Connecticut is the fifth state of the USA. It is bordered by New York (state) on the west, Massachusetts on the north, Rhode Island on the east, and the Long Island Sound (an estuary) on the south.
Connecticut is one of the smaller states, but it nevertheless boasts a variation of landscape as well as a rich history and culture. Connecticut holds a few but crucial and important “firsts” in the country and in the world, including the first written constitution via the Fundamental Orders of 1638/1639. That’s why it’s nicknamed “The Constitution State.” It is also dubbed “The Nutmeg State” due to the old practice of Connecticut peddlers selling nutmeg. After you have read this gallery, you will realize how awesome Connecticut is — you may call it the “land of firsts” which this state should rightly deserve!
According to state records, copper was discovered in 1705 at this very site on the western part of Talcott Mountain, which was then part of Simsbury, a suburban town in Connecticut. Two years after the discovery, a mine began its operations. Connecticut, then an English colony, converted one of the mine’s tunnels into a prison during the 1770s, and by 1790 it became a state prison. By the way, the prison was named after the London Newgate Prison. However, by the 1860s, the site had ceased to function as a prison and become instead a tourist attraction.
It is now the Old New-Gate Prison & Copper Mine Archaeological Preserve, which is currently operated by the state of Connecticut. As of 2014, the former prison is closed for renovation.
The Hartford Courant is still Connecticut’s largest daily newspaper as well. It was founded on October 29, 1764 by Thomas Green.
The Hartford Courant has an average circulation of 128,302 (weekdays and Saturdays) and 185,757 (Sundays).
Local blast furnace owner and operator Richard Smith began the collection when he spent the community contributions on 200 books in London. Book lovers could borrow and return books on the third Monday of every third month. Of course, penalties in the form of fees would be imposed in case any books were lost or damaged. One of the most common damages were “greasing” by wax dripped from the candles by which the library patrons read.
The Scoville Memorial Library is located in the town of Salisbury, Connecticut.
Mary Dixon Kies (1752-1837) was indeed the first woman in the US to be granted with a patent. Her invention of weaving straw with silk or thread, couldn’t have arrived at a better moment because during that time the U.S. had stopped importing materials and goods from Europe. Napoleon and France were at war with other European countries, and one way he tried to win was to block trade from his enemies in an effort to damage their economies. America did not want to get involved with the conflict. Since stopping their trade with Europe, the U.S. was looking for national industries to make up for the lost European goods.
And Kies’ invention proved timely and valuable in manufacturing cost-effective bonnets. Women during that era used these bonnets to protect themselves from the sun and other elements while they were working in the field.
Since telephone was still then a novel gizmo, owning one was considered a privilege for the few who could afford it. The company’s telephone book was the first not only in the U.S. but in the whole world as well.
The New Haven District Company, which started its operations in January 1878, is the present-day South New England Telephone.
Needless to say, that telephone exchange in New Haven, Connecticut was the first commercial telephone exchange in the world. It was also where the first manual switchboard was installed.
The 18th Amendment, aka Prohibition, effectively imposed a ban on alcoholic beverages in the U.S. The Congress voted for the Prohibition in 1917. The amendment garnered enough votes in both houses of Congress to pass.
Even then, a lot of people seemed confident that this amendment would not be ratified by the 36 states in the limited period of seven years. But much to everyone’s surprise, the amendment was OK’d in a mere 13 months, when Nebraska became the 36th state to ratify it. A total of 46 states voted in favor of the amendment; only Connecticut and Rhode Island rejected it (there were only 48 states during that time).
Connecticut enacted the first automobile law in the United States on May 21, 1901. The speed limit was set at 12 mph.
Another first from Connecticut! That milestone happened on March 1, 1937.
Before Connecticut accomplished that feat, earlier license plate colors were changed every year and as a result, drivers had to change their license plates annually. Connecticut changed that by issuing a silver and black aluminum plate with a slot for a separate tab which indicated the year of the car’s registration. Unlike the rest of the plate, the tab was made of a brittle, thin piece of metal. If the tab was removed, it would easily break, thus rendering the plate unfeasible to be transferred to another car.
The USS Nautilus (SSN-71) was the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine. It also became the first vessel to complete an underwater voyage to the North Pole in August 1958.
The submarine was built in 1954 in the town of Groton, Connecticut, where it has been preserved as a museum for anything about submarines.
Ella T. Grasso (1919-1981), a member of the Democratic Party, was the first female to be elected as the 83rd governor of Connecticut “in her own right.” All three previous women governors who preceded Grasso had been married to their husbands who also served as governors of their respective states before. This made Graso the first woman elected to this office.
It seems Connecticut never continues to have it’s “first” accomplishments! Well, it was way back on February 5, 1644 that Connecticut (which was still then an English colony), enacted the first-ever cattle branding law. This act required all livestock owners to brand or ear-mark not only their pigs but also sheep and cattle. The animals had to be over six months of age by May 1644, as well as to register their marks in the town brochure.
Connecticut has about 144 newspapers whose publications occur daily, weekly, or monthly. That’s a lot of periodicals for a small state!
The Naugatuck Valley in Connecticut earned considerable recognition during the 19th century as the center of brass production in the U.S. Brass manufacturers went on to establish a trade association, the American Brass Association, in 1853 — the first in the US.
The World Wrestling Entertainment was founded in Stamford, Connecticut in 1980 by wrestling promoter (and sometimes pro wrestler) Vince McMahon and his wife Linda. Earlier named as Titan Corporation, the company formed a separate company which by then was renamed as World Wrestling Federation in 1998. The following year it was named yet again as World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. before changing to its present label World Wresting Entertainment, Inc. The company’s headquarters are still based in Stamford.