A state with an official song of “Yankee Doodle” might not be the first place on the top of your “to travel” list, but this state has many wonders worth exploring. Being one of the original 13 colonies, it boasts many historical sites that everybody should take the time to see. It also is the home of a few very prestigious universities, such as Yale and UConn. From bed and breakfasts to lighthouses galore, Connecticut has something for everyone.
Connecticut has a couple of different state nicknames it goes by. It is officially known as the Constitution State, but also known as the “Nutmeg State”. The official nickname is referring to the state government-establishing Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, which was written in 1639 and is considered history’s first written constitution. The “Nutmeg State” nickname comes from a history of sailors bringing the seed back from long voyages. Over time, peddlers from the state developed a reputation for selling fake nutmegs made out of carved wood.
Connecticut is home to the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, USS Nautilus. This nuclear-powered submarine was built in 1954 in the city of Groton, Connecticut. After her first cast off, the ship signaled the words “Underway on nuclear power.” The sub is now permanently docked in Groton and serves as a museum of submarine history.
The Invention of the Hamburger
The hamburger was invented in New Haven, Connecticut, at a small restaurant called Louis’ Lunch, which is still in business today. The story goes that in 1900, a customer was in a rush and asked owner Louis Lassen for something to eat on the go. Lassen threw together cooked ground steak trimmings and put them between two slices of toasted bread, and the hamburger was born.
Scoville Memorial Library
Connecticut is home to the country’s oldest publicly funded library. In 1771, Richard Smith made a proposition to his fellow residents of Salisbury. He said he would buy 200 books from England if they would subsidize his purchase. 39 people promised to help and the Smith Library was created. Library patrons could borrow and return books four times a year, for a modest fee, on the third Monday of every third month. Richard Smith remained loyal to the King during the Revolutionary War and fled to England. His library remained open and in 1803, Caleb Bingham donated 150 books to create a youth library. Then in 1810, a town meeting voted to use $100 of public funds to expand the collection which held at town hall. This made the Salisbury library the first publicly funded one in the country. In the 1890s Jonathon Scoville left money in his will to build a new building to house the collection. The new library became an iconic part of Salisbury.
The Hartford Courant is the country’s oldest newspaper in continuous publication. In fact, it is older than the nation. A printer named Thomas Green started it as a weekly paper in 1764. He then sold it to his assistant Ebenezer Watson who ran the paper until he died of smallpox in 1777. After that Watson’s widow Hannah took over the paper and became one of the first women publishers in America. The Courant had the largest circulation of any paper during the Revolutionary War and was a staunch supporter of the rebel cause. During the Civil War it was a big supporter of Lincoln and the Union. Today it is owned by the Tribune Company and has a circulation of 120,000 daily and 180,000 Sunday papers.