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Archive for connecticut

A Rarity at Yale

By Linda Tancs

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University is one of the world’s largest libraries devoted entirely to rare books and manuscripts. Just 90 minutes from New York in the city of New Haven, Connecticut, its lobby and mezzanine public exhibition areas are open to the public. That’s where you’ll find such gems as the Gutenberg Bible (the first Western book printed from movable type) and John James Audubon’s Birds of America, a series of hand-colored, life-size prints first published as a series in sections between 1827 and 1838. The building itself is a conversation piece. Built of Vermont marble and granite, bronze and glass, its exterior marble panels filter light so that rare materials can be displayed without damage.

An Art Colony in Connecticut

By Linda Tancs

Overlooking the Lieutenant River, the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Connecticut, is a National Historic Landmark. Once the home of a wealthy sea captain, the Late Georgian-style mansion became a boarding house under Miss Florence Griswold, hosting some of the most noted names in American Impressionism forming what became known as the Lyme Art Colony. This museum of art and history tells the story of how Connecticut played a pivotal role in fostering American artists.

The Great Hunger

By Linda Tancs

Phytophthora infestans, the fungus that causes potato blight, invaded parts of Ireland in August, 1845. By the following year, the blight had devastated the harvest throughout the country. Heavily dependent on the crop, the resulting famine caused widespread death and poverty as well as emigration for those who could afford to do so. The Great Hunger, as it’s called, was one of the first national disasters to elicit international fundraising. The magnitude of this event is chronicled at The Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. The museum is one of many locales memorializing this tragedy in the United States. Other memorials exist in many locations throughout Ireland and also in cities around the world with large populations descended from immigrants affected by the famine.

Tales From the Crypt

By Linda Tancs

New Haven, Connecticut was settled in 1638 by a group of Puritans.  In 1812, a church was built on the Green to house their remains and those of Revolutionary War veterans.  Built over part of the burying ground, Center Church on the Green sports a basement crypt with a who’s who of eternal occupants.  In peaceful repose lie Benedict Arnold’s first wife, President Rutherford Hayes’ family, Reverend James Pierpont (a founder of Yale College) and Sarah Rutherford Trowbridge (marked with a stone dated 1687, the oldest one in The Crypt).  Overall, The Crypt contains the  identified remains of about 137 people and the unidentified remains of over 1,000 souls and marks the last remaining evidence of the city’s early settlers.  Crypt tours take place April through October on Thursdays and Saturdays.

A Wigwam in Connecticut

By Linda Tancs

Located in Washington, Connecticut, the Institute for American Indian Studies celebrates New England’s indigenous history. Open year round, the museum features a replicated Algonkian village complete with long house (the chief’s residence) and wigwams. A series of nature trails through the 15-acre property leads to the village. There are five tribes recognized by the State of Connecticut, each with a reservation: the Mashantucket Pequot, Paucatuck Eastern Pequot, Mohegan, Schaghticoke and Golden Hill Paugussett.

The House That Witnessed History

By Linda Tancs

Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991, Bush-Holley House is a saltbox in cozy Cos Cob, a Greenwich, Connecticut suburb on the north side of Long Island Sound.  Initially constructed in 1728, the colonial home’s coastal vantage point provided front row views decades later to our nation’s battle for independence.  Purchased in the early 1700s by Justus Bush, a wealthy farmer in Greenwich, the family operated a tide mill on the property and later added a storehouse that would become the Cos Cob post office for a time.  The house passed into the Holley family, who ran it as a boarding house for artists and writers.  In the 19th and early 20th centuries, an art colony for impressionists flourished in Cos Cob.  Serving as part of the Connecticut Art Trail, the house museum honors the area’s artistic legacy through temporary and permanent exhibitions.

Leave It to Beaver

By Linda Tancs

Everyone knows that beavers are industrious little creatures, prolific builders of dams to protect themselves against predators such as coyotes, wolves, and bears.   Although dams can be very beneficial in restoring wetlands, they can also cause property damage from flooding.  So what’s a property owner to do?  How about using our furry friends’ handiwork as ceiling art?  That’s what you’ll find at Beaver Lodge Cottage in Winvian, Connecticut, where a re-assembled dam adorns the ceiling above the bed.  A new spin on applied art, indeed.

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