History
Read stories about the rich history of the Connecticut River; stories of early colonial settlers, native Indian tribes, their art and culture, the history of river steamboats, shipbuilding, covered bridges and more.

John Ledyard’s Journey

June 1, 2020

The year 2020 notches a notable anniversary in the annals of the Connecticut River. It is the centennial year of Dartmouth’s Ledyard Canoe Club. Each spring their cadres of collegiate canoeists replicate the legendary paddle their progenitor took in May of 1773. His adventure is the most famous canoe journey in the long history of the River....

Lady Fenwick

June 1, 2020

One May morning in 1638, a ship slipped down the Thames River in England bound across the Atlantic Ocean. The doughty craft’s destination was the Connecticut River. Deep in her hold were boxes and barrels packed with seeds, cuttings, and saplings. The cargo comprised a formal English garden to be transplanted where only a short time prior the blood of English colonists and their indigenous enemies seeped into loamy Connecticut soil. Below decks, in a cramped cabin shared with her husband and infant son, an extraordinary free-spirit who was to become “the most magical and mysterious woman in Connecticut River history” planned her plantings and battled mal de mer....

Who Owns the Connecticut River?

June 1, 2020

Our Connecticut River has a storied past—especially the struggles between contenders for who owned the River. As one of our most discernible landmarks flowing down the center spine of New England, the River was referenced as a boundary of the various states beginning as early as 1644 with kerfuffles lasting nearly 300 years....

The Connecticut- Meet the River

March 1, 2020

The word “Connecticut” stems from a French corruption of the Mohegan word “Quinetucket,” which means “beside the long tidal river.” Adriaen Block, the Dutch explorer and first European to chart the River in 1614, called it the Fresh River. The English first settled the area in the 1630s and referred to it as the Great River....

Ferries of the River

March 1, 2020

The Connecticut River connects us up and downstream. It also separates us from bank to bank. For thousands of years, indigenous people used dugout canoes to get from one shore to the other. The dugout could easily carry the people, meat, plants, tools, and fish around which their foraging lifestyle revolved. Trees transformed into boats were powered by paddle, wind, current, and tide. These organic craft were totally sustainable....