CTExplored/Inbox

Summer in the City

Welcome to the latest issue of CTExplored/Inbox, your bi-weekly newsletter from Connecticut Explored. 

Every other week, we share that latest stories, the newest Grating the Nutmeg podcast, programs and exhibitions from our partners to see/watch this month, and more! 

Share it with friends and encourage them to sign up (it’s free)! (We hope you love it, but you always have the option to unsubscribe at the bottom of the e-mail.)


Sponsored Post

Visit Litchfield, Connecticut from the comfort of your home with the new Tapping Reeve House Virtual Tour. This immersive experience takes visitors on a journey into the life of a student arriving in Litchfield to study at one of the town’s two important schools, The Litchfield Law School and the Litchfield Female Academy. Explore the legacy of America’s First Law School and its students, including Roger Sherman Baldwin and the infamous Aaron Burr. This project is made possible by funding from Connecticut Humanities. Start your tour today by visiting www.litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org/museums/virtualtour/


Summer Issue is Here!

The new summer issue celebrates “City, Village, Neighborhood — Home,” those places we live in and love. We’re featuring stories from Chester to (the lost village of) Chalybes, and Norwalk to Norwich.

And we highlight key figures in those stories: Rev. Richard A. G. Foster and Ed Logue of New Haven, Betty Knox of Hartford, and Constance Baker Motley of…. Chester! (Yes, New Haven-born, but who found respite in the Connecticut River town.)

Our summer CTExplored/Inbox series kicks off with our cover story.

In her highly readable and compelling cover story, Harvard professor Lizabeth Cohen brings us back to New Haven in the 1950s and 1960s—and the high hopes and untested idealism of urban renewal. The big idea: Through urban planning the city would be reenvisioned and reborn for the modern age and for the benefit of its residents. Cohen’s story digs into the man at the center of the story: the city’s urban planner Ed Logue.

The image above is at the center of the story—and Logue’s belief that faster, easier transportation by car and truck was the key to the future. New Haven would become a modern transportation hub for the entire northeast.

Department stores like Macy’s and Malley’s were feeling the pressure to compete with the new suburban strip malls and shopping centers and were lured to sites along the new highway connector. At its core Logue and Mayor Dick Lee were convinced that New Haven could do it all bigger and better than the suburbs.

In reality—and retrospect—though, urban renewal removed too much of the old and historic. Worcester Square was sliced through the middle by I-91 under the idea that residential areas should be separated from industrial areas. What was lost in neighborhoods flattened by urban renewal like Dixwell Avenue was something we appreciate more today: walkable cities and neighborhoods near mass transit with a variety of locally-owned businesses and welcoming storefronts. And perhaps most important, that city residents have an important role to play in determining their city’s future.

It’s a cautionary tale of “starchitects,” gobs of federal money, and hard charging politicians.

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The Latest from Grating the Nutmeg

118. The Connecticut River Valley Flood of 1936

In this episode, Josh Shanley – firefighter, paramedic, and Emergency Management Director for Northampton, Massachusetts, talks about the Great Connecticut River Flood of 1936, its devastating effects, long-term consequences, and the message it has for a world in climate change. Based on his new book, Connecticut River Valley Flood of 1936 (History Press). 


Programs and Exhibitions to Enjoy This Month

30th Annual Juneteenth Celebration

Join the Amistad Center for Art & Culture for its 30th annual Juneteenth celebration, one of the longest running in Connecticut. Juneteenth marks an important moment in American history, June 19, 1865, when the enslaved in Galveston, Texas first learned of their freedom, two and a half years after the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation. The Amistad Center’s Juneteenth Celebration will include a virtual family-friendly Community Day on June 12 and a virtual evening program on June 19. Visit the center’s website or Facebook page for details. 

The Amistad Center for Art & Culture at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, AmistadCenter.org

Grand Reopening!

After nearly two years and $9 million, Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury is proud to announce its Grand Reopening. The museum opens with exciting changing exhibitions, an artist installation in the plaza, reinstallation of the permanent collection, and a re-interpretation of the history exhibit.

Mattatuck Museum, mattmuseum.org

Charming Yantic in Norwich

The village of Yantic in Norwich is lovely to visit in summer. As you tour the Slater Museum’s Norwich Galleries, you will see paintings of Yantic Falls, Yantic Mill, and portraits of members of the industrialist Williams, Converse, Adams, and Backus families.

Slater Memorial Museum, slatermuseum.org

Oldest Historic Marker in Lebanon

In 1692 Mohegan sachem Owaneco sold 25 square miles to four men from Norwich. This purchase, often called the “five-mile square,” was marked at each of its corners. The southwest corner’s marker is the only marker still surviving. The “Five Mile Rock” is at the end of a three-quarter-mile town trail off Randall Road. Contact the Lebanon Historical Society for further information or find a trail map at lebanonct.gov/rails-trails-committee/pages/photo-gallery.

Lebanon Historical Society Museum, historyofLebanon.org

An Artist and His Students

The Prismatic Palette: Frank Vincent DuMond and his Students, on view June 19  to October 3 at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, reexamines the art and legacy of Frank Vincent DuMond (1865 – 1951). A key figure in American art and art education, DuMond is known for his lush green landscapes and for the important role he played in the Lyme Art Colony in the early 20th century.

Lyman Allyn Art Museum, lymanallyn.org


Editors’ Picks

Stories we love from back issues to read now. 

The Reinvention of the New Haven Clock Company,” Spring 2020

Modernism in Connecticut,” Winter 2009-2010

Glamour and Purpose in New Haven’s Union Station, Spring 2013

Yes in My Backyard,” Summer 2019


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