Touring Historic Connecticut

Spud visited the historic state of Connecticut for the first time in March of 2002. While he was there he learned that this tiny New England state was the birthplace of the insurance industry. The ITT Hartford Group opened for business in the capital of Hartford in 1810 and created a trend of skyrocketing premiums and denied claims that would be imitated by millions the world over.

Its no coincidence that the praying mantis is the official insect of Connecticut; like most insurance companies, it sinks its teeth into its hapless victim and slowly sucks the life from it. Fortunately, Connecticut is known for other things besides insurance.

Hey - wasn't this supposed to be in Virginia?

In fact, according to Spud's tourbook, the state is the home to the Iwo Jima Memorial. This stirred quite a bit of controversy as the tater had seen the famed statue first in Harlingen, Texas and had heard that it had moved to its permanent location at the US Marine Corps in Arlington, Virginia . Feeling this was some kind of ploy by the visitor's bureau to attract people to the state (perhaps to sell them insurance!), Spud tried to seek out the giant bronze statue.

When driving through the hamlet of New Britain, the side dish couldn't believe any of his eyes as he noticed what appeared to be 6 bronze soliders striving to stake their flag in the war torn rubble of Mt. Suribachi. Closer inspection revealed that it was identical to the one he had seen in the Lone Star state. Apparently, the soliders hooked up with promoter Don King and are doing a 7 state tour of the Eastern seaboard.

Speaking of showmen, Spud's next stop was Bridgeport, to visit the palace of the greatest showman on earth: P.T. Barnum. Barnum made a name for himself in the early 1800's when he made a career out of exploitation, (not unlike The National Enquirer and the Weekly World News do today!) Oddities were quite novel at the time, and PT Barnum scoured the world looking to add to his collection. Today he could have just gone to any major city and collected the same, if not more bizarre!

Spud arrives at the home of PT Barnum

Barnum brought to the world stage such memorable acts as Chang and Eng Bunker (twin brothers who were literally joined at the hip), General Tom Thumb (a vertically challenged chap who was given a miltary rank in lieu of a raise) and the collosal pachyderm Jumbo. The Barnum Museum in Bridgeport houses many artifacts from these attractions including what appeared to be one of Jumbo's enormous 'contributions' to the local farming community.

Spud admires the period skylights in Noah Webster's roof

Next on the tuber's itinerary was West Hartford; to the home of Noah Webster, author of Webster's dictionary of the American language. The scholar's home is immaculately cared for by the Historical Society and they have taken great pains to restore the detail of the 18th century house; even down to the remote controlled skylights with low dispersion glass.

While Spud toured the home he took some time to scan through all of Webster's writings to see if he could find the word, 'WHASSSUP!!'. He was happy to find nothing, ...except for numerous words like colour, centre, etc. that were misspelled.

Spud ran into another couple in the home that mentioned to the potato that there was another famous house in the area that he might want to check out: the Twain house.

A disheartened Spud learns the real owner of the Twain house

The tater's tongue fell right out of his head at the thought of visiting country music superstar and all-around babe Shania Twain's house. Spud hopped in his car and peeled over to Hartford with thoughts of Shania's leopard skin outfit hanging in her bedroom. By the time he arrived at the huge orange-bricked mansion, he was sweating like he'd just been in the microwave for 10 minutes.

His heated anticipation soon diminished though, as he found it wasn't Shania's home after all. Instead, it was some guy named Mark Twain.

CLICK HERE to continue Spud's journey through Connecticut.




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