even today. In the 1980s, the local Pequot tribe regained some of their ancestral land and opened the Foxwoods Casino in 1992. The revenue from gaming has made the Pequots one of America’s most prosperous tribes.

Culture

The real charm of Connecticut lies in its absence of major metropolis cities. Along the coast, traditional seaports like Mystic Harbor and Madison provide wonderful, historic maritime environments. Inland, the river valleys are dotted with colonial-era towns that have been rejuvenated by wealthy newcomers, artists, and craftspeople. There are countless travel destinations in the state, particularly for people with an obsession with antiques.

While the state doesn’t appear to have any obvious economy on the surface, it has plenty of allure for tourists seeking an alternative to touristy New England. The residents of Connecticut tend to be independent Yankees, especially in the small towns. Conservative values dominate, which means the entertainment here is rather sedate. Many historic farms and villages have been converted into living museums, offering a rare look at the origins of America. If Vermont and New Hampshire feel too populated, the unspoken charm of Connecticut may be just the experience you are looking for.


“I acknowledge that my poor judgment brought us here,” said John Rowland to a sea of reporters standing on the back lawn of the Connecticut Governor’s Mansion in Hartford. The date was June 21, 2004, and Rowland was announcing his resignation amid a federal corruption investigation and impeachment inquiry. His Lieutenant Governor, M. Jodi…

Today in 1961, Easton resident Helen Keller received a birthday greeting from President John F. Kennedy containing high praise for her lifetime’s worth of hard work and advocacy for people who, like herself, were blind and/or deaf. In it, he wrote: “You are one of that select company of men and women whose achievements…


Contents

Connecticut is bordered on the south by Long Island Sound, on the west by New York, on the north by Massachusetts, and on the east by Rhode Island. The state capital and fourth largest city is Hartford, and other major cities and towns (by population) include Bridgeport, New Haven, Stamford, Waterbury, Norwalk, Danbury, New Britain, Greenwich, and Bristol. Connecticut is slightly larger than the country of Montenegro. There are 169 incorporated towns in Connecticut.

The highest peak in Connecticut is Bear Mountain in Salisbury in the northwest corner of the state. The highest point is just east of where Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York meet (42°3′ N, 73°29′ W), on the southern slope of Mount Frissell, whose peak lies nearby in Massachusetts. [15] At the opposite extreme, many of the coastal towns have areas that are less than 20 feet (6 m) above sea level.

Connecticut has a long maritime history and a reputation based on that history—yet the state has no direct oceanfront (technically speaking). The coast of Connecticut sits on Long Island Sound, which is an estuary. The state's access to the open Atlantic Ocean is both to the west (toward New York City) and to the east (toward the "race" near Rhode Island). This situation provides many safe harbors from ocean storms, and many transatlantic ships seek anchor inside Long Island Sound when tropical cyclones pass off the upper East Coast. [ citation needed ]

The Connecticut River cuts through the center of the state, flowing into Long Island Sound. The most populous metropolitan region centered within the state lies in the Connecticut River Valley. Despite Connecticut's relatively small size, it features wide regional variations in its landscape for example, in the northwestern Litchfield Hills, it features rolling mountains and horse farms, whereas in areas to the east of New Haven along the coast, the landscape features coastal marshes, beaches, and large scale maritime activities.

Connecticut's rural areas and small towns in the northeast and northwest corners of the state contrast sharply with its industrial cities such as Stamford, Bridgeport, and New Haven, located along the coastal highways from the New York border to New London, then northward up the Connecticut River to Hartford. Many towns in northeastern and northwestern Connecticut center around a green. Near the green typically stand historical visual symbols of New England towns, such as a white church, a colonial meeting house, a colonial tavern or inn, several colonial houses, and so on, establishing a scenic historical appearance maintained for both historic preservation and tourism. Many of the areas in southern and coastal Connecticut have been built up and rebuilt over the years, and look less visually like traditional New England.

The northern boundary of the state with Massachusetts is marked by the Southwick Jog or Granby Notch, an approximately 2.5 miles (4.0 km) square detour into Connecticut. The origin of this anomaly is clearly established in a long line of disputes and temporary agreements which were finally concluded in 1804, when southern Southwick's residents sought to leave Massachusetts, and the town was split in half. [16] [17]

The southwestern border of Connecticut where it abuts New York State is marked by a panhandle in Fairfield County, containing the towns of Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, and parts of Norwalk and Wilton. This irregularity in the boundary is the result of territorial disputes in the late 17th century, culminating with New York giving up its claim to the area, whose residents considered themselves part of Connecticut, in exchange for an equivalent area extending northwards from Ridgefield to the Massachusetts border, as well as undisputed claim to Rye, New York. [18]

Mount Frissell is the highest point in the state.

Climate Edit

Connecticut lies at the rough transition zone between the southern end of the humid continental climate, and the northern portion of the humid subtropical climate. Northern Connecticut generally experiences a climate with cold winters with moderate snowfall and hot, humid summers. Far southern and coastal Connecticut has a climate with cool winters with a mix of rain and infrequent snow, and the long hot and humid summers typical of the middle and lower East Coast.

Connecticut sees a fairly even precipitation pattern with rainfall/snowfall spread throughout the 12 months. Connecticut averages 56% of possible sunshine (higher than the U.S. national average), averaging 2,400 hours of sunshine annually. [20]

Early spring (April) can range from slightly cool (40s to low 50s F) to warm (65 to 70 F), while mid and late spring (late April/May) is warm. By late May, the building Bermuda High creates a southerly flow of warm and humid tropical air, bringing hot weather conditions throughout the state, with average highs in New London of 81 °F (27 °C) and 85 °F (29 °C) in Windsor Locks at the peak of summer in late July. On occasion, heat waves with highs from 90 to 100 °F (38 °C) occur across Connecticut. Although summers are sunny in Connecticut, quick moving summer thunderstorms can bring brief downpours with thunder and lightning. Occasionally these thunderstorms can be severe, and the state usually averages one tornado per year. [21] During hurricane season, the remains of tropical cyclones occasionally affect the region, though a direct hit is rare.

Weather commonly associated with the fall season typically begins in October and lasts to the first days of December. Daily high temperatures in October and November range from the 50s to 60s (Fahrenheit) with nights in the 40s and upper 30s. Colorful foliage begins across northern parts of the state in early October and moves south and east reaching southeast Connecticut by early November. Far southern and coastal areas, however, have more oak and hickory trees (and fewer maples) and are often less colorful than areas to the north. By December daytime highs are in the 40s °F for much of the state, and average overnight lows are below freezing.

Winters (December through mid-March) are generally cold from south to north in Connecticut. The coldest month (January) has average high temperatures ranging from 38 °F (3 °C) in the coastal lowlands to 33 °F (1 °C) in the inland and northern portions on the state. The average yearly snowfall ranges from about 60 inches (1,500 mm) in the higher elevations of the northern portion of the state to only 20–25 inches (510–640 mm) along the southeast coast of Connecticut (Branford to Groton). Generally, any locale north or west of Interstate 84 receives the most snow, during a storm, and throughout the season. Most of Connecticut has less than 60 days of snow cover. Snow usually falls from late November to late March in the northern part of the state, and from early December to mid-March in the southern and coastal parts of the state.

Connecticut's record high temperature is 106 °F (41 °C) which occurred in Danbury on July 15, 1995 the record low is −32 °F (−36 °C) which occurred in the Northwest Hills Falls Village on February 16, 1943, and Coventry on January 22, 1961. [22]

Monthly normal high and low temperatures for various Connecticut cities (°F)
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Bridgeport 38/24 40/25 47/32 58/41 68/51 77/61 83/67 81/67 75/59 64/48 53/38 43/30
Hartford 35/18 38/20 47/28 60/38 71/48 79/57 85/63 83/61 75/53 63/42 51/33 40/24
[23] [24]

Flora Edit

Forests consist of a mix of Northeastern coastal forests of Oak in southern areas of the state, to the upland New England-Acadian forests in the northwestern parts of the state. Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) is the state flower and is native to low ridges in several parts of Connecticut. Rosebay Rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum) is also native to eastern uplands of Connecticut and Pachaug State Forest is home to the Rhododendron Sanctuary Trail. Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides), is found in wetlands in the southern parts of the state. Connecticut has one native cactus (Opuntia humifusa), found in sandy coastal areas and low hillsides. Several types of beach grasses and wildflowers are also native to Connecticut. [25] Connecticut spans USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5b to 7a. Coastal Connecticut is the broad transition zone where more southern and subtropical plants are cultivated. In some coastal communities, Magnolia grandiflora (southern magnolia), Crape Myrtles, scrub palms (Sabal minor), Needle Palms (Rhapidophyllum hystrix), and other broadleaved evergreens are cultivated in small numbers. [ citation needed ]

First people Edit

The name Connecticut is derived from the Mohegan-Pequot word that has been translated as "long tidal river" and "upon the long river", [26] referring to the Connecticut River. Evidence of human presence in the Connecticut region dates to as much as 10,000 years ago. Stone tools were used for hunting, fishing, and woodworking. Semi-nomadic in lifestyle, these peoples moved seasonally to take advantage of various resources in the area. They shared languages based on Algonquian. [27] The Connecticut region was inhabited by multiple Native American tribes which can be grouped into the Nipmuc, the Sequin or "River Indians" (which included the Tunxis, Schaghticoke, Podunk, Wangunk, Hammonasset, and Quinnipiac), the Mattabesec or "Wappinger Confederacy" and the Pequot-Mohegan. [28] Some of these groups continue to abide in Connecticut, including the Mohegans, the Pequots, and the Paugusetts. [29]

Colonial period Edit

The first European explorer in Connecticut was Dutchman Adriaen Block, [30] who explored the region in 1614. Dutch fur traders then sailed up the Connecticut River, which they called Versche Rivier ("Fresh River"), and built a fort at Dutch Point in Hartford that they named "House of Hope" (Dutch: Huis van Hoop). [31]

The Connecticut Colony was originally a number of separate, smaller settlements at Windsor, Wethersfield, Saybrook, Hartford, and New Haven. The first English settlers came in 1633 and settled at Windsor, and then at Wethersfield the following year. [32] John Winthrop the Younger of Massachusetts received a commission to create Saybrook Colony at the mouth of the Connecticut River in 1635. [33]

The main body of settlers came in one large group in 1636. They were Puritans from Massachusetts Bay Colony led by Thomas Hooker, who established the Connecticut Colony at Hartford. [34] The Quinnipiack Colony [35] was established by John Davenport, Theophilus Eaton, and others at New Haven in March 1638. The New Haven Colony had its own constitution called "The Fundamental Agreement of the New Haven Colony", signed on June 4, 1639. [36]

The settlements were established without official sanction of the English Crown, and each was an independent political entity. [37] In 1662, Winthrop traveled to England and obtained a charter from Charles II which united the settlements of Connecticut. [38] Historically important colonial settlements included Windsor (1633), Wethersfield (1634), Saybrook (1635), Hartford (1636), New Haven (1638), Fairfield (1639), Guilford (1639), Milford (1639), Stratford (1639), Farmington (1640), Stamford (1641), and New London (1646).

The Pequot War marked the first major clash between colonists and Native Americans in New England. The Pequots reacted with increasing aggression to Colonial settlements in their territory—while simultaneously taking lands from the Narragansett and Mohegan tribes. Settlers responded to a murder in 1636 with a raid on a Pequot village on Block Island the Pequots laid siege to Saybrook Colony's garrison that autumn, then raided Wethersfield in the spring of 1637. Colonists declared war on the Pequots, organized a band of militia and allies from the Mohegan and Narragansett tribes, and attacked a Pequot village on the Mystic River, with death toll estimates ranging between 300 and 700 Pequots. After suffering another major loss at a battle in Fairfield, the Pequots asked for a truce and peace terms. [39]

The western boundaries of Connecticut have been subject to change over time. The Hartford Treaty with the Dutch was signed on September 19, 1650, but it was never ratified by the British. According to it, the western boundary of Connecticut ran north from Greenwich Bay for a distance of 20 miles (32 km), [40] [41] "provided the said line come not within 10 miles of Hudson River". [40] [41] This agreement was observed by both sides until war erupted between England and The Netherlands in 1652. Conflict continued concerning colonial limits until the Duke of York captured New Netherland in 1664. [40] [41]

On the other hand, Connecticut's original Charter in 1662 granted it all the land to the "South Sea"—that is, to the Pacific Ocean. [42] Most Colonial royal grants were for long east–west strips. Connecticut took its grant seriously and established a ninth county between the Susquehanna River and Delaware River named Westmoreland County. This resulted in the brief Pennamite Wars with Pennsylvania. [43]

Yale College was established in 1701, providing Connecticut with an important institution to educate clergy and civil leaders. [44] The Congregational church dominated religious life in the colony and, by extension, town affairs in many parts. [45]

With more than 600 miles of coastline including along its navigable rivers, [46] during the colonial years Connecticut developed the antecedents of a maritime tradition that would later produce booms in shipbuilding, marine transport, naval support, seafood production, and leisure boating.

Historical records list the Tryall as the first vessel built in Connecticut Colony, in 1649 at a site on the Connecticut River in present-day Wethersfield. [47] In the two decades leading up to 1776 and the American Revolution, Connecticut boatyards launched about 100 sloops, schooners and brigs according to a database of U.S. customs records maintained online by the Mystic Seaport Museum, the largest being the 180-ton Patient Mary launched in New Haven in 1763. [48] Connecticut's first lighthouse was constructed in 1760 at the mouth of the Thames River with the New London Harbor Lighthouse. [49]

American Revolution Edit

Connecticut designated four delegates to the Second Continental Congress who signed the Declaration of Independence: Samuel Huntington, Roger Sherman, William Williams, and Oliver Wolcott. [50] Connecticut's legislature authorized the outfitting of six new regiments in 1775, in the wake of the clashes between British regulars and Massachusetts militia at Lexington and Concord. There were some 1,200 Connecticut troops on hand at the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775. [51] In 1775, David Bushnell invented the Turtle which the following year launched the first submarine attack in history, unsuccessfully against a British warship at anchor in New York Harbor. [52]

In 1777, the British got word of Continental Army supplies in Danbury, and they landed an expeditionary force of some 2,000 troops in Westport. This force then marched to Danbury and destroyed homes and much of the depot. Continental Army troops and militia led by General David Wooster and General Benedict Arnold engaged them on their return march at Ridgefield in 1777. [53] For the winter of 1778–79, General George Washington decided to split the Continental Army into three divisions encircling New York City, where British General Sir Henry Clinton had taken up winter quarters. [54] Major General Israel Putnam chose Redding as the winter encampment quarters for some 3,000 regulars and militia under his command. The Redding encampment allowed Putnam's soldiers to guard the replenished supply depot in Danbury and to support any operations along Long Island Sound and the Hudson River Valley. [55] Some of the men were veterans of the winter encampment at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, the previous winter. Soldiers at the Redding camp endured supply shortages, cold temperatures, and significant snow, with some historians dubbing the encampment "Connecticut's Valley Forge". [56]

The state was also the launching site for a number of raids against Long Island orchestrated by Samuel Holden Parsons and Benjamin Tallmadge, [57] and provided men and material for the war effort, especially to Washington's army outside New York City. General William Tryon raided the Connecticut coast in July 1779, focusing on New Haven, Norwalk, and Fairfield. [58] New London and Groton Heights were raided in September 1781 by Benedict Arnold, who had turned traitor to the British. [59]

At the outset of the American Revolution, the Continental Congress assigned Nathaniel Shaw Jr. of New London as its naval agent in charge of recruiting privateers to seize British vessels as opportunities presented, with nearly 50 operating out of the Thames River which eventually drew the reprisal from the British force led by Arnold. [60]

19th century Edit

Early national period and industrial revolution Edit

Connecticut ratified the U.S. Constitution on January 9, 1788, becoming the fifth state. [61]

The state prospered during the era following the American Revolution, as mills and textile factories were built and seaports flourished from trade [62] and fisheries. After Congress established in 1790 the predecessor to the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service that would evolve into the U.S. Coast Guard, President Washington assigned Jonathan Maltbie as one of seven masters to enforce customs regulations, with Maltbie monitoring the southern New England coast with a 48-foot cutter sloop named Argus. [63]

In 1786, Connecticut ceded territory to the U.S. government that became part of the Northwest Territory. The state retained land extending across the northern part of present-day Ohio called the Connecticut Western Reserve. [64] The Western Reserve section was settled largely by people from Connecticut, and they brought Connecticut place names to Ohio.

Connecticut made agreements with Pennsylvania and New York which extinguished the land claims within those states' boundaries and created the Connecticut Panhandle. The state then ceded the Western Reserve in 1800 to the federal government, [64] which brought it to its present boundaries (other than minor adjustments with Massachusetts).

For the first time in 1800, Connecticut shipwrights launched more than 100 vessels in a single year. Over the following decade to the doorstep of renewed hostilities with Britain that sparked the War of 1812, Connecticut boatyards constructed close to 1,000 vessels, the most productive stretch of any decade in the 19th century. [48]

During the war, the British launched raids in Stonington and Essex and blockaded vessels in the Thames River. Derby native Isaac Hull became Connecticut's best-known naval figure to win renown during the conflict, as captain of the USS Constitution.

The British blockade during the War of 1812 hurt exports and bolstered the influence of Federalists who opposed the war. [65] The cessation of imports from Britain stimulated the construction of factories to manufacture textiles and machinery. Connecticut came to be recognized as a major center for manufacturing, due in part to the inventions of Eli Whitney and other early innovators of the Industrial Revolution. [66]

The war led to the development of fast clippers that helped extend the reach of New England merchants to the Pacific and Indian oceans. The first half of the 19th century saw as well a rapid rise in whaling, with New London emerging as one of the New England industry's three biggest home ports after Nantucket and New Bedford. [67]

The state was known for its political conservatism, typified by its Federalist party and the Yale College of Timothy Dwight. The foremost intellectuals were Dwight and Noah Webster, [68] who compiled his great dictionary in New Haven. Religious tensions polarized the state, as the Congregational Church struggled to maintain traditional viewpoints, in alliance with the Federalists. The failure of the Hartford Convention in 1814 hurt the Federalist cause, with the Democratic-Republican Party gaining control in 1817. [69]

Connecticut had been governed under the "Fundamental Orders" since 1639, but the state adopted a new constitution in 1818. [70]

Civil War era Edit

Connecticut manufacturers played a major role in supplying the Union forces with weapons and supplies during the Civil War. The state furnished 55,000 men, formed into thirty full regiments of infantry, including two in the U.S. Colored Troops, with several Connecticut men becoming generals. The Navy attracted 250 officers and 2,100 men, and Glastonbury native Gideon Welles was Secretary of the Navy. James H. Ward of Hartford was the first U.S. Naval Officer killed in the Civil War. [71] Connecticut casualties included 2,088 killed in combat, 2,801 dying from disease, and 689 dying in Confederate prison camps. [72] [73] [74]

A surge of national unity in 1861 brought thousands flocking to the colors from every town and city. However, as the war became a crusade to end slavery, many Democrats (especially Irish Catholics) pulled back. The Democrats took a pro-slavery position and included many Copperheads willing to let the South secede. The intensely fought 1863 election for governor was narrowly won by the Republicans. [75] [76]

Second industrial revolution Edit

Connecticut's extensive industry, dense population, flat terrain, and wealth encouraged the construction of railroads starting in 1839. By 1840, 102 miles (164 km) of line were in operation, growing to 402 miles (647 km) in 1850 and 601 miles (967 km) in 1860. [77]

The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, called the New Haven or "The Consolidated", became the dominant Connecticut railroad company after 1872. J. P. Morgan began financing the major New England railroads in the 1890s, dividing territory so that they would not compete. The New Haven purchased 50 smaller companies, including steamship lines, and built a network of light rails (electrified trolleys) that provided inter-urban transportation for all of southern New England. By 1912, the New Haven operated over 2,000 miles (3,200 km) of track with 120,000 employees. [78]

As steam-powered passenger ships proliferated after the Civil War, Noank would produce the two largest built in Connecticut during the 19th century, with the 332-foot wooden steam paddle wheeler Rhode Island launched in 1882, and the 345-foot paddle wheeler Connecticut seven years later. Connecticut shipyards would launch more than 165 steam-powered vessels in the 19th century. [48]

In 1875, the first telephone exchange in the world was established in New Haven. [79]

20th century Edit

World War I Edit

When World War I broke out in 1914, Connecticut became a major supplier of weaponry to the U.S. military by 1918, 80% of the state's industries were producing goods for the war effort. [80] Remington Arms in Bridgeport produced half the small-arms cartridges used by the U.S. Army, [81] with other major suppliers including Winchester in New Haven and Colt in Hartford. [82]

Connecticut was also an important U.S. Navy supplier, with Electric Boat receiving orders for 85 submarines, [83] Lake Torpedo Boat building more than 20 subs, [84] and the Groton Iron Works building freighters. [85] On June 21, 1916, the Navy made Groton the site for its East Coast submarine base and school.

The state enthusiastically supported the American war effort in 1917 and 1918 with large purchases of war bonds, a further expansion of industry, and an emphasis on increasing food production on the farms. Thousands of state, local, and volunteer groups mobilized for the war effort and were coordinated by the Connecticut State Council of Defense. [86] Manufacturers wrestled with manpower shortages Waterbury's American Brass and Manufacturing Company was running at half capacity, so the federal government agreed to furlough soldiers to work there. [87]

Interwar period Edit

In 1919, J. Henry Roraback started the Connecticut Light & Power Co. [88] which became the state's dominant electric utility. In 1925, Frederick Rentschler spurred the creation of Pratt & Whitney in Hartford to develop engines for aircraft the company became an important military supplier in World War II and one of the three major manufacturers of jet engines in the world. [89]

On September 21, 1938, the most destructive storm in New England history struck eastern Connecticut, killing hundreds of people. [90] The eye of the "Long Island Express" passed just west of New Haven and devastated the Connecticut shoreline between Old Saybrook and Stonington from the full force of wind and waves, even though they had partial protection by Long Island. The hurricane caused extensive damage to infrastructure, homes, and businesses. In New London, a 500-foot (150 m) sailing ship was driven into a warehouse complex, causing a major fire. Heavy rainfall caused the Connecticut River to flood downtown Hartford and East Hartford. An estimated 50,000 trees fell onto roadways. [91]

World War II Edit

The advent of lend-lease in support of Britain helped lift Connecticut from the Great Depression, [92] with the state a major production center for weaponry and supplies used in World War II. Connecticut manufactured 4.1% of total U.S. military armaments produced during the war, ranking ninth among the 48 states, [93] with major factories including Colt [94] for firearms, Pratt & Whitney for aircraft engines, Chance Vought for fighter planes, Hamilton Standard for propellers, [95] and Electric Boat for submarines and PT boats. [96] In Bridgeport, General Electric produced a significant new weapon to combat tanks: the bazooka. [97]

On May 13, 1940, Igor Sikorsky made an untethered flight of the first practical helicopter. [98] The helicopter saw limited use in World War II, but future military production made Sikorsky Aircraft's Stratford plant Connecticut's largest single manufacturing site by the start of the 21st century. [99]

Post-World War II economic expansion Edit

Connecticut lost some wartime factories following the end of hostilities, but the state shared in a general post-war expansion that included the construction of highways [100] and resulting in middle-class growth in suburban areas.

Prescott Bush represented Connecticut in the U.S. Senate from 1952 to 1963 his son George H.W. Bush and grandson George W. Bush both became presidents of the United States. [101] In 1965, Connecticut ratified its current constitution, replacing the document that had served since 1818. [102]

In 1968, commercial operation began for the Connecticut Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in East Haddam in 1970, the Millstone Nuclear Power Station began operations in Waterford. [103] In 1974, Connecticut elected Democratic Governor Ella T. Grasso, who became the first woman in any state to be elected governor without being the wife or widow of a previous governor. [104]

Late 20th century Edit

Connecticut's dependence on the defense industry posed an economic challenge at the end of the Cold War. The resulting budget crisis helped elect Lowell Weicker as governor on a third-party ticket in 1990. Weicker's remedy was a state income tax which proved effective in balancing the budget, but only for the short-term. He did not run for a second term, in part because of this politically unpopular move. [105]

In 1992, initial construction was completed on Foxwoods Casino at the Mashantucket Pequots reservation in eastern Connecticut, which became the largest casino in the Western Hemisphere. Mohegan Sun followed four years later. [106]

Early 21st century Edit

In 2000, presidential candidate Al Gore chose Senator Joe Lieberman as his running mate, marking the first time that a major party presidential ticket included someone of the Jewish faith. [107] Gore and Lieberman fell five votes short of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in the Electoral College. In the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, 65 state residents were killed, mostly Fairfield County residents who were working in the World Trade Center. [108] In 2004, Republican Governor John G. Rowland resigned during a corruption investigation, later pleading guilty to federal charges. [109] [110] Connecticut was hit by three major storms in just over 14 months in 2011 and 2012, with all three causing extensive property damage and electric outages. Hurricane Irene struck Connecticut August 28, and damage totaled $235 million. [111] Two months later, the "Halloween nor'easter" dropped extensive snow onto trees, resulting in snapped branches and trunks that damaged power lines some areas were without electricity for 11 days. [112] Hurricane Sandy had tropical storm-force winds when it reached Connecticut October 29, 2012. [113] Sandy's winds drove storm surges into streets and cut power to 98% of homes and businesses, with more than $360 million in damage. [114]

On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, and then killed himself. [115] The massacre spurred renewed efforts by activists for tighter laws on gun ownership nationally. [116]


Colony Of Connecticut

Robert, Earl of Warwick, was the first proprietary of the territory, under a grant in 1630 from the Plymouth Council. It was next held by Lords Say and Seal, and Lord Brooke, and others, to whom the Earl transferred it to 1631. The grant included that part of New England which extends from the Narragansett river, one hundred and twenty miles on a straight line southwest to the coast, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. This is the original patent of Connecticut.

During this latter year, Mr. Winslow, Governor of Plymouth, at the instance of Wahquimacut, a sachem near the Connecticut, visited the river, and the fertile valley through which it passes, and, after his return, decided to take measures to commence a settlement on its banks.

Meanwhile, the Dutch at New York, who had become acquainted with the river about the same time, intending to anticipate the people of Plymouth, built a fort at Hartford in 1633, and placed two cannon there. In October that year, William Holmes, who commanded the Plymouth Expedition, proceeded in a vessel for Connecticut, bearing a commission from the Governor of Plymouth, to build a fort for themselves. On reaching the Dutch fort, Holmes was forbidden to proceed, at the hazard of being blown to pieces but, being a man of spirit, he coolly informed the garrison that he had a commission from the Governor of Plymouth to go up the river, and that he should go. They poured out their threats, but he proceeded, and landing on the west side of the river, erected his house below the mouth of a tributary river, at Windsor. The house was erected with the utmost dispatch, and fortified with palisades. The Dutch, considering Holmes and his men intruders, sent, the next year, a band of seventy men to drive them from the country but finding them strongly posted, they did not proceed.

In the autumn of 1635, a company, consisting of sixty men, women and children, from the settlements of Newtown and Watertown, in Massachusetts, commenced their journey through the wilderness to the Connecticut River. On their arrival, they settled at Windsor, Wethersfield, and Hartford. They commenced their journey on October 25th but, due to the wilderness spread before them being filled with swamps, rivers, hills, and mountains, they took a great deal of time passing the rivers, and in getting their cattle over them, that, after all their exertions, winter came upon them before they were completely prepared.

By November 25th, the Connecticut River was frozen over, the snow was deep, and the season so tempestuous, that a considerable number of the cattle driven from Massachusetts could not be brought across the river, and a considerable number perished. The loss of the Windsor settlers, in cattle, was estimated at almost two hundred pounds sterling in value. The sufferings of the people for want of food during the winter, were often severe. After all the help they were able to obtain from hunting and the Indians, they were forced to subsist on only acorns, malt, and grains.

During the same month in which the emigrants commenced their journey to Connecticut, John Winthrop, son of the Governor of Massachusetts, arrived at Boston with a commission as Governor of Connecticut, under Lords Say and Seal, and Lord Brook, the proprietors, and with authority to erect a fort at the mouth of the Connecticut River. Accordingly, soon after his arrival, he dispatched a bark of thirty tons, with twenty men, to take possession of the Connecticut River, and to build a fort at its mouth. This was accordingly erected, and called Saybrook Fort, as the settlement was called Saybrook Colony, and which continued independent until 1644. A few days after their arrival, a Dutch vessel from New Netherlands (New York) appeared, to take possession of the river but, as the English had already mounted two cannon, their landing was prevented.

The next June, 1636, the Reverend Messrs. Hooker and Stone, with a number of settlers from Dorchester and Watertown, moved to Connecticut. With no guide but a compass, they made their way one hundred miles, over mountains and through swamps and rivers. Their journey, which was on foot, lasted a fortnight, during which they lived upon the milk of their cows. They drove one hundred and sixty cattle. This party chiefly settled at Hartford. Mr. Hooker and Mr. Stone became the pastors of the church in that place, and were both eminent men and ministers.

The year 1637 is remarkable in the history of Connecticut, for a war with the Pequots, a tribe of Indians, whose principal settlement was in the present town of Groton. Prior to this time, the Pequots had frequently annoyed the infant colony, and in several instances had killed some of its inhabitants. In March of this year, the commander of Saybrook Fort, with twelve men, was attacked by them, and three of his party killed. In April, another portion of this tribe assaulted the people of Wethersfield, as they were going to labor in their fields, and killed six men and three women. Two girls were taken captive by them, and twenty cows were killed. In this perilous state of the colony, a court was summoned at Hartford, on May 11th. After mature deliberation, it was determined that war should be commenced against the Pequots. Ninety men, nearly half the able men of the colony, were ordered to be raised forty-two from Hartford, thirty from Windsor, and eighteen from Wethersfield.

With these troops, together with seventy River and Mohegan Indians, Captain John Mason, to whom the command of the expedition was given, sailed down the Connecticut River to Saybrook. Here a plan of operations was formed, and agreeably to which, on June 5th, about the dawn of day, Captain Mason surprised one of the principal forts of the enemy, in a place called Mystic, and now the present town of Stonington. On their near approach to the fort, a dog barked, and an Indian, now discovering them, cried out, 'Oh wanux! Oh wanux!,' or, Englishmen! Englishmen!

The troops instantly pressed forward and fired. The destruction of the enemy soon became terrible but they rallied at length, and made a brave resistance. After a severe and protracted conflict, Captain Mason and his troops being nearly exhausted, and victory still doubtful, he cried out to his men, 'We must burn them!' At the same instant, seizing a firebrand, he applied it to a wigwam. The flames spread rapidly on every side and as the sun rose upon the scene, it showed the work of destruction to be complete. Seventy wigwams were in ruins, and between five and six hundred Indians lay bleeding on the ground, or smoldering in the ashes. [This event later became known as the Mystic Indian Massacre.]

But, though the victory was complete, the troops were now in great distress. Besides two killed, sixteen of their number were wounded. Their surgeon, medicines and provisions, were upon some vessels, on their way to Pequot harbor, now New London. While consulting what should be done in this emergency, how great was their joy to discern their vessels were sailing directly towards the harbor, under a prosperous wind! And soon after, a detachment of nearly two hundred men from Massachusetts and Plymouth, arrived to assist in prosecuting the war.

Sassacus, the great sachem of the Pequots, and his warriors, were so appalled at the destruction of their fort, that they fled towards the Hudson River. The troops pursued them as far as a great swamp in Fairfield, where another action took place, in which the Indians were entirely vanquished. This was followed by a treaty with the remaining Pequots, about two hundred in number, agreeably to which they were divided among the Narragansetts and Mohegans. Thus terminated a conflict, which, for a time, was eminently distressing to the colonies. This event of peace was celebrated, throughout New England, by a day of thanksgiving and praise.

During the expedition against the Pequots, the English became acquainted with Quinipiac, or New Haven and the next year, in 1638, the settlement of that town was commenced. This, and the adjoining towns, soon after settled, were distinguished by the name of Colony of New Haven.

Among the founders of this colony, which was the fourth in New England, was Mr. John Davenport, for some time a distinguished minister in London. To avoid the indignation of the persecuting Archbishop Laud, he fled, in 1633, to Holland. Hearing, while in exile, of the prosperity of the New England settlements, he planned a removal to America. On his return to England, Mr. Theophilus Eaton, an eminent merchant in London, with Mr. Hopkins, afterwards Governor of Connecticut, and several others, determined to accompany him. They arrived in Boston in June, 1637.

Though the most advantageous offer were made by the government of Massachusetts, to choose any place within their jurisdiction, they preferred a place without the limits of the existing colonies. Accordingly, they fixed upon New Haven as the place of their: future residence and on the 28th of April they kept their first Sabbath in the place, under, a large oak tree, where Mr. Davenport preached to them.

The following year, on January 24th 1639, the three towns on the Connecticut River, Windsor, Hartford, and Wethersfield, finding themselves outside the limits of the Massachusetts patent, assembled their freemen at Hartford, and formed themselves into a distinct commonwealth, and adopted a constitution. This constitution, which has been much admired, and which,. for more than a century and a half, underwent little alteration, ordained that there should annually be two general assemblies one in April, and the other in September. In April, the officers of government were to be elected by the freemen, and to consist of a governor, deputy-governor, and five or six assistants. The towns were to send deputies to the general assemblies. Under this constitution, the first governor was John Haynes, and Roger Ludlow the first deputy-governor.

The example of the colony of Connecticut, in forming a constitution, was followed, the next June, by the Colony of New Haven. The planters assembled in a large barn. Among other rules, it was established that none but church members should vote, or be elected to office that all the freemen of the colony should annually assemble and elect its officers and that the word of God should be the only rule for ordering the affairs of the commonwealth.

In October following, the government was organized, when Mr. Eaton was chosen governor. To this office he was annually elected until his death in 1657. No other of the New England colonies was so much distinguished for good order and tranquility as the colony of New Haven. Her principal men were eminent for their wisdom and integrity, and directed the affairs of the colony with so much prudence, that she was seldom disturbed by divisions within, or by aggressions from the Indians from without. Having been bred to mercantile employments, the first settlers belonging to this colony were inclined to engage in commercial pursuits but in these they sustained several severe losses, and, among those, a new ship of one hundred and fifty tons was lost at sea in 1647, and which was freighted with a valuable cargo, and with seamen and passengers from many of the best families in the colony aboard. This loss discouraged, for a time, their commercial pursuits, and engaged their attention more particularly in the employments of agriculture.

The Dutch at New Netherlands early proved themselves troublesome neighbors to the Connecticut Colonies. Besides claiming the soil as far east as the Connecticut River, they plundered the property of settlers adjoining their territory, instigated the Indians to hostilities, supplied them with arms, and otherwise disturbed their pence. These were among the causes which induced these colonies to Unite with the other New England colonies in the memorable confederacyof 1643.

In 1644, the little colony of Saybrook, which until now had been independent, was united with Connecticut she having purchased the soil and jurisdiction of George Fenwick, one of the proprietors, for about two thousand pounds.

In 1650, Governor Stuyvesant concluded a treaty of amity and partition, at Hartford, between the Dutch and English. By this treaty the former relinquished all claim to the territory, except the land which they then occupied. A divisional line was also established, and pledges exchanged to abide in peace.

The harmony of the two people, however, was not of long duration. A war broke out in 1652 between England and Holland, taking advantage of which, and notwithstanding his pledge, Stuyvesant, it was understood, was plotting to overthrow the English. Ninigret, the famous sachem of. the Narragansetts, and the wily and implacable enemy of the colonies, spent the winter of 1652-3 in New York with the Dutch governor. The colonies became alarmed.

A meeting of the commissioners was convened, and a majority decided upon war against the Dutch but, Massachusetts, refusing to furnish her quota, had prevented hostilities. Connecticut and New Haven, indignant at the course pursued by Massachusetts, applied to Cromwell for aid, then Protector of England, and, in 1654, four or five ships were dispatched to reduce the Dutch. Peace, however, was concluded between Holland and England before the fleet arrived, During this year the Legislature of Connecticut sequestered the Dutch houses, land, and property of all kinds, at Hartford, at which time the latter prosecuted no further claims in New England.

Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660, after which, Connecticut, expressing her loyalty, applied for a charter. It was in the king's heart to deny her request but, providentially, as it were, her agent, Governor Winthrop, went about to urge her petition, and presented to the Monarch a ring which had belonged to Charles I, and by him had been given to his grandfather. This act of courtesy so won the heart of the king, that he not only gave a liberal charter to the colony, but confirmed the very constitution which the people had adopted. The date of this charter was May 30th, I662. Under this the people of Connecticut lived and flourished until the adoption of the present constitution in 1818, for a period of one hundred and fifty-six years.

This charter included New Haven, and most of the territory of Rhode Island. But the former utterly refused to be united, and this opposition persisted until 1665, when a reluctant consent was obtained, and the two were made one. In 1663, Charles conferred a charter on Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, which, however, as it included a portion of territory already granted to Connecticut, laid the foundation for a controversy between the two colonies, which lasted nearly sixty years.

From the calamities of King Philip's War, in 1675, involving the New England Colonies, Connecticut was comparatively exempted yet, she promptly responded to demands made upon her for aid in that dark period of New England history. Her captains were brave, and her soldiers unyielding, in the terrible swamp-fight with the Narragansetts, on December 29th 1675. Connecticut's troops suffered more than those of either Massachusetts or Plymouth, and were compelled to return home.

On December 30th 1686, Sir Edmund Andros, 'glittering in scarlet and lace,' landed at Boston, as Governor of all New England. In the autumn of 1687, Andros, attended by some of his council, and a guard of sixty troops, went to Hartford, and entering the House of Assembly, then in session, demanded the charter of Connecticut, and declared the colonial government be dissolved. Reluctant to surrender the charter, the assembly protracted its debates until evening, when the charter was brought in and laid on the table. Upon a pre-concerted signal, the lights were at once extinguished, and a Captain Wadsworth, seized the charter, and hastened it away, under cover of night, and secreted it in the hollow of an oak. [This tree eventually became known as the Charter Oak, and a bridge across the Connecticut River is named for it at Hartford.] The candles, which bad been extinguished, were soon re-lighted, without disorder but the charter had disappeared. Sir Edmund Andros, however, assumed the government, which was administered in his name, until the dethronement of James II, in 1689, and the elevation of the Prince of Orange, as William III.

On this event, Connecticut, spurning the government which Andros had appointed, and 'which,' an 1800s historian says, 'they had always feared it was a sin to obey,' The secreted charter was taken from its hiding place, May 19th, 'discolored, but not effaced.' The assembly was convened, and the records of the colony were once more opened.

Not long after, another encroachment upon the rights of the colony was attempted and nobly resisted. In 1692, Colonel Fletcher was appointed Governor of New York, with a commission to take command of the militia of Connecticut. As this was a power which the charter had reserved to the colony, the demand of the colonel was denied. In the autumn of 1693, Fletcher went to Hartford, intending to enforce his commission. The legislature was in session. The demand was repeated, and refused. The Hartford companies were then ordered to assemble, before which Fletcher directed his commission to be read.

But presently nothing could be heard but the noise of the drums, which Captain Wadsworth, the senior officer of the companies, commanded to be beaten. 'Silence!' exclaimed Fletcher, and Wadsworth's aid exclaimed, 'Drum, drum, I say!' Fletcher repeated, 'Silence!' and Wadsworth cried, 'Drum, drum!' Wadsworth turned to Fletcher, upon whom his eyes glared with fire and indignation, adding, 'Sir, if I am interrupted again, I will make the sun shine through you in a moment!' This was enough. The crest of the haughty colonel instantly fell, and soon after he departed for New York. On a representation of the affair to the king, he decided that the command of the militia, in time of peace, should be with the governor but, in case of war, a determinate number should be placed under the orders of Fletcher.

Source: A History of the United States, by Charles A. Goodrich, 1857


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