When traveling to a new place, it’s always fun to know a few things about the place you’ll be visiting. It makes the visit more engaging and gives you something to chat about on long road trips. Besides, who doesn’t like learning some silly trivia from time to time?
One state with some seriously awesome trivia facts is Connecticut. This place has a very rich history, and that has led to some super unusual facts about the state being gathered along the way.
If you’re headed to Connecticut soon—and honestly, even if you’re not—we highly recommend reading on to learn some strange and interesting tidbits about Connecticut.
#1: What’s in a Name?
The name “Connecticut” is derived from the Algonquian word quinnehtukqut. The rough translation of the word is “at the long tidal river,” which in this case is referring to the Connecticut River.
#2: What About a Nickname?
Connecticut has two nicknames: the Constitution State and the Nutmeg State.
The first of these names is referencing the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut. This was written in 1693 and is considered the first-ever written constitution.
The second nickname has an interesting history. There was a time when sailors would bring back nutmeg after long voyages. However, Connecticut peddlers figured out they could sell fake nutmeg made using wood, giving the state a bad reputation and an interesting nickname.
#3: Newspapers Galore
The Connecticut newspaper, the Hartford Courant, was established in 1764 and is the oldest newspaper in the United States. The state’s need for news has only grown since that first one was published, and CT residents now enjoy their choice of 144 newspapers published statewide.
#4: A State of Invention
Apparently, Connecticut sparks innovation. This state is home to dozens of awesome inventions. Among these is the USS Nautilus—the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, built in 1954—as well as the first-ever lollipop making machine, which opened in 1908.
The first Frisbee was invented here by mistake when Yale students found that the tins that hold pies from the Frisbie Pie Company flew quite nicely when thrown across the room. Additionally, the state was home to the world’s first hamburger, color TV, helicopter, and Polaroid camera. Last but not least, it should be noted that the first woman to receive a US patent was a resident of Connecticut.
We’re thinking Connecticut might be the place to be if you’re looking for new ideas.
#5: Weird Laws
Hartford, CT has some seriously weird laws that likely have some pretty funny stories behind them. For instance, it is against the law in Hartford to cross the street on your hands. Additionally, it’s illegal to fly a kite in the street. Now, we wouldn’t attempt anything like this regardless of the laws, but apparently some people would.
#6: …and Car Laws
The state is also home to a couple of car law firsts. In 1901, Connecticut passed the first-ever car law. This was a speed limit and was set to a mere 12mph. Connecticut was also the first state to issue permanent license plates for cars. They started this practice way back in 1937.
#7: Best of the Best
The Constitution State likes to do what it does well. This is why the state offers some of the best products out there.
Wallingford, CT, for example, is well known worldwide for its production of silverware. Meanwhile, Stafford textile mills produce some of the most famous cloth in the world. Both are quality products that definitely deserve the attention they receive.
#8: Home of Wrestling
Besides fabulous material items, Connecticut also produces some pretty talented people. Among these are wrestlers. You see, the headquarters of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (aka WWE) is located in Stamford. This is not something many people expect, and certainly not something many people know.
#9: A State of Readers
Of course, not all residents of the state can be wrestlers. It seems a good number of them are readers though. What makes us say that, you ask? Well, we’d say the history of libraries in this state is pretty telling of the residents’ love of literature.
Connecticut is home to the oldest library in the country. The Scoville Memorial Library began in 1771 when a CT resident purchased 200 books using community contributions. The library was available on the third Monday of each month, when users could borrow and return books.
The library grew over time, and eventually (in 1810) the people of Salisbury voted to use $100 from the town treasury to purchase more books for the collection. This act made the Scoville Memorial Library the first publicly supported free library in the country.
#10: …and Talkers
Reading is great, of course, but the people of Connecticut apparently also like to talk with one another. Perhaps they’re sharing the information they learn while reading, or maybe they just like to keep in touch with their friends.
Either way, you’ll probably be impressed to learn that New Haven, CT was home of the first telephone exchange using operators to direct calls. Additionally, New Haven was the first city in history to issue a telephone book. The book contained a mere 50 names, but it certainly helped the residents of the town stay connected.
#11: Silly Song Lyrics
If you grew up in the United States, you almost certainly know the song “Yankee Doodle”. What you may not know is that this is Connecticut’s state song. Not only that, the song was actually written to poke fun at the state governor’s son, Col. Thomas Fitch V.
Apparently, the song was written by a British surgeon who found the ragged appearance of the Colonel and his troops during the French and Indian War amusing. He wrote a diddy meant as an insult, and it stuck.