In 1883, William F. Garvin left his home and family in Windsor and headed to Cheyenne, Wyoming, a young and rapidly growing frontier town. He faithfully wrote each week to his younger brother John. 130 years later, William’s grandniece Bev Garvan donated this collection of 300 letters to the Society. She has transcribed dozens of excerpts to illustrate some of the differences between life in Windsor and in the West.
It can be tough getting through winters in Connecticut, but alongside the hard work, there are ample opportunities for outdoor merriment. Here are a few images from our collections showing all of the above. [...]
The early morning hours of January 24, 1925 were frigid. Nonetheless, men, women, and children from all over the Windsor area dressed in their warmest clothes to view the long anticipated spectacle: a total eclipse of the sun.
The Hartford Courant's Fresh-Air Excursions were one of the many programs, clubs, and organizations that made Rainbow Park an annual destination during the late 1890s. Rainbow businessmen Henry Snow and Samuel Vernon opened the park in 1895, the year the Hartford Street Railway Company completed the trolley line to Rainbow.
A large, grassy lot now sits adjacent to Windsor Avenue across from Allen and E. Wolcott Streets in Windsor. But at one time, it was one of the most popular areas in the Wilson [...]
They are the red sandstone markers set on the sides of the roads with the letters H or H.C. chiseled into them. The letters indicate the number of miles to the Hartford Court House, today known as the Old State House. In 1787 the Connecticut legislature ordered that “towns shall set up milestones on mail routes, marking distances from the county towns."
Christopher Miner Spencer was an almost compulsive inventor and tinkerer from his childhood into his old age. The people who knew him best describe long hours of puzzling over problems he hoped to solve and designs he hoped to improve on inventions like his rifles, automatic screw machine, steam-powered boat, and automobiles. They also describe a man who was kind, generous, and friendly.
This map shows Windsor's various daughter, granddaughter, adopted daughter, and step-daughter towns. The shaded areas show the land originally within Windsor's boundaries (dotted lines separate slices of towns originally from Windsor). Map by Homer [...]
Canal transportation was no match for the speed and efficiency of the emerging railroads in the mid-19th century. But while the arrival of the railroad signaled the eventual demise of the Windsor Locks Canal, the decline in shipping on the canal was far more gradual than historians have previously supposed. One product in particular, gunpowder, was shipped through the canal for several decades after the railroad appeared.
One of our dear volunteers, Carlton Parkinson, passed away two weeks ago. We’ll miss him tremendously at Windsor Historical Society. He inspired hundreds of school children to understand and to care a little more about the place they live in. We're re-publishing an interview we conducted with Carl in 2010 in his memory.