All programs are free and open to the public
Those elegant and luxurious vessels that were once a way of
life for the rich and famous that we all hear of and read about
and which few of us ever called upon the seas.
Vaughan Askue will speak about Igor Sikorsky, his life, careers, and legacy, and also the efforts to restore the Curtiss hangar at Sikorsky Airport for the Connecticut Air Space Center.
The North Branch Library and BCHS will co-sponsor a talk with Deborah Levison, author of “The Crate,” a story of her family during the Holocaust and how the Red Cross in Bridgeport was able to help them. She will also speak about her fiction book, a courtroom drama entitled “A Nest of Snakes.”
Automotive writer and author of numerous books, Patrick Foster, will tell about the American Motor Corporation, a company put together from three other mostly-forgotten brands: Nash, Hudson, and Kaiser.
Historian and retired educator, Carolyn Ivanoff, will relate the story of George Loring Porter, a physician from Bridgeport.
As a young combat surgeon at the Washington Arsenal, in 1865 he was assigned the duty to secretly bury John Wilkes Booth. He was the Surgeon in Charge during the trial of the conspirators during the Lincoln assassination trial. In 1867, he returned to civilian life and practiced in Bridgeport for 51 years.
Joe Barney is a Bridgeport resident and award winning comedy magician. He has performed as a clown and once worked for Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Circus. Joe will entertain and talk about the “circus”.
Photographers, Jay and Geralene, will show a "slide presentation" and narrate an interactive discussion with the audience. Their “Poli’s Palace & Majestic Theatres Memories Project” brings to life the two magnificent dormant theatres on Bridgeport’s Main Street. The theatres, built by Sylvester Z. Poli, opened in 1922 and quickly became a downtown social center. The theatres hosted live entertainment and silent movies before offering “talkies” toward the end of the Vaudeville era. They closed in the 1970s.
Join the world's first and only official PEZ historian on a journey of sweet proportions for an inside look at the world's most cherished interactive candy. Shawn Peterson is the company archivist and historian at PEZ Candy, Inc. in Orange, Connecticut. He also manages the Visitor Center as well as the content for the company website, and he is responsible for the creative content in the Visitor Center.
PEZ is an American classic and a staple of many childhood memories. Yet it originated in Austria, where PEZ began in 1927 as compressed peppermint tablets marketed as an alternative to smoking. Upon arrival in the United States in 1952, PEZ quickly took a new direction, adding fruit flavors and three-dimensional character heads to top the dispensers.
Shelton educator and historian, Carolyn Ivanoff, presents “A Hard Road to Travel – From Connecticut to Gettysburg 1863,” the story of four young men, friends from Stratford and Shelton, who served together in Connecticut’s 17th Regiment. She was previously named The Civil War Preservation Trust’s “Teacher of the Year.”
B.C.H.S. member, Paul Baudner, will speak about his extensive D. M. Read Department Store memorabilia collection from the 1940s. D.M. Read was located at the corner of Broad and John Streets and was known at the time for its classy and elegant merchandise. Who can remember the window displays on Thursday nights, or visiting the toy department or Santa at Reads?
Demolition of the historic Sanborn Library building, at the highly visible gateway intersection of Bridgeport's Fairfield Avenue and State Street, could happen as soon as November 20, 2018. Timely as it is urgent, this talk by local Architect Manny Machado, with presentation assistance by Boston Planning Consultant Michael Tyrrell, will cover the history of the building, its Architect, and the issues surrounding its potential demolition or development.
Bridgeport’s substantial inventory of aging and decayed buildings weigh down on the city’s image. However, razing and removing the Sanborn Library will only amplify that profile. Inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, “The Sanborn” was designed by award-winning German-Jewish American Architect Leonard Asheim in 1922. Asheim also designed the well-known Klein Memorial Auditorium, area school buildings, and the West End Congregation/Achavath Achim Synagogue on the national register of historic places.
A candidate for landmark designation through the State Historic Preservation Office, the Sanborn possesses a civic decorum more representative of the Park City in the early 20th Century. Please join us in reflecting on this important landmark whose role could very well be extended into this century.
Retired railroad engineer and historian, Rick Abramson, will present the rich history of “Penn Station New York: From Corporate Jewel to Corporate Vandalism,” from its beginning to its demolition and the reasons for both. The demolition was the start of New York City’s Landmarks Preservation actions.
Author and retired University of New Haven Professor, Stephen Spignesi, will tell about “Grover Cleveland’s Rubber Jaw” and other interesting and little-known bits of history. His talks are always entertaining and also informative. Think "Jeopardy" questions!
A few years ago, storyteller and historian, Arnie Pritchard inherited the World War II army footlocker of his father, Anton (Tony) Pritchard. It turned out to contain hundreds of letters and other family papers from Tony's service in the Arm and in the United Nations' refugee program in postwar Europe.
From those letters, Arnie has created a story. "This Business of Fighting" focused on Tony's time in the front lines in Europe. It portrays a young man dealing with everything from raw fear to his role as a leader to his exposure to a world, both wider and more brutal than he had known. Tony wonders how he will respond to his first combat, crawls through the freezing woods of the Ardennes under enemy fire and sees crowds of escaping forced laborers wandering the roads of Germany as the Nazi regime was collapsing.
Hear the history of the Bridgeport Monumental Bronze Company and their one of a kind made-to-order zinc tombstones and monuments which can be seen in cemeteries, public parks, and squares throughout the United States.
Author and historian, Mike Bielawa, tells of the reported incidents of Bridgeport's own "Men in Black," the ultra-secret agents (according to ufologists) who seek out and silence those probing too close to the truth behind UFOs. He explores possibilities of what may have occurred here on Broad Street one summer night in 1953.
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