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Governor John Dempsey Photographs at the Insurance City Open Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Posted by aramsey in Archives.
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The PGA Travelers Championship golf tournament started this week and we noticed it is the tournament’s 60th anniversary.  The tournament was conceived by the Greater Hartford Jaycees in 1951 as a way to raise funds for their operations and local civic programs.  The same year they approached the Wethersfield Country Club about hosting the professional golf tournament with the club board agreeing to host provided the Jaycees managed the event.

Arnold Palmer (second from left) and Governor John Dempsey (third from left), circa 1960.

The first Insurance City Open was held a year later with Ted Kroll winning the tournament.  In 1956 Arnold Palmer and Ted Kroll went into a sudden death playoff with Palmer winning his first PGA Tour tournament in the United States.  Palmer would become the first two time winner of the Insurance City Open in 1960.  The following year Governor John Dempsey commented to the press that he would “take up golf” a decision which he had made “after walking 18 holes with Arnold Palmer…at the Insurance City Open last Friday at the Wethersfield Country Club.”  The reporter concluded that there was no doubt the Governor had “the [golf] bug.”

The tournament over the sixty years has had several names, sponsors, and golf course hosts.  The two photographs are from Governor John Dempsey’s records relating to the Greater Hartford Open.

Greater Hartford Open officials in Governor John Dempsey’s office presenting him with an enlarged coupon admission ticket book for the 19th Greater Hartford Open, 1970.


Connecticut Eats: A Second Helping – The Pop History of Connecticut Friday, June 8, 2012

Posted by kabery in CSLmade, history, Museum.
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 Patrick Smith, Curator of Education at the Museum of Connecticut History will present a program titled “The Pop History of Connecticut” at the State Library, Thursday, June 21, starting at noon in Memorial Hall.  We all know “Have a Coke and a Smile” but in Connecticut you might also hear “Always Ask for Avery’s”.  At one time there were nearly 40 independent soft drink businesses in Connecticut. Today just four survive. “A Pop History of Connecticut” will take a look at the boom and bust of soda making in Connecticut from its rise during the days of prohibition, to the takeover of the “Big 2” and delightfully to the taste buds, the present revival of locally made  sodas.  Last June, Smith entertained the Third Thursday BrownBag Lunchtime audience with a program on Connecticut foods. He has billed this year’s program as “Connecticut Eats: A Second Helping.” Following the talk,  a buffet of sodas unique to Connecticut will be available for sampling.  So bring your thirst for history to the “Pop History of Connecticut”!

Thursday, June 21, 2012
12:00 p.m.  – 12: 45 p.m.
Connecticut State Library ~ Memorial Hall

About the Speaker: Patrick Smith is Curator of Education at the Museum of Connecticut History at the Connecticut State Library. As part of his job Patrick develops and presents outreach education programs to learners of all ages across the state.  He also writes the popular blog Connecticut Invents  which chronicles the famous and not so famous inventions and inventors from Connecticut.  A historical foodie, Patrick enjoys “researching” Connecticut food, facts and myths all in the name of history.

Smith’s talk will be presented in Memorial Hall, Connecticut State Library, 231 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, as part of the State Library and Museum of Connecticut History’s Third Thursday BrownBag Lunchtime speaker series. This series features a variety of speakers on various aspects of Connecticut history. All programs are free and open to the public and attendees should feel free to bring their lunch.

June 14th is the 150th Anniversary of Connecticut Flag Day Thursday, June 7, 2012

Posted by aramsey in Archives.
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June 14, 2012 marks the 150thAnniversary of the State of Connecticut’s first observance of Connecticut Flag Day. June 14 was the day in 1777 that the Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as the flag of the United States.  The original 1862 Connecticut General Assembly resolution, which is available on our Flickr site, challenges U.S. House Resolution 662 of 2004 which recognizes that Flag Day originated in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin where in 1885 school teacher Bernard John Cigrand urged his students to observe June 14 as the “Flag’s Birthday.”

The first known proposal for a national Flag Day celebration was made by Jonathan Flynt Morris of Hartford. In a speech before the Connecticut Society of Sons of the American Revolution delivered on June 15, 1891, Morris remembered how he first proposed the idea to Hartford Evening Press editor Charles Dudley Warner back in June 1861. According to Morris, he suggested to Warner, “the propriety of celebrating the day by public demonstration. He at once fell in with the idea. I said the flag and the constitution were both on trial, and it was the duty of every loyal man to sustain them.”

On June 10, 1861, Warner published the editorial titled “National Holidays”. He wrote, “And we have to suggest another day, worthy to become a national holiday.  It may be too late for its general observance this year, but we hope that it will, in time, be recognized wherever the American flag floats.  We mean FLAG DAY.”  Other newspapers such as the Hartford Courant soon also voiced their support.

Some Connecticut towns embraced the idea. For example, the Hartford Courant reported on June 15 that in Hartford, “American Flags were the order of the day all over the city yesterday…Nearly all the leading dry-goods merchants made handsome displays.”  The Courant also reported on June 18 that, “The people of Terryville celebrated Flag-day by having a speech…and a collation in a large new barn, appropriately decorated with the stars and stripes.”

Resolution de Observing 14th of June and 17th of September as Holidays, front

A year later on June 6, 1862, Connecticut State Senator Henry K. W. Welch introduced a resolution that read, “Resolved. That we recommend to the people of this State to observe the 14th day of June and the 17thday of September in each year as holidays – the first to be known as Flag Day and the latter as Constitution Day.”  The Senate passed the resolution on June 12 and the House of Representatives passed it on June 17, 1862.  A similar resolution introduced that year into the U.S. Congress by Rep. Dwight Loomis of Connecticut was tabled.

Around 1893 it appears the General Assembly passed into law an act requiring schools to have lessons and exercises about the flag and also requiring the Governor to issue a proclamation every June 14 for Flag Day. Governor Henry Roberts issued the first known Flag Day proclamation on May 26, 1906 and the practice has been continued by governors to the present.

On the national level, President Woodrow Wilson issued a Proclamation on May 30, 1916 that June 14 be observed as Flag Day across the United States. On August 3, 1949, President Harry Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14 of every year as National Flag Day.


 Connecticut General Assembly.  Journal of the House of Representatives of the State of Connecticut, May Session, 1862.  New Haven: Babcock & Sizer, State Printer, 1862.

Connecticut General Assembly.  Journal of the Senate of the State of Connecticut, May Session, 1862.  New Haven: Babcock & Sizer, State Printer, 1862.

 Connecticut Society of Sons of the American Revolution.  The Lebanon War Office.  The History of the Building, and Report of the Celebration at Lebanon, Conn., Flag Day, June 15, 1891.  Hartford: The Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company, 1891.

Goodheart, Adam.  “Unhappy Flag Day.”  New York Times Opinionator, June 13, 2011.  http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/13/unhappy-flag-day/ (accessed June 1, 2012).

Harmon, Crag.  “Flag Day in Connecticut.”  Lincoln Highway National Museum & Archives.  http://lincoln-highway-museum.org/PFDP/FD-Conn-Index.html (accessed June 1, 2012).

 Harmon, Craig.  “Flag Day in Harford.”  Lincoln Highway National Museum & Archives.  http://lincoln-highway-museum.org/PFDP/FD-Hartford-Index.html (accessed June 1, 2012).

 Harmon, Crag.  “History of Flag Day.”  Lincoln Highway National Museum & Archives.  http://lincoln-highway-museum.org/PFDP/FD230-Index.html (accessed June 1, 2012).

 Hartford Courant.

 “Resolution de Observing 14th of June and 17th of September as Holidays.”  Connecticut State Library, State Archives, RG 002:004, General Assembly Papers, Box 100, Folder 5.