Tag Archives: Connecticut

Personally Conducted History Tour of New Haven

The tour begins at the corner of College Street and Chapel Street, in New Haven, Conn, where the Yale undergraduates (all male, until 1969) long spun tops in so-called displays of dominance… “The old Yale Fence stood here. 1837 – 1888.” Later, Osborn Hall, 1888 – 1926. Now, Bingham Hall, the building on which this memorial is found (1926 – the present.)

A tour guide, with special glasses allowing the wearer to see backwards in time, stands at the now-invisible entrance of the old Hyperion theater, welcoming you.

The side door at the Union League Cafe is a feature the architect Henry Austin designed for newly wealthy iron magnate Gaius Fenn Warner’s Italianate-style mansion, built in 1860, the first year of the Civil War, on the plot of land previously home to the now-demolished Roger Sherman residence. And so it happens that this side door predates the hippies by about 100 years.
“Upon the Site of this Building Stood the Home of Roger Sherman And Near Here in 1793 he Died, Jurist – Patriot – Statesman, Signer of the Bill of Rights, Articles of Confederation, Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States, First Mayor of New Haven, Treasurer of Yale College And for Twenty Years a Member of Congress, Washington Claimed his Friendship and Counsel And was Here His Guest in 1789. To Record His Great Service In The Founding and Early Government Of Our Country This Tablet is Placed by The Connecticut Society Sons of The American Revolution 1904.” -Courtesy of the Historical Marker Database.
“When Vanderbilt Hall was chosen to house the first class of freshwomen [in 1969], long debates were held as to what changes needed to be made. The landscape on Chapel Street was redesigned to shield the women from view and a glass office was built into the archway to house a 24 hour security guard—you can still see the tracks where the walls were fitted.” -Courtesy of the Yale Visitor Center.
The Yale British Art Center Museum is the newest building on the historic stretch of Chapel Street opposite the Old Campus in New Haven, Connecticut. “The building was designed by Louis I. Kahn and constructed at the corner of York and Chapel Streets in New Haven, across the street from one of Kahn’s earliest buildings, the Yale University Art Gallery, built in 1953. The Yale Center for British Art was completed after Kahn’s death in 1974, and opened to the public on April 15, 1977. The exterior is made of matte steel and reflective glass; the interior is made of travertine marble, white oak, and Belgian linen. Kahn succeeded in creating intimate galleries where one can view objects in diffused natural light. He wanted to allow in as much daylight as possible, with artificial illumination used only on dark days or in the evening. The building’s design, materials, and sky-lit rooms combine to provide an environment for the works of art that is simple and dignified.” -Courtesy of Wikipedia.
“In architecture, a long gallery is a long, narrow room, often with a high ceiling. In Britain, long galleries were popular in Elizabethan and Jacobean houses. They were often located on the upper floor of the great houses of the time, and they stretched across the entire frontage of the building. They served several purposes: they were used for entertaining guests, for taking exercise in the form of walking when the weather was inclement, and for displaying art collections.” -Courtesy of Wikipedia.
First and Summerfield United Methodist Church.
Old burly beech tree stands guard at Grove Street Cemetery, New Haven, Conn.

“It is often cited anecdotally that in response to the epigram, Yale Presidents have said, ‘The dead shall be raised… If Yale needs the property.’ Comprised of a wrought-iron fence and a central Brownstone arch, the gate is designed in the Egyptian Revival style, which was popular at the time of its construction and thought to be inoffensive to the various denominations who used the cemetery to bury their dead. Lotus bud detailing on the columns; papyrus leaf ornamentation; and the inclusion of a relief carving of the ancient solar deity, Feroher, above the famed epigram all give the structure the feel of an entrance to an Egyptian temple.” -Courtesy of Art Sites of New Haven.
History tour continued, courtesy of Art Sites of New Haven: “Henry Austin, the gate’s architect, was Hamden-born and renowned in the New Haven area for both the quality and beauty of his structures, and his fluency in a multitude of architectural styles. In New Haven alone, Austin worked in the Italianate, Moorish, and Gothic and Egyptian revival styles, often fusing disparate stylistic elements into the same project. Austin designed many prominent structures in New Haven, including Yale’s Dwight Hall, New Haven City Hall, and a multitude of eminent private residences. Henry Austin is buried in the Grove Street Cemetery.” Roger Sherman, having been first buried on the New Haven Green was exhumed and re-buried at Grove Street Cemetery. Henry Austin was the architect for the structure that replaced Roger Sherman’s residence at 1032 Chapel Street, New Haven, Conn. Commissioned by wealthy iron magnate Gaius Fenn Warner, in 1860 Henry Austin designed the Italianate-style mansion that continues to the present day to comprise the rear two thirds of the present Union League Cafe building.
Food Truck Paradise, Long Wharf, New Haven, Conn.
The Quinnipiac River meets New Haven Harbor.
Lighthouse Point Park.
Morris Cove, New Haven, Conn.
Autumnal equinox 2019, Lighthouse Point Park, New Haven, Conn.

Thank you to Kate and Peter for being the guinea pigs on my first attempt at a personally conducted history tour of New Haven, Conn. There were some who compared it to the Gilligan’s Island theme song… “a 3 hour tour, a 3 hour tour…” Love you guys!

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Page Hardware, Guilford, Conn.


This summer we had to get rid of a (leaky!) old air conditioner. We trusted Page Hardware for the replacement, because every time we go there they have what we need and good advice. The Page Hardware building is riddled with historic flourishes that I would like to learn more about, as evidenced in the appliances section in front front of the store. The Page Hardware guy emerged from behind double-hinged bank vault doors with our new unit. It has been working great and was affordable to buy. Thank you for another solid purchase and congrats to Page Hardware on 80 (well deserved!) years in business.

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Sachem’s Head, Guilford, Conn.

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The Sachem’s Head region of Guilford is so-named because when viewed from the air, the coastline resembles the outline of an Indian chief’s head in ceremonial headdress. The yacht club and historic homes anchor the ancient, opulent neighborhood; resilient against the succession of storms that have battered the coast. Sachem’s Head, due to it’s geography, is isolated, and therefore tranquil. It is worth a visit on a lazy Sunday drive but it is also worth remembering that people live here for the peace and quiet, and to be respectful.


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La Patrona Taco Truck, Long Wharf, New Haven, Conn.

Coming from Chicago, where Mexican / Latin American cuisine is thankfully abundant and delicious, to Connecticut, yes even the mighty city of New Haven, where the options are fewer and farther between, made me appreciate the amazing flavors of home-style cooking coming from the family-owned food truck La Patrona even more.


For ten dollars or less, a dinner that balances fresh ingredients like avocado, radish, cilantro, and deeply flavorful, slow-cooked meats like barbacoa, finished with crema, cheese, hot sauce (or if you are like Raven, mild sauce,) is hard to top. Thank you La Patrona for satisfying my craving for Mexican, and an affordable and delicious dinner with views of New Haven Harbor.


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Branford Point, Branford, Conn.


I have now forgotten the circumstances that brought me to Branford Point this past spring: all that I remember now is that I had to be out of the house an hour or so before I needed to leave for work. The amount of time seemed just right to explore this city of Branford park, on my way in to New Haven, and I am glad I did.

Branford Point park is small but packed with memorable features. From the boat launch, which is surrounded by water on 3 sides, to the beach, backed by a grassy, tree-lined hill, there is much beauty to absorb from this point. Parking was possible, but limited: I imagine in the summer high season that it becomes difficult for anybody that lives outside Branford to visit.

Though it may be small and packed, the challenge in this case would be worth the breeze from Long Island Sound, the sights of nearby Thimble Islands, and the peaceful vibes I found at Branford Point.

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Old Duncan Hotel, New Haven, Conn.




This review is for how The Graduate has restored the Hotel Duncan. My path to work has me pass the hotel almost every day, and I have watched the progress. Bravo to the team for meticulously restoring the beauty and grandeur of the old Hotel Duncan, and with a sense of urgency. It’s amazing (to somebody such as myself from Chicago) how the project has progressed, and I am excited to have the full experience in the updated historic hotel soon. Thank you and bravo The Graduate!


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