Monthly Archives: June 2014

Barnum and Bridgeport to celebrate the great showman’s 204th birthday

Barnum vintage postage stamp

The celebration and stamp issuance by the U.S. Postal Service will take place at the Barnum Museum in the town where he once served as mayor.

Connecticut’s own, P.T. Barnum was a legendary 19th century promoter and showman who created “The Greatest Show on Earth,” a circus that captivated audiences here and abroad. 

His birthday party takes place July 2nd (three days before his actual birthday) at the museum dedicated to his life and times and the city where he lived and is buried. 

Continuing a long tradition, Luigi’s Italian Pastry in Bridgeport will be providing a birthday cake for the guests. The events all take place at 820 Main Street in Bridgeport.

Barnum entered the circus business late in life, at 61, but he took it by storm, thrilling audiences at home and abroad.

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The Barnum Museum  

www.barnum-museum.org

820 Main Street | Bridgeport, CT 06604
phone: 203-331-1104
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 Did you know that Amelia Earhart had a Connecticut connection?

 

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Six years before she disappeared while flying across the Pacific Ocean, Amelia Earhart was married to publisher George Putnam at the home of his mother in Noank, a seacoast village more known for shipbuilding than aviation in southeastern Connecticut.

Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, and the only person to fly across both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, was one of our nation’s aviation pioneers, a thrill-seeking adventurer who disappeared while trying to circumnavigate the globe from the equator.

The Noank Historical Society has kept her memory alive with a plaque, noting her Connecticut connection. The Society also operates two museum sites that focuses on its ties to the sea, which were substantial, during the 19th century era of wooden shipbuilding.

 

 

 

Historic voyage of the Charles W. Morgan is underway

Morgan underway

The historic voyage of the Charles W. Morgan got underway at 6:30 a.m. Sunday June 15, 2014) from the old whaling port of New London.

Before becoming a popular exhibit on the Mystic Seaport’s waterfront in 1941, Morgan had a successful career on the world’s oceans, making 37 voyages over nearly eight decades, from 1841 to 1920.

In recent years, the world’s last wooden whale ship and the oldest U.S. commercial vessel afloat, has undergone an unprecedented restoration process at the Mystic Seaport in order to make this 38th voyage.

The Seaport has provided a way to chart her progress as she makes her way around some of New England’s old whaling ports.  Click here

 

 

Free museum admission to military members and their families is one way of saying Thank You

Submarine Force Museum

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Connecticut takes pride in its past and a significant part of that involves our military history, beginning with the Revolutionary War and continuing into the Cold War.

We are home to the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London and we proudly host our nation’s oldest submarine base across the Thames River in Groton. The base is not far from the shipyard where the world’s first nuclear submarine was built and is today part of a major naval history museum. And soon we will have the national Coast Guard Museum here.

It comes as no surprise, therefore, that more than 40 Blue Star Museums in Connecticut are participating in a national program to provide free admission to military families through Labor Day.

Additional details and a list of participating museums in Connecticut and throughout the nation may be found here.

 

(Because they don’t charge an admission fee throughout the year, you won’t find two Connecticut museums on the list:  the Submarine Force Museum: Home of Historic Ship Nautilus and the Coast Guard museum at the Academy.)

 

 

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John Winthrop Jr. may have founded New London but he earned his place in history on a broader stage

John Winthrop "The Younger"

John Winthrop “The Younger”

Reminders of John Winthrop Jr. are sprinkled around modern-day New London, the city at the mouth of the Thames River which he established as an English settlement in 1646.

There’s the water-powered Old Town Mill, one of New England’s earliest, that is open by special appointment.  The grounds are open throughout the year and in season special activities are scheduled there.

There’s the towering bronze likeness perched atop a suitably inscribed granite pedestal on Bulkeley Place just off Hempstead Street. There’s also a boulevard and a school named in his honor.

Winthrop, referred to as “The Younger,” to avoid confusion with his father, also named John, who was the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  The Younger would also serve as an early governor, but in Connecticut. He also would contribute to society mightily in other ways.

It could be argued that Winthrop’s work in England to obtain a royal charter freed the colony from the awkward position of not having direct permission from the Crown to exist was the bedrock act that allowed Connecticut to develop and eventually prosper as it did.

He was also a man of science, someone the historian Walter Woodward termed “a Christian alchemist,” in his insightful book Prospero’s America.

In addition to his governmental leadership, Winthrop was a serious chemist and a practical scientist, and an advocate of religious toleration. He was also a popular physician who treated an average of 12 patients daily by traveling around the colony. Woodward, the historian, writes that he may have treated up to half the population of colonial Connecticut as a doctor who made house calls.

The Connecticut city he founded has grown and changed significantly since the days of its founder, but John Winthrop, “The Younger” is still remembered there.