Once again we rely on the work of our late colleague, Lynne Turdin, who spent many years sifting through dusty clippings, squinting at blurry microfilms and trudging down to the Jack Benny’s vault we call our library to compile the “Week in History” feature. [Parenthetical wisecracks added, with restraint, by Yrs Trly.]
JUNE 10, 135 Years Ago: 1879. The divorce statistics of this state have been collected for a period covering nearly thirty years. … The evil grew steadily until 1864 when 426 were granted. From that time until the close of 1877, 448 on average occurred annually. … The divorce record of Connecticut leads that of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont. [Notice how seamlessly the commentary was added here. But at least our little state held the lead in something.]
JUNE 15, 110 Years Ago: 1904. The new list of automobiles and motor cycles compiled for the Connecticut police shows that 38 new motor vehicles have been purchased in Meriden. When the last list was issued there were only 18 cars in Meriden compared to the present 56.
JUNE 16, 35 Years Ago: 1979. International Silver Company, which has fared poorly in recent years at the hands of domestic and foreign competition, is splitting up its flatware and hollowware operations in a move to promote “efficiency.”
JUNE 17, 35 Years Ago: 1979. The Parks and Recreation Commission voted unanimously to close the Hubbard Park zoo “until the funds to maintain a proper zoo with proper humane treatment are available.” 85 Years Ago: 1929. The installation of traffic lights at the corner of Cherry and Quinnipiac streets in Wallingford has worked out so satisfactorily that it is more than probable that an extension of such lights at other danger areas … may be considered.
JUNE 18, 135 Years Ago: 1879. The I. C. Lewis temperance hall was thronged with visitors last evening. … [A circus was also in town that day, so we see that Meriden was already a Playful City, way back when.] 60 Years Ago: 1954. The Board of Police Commissioners announced the appointment of Police Lt. Robert Triano as Chief of the Southington Police Department effective July 15.
JUNE 19, 35 Years Ago: 1979 Gov. Ella Grasso today declared an energy emergency in Connecticut and ordered a program of mandatory odd-even gasoline rationing … [Hmmm, does anyone remember what you were supposed to do if you had vanity plates?] 20 Years Ago: 1994. Ending a year of heated debate and speculation, Veterans Memorial Medical Center’s board of directors voted to build a newhospital on 50 acres off Lewis Avenue. [Hmmm, does anyone recall the “heated debate” ending with that decision?]
JUNE 23, 85 Years Ago: 1929. President Hoover today approved the recommendation of the hospitalization board of the United States veterans’ bureau for purchase of three pieces of property at Newington on which to build the new veterans’ hospital … [People in Wallingford had hoped to land this hospital, but lost out to Newington.] 60 Years Ago: 1954. Meriden was transformed into a city of deserted streets and roads at 10:00 this morning during the nationwide air raid test. All traffic stopped here and throughout the rest of the country as the first nationwide air raid test went into effect with pedestrians seeking designated shelter areas. The city’s 6,000 school children were in the school shelter areas in two and one-half to three minutes. [Here’s the drill: Close the venetian blinds and tune your radios to ConElRad: 640 or 1240 on your AM dial. Then wait for the all-clear. Ah, those were the days, all right — the bad old days.]
Reach Glenn Richter at email@example.com.