1791: Local News

Middletown, July 16

Thursday last the old Meeting-house, in this City, was struck by lightning, but not much damaged.


New, Fresh and Cheap.

The Subscribers, at the Store formerly improved by Chauncey Bulkley, Esq., have a general Assortment of European and West-India GOODS, suitable for the present Season,

among which are:

A Large, elegant and beautiful variety of Chinzes, Callicoes and Shawls–superfine, middling and coarse Broadcloths–elastick Cloths, Sattinets–Lashings–Jeans–Fustians–Shalloons–Callimancoes–Tammies–Durants–Moreens–Irish Linens and Sheeting–silk and Cotton Hose–Rib’d Cotton and Hemp Hose–Cambricks–Lawns–Muslins and Muslinetts–Muslin Apron Patterns–Handkerchiefs and Cravats–Lawn Handkerchiefs and Aprons–Silk, Cotton and Linen Handkerchiefs–Sattins–Modes–Sarsnets Tiffany–White and black Gauzes–Leno Lawns–Variety of Ribbons and Laces–Mens Leather Gloves–Ladies do.–Silk and worsted Mitts–Ladies and Gentlemens fashionable Beaver Hatts–common Castor Hatts for Men and Boys–Felt do.–Silk and Twists of various colours–Womens Fans of various kinds–Writing Paper, Ink-Powder, Bibles, Spelling-Books, and Primers–Large assortment of Shoe-Buckles–Knee Buckles–Coat and Vest Buttons–Imperial Mohair Buttons–variety of Knives and Forks–Penknives & Cutteaus–Raisors–Shears and Scissors–Looking Glasses–plain and figur’d Oil-Cloths–Ivory and Horn Combs–Door Trimmings–Snuff and Tobacco Boxes–Table and Tea Spoons–Double and single spring Chest Locks–Padlock–Carpenters Rules and Compasses–Needles and Pins–Awls and Tacks–10d and 8d Nails–Gimblets–Wool and Cotton Cards–Curry Combs–Stock Locks–Good assortment of Files–Draw and Desk Trimmings–Sickles–Iron Shovels–Hand Saws–Brass Kettles–German and blistered Steel–Large Assortment of Crockery–Corn Fans–W. I. & N. E. Rum–Molasses–Tea–Coffee–Chocolate–Pepper–Allspice–Ginger Allum–Coperas–Tobacco–Snuff–together with a number of Articles useful and ornamental.

The above Articles will be sold for Cash, Country Produce, and good Credit, as cheap as can be purchased in any Store in the State.


From The Middlesex Gazette (Middletown, Conn.), Saturday, July 16, 1791.

April 15 – Middletown 366


Great Day at Middletown

Largest Draw Span Bridge in the World Now Bridges the Connecticut River.

1896 bridge dedication

(Special Dispatch to the Transcript.)

Middletown, Conn., April 15.–At exactly 10 o’clock this morning the new Connecticut river bridge between Middletown and Portland, the largest draw span in the world was opened to traffic. Governor Coffin was present and walked across the bridge. Every bell and every whistle on either side the river sounded, and the event was witnessed by 7000 persons.

From the North Adams Transcript (North Adams, Mass.), Wednesday, April 15, 1896.


Blackface Omitted

Middletown, April 15–(UPI) The Rotary club announced today its annual blackface minstrel show next Saturday will be changed to a variety show because of objections raised by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

From The Bridgeport Post (Bridgeport, Connecticut), Saturday, April 15, 1961.


April 5 – Middletown 366


Russell Library Opens

Russell Library opened on April 5, 1876 with a free public reading room, 3,300 books, and a hall that seated 400-500 people. It was open to everyone over the age of 14, and the hours were Monday through Saturday from 3-6pm and 7-9pm.

Russell Library reading room, 1888.
Russell Library reading room, 1888.


Death of a Prominent Prohibitionist

Middletown, Conn., April 5.–Jesse G. Baldwin, for twenty-nine years president of the Central National Bank, died this morning, aged eighty-there. He was a prominent Prohibitionist, a candidate for State office on the abolition ticket about forty years ago, and ran for Governor on the Prohibition ticket in 1878.

From the Ottawa Daily Republic (Ottawa, Kansas), April 6, 1887.

1985: Danforth House For Sale

Danforth HouseOn this day in 1985, the house of Thomas Danforth II, built in 1783, was restored and put on sale in Middletown. The Danforth family has a deep history in the town’s economic development, notably, in the production of objects made of pewter and Britannia metal. The historic Danforth Pewter shop is on South Main St., and is a site on the Middletown Heritage trail.

Story contributed by Deborah Shapiro.

2000: Wadsworth Mansion Opens

Wadsworth Mansion postcardOn New Year’s Day in 2000, Wadsworth Mansion opened its doors to guests curious about one of Middletown’s prominent historic homes. The mansion was originally owned by Col. Clarence S. Wadsworth, who began developing the estate after his marriage to Katharine Fearing Hubbard Wadsworth in 1897. The mansion, built in the classical revival style and designed by architects Francis Hoppin and Terence Koen, is located in the Western part of Middletown known as Long Hill and was completed in 1917. In 1947, the estate was purchased for Our Lady of the Cenacle, a Roman Catholic order which provided meditation, shelter, and religious instruction to the community for almost forty years. Neglected over the years, Middletown purchased the estate in 1994 and embarked on its $5.8 million restoration.

The New Year’s Day celebration at the mansion will be held this year from 1:00 – 4:00 PM.

Story contributed by Deborah Shapiro.