The Town of Hamden honored the memories of former Legislative Council president Al Gorman and former mayor and Legislative Council president Craig Henrici late last week with memorial benches located at Town Center Park.
Betsy Gorman is pictured here at the bench dedicated to the memory of her husband Al, who served for many years as Historical Society president and president of the Legislative Council for two terms. (CLICK on photo to enlarge it.)
Flag Day, June 14, 2023 - Since Betsy Ross sewed together the first stars and stripes, the flag of the United States of America has done something that happens rarely to other national flags. It has changed. Not only has it undergone a change, it has undergone twenty-six changes, starting with the 1795 addition of two more stars (and stripes) representing Vermont and Kentucky.
Starting with Flag Day, and for the next 26 weeks, the HHS website will feature an official flag design of each of those 26 changes, along with a short summary of what was going on during its tenure. Several designs had a very short tenure - just one year - as did our 49-star flag from 1959 to 1960, that bridged the tenures of the second longest and longest designs.
CLICK HEREto check out the 24-star flag (1822-1836):
Designed the Society's Historical Landmark Plaques
Thomas Penna was an Industrial Arts teacher in the Hamden School System when he created the Hamden Historical Society's markers that were displayed on historic Hamden buildings starting in the 1970s.
Mr. Penna passed away on May 30th. A U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, he was survived by his five children, six grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren, "and the countless carpenters and cabinetmakers he taught over 30 years."
One of Thomas' sons, James Penna, is an active member of Journey, a gathering of Hamden history buffs which meets in the Hamden Senior Center on the third Wednesday of each month, except July and August.
CLICK HERE to read Mr. Penna's obituary that appeared in The New Haven Register.
Perhaps the most notable of the scores of Hamden Historical Society markers created by Thomas Penna and his students.
Cold Case that haunted ret'd NHPD Sergeant, a fellow Historical Society Researcher, finally brings results
Seeking answers to longtime mysteries goes with the territory with many retired cops. Retired New Haven Sgt. Tony Griego is definitely one of them. Tony, a lifelong Hamden resident and volunteer researcher with the Hamden Historical Society, for many years has been on a quest to learn the identify of the young woman who was murdered in East Haven in 1975 and whose body was buried in an unmarked grave at the old State street Cemetery.
Several years ago Tony was comntacted by Amy White, a nurse with an interest in cold cases, and together they attempted to find new information that would reveal the identity of the murdered woman. With the advdent of DNA as an identification tool, everyone involved with the investigation was hoping to acquire the woman's DNA from the buried corpse. The big problem was just where in the State Street Cemetery was she buried? The grave records were not there and the person who buried her in 1975 was no longer available.
Tony was able to locate the son of the 1975 caretaker, who lives in Maine. At his own expense, Tony was able to persuade the man to travel to Hamden in order to pinpoint the location in the cemetery where he believed the woman was buried. Unfortunately the man was a bit off and the casket that was exhumed contained the body of a male. However, using ground pemnetrating radar, the East Haven authorities were able to locate a second coffin nearby that had all the earmarks of the one the 1975 murder victim was busines in.
The family of Ericsson Broadbent donated this historic digitized 16mm film of the 1926 dedication of the Hamden Bank & Trust Company's new building at the corner of Dixwell and Circular Avenues.
Connecticut Lt. Governor John Edwin Brainard was one of the featured speakers in a gala event that was attended by hundreds of Hamden school children, the bank's board of directors and employees, and the general public.
A small band provided music during a luncheon and inside tour of the bank, which featured its modern "burglar-proof" vault. This is a wonderful view of this iconic Hamden building and surrounding territory from nearly a century ago.
CLICK on this image to learn more about the GreatGive.
The Hamden Historical Society was founded in 1928 and incorporated in 1945. As Hamden’s unofficial preservation agency, the Society works to highlight and preserve the town’s architectural heritage.
Over the years we have worked to restore and preserve the Jonathan Dickerman House Museum and Talmadge Cider Mill Barn, and saved the Rectory School Barn from demolition. We work with the Hamden Historic Properties Commission to document and preserve buildings of historic importance and interest in the town of Hamden.
The Historical Society provides tour of the Dickerman House Museum, maintains a local history room in the Miller Public Library, and in the past has hosted lectures and other programs on topics of local and regional interest.
From 1974 to 1976, Paul Keane served on Hamden's Bicentennial Committee, which was organized in early 1974 to prepare our town for the National Bicentennial observance during the summer of 1976.
I also had the honor of serving on the Bicentennial Committee, which included many legendary local luminaries such as Committee Chairman Herb Korte, chief engineer at radio station WELI; Honorary Chairman and Town Historian Rachel Hartley; Christian Rendeiro; high school History teacher Bill Pfeffer; and a noted artist whom I had known for a very long time, Jeaniegray Stokes Olesen.
I knew Paul Keane from when our families both lived in the same "Norwood" neighborhood, just east of Whitney Avenue between Centerville and Mt. Carmel. Paul's brother Christopher ("Kit") and I were both members of Hamden's Boy Scout Troop No. 1, which met Friday evenings in the gymnasium at Mt. Carmel School.
Paul's contributions to the Committee and, by extension, to the Town, may have been the most significant. During the observance, Paul befriended Isabel Wilder, sister of Hamden's award-winning author and playwright, Thornton Wilder. Their wonderful friendship resulted is some of Thornton Wilder's personal possessions being donated to the Wilder exhibit that opened at Miller Library in 1980.
Now a retired high school teacher living in Vermont, Paul is a regular contributor to the op-ed pages of The New Haven Register, often sharing his memories of growing up in Hamden. Paul recently wrote about his amazing and fortunate friendship with Miss Wilder, and we share it here on the Hamden Historical Society's website. Enjoy!
Hamden now has the sixth highest Black population of any municipality in the state. In observance of Black History Month, we are featuring profiles of the legendary 19th century local medical practitioner known as "Doctor Hurd."
Below is a page about him from Hamden: Images of America (Arcadia Publishing, 2004), as well as a page from the Hamden Historical Society's Fall 2007 newsletter.
A Message from HHS President Ken Minkema
95 Ives St.
An Update on the Elam Ives House
The Hamden Historical Society has received some inquiries from the public expressing concern about the renovations occurring the Elam Ives House, at 95 Ives Street. Is the house being torn down? Moved? Happily, neither of these seems to be the case. The Regional Water Authority, which owned the house up till a short time ago, has sold the property to a private individual who, as far as can be determined, is restoring the structure, which has been deteriorating over the past decade and more. That individual has signed a conservation and preservation restriction--a good sign.
Some fifteen years ago, the Regional Water Authority and the town of Hamden had struck a bargain: the RWA would make the property available at no cost, and the town would maintain it while respecting the restrictions on the watershed land on which the house is situated. Unfortunately, the town did not live up to its obligations, which forced the RWA to sell the property.
The Hamden Historical Society and the Hamden Historic Properties Commission do what they can, but, frankly, we are challenged. Neither organization has the assets to purchase historical structures or the legal means to prevent the destruction of our town's historical structures and sites.
How can you help? Become a member of the Historical Society (hamdenhistoricalsociety.org), attend its meetings and those of the Hamden Historic Properties Commission (which meets the third Monday of every month at 7:00 p.m.), and let your town officials and representatives know about your concerns. Get involved!
Paul Saubestre's ongoing research into the Hamden streets named for presidents of the United States has led him into a much wider project. He is compiling a list of the origins of the names all Hamden streets.
CLICK HERE for the Main Page with links to all Hamden street names in alphabetical order.
Do you have any comments or corrections to the street information? If so, please send them to Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org.