Paul Robeson: Baritone, Activist and Renaissance Man

Although Paul Robeson was born in New Jersey, for twelve years he made Enfield, Connecticut his home. The baritone and radio singer was best known for his title role in “Othello” in the 1930s and 1940s, which he portrayed in various venues between London and New York. Robeson performed in numerous American plays and Hollywood films, including Borderline (1930), The Emperor Jones (1933), and Show Boat (1936). Robeson performed regularly at the Bushnell Memorial Theater, having sung in their first Concert Series in 1945 with such songs as “Deep River” and “Ritual Fire Dance”. Continue reading

Memories Come Flooding Back

Recently the Hartford Courant has begun publishing a series of articles focusing on memorable events in Connecticut’s history since the newspaper’s founding 250 years ago. And let’s face it, there have been plenty of significant events to cover. Staff writer Jim Shea, better known for his humor column, tackled the story of flooding in Connecticut in a front page article, “Wild Waters”, in this past Sunday’s issue. Among the wet and wild events covered was the great August 1955 flood, the result of back-to-back hurricanes.

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Of fiery steeds…and lunatics

As a regular rider on the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail I have opportunity to pass many different types of bicycles—high tech racers, mountains, recumbents (are they really that comfortable?), hybrids, even tricycles. Occasionally my musings turn to pioneering bicycle styles, such as the high-wheeler or “ordinary” as it were called. How did they ever ride those? Of course, an even earlier type of bicycle was the “velocipede,” a two-wheeled cycle developed in France in the mid-1860s. Due to their rough, unforgiving ride these cycles were aptly nicknamed “boneshakers.” When such bicycles first appeared in the U.S. following the Civil War, some folks tried to duplicate them… Continue reading

Has spring finally arrived?

CHS Ms_33866_Pease_cover_1835It is May, and thoughts turn to spring. Samuel Pease of Enfield kept regular diaries between 1833 and 1851. He used an almanac within which he inserted blank pages so he could record his activities. With the beginning of a new month, I decided to take a look at what Samuel deemed important to record for the month of May. Continue reading