Yale, fall foliage, and insurance companies are some of the things we instantly associate with Connecticut, but besides these, what is Connecticut famous for?
Located in New England, Connecticut shares borders with Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and New York to the west. Connecticut is the third smallest state, but with 3.6 million people, it is the fourth-most densely populated and a very urban/suburban state as it is part of the NY metro area.
Officially known as the Constitution State, it is one of the original 13 colonies that heavily influenced the early development of the United States federal government.
But, without more delays, let’s explore what is Connecticut famous for!
10 Things Connecticut is famous for
A wealthy suburb of NYC
Many people associate with Connecticut for being part of the New York metropolitan area, especially for being mostly a wealthy suburb of NYC. Although it is not wrong, as we will explain, we will also show that there is much more to Connecticut than this rather simplistic view.
New York is the largest city in the USA, and its metro area is the largest in the world by urban landmass and one of the most populous urban agglomerations in the world. It is also one of the most influential cities in the world in almost any field we choose, from economics to culture and politics.
Connecticut is part of NY’s tri-state area, and a large portion of Connecticut’s population lives in the New York metropolitan area. In fact, six of the seven most populous cities in Connecticut are in the NY metro area: Bridgeport, New Haven, Stamford, Waterbury, Norwalk, and Danbury. So, it’s only normal to associate Connecticut with larger New York.
The second part of this topic is that Connecticut is wealthy… a wealthy suburb, and that’s also completely accurate. According to the 2010 census, Connecticut had the highest income per capita, the second-highest human development level (only behind Massachusetts), and the highest median household income of any US state.
Thus, Connecticut may be a suburb of New York City, but it is one of the best places in America to live. Income and quality of life are some of the best in America.
Another thing contributing to Connecticut’s exceptional quality of life is the high education establishments and Yale University in particular.
Founded in 1701 as the Collegiate School, Yale University is the most famous organization in Connecticut. Located in New Haven, it is a private Ivy League research university and is usually considered one of the most prestigious higher education institutions in the World. It is also the third oldest in the USA, only after Harvard (Massachusetts) and the College of William & Mary (Virginia).
Renamed Yale College in honor of Elihu Yale, one of its largest benefactors, the curriculum started incorporating humanities and sciences after the American Revolution. It expanded into graduate and professional instruction and was awarded the first Ph.D. in the USA in 1861. After becoming a university in 1887, its faculty and students rapidly grew.
Today, Yale is organized into 14 schools, the original undergraduate colleague, the arts and sciences school, and 12 professional schools. In 2021, it had an endowment of 42 billion USD, the second largest of any educational institution. Yale also is associated with 65 Nobel laureates, five Fields medalists, four Abel prizes, and three Turins awards winners.
Yale University is also famous for its excellent drama and music programs, while the professional schools of Law, Management, Medicine, Art, and Nursing are usually among the best in the world. With tuition and fees of 59 950 USD, it is considered by the US News the best value school in America.
Connecticut is also famous for the fall foliage, though this is characteristic of most of New England rather than only of Connecticut.
The foliage season in Connecticut is usually longer than in other New England states, allowing visitors more opportunities to witness and experience the fall beauty. It starts in late September and stretches through early November, with the brightest colors usually between early October and early November.
These dates are always adjusted according to each year’s weather. On the other hand, the northern part of the state usually sees the leaves changing earlier, gradually moving south into the valley and finally the shore. If you are traveling later in the season, then Fairfield county is the place to go.
Connecticut’s foliage season is always stunning, but some of the most impressive sites are in the state’s wooded areas, like Litchfield and the eastern Mystic region. These places also have lovely small towns and scenic drives, making a fall foliage visit to Connecticut a wonderful experience.
What is Connecticut famous for? As a huge sports fan, one of my first thoughts is ESPN, obviously! However, this is a curious item on this list. On the one hand, ESPN is incredibly famous, on the other hand, not many know that ESPN came from Connecticut.
ESPN is the worldwide leader in sports broadcasting and multimedia, with over 50 entities and brands. Today, ESPN is owned by Walt Disney Company through ABC, but it was founded in 1979 in Bristol, Connecticut, and still has about half its 8 000 employees in the city.
ESPN’s business includes over a dozen websites, 90 broadband networks, 30+ tv networks, several radio stations, and print and mobile projects. It is one of the most successful sports networks ever, and it is constantly referred to in pop culture.
If you plan to visit Bristol, you should be aware that there aren’t tours to ESPN headquarters, but you can drive through its vast campus and satellite field to admire the technology involved.
One of the things Connecticut is famous for is for having a large insurance company cluster. Besides being the state capital, Hartford, Connecticut, is known as the world’s insurance capital, with a vast number of insurance companies with headquarters and major campuses in the area.
With more than 63 500 jobs, Hartford is the number one location in terms of insurance industry jobs. Proportionally, It has nine times more workers in the industry than the average American city.
The insurance industry grew for centuries in the state, and it was Hartford insurance companies the first to offer accident, auto, and aviation policies, among other innovations. Companies like Aetna, Conning & Company, the Harford, and Hartford steam boiler are all located in Harford, while Prudential Financial, Lincoln National, and Travelers have major operations in the city.
Another thing many people associate with Connecticut is the A-Z mysteries books. This popular series of mystery books for children takes place in a fictional town of Connecticut called Green Lawn. So, despite being fictional, the millions of people who read the A-Z mysteries associate the state with the books and probably feel that they know a bit about Connecticut.
Written by Ron Rot and illustrated by John Steven Gurney, the series has 26 books, one of each letter of the alphabet, thus the name. It is considered one of the best easy-to-read series of books for young children and one of the most popular too.
Sandy Hook massacre
The Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, is a relatively recent event, but it’s so shocking that it is something Connecticut became associated with.
On the 14th of December 2012, a 20-year-old boy entered the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, shooting and killing 20 children of 6 and 7 years old, and six staff members. Earlier that day, he had shot and killed his mother. After the first responders arrived, he committed suicide.
This incident is considered the deadliest mass shooting in an elementary school and the fourth-worst overall. It was one of the most shocking events in the 2010s in the US, prompting a debate about gun control, though very few actions were taken.
The Constitutional State
Connecticut is known for its official nickname: the constitutional state. This title became official in 1959 and referred to the colonial history of Connecticut, particularly to the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut.
Adopted in 1639, the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut are considered one of the first written constitution-like documents of the western world. It sets the structure and powers of the government of the Connecticut river towns. The document is notable for assigning the authority in the colony to the elected general court, omitting any reference to the British Crown.
Besides the official nickname, Connecticut is also known as:
- The Nutmeg State – not because it has nutmegs, but because its early inhabitants had the reputation of making and selling fake wooden nutmegs
- The Provisions State – for its role of supplying most of the food and cannons for the Continental forces
- The “Land of Steady Habits” – an allusion to the strict morals of its people
- The blue laws state – for its early puritan laws against drinking, gambling, etc.
Connecticut is also known for its Casinos. Not because it has a record number of casinos like Nevada or has many failed/bankrupt casinos like Atlantic City in New Jersey. Connecticut has only two casinos (a third is projected), but they are some of the biggest, most luxurious, and most popular in the US. They are the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard and the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville.
Both Connecticut casinos are located on tribal lands of the two federally recognized tribes of Connecticut and thus are Indian casinos. The Foxwoods are of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, and the Mohegan Sun of the Mohegan Tribe. The tribes pay 25% of the slot machine revenue to the state in exchange for the state maintaining them illegal outside the Indian reservations.
The Casinos are some of the most popular attractions in Connecticut and attract thousands of visitors each day, totaling billions of dollars in revenue and taxes. Guests of both casinos may enjoy luxury accommodations, various attractions, and shopping opportunities.
Records and fun facts
Like any other state, Connecticut holds a variety of records, and it is home to some unique and fun facts. As one of the original colonies and the 5th state to join the Union, there are lots of historical facts. Let’s explore those and other Connecticut records:
- Connecticut is named after the Connecticut river, the largest river in New England region;
- The word Connecticut comes from the Mohegan Indian word “Quonehtacut,” which means long tidal river;
- The oldest U.S. newspaper that is still being published is The Hartford Courant, based in Connecticut. It was first published on October 29, 1764.
- In 1878 the first telephone book was published in New Haven, Connecticut – it had only 50 names;
- The lollipop was invented in 1908 in Connecticut by George Smith;
- The first public payphone in America was installed in Hartford in 1889;
- The first American cookbook was published in Hartford in 1796. It was American Cookery, The Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry, and Vegetables by Amelia Simmons;
- Connecticut is one of the two states that never ratified the 18th Amendment (Prohibition). The other is Rhode Island;
- Connecticut was the first state to issue permanent license plates for cars in the US.
- PEZ (the candy) is made in Orange, Connecticut.