Savin Rock Memories

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Thunderbolt and Wilcox Pier, Savin Rock, Conn. Postcard published by the Harold Hahn Co., New Haven, ca. 1920. The Connecticut Historical Society, 1993.26.645

I didn’t really appreciate postcards until I began reading what was written on the backs of the cards.  Most postcard collectors like their cards in pristine condition, unused, never sent, but I prefer those that have been through the mail, carrying messages between friends and family members.  “Who said we couldn’t find our way?” a woman named Jennie wrote to her mother in Taftville from Savin Rock in West Haven.  “We got here alright so don’t worry. We were on a roller coaster even higher than this one.” Maybe Mom didn’t worry about Jennie getting lost on the way home, but she may have worried about her riding that giant roller coaster. Messages on other postcards from Savin Rock talk about the fabulous seafood dinners, the bathing beach, and the hotels, where visitors would come to stay for a week or more while enjoying the delights of the Connecticut shore.  In its later years, the amusement park at Savin Rock fell into disrepair, and it was demolished during urban renewal in the 1960s. The Connecticut Historical Society has thousands of postcards in its collections, some with messages and many more without.  All may be viewed in the Research Center at 1 Elizabeth Street in Hartford, Thursday from 12-5 and Friday and Saturday from 9-5.  You may not only find pictures of your town and your favorite Connecticut attractions; you may also find out what people thought of them when they visited them in years gone by.

“Hey, you turkey!” and Other Random Thanksgiving Thoughts

Thanksgiving pstcd 1002If anyone is reading this, chances are you are still sleepily digesting the remains of Thanksgiving dinner*—or perhaps you are in line waiting for stores to open their doors this evening…  In any event, Thanksgiving, one of the major national holidays, is upon us once again. Based on travel statistics this holiday sees more people on the go than any other. Going where? Why, home, of course!! Maybe it’s just me (and I don’t think it is) but people seek out the face-to-face comforts of home and family—and friends–even in this seemingly always-connected world. Don’t believe me? Try to find a seat on an airplane or train in the days leading up to the fourth Thursday in November. Continue reading

How Others (Don’t) See Us…

Coming off a road trip to West Virginia (mentioned in my previous blog) I was thinking about perceptions of place, and by extension the people who inhabit them. As coastal-oriented folks, my wife and I had absolutely no experience traveling through interior states; and oh my, West Virginia certainly lived up to its nickname “The Mountain State”; just ask our poor underpowered Honda. Thought those winding climbs to 3500 feet and above (complete with switchbacks and precipitous drops worthy of a James Bond film) would never end. With apologies to Dorothy and Toto, we knew for sure we weren’t in Connecticut anymore! Continue reading