Archaeologists working at Wethersfield's Webb-Dean-Stevens Museum recently found something completely unexpected - signs of a 17th century palisade adjacent to the historic house where General Washington met with French Count Rochambeau to plan the campaign that won the American Revolution. Along with the soil stain that showed there was a defensive wall, they also found artifacts dating to the time of the 1637 Pequot War, which Connecticut declared after a Wangunk-Pequot attack on Wethersfield that left 9 people dead. Is this fort - as archeologist Ross Harper posits - possibly Connecticut's Jamestown?
Join Wethersfield residents at the Webb-Deane Stevens museum as the archaeologists provide a surface-to-paydirt - 20th to 17th century - description of what they've found so far.
In this special 3 Part series on Witch-Hunting in Connecticut, we investigate the surprising story of witchcraft in colonial Connecticut. Why did Connecticut execute New England's 1st witch? Why was it early New England's fiercest prosecutor of witches (Who knew?) And how did European witch-hunting affect the same practice in New England? We cover all this and more in an exciting three-cast.
Episode one talks about the European witchcraft tradition from witch Connecticut's witch hunts were derived.
In part 3 of our Special Witch-Hunting in Connecticut series, Brenda Miller, Executive Director of the Hartford History Center and I interview historian Richard Ross about his new book, Before Salem: Witch- the Connecticut River Valley 1647-1663. Ross's historical spadework provides many new insights into one of Connecticut's most important, and least well known, events.
Listen as we take a Connecticut River Museum sunset excursion about the Onrust, a replica of the first European boat to enter the Connecticut, with a teller of tall tales and some very talented young artists - in search of a few million swallows.
You can travel on the Onrust too. After you listen, we'll bet you'll want to! View Images from our excursion on the Onrust
Photo Courtesy of Donald Rogers
Hear three extraordinary World War I reenactors talk about what they do, why they do it, and what it all means. You'll go for a ride in a WWI ambulance, too. And, you'll meet Gayle Hall, who brought photos of her grandfather and his World War I medals to share with the State Library's NEH funded World War I digitization project.
View some great images, too, many courtesy of historian/photographer Donald Rogers, from the recent World War I weekend at the historic Waldo House in Scotland, CT (where we recorded these interviews) on the Connecticut State Historian Facebook Page.
Rules 10 through 20 of P. T. Barnum's The Art of Money Getting or Golden Rules for Making Money are Barnum at his best: wise, funny, clear and wonderfully useful still today. Hear how America's first media mega-mogul and 2nd ever millionaire made his millions - the honest way. Good advice and good history. Give a listen.
Ready to ride the road to riches?
In part 2 of THE ART OF MONEY GETTING, you'll hear America's 2nd millionaire and first entertainment mega-mogul, P T Barnum, describe the first 10 rules for succeeding in business, and life. Written more than 150 years ago, the advice is as good today as int was back then. And it's written in Barnum's wise, witty, and of course, truly entertaining, style.
Between each rule is an excerpt of Barnum-era music that was recorded on Edison cylinders, the first ever recorded music. Gathered from the digital cylinder audio archives at the University of California at Santa Barbara, they are a delightful comic foray into the world Barnum helped create.
This month, the "Greatest Show on Earth" folds its tent after a run of 146 years. To commemorate, we're honoring "The Greatest Showman on Earth", P T Barnum, with a look back at his life, and a full reading of his still so useful book, THE ART OF MONEY GETTING." His 20 rules for achieving success and attaining wealth are still as sound as when he first wrote them, back in 1858. And no wonder, because as Kathy Maher, Executive Director of the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport tells Barnum was not only America's first entertainment mega-mogul, he was the nation's second millionaire. Consider it a get rich quick theme in three parts, yours for free on Grating the Nutmeg.
Museum of Connecticut History curator Dave Corrigan tells the forgotten story of the Connecticut National Guard’s service on the Mexican border in 1916—the first test of these young soldiers in a hostile environment before they shipped out to France six months later.
Part of our Commemorating World War I coverage. Recorded February 14, 2017 at the University of Hartford, part of the three-part Presidents’ College Lecture Series “Connecticans in the American West,” organized in collaboration with Connecticut Explored’s Winter 2016-2017 issue on that theme. Produced by Elizabeth Normen and Patrick O'Sullivan.
Watch for the other two lectures in that series in future episodes of Grating the Nutmeg.
This spring, Americans will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the United States entry into World War I. This year and next, events around the state will explore and remember Connecticut's special role as the "Arsenal of the Nation" in the conflict once called "the war to end all wars."
To help whet your appetite for some of the surprising stories ahead, state historian Walt Woodward retells the little known tale of the World War I "German invasion of Connecticut" as recorded by war correspondent Cleveland Moffatt in 1915. It's home front story to end all home front stories, that was serialized in the pages of the national magazine McClure's in 1915, and released in book form as The Conquest of America in 1916.
KEEP TRACK OF ALL EVENTS NEAR YOU COMMEMORATING CONNECTICUT AND THE GREAT WAR AT THE CONNECTICUT IN WORLD WAR I WEBSITE.
John Dempsey (1961-1971) was one of the most popular – and effective - governors Connecticut ever had.He was also the only immigrant governor of Connecticut since the colonial era, having been born in Cahir, Ireland in 1916. During his administration Connecticut - both state and government – was completely transformed, from one of the most tight-fisted American states to one of the most socially responsible. This – our first combined video AND audio Grating the Nutmeg podcast – describes Dempsey's remarkable achievements, and reveals how both his character and his policies were shaped by his boyhood in Cahir, Ireland.
TO WATCH THE VIDEO VERSION OF THIS PODCAST, CLICK THIS LINK:
Hear about Ruth Duncan’s shocking discovery of her great great grandfather’s connection to the notorious pirate William Gibbs and about who’s clamored to get into—and escape from—Old New-Gate Prison over the last 240 years. After six years of a stabilization project, the popular historic site is on the verge of reopening to the public with an open house on October 22, 2016.
In our 17th episode, Connecticut Explored's Elizabeth Normen and Jennifer LaRue explore stories from the the Fall 2016 issue on the theme of Crime and Punishment in Connecticut.
In "The Pirate's Pericardium," you'll hear how the membrane surrounding a notorious pirate's heart was made into a tobacco pouch and ultimately made its way onto the archives of the Greenwich Historical Society. Ruth Duncan and archivist Christopher Shields of the Greenwich Historical Society recount this fascinating story.
Next comes the tale one of the state's most popular tourist attractions--Old New-Gate Prison. Jack Shannahan, Sophie Huget, and state representative Tami Zawistowski tell this captivating story.
Photo: Ruth Duncan with the human pericardium/tobacco pouch, possibly of the notorious Gibbs the Pirate.
Some people say that young people these days just aren't that interested in history museums. Don't tell that to the Noah Webster House in West Hartford, which has found a way to attract hundreds of twenty-and-thirty-somethings to drink in history at the birthplace of the man who helped define early America. Hear all about it in “Drinking in History with Noah Webster." See pictures on the Connecticut State Historian Facebook page.
Was the oldest person executed under Connecticut's now-abolished capital punishment law given a fair trial? Where did an enterprising young man find the best law school in the early years of the new nation? (hint: it wasn't New Haven)
Find out about these and others stories about crime and punishment in Connecticut from the new Fall 2016 issue of Connecticut Explored, the magazine of Connecticut history.
Guests: Johnna Kaplan, author of "The Mysterious Case of Gershom Marx," and Cathy Fields, executive director of the Litchfield Historical Society: Hosts: Elizabeth Normen and Jennifer LaRue
What's the history of Bradley International Airport and why is it named for someone from Oklahoma? Is it time to change the name? On the 75th anniversary of Bradley Field (almost to the day) CT Explored's Elizabeth Normen talks with Jerry Roberts of the New England Air Museum about the past, present, and future of Connecticut's international airport and air museum.
Take an earwitness journey to the 1659 John Hollister homesite on the Connecticut River in ancient Wethersfield, and join the archaeologists, graduate students, and volunteers from many walks of life as they uncover one of the richest early colonial sites ever found in Connecticut.
State historian Walter Woodward brings you with him on the last day of the dig as for a first hand account of what they're finding at this amazing site, and what it means for understanding our early history. Hear from State archeologist Brian Jones, Lori Kissel, Scot Brady, Glenda Rose, Dick Hughes, Fiona Jones, Mandy Ranslow (president of FOSA - Friends of the Office of State Archaeology) and others about their epic archeological adventure.
You'll also find companion photographs of the site at the Connecticut State Historian's Facebook page (please like) and the Connecticut Explored website ctexplored.org (please subscribe to the magazine).
The Great Find!
A pair of 18th century portraits comes up for auction. Should the Connecticut Historical Society make a bid? This is a behind-the-scenes story in more ways than one! Host: Elizabeth Normen, CT Explored. Featuring Ilene Frank, Connecticut Historical Society
Pleasant Valley Drive-In
Did you go to the drive-in movies when you were a kid? You still can! Join Jennifer LaRue for another segment inspired by the "Small Towns, BIG Stories" theme of the Summer 2016 issue of Connecticut Explored.
Growing Up in Connecticut
Are you a millennial, Gen Xer, Baby Boomer, or member of the Silent Generation? Relive your childhood with the Connecticut Historical Society's special exhibition "Growing Up in Connecticut." (picture, left) Host: Elizabeth Normen, CT Explored. Featuring Ben Gammell, Connecticut Historical Society
Most people know the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum as the place where George Washington and French comte de Rochambeau planned the campaign that won the American victory in the Revolutionary War. This year, a new museum exhibit commemorates another important event, one that happened there 100 years ago in 1916. That's when the minister, photographer, antiques expert, and marketing entrepreneur Wallace Nutting made Webb-Deane-Stevens one of the very first historic house museums in America. Museum Executive Director Charles Lyle tells us the amazing story about an amazing man who was the Martha Stewart of his generation and more, in episode 11 of Grating the Nutmeg.
More stories from "Small Towns, Big Stories," the summer 2016 issue of Connecticut Explored .
Poetry and Patriots in Stonington
A visit to an unexpected listing on the National Register of Historic Places: poet James Merrill's fourth-floor walk-up pied-a-terre in Stonington. Special guest poet-in-residence Noah Warren reads from Merrill's work and reveals how this place inspired both his and Merrill's poetry. And Beth Moore of the Stonington Historical Society gives us a highlights tour of historic sites in Stonington.
Shack Attack: Summer Eats in Connecticut
Find out where to get great clams, hot dogs, and ice cream at Connecticut's most iconic roadside food shacks.
This year, Lyman Orchards in Middlefield celebrates its 275th anniversary. State historian Walt Woodward sat down with John Lyman III to talk about the history of the 12th oldest family business in America, which also happens to be one of New England's most popular agri-tourism destinations.
Then, listen to What's It All About – Summer Edition, a lively discussion with Bill Hosley and Betsy Fox about their favorite small towns with BIG stories from the summer issue of Connecticut Explored.
What if you could tour writer Mark Twain's house with the maid, getting the juicy inside story? Join Connecticut Explored editor Jennifer LaRue as she tags along on one of the Mark Twain House's new living history tours. Plus learn about the living history tour offered at the Windsor Historical Society. Then publisher Elizabeth Normen smells the lilacs in the Florence Griswold Museum's gardens and takes you through their current exhibition celebrating executive director Jeffrey Anderson's 40th anniversary.
In 1954, 32-year-old Al Marder was arrested in New Haven along with several others under the Smith Act for allegedly working to overthrow the US government. After a lengthy trial, during which he was defended by the celebrated civil rights lawyer Catherine Roraback, he was acquitted. Hear Al tell in his own words what he was fighting for and what it feels like when the full power of the state, federal, and local government is aimed at you. Recorded at New Haven Museum April 14, 2016
In 1954, 32-year-old Al MArder was arrested in New Haven along with several others under the Smith Act for allegedly working to overthrow the US government. After a lengthy trial, during which he was defended by the celebrated civil rights lawyer Catherine Roraback, he was acquitted. Hear Al tell in his own words what he was fighting for and what it feels like when the full power of the state, federal, and local government is aimed at you. This is the full length interview, recorded at the New Haven Museum on April 14, 2016.
Just in time for St. Paddy's Day, Jamie Eves of the Windham Textile and History Museum in Willimantic talks to State Historian Walt Woodward about their new exhibit "Irish Eyes: The Irish Experience in a Connecticut Mill Town.
Then, in "What's It All About?", the Connecticut Explored editorial team discusses the articles in the Spring 2016 issue focused on civic engagement including Mary Donohue on religious equality for Jews and Dave Corrigan on the income tax protest of 1991. And publisher Elizabeth Normen interviews Melanie Anderson Bourbeau, curator of Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, about the suffrage journey of Hill-Stead's architect and last resident Theodate Pope Riddle.
It's history worth listening to, and talking about – on Episode 6 of Grating the Nutmeg.
This podcast was inspired by Connecticut Captured: A 21st Century Look at an American Classic, on view at the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford through March 12. This exhibit, by acclaimed visual documentarian Carol M. Highsmith, is an effort to capture in images the character of Connecticut in the 21st century.
State Historian Walter Woodward worked with Carol Highsmith on this project, and when the exhibit opened, he and his musical group The Band of Steady Habits gave a musical lecturetitled "What Makes Connecticut Conecticut" Someone recorded the talk, and though the sound isn't perfect, we thought you might find this account of Connecticut's character worth a listen.