June 15, 2012

Connecticut – “The Constitution State”

Connecticut map



Just the Facts…

Bird – robin
Flower – mountain lauren 
Tree – white aok
Capital – Hartford
Union – 5th on January 9, 1788
Population – about  3 1/2 million



The Basics 

Connecticut is in the New England region of America.  It is named for the Connecticut River, which runs right through the middle of the state and then into the Long Island Sound.  The Connecticut River valley is largely urban – the river was important to early industry and manufacturing in Connecticut.


The Connecticut River valley is between two small mountain ranges – the Green Mountains in the west and the New England Highlands in the east.  These corners of Connecticut have gently rolling hills and forests and are rural and quaint.


The southern coast of Connecticut is dotted with seaports and fishing villages along the Long Island Sound.  And, the very southwest corner of Connecticut is actually considered to be part of the New York City metropolitan area.


If you don’t like the weather in Connecticut, wait a few minutes!   Connecticut experiences a wide range of weather that can change quickly, causing major temperature changes in a short period of time.  Like many coastal regions, the southern coast of Connecticut experiences more moderate weather than the northern part of the state.


Its Claim to Fame

The Lollipop!  George Smith was a confectioner in New Haven who claimed to invent the lollipop.  In 1908, he sold pieces hard candy on a stick in his candy store, calling them “lollipops.”  For over 200 years, lollipops have been putting smiles in kids faces, thanks to Mr. Smith!


There are many historic towns in northwestern Connecticut (Litchfield comes to mind).  Many of these towns celebrate their colonial roots, preserving the buildings and town layout.   The town center is a “green,” which is similar to an Italian piazza but usually with grass.  The important buildings in town are laid out around the green, like a church, a colonial meeting house, an inn or restaurant, and several colonial houses.


Noah Webster lived in Connecticut and compiled his famous dictionary in New Haven.  It took Webster 27 years to complete his dictionary, which was the first of its kind in America.  Webster wanted his dictionary to be comprehensive – the first edition contained 27,000 words, almost half of which had never been included in a dictionary before.  He included words that were uniquely American and hoped to standardize American speech (which was different in each region in colonial times).  Webster took his job seriously – he learned 26 different languages in order to understand the origins and meanings of specific words!  “An American Dictionary of the English Language” was finally published in 1828, and has been helping American kids with their homework ever since!  Have you used Webster’s Dictionary for your homework?  Now, it is online as well at http://www.merriam-webster.com/


Connecticut claims to have created the first constitution-like document in America – back in 1639!  The “Fundamental Orders” outlined the structure of Connecticut’s first government – some say it created the first democratic government in Colonial America.  Over its history, Connecticut has been governed by five different constitutions.


What Makes it Tick

Connecticut has a long maritime tradition – its many seaports have been busy since Colonial times.  It has about 250 miles of coastline, but interestingly enough, none is actually on the Atlantic Ocean!  Connecticut’s coastline is on the Long Island Sound, which is owned by the state of New York.  Maritime activities are still an important part of Connecticut’s economy – Connecticut has three deep water ports, which allow the many different things manufactured in the state to reach other areas of America.


Connecticut has many rivers, which flow swiftly from the mountain regions in the north towards the sea.  These rivers provided power to make Connecticut an early leader in manufacturing during the Colonial times.  Before the Industrial Revolution, these rivers were dotted with small, family operated mills that produced goods for the local communities – wood, leather, flour and cloth.  Larger and more sophisticated mills sprang up as technology advanced.  By 1900, there were over 100 textile mills in Connecticut.  They made large quantities of all kinds of thread, yarn and cloth – cotton, velvet, linen, wool, and silk.


Manufacturing and service industries are still a large part of Connecticut’s economy – now the insurance industry is very important to Connecticut.  Hartford calls itself the “insurance capital of the world.” The first insurance company was formed in 1810 in Hartford, offering insurance against loss of life or property while traveling by ship on the ocean.


If You Visited

If you visited Connecticut, you might eat at Louie’s Lunch in New Haven, which is famous for serving the first hamburger in America!  Here is how the story goes – a man came into the restaurant in 1900 and was in a big hurry.  He asked the cook to make something that he could eat on the run.  The cook placed some extra pieces of steak between two pieces of toast and sent the man on his way.  The hamburger was invented!  But, some of you ketchup lovers may be surprised – the only condiments allowed at Louie’s Lunch are cheese, tomato and onion!


Or, you might spend an afternoon at Mystic Seaport. It is a museum about America’s maritime history.  Mystic Seaport has a historic village, shipyard, and historic boats.  You can even take a ride on a restored steamboat or wooden rowboat.


Want to Know More? 

Do you live in Connecticut? Have you visited Connecticut recently?  We want to hear from you!!  Post a comment at the end of this page.

  • Where is your favorite thing about your state?
  • What is your favorite thing to eat?
  • What is your favorite thing to do?
  • What other special or unique facts do you want to share about your home state?

Do you have any photos of Connecticut to share? Email them to: info@grandtourkids.com. Or, post them to our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/GrandTourKids

Our tour includes just a few things that are interesting and special about Connecticut.  Visit these websites to learn more great things about Connecticut: