10 Strange Facts About Connecticut
Seniors with deep pockets love Connecticut. It’s not the cheapest state to live in, but if you saved well for your retirement, Connecticut has plenty to offer - scenic countryside, big cities, trains into really big cities, fancy suburbs, charming coastal towns, and New England history and culture. Besides the weather, costs, and settings, you need to know a few other things about Connecticut:
- Waterbury has a great landmark at the top of a hill overlooking the city: a miniature Jerusalem. This mini Holy Land has been closed since 1984, but was a true tourist attraction in the 1960s and 70s. You can still stop by and view the Hollywood-style sign and the large steel cross.
- You will also want to visit the remains of the world-famous nut collection at Connecticut College in New London. The self-proclaimed Nut Lady, Elizabeth Tashjian, now deceased, began the Nut Museum in Old Lyme. Her shrine to nuts was the only one in the country and included nut art, nut crackers, and nut music. She also had the world’s largest nut, which was a whopping 35 pounds.
One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure
- Connecticut seems to have a thing for odd museums. In Stratford, you can visit the CRRA Garbage Museum and learn all there is to know about…garbage.
Head of the Class
- Connecticut also has some firsts. The first phone book was issued in New Haven in 1878 by the New Haven District Telephone Company. It only had 50 names and numbers. The first nuclear powered sub was built in 1954 in Groton. Connecticut also gets to claim the country’s first public library, first copper coins, first hamburger, first helicopter, first law school, first car insurance policy, and first lollipop machine.
- The state insect of Connecticut is the praying mantis. The females of this species consume the male after mating!
Mum’s the Word
- Bristol, Connecticut is called Mum City. Not because the residents are good at keeping mum, but because they grow and distribute lots of chrysanthemums.
Who You Callin’ Pumpkin Head?
- You may still hear people in New Haven be referred to as Pumpkin Heads. This nice nickname dates back to colonial times when residents of the settlement used pumpkins as guides for haircuts. They cut and scooped out pumpkins and placed them on a person’s head to ensure a uniform-length trim, much like the modern bowl cut.
Something Old, Something New
- West Haven is home to both the old and the new. It is one of the oldest places in the country, having been settled over 360 years ago. But, it’s also one of the youngest cities in the state, having only been incorporated in 1972.
Take That Global Warming!
- Rather than getting deforested, like in many other areas, Connecticut has actually gained more trees since settlers arrived. In 1800 only 10% of the state was covered in forest. Today, more than 60% is thriving with trees.
- Life in Connecticut dates back much farther than the pilgrims. You can see fossilized dinosaur tracks in Rocky Hill.