Title: EH history featured in photo book
Author: Annie Gentile
Publisher: Reminder News
The town of East Hartford has gone through several incarnations since separating from the city of Hartford in 1783. From its growth as a huge agricultural community centered on tobacco, to railroad center, to major manufacturer of aircraft engines, to present day, East Hartford has long been a vibrant community in which to work and live.
Now, to illustrate its rich history, the East Hartford Rotary Club has announced the publication of its pictorial portrayal, “Images of America: East Hartford, Connecticut,” with a release date of Aug. 17.
“The idea for the book started in 2007,” said Jackie Danise, who, with fellow Rotarian Joan Brow, is on the public relations committee promoting the 128-page , 220-picture book. Danise said the Rotary Club was coming up on its 80th anniversary in 2008, and the members wanted to do something commemorative . They had considered doing a calendar that depicted various aspects of East Hartford through the years and approached Don Hallquist, a local educator , who had an extensive collection of photographs of the town.
“Don and I met with local historian Ray Johnson, and I think the first question out of Ray’s mouth was, ‘Have you thought of writing a book?’” Danise said. The idea was intriguing, and in three weeks, the Rotary Club signed a contract with Arcadia Publishing.
“Arcadia has been terrific to work with, and the beauty of working with them is that they front the charges,” said Danise. Arcadia’s familiar sepiacolored “Image of America” books provide a strict profile to follow, Danise said, which helped make putting the book together that much easier.
The book’s cover is an August 1928 photograph of the Rochambeau monument on Silver Lane, where the French Comte de Rochambeau marched his troops during the Revolutionary War. Historically, Rochambeau was believed to have paid the troops at this time in silver coins – hence the name “Silver Lane.”
Danise said Johnson did about 95 percent of the captions for the photographs , and he is credited for his contributions, along with the East Hartford Rotary Club. Danise said that Johnson, a retired fifth-grade teacher from the East Hartford school system, put together a fifth-grade history book that is used in the curriculum. “He loves history, and I suspect he had an undying passion to do an ‘Images of America’ book,” she said.
Sadly, Hallquist died not long after the project got underway, and so they needed to find more members to round out the committee. Roy Spiller, another local history buff, came on board. At first, Danise said they were not certain that he could participate, as he was hospitalized with a serious illness, but he bounced back and helped out tremendously . Danise said the book may have been instrumental in his recovery. “His wife said he became such a new man with a purpose once he started working on the book, and after it was finished, he became involved with the local historical society,” she said.
Rounding out the committee was Bill Secord, a retired East Hartford teacher, who was recruited because of his computer expertise and for his grammar and editing skills. Danise said her role was doing the legwork to fill in pictures that were not part of their collections by visiting the Connecticut Historical Society, the Dodd Center at the University of Connecticut – which has an excellent transportation collection featuring trolleys and trains – and East Hartford’s own Raymond Library. “We’re all true volunteers,” Danise said of the committee.
“Images of America: East Hartford, Connecticut,” which got its start in February of 2007, was completed Jan. 29, 2008. While the release date is not until Aug. 17, it may be purchased in advance by contacting either Jackie Danise at 644-1822 or Joan Brow at 568-5078 . All proceeds of the sales will benefit the Rotary Club Scholarship Fund.
Title: Learn the History
Publisher: Reminder News
Author: Staff Writer
Through words and photographs, vivid images emerge of the people, places and events that chronicle the history of East Hartford. Podunk Indians farming, fishing and hunting along the fertile banks of “The River,” innovative entrepreneurs developing sawmills and gristmills to meet the needs of early settlers, and visionary leaders providing the social framework that eventually established a community.
Thus begins the history being recaptured in the soon-to-be released book Images of America: East Hartford, Conn. Authored by town historian, Raymond Johnson, partnered with East Hartford Rotary Club, the book is 128 pages with over 220 pictures.
Descriptions of the effort set forth to declare the town’s independence from Hartford, the never-ending struggle to fight the elements of Mother Nature through floods and storms, the transition from an agricultural community to one that embraced the industrial revolution poignantly recapture the heart and spirit of its citizens. Homes of the 18th, 19th, and 20th century, early school houses, the many modes of transportation, as well as long-forgotten landmarks such as the velodrome , the alms house, and the town’s two railroad stations, all portray the changing faces and landscape of East Hartford.
Recounting the town’s growth throughout the 20th century, the ingenuity, ambition and altruism of its townspeople jump from the pages. With a population approaching 50,000 people, East Hartford is now home to UTC/ Pratt & Whitney, UConn Huskies football stadium, and Goodwin College, whose new campus sits on the very banks of “The River” that has been so much a part of the history of East Hartford.
Images of America: East Hartford, Conn. will be on sale Friday, Aug. 21, at Raymond Library (840 Main St., East Hartford) in conjunction with the farmers’ market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Priced at $21.99, all proceeds go to East Hartford Rotary Club Scholarship Fund. With a release date of Aug. 17, orders are being taken now at 860-644-1822 .