The State Librarian's Column
Riding the Wave:  A report on Connecticut's Library Workforce
Law Reading Room Renovations at State Library
Recent Accessions in the State Archives
Sharing the Love of Reading and Books at the National Book Festival
The Museum of Connecticut History Strategic Plan
Public Policy Research Guides
West Haven's Thunderbolt
Barkhamstead from the Air, 1934 and 2004
State Public Library Construction Grants Awards for FY07

January 2007 CONNector

The CONNector has an electronic format designed to make it easier to look at our articles. Please open this issue in a browser. We hope you enjoy it and will share any suggestions you have for future issues with me at bdelaney@cslib.org. Bonnie Delaney, Editor Visit our site at http://www.cslib.org/

The State Librarian's Column

As I signed off on the second round of the FY 2007 Historic Documents grants, I couldn't help but think about all that has been accomplished by town and city clerks throughout the state to preserve and manage their town's records.  On July 1, 2000, municipalities began to collect a three dollar fee for each document recorded in the land records. The municipality keeps one dollar for preservation and management of records and remits two dollars to the State Library.  The State Library grants 70% of that back to municipalities under the Historic Documents Preservation Grant Program.  The remaining 30% is used for preservation and records management at the State Library. In the six years that the State Library has been awarding these targeted grants, local communities have received $6,519,057.00.  Every town has applied for a grant at least once, and 110 towns have applied for a grant each year. With this much needed influx of funds, preservation efforts have increased in municipalities, especially the preservation of land record books, vital records, and maps.  Forty-nine towns have completed a preservation and/or records management survey. Technology has improved access to town records and has aided in preserving original documents.  Handwritten land record indexes have been replaced with computer-generated indexes. Town council minutes, as well as board and commission minutes, are now being scanned and indexed, and microfilm backups are retained off-site. On-line searching has been a significant benefit to many town clerks' offices throughout the state.  Space issues have been resolved in many towns due to the purchase of high density mobile filing systems and new hanging file map cabinets. Searching for specific records has become much more efficient. Map digitization efforts have had a tremendous impact on an important function of a town clerk's office.  Maps are now being scanned, indexed, searched, viewed, and printed.  The original maps do not need to be handled unless absolutely necessary.  The installation of updated computer and scanning equipment has made the vault more user-friendly for staff, title searches, attorneys, and the general public. 

In FY2007 a competitive grant component was initiated.  Nine grants were awarded for a total of $337,670. The competitive grants will allow towns to advance the management of both active and historical records to a higher level than possible under the targeted grants.

Each year grant staff has provided on-going training and educational workshops to Town Clerks or municipal officials involved in the grant application process. 

Disaster Recovery grants are available to all town offices and have been awarded to two towns since the grant's inception. 

Connecticut has a long and rich history, much of which is documented in the records of its towns and cities.  This program, effectively administered by the State Library's Office of Public Records and carried out by dedicated town and city clerks, is insuring that this documentary history of Connecticut is preserved and made accessible to all. 

Kendall F. Wiggin, Connecticut State Librarian

 

Riding the Wave:  A report on Connecticut's Library Workforce

Riding the Wave is the State Library's first report which presents data and responses from a survey of public librarians regarding their employment. more...


Law Reading Room Renovations at State Library

 

The Law Reading Room of the State Library on Capitol Avenue has a new, old, look. more...


Recent Accessions in the State Archives

The State Archives' accessions since the last CONNECTOR include the collections below.

Accession#2007-007, Frederick Biebel Collection, 1987-89:  In 1987, Frederick Biebel, former Chair of the Republican State Committee and member of the Republican National Committee, received an appointment to the U. more...


Sharing the Love of Reading and Books at the National Book Festival

What could be more fun than spending a day with over 100,000 people listening to 70 nationally and internationally renowned authors and sharing their love of books and reading on the National Mall in Washington, DC?  Well, when you're a librarian there isn't anything that's much more fun. more...


The Museum of Connecticut History Strategic Plan

Through a grant from the Connecticut Humanities Council to the Connecticut Heritage Foundation (an independent not for profit foundation supporting the State Library and Museum of Connecticut History), the Museum was able to hire consultant Laura Roberts to lead a strategic planning process. more...


Public Policy Research Guides

State legislators, state agency staff, and the public are often looking for up-to-date and historical information on public policy issues. Property Tax Relief, Alternative Fuels, Air Quality, School Finance, Eminent Domain, and Ethics in Government are just some examples of issues that will be discussed in the upcoming Connecticut legislative and/or Congressional sessions. more...


West Haven's Thunderbolt

Aerial view of the Thunderbolt roller coaster, Savin Rock Amusement Park in April 1934. Source: Connecticut State Archives, RG089: 11a, 1934 Connecticut Aerial Survey Photograph 04880.

The Thunderbolt roller coaster at Savin Rock Amusement Park in West Haven, Connecticut was built in 1925 by Prior, Church and Traver. It jutted 505 feet into Long Island Sound and was 85 feet high at its tallest point. It was destroyed by the hurricane of 1938 and was rebuilt and renamed the Giant Flyer the following year.  "The public outcry at the name change soon caused the owners to rename the coaster the Thunderbolt-Giant Flyer. The new name was never accepted by the public and ... it was always referred to as the Thunderbolt." (Dorman. Savin Rock, p.94)  It was torn down in 1957 because the support structure was rotting.

The roller coaster stands adjacent to Wilcox's pier. When the pier was built by George Kelsey in 1870, it was 1,500 feet long. Frank Wilcox ran a famous restaurant next to the pier that took his name. The pier was shortened by a storm in the 1880s and again by the hurricane of 1938. A steel and concrete pier, built in the area in the mid-1960s, retains the Wilcox name.

Resources:

The 8,731 photographs from the 1934 aerial survey are available online at the Connecticut State Library Digital Collections at http://cslib.cdmhost.com/cdm4/aerials.php. Our website describes how to access other years' aerial surveys, both online and in the original in the Research Guide to Aerial Photographs at the Connecticut State Library.

The History of Aerial Photography in Connecticut includes links to an article and photographs taken from a hot air balloon in 1885 by John G. Doughty.

Savin Rock : an illustrated history. By Bennett W. Dorman. 2 nd ed. North Haven, Conn. : Photo Restoration & Design, c1998. p. 94. [CSL call number: GV 1853.3 .C82 S384 1998]

Jane F. Cullinane, Preservation Librarian

Barkhamstead from the Air, 1934 and 2004

             

Barkhamsted in 1934 (on the left) and in 2004 (on the right). The left side of Lake McDonough has the same outline but the reservoir above it was formed in 1940-1948. Picture sources: Left: Connecticut State Archives, RG089: 11a, 1934 Connecticut Aerial Survey Photograph 08803. Right: University of Connecticut, Center for Land Use Education and Research Connecticut 2004 Digital Orthophotos Beta Version.

One of the most interesting things about aerial photographs is to compare the historic photographs with modern ones and see how land use has changed over time. Farm lands dwindle and forests develop or the number of roads and buildings increases as the years go by. A very dramatic change occurred in the towns of Hartland and Barkhamsted in northern Connecticut. 1934 Aerial Survey photographs 8789 to 8801 are among the group that shows the farms, meadows, and forests of the villages of Barkhamsted Hollow and Hartland Hollow in the valley of the east branch of the Farmington River in northern Connecticut. The modern photographs show a large body of water. Two years after the 1934 photographs were taken, the Metropolitan District Commission, which had been buying the land since 1927, stripped it of all its lumber and buildings. The Saville Dam was finished in 1940, and by 1948 the valley was completely flooded to create the Barkhamsted Reservoir. A similar story occurred in the towns of Redding and Weston, when a dam was constructed in 1940 and flooded the village of Valley Forge to create the Saugatuck Reservoir.

Resources:

The 8,731 photographs from the 1934 aerial survey are available online at the Connecticut State Library Digital Collections at http://cslib.cdmhost.com/cdm4/aerials.php. Our website describes how to access other years' aerial surveys, both online and in the original in the Research Guide to Aerial Photographs at the Connecticut State Library.

The History of Aerial Photography in Connecticut includes links to an article and photographs taken from a hot air balloon in 1885 by John G. Doughty.

 "Save the Saugatuck" by Roger Burlingame. In Connecticut circle v.1:no.5 1938:May p.30-31 [CSL call number: F 91 .C62]

"A valley flooded : to slake the Capital Region's thirst" by Kevin Murphy. In Hog River Journal. v.4:no.1 2005-2006:Winter. About the Barkhamsted Reservoir. [CSL call number: F 104 .H3 H64]

Village of the dammed : the fight for open space and the flooding of a Connecticut town [by] James Lomuscio. Hanover, N.H. : University Press of New England,  2005. [CSL call number: HD 243 .C8 L66 2005]. About the Saugatuck Reservoir.

Jane F. Cullinane, Preservation Librarian

State Public Library Construction Grants Awards for FY07

 

more...


The Connecticut CONNector Editorial Board
Kendall F. Wiggin, State Librarian


Editor: Bonnie Delaney
Library Specialist:
Hilary Frye
State Archivist:
Mark Jones
Unit Head, History and Genealogy
Richard C. Roberts
Administrator,CT Digital Library:
William Sullivan
Director, Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped:
Carol Taylor
Curator, Museum of CT History:
David Corrigan
Reviewer:
Sheila Mosman
Newsletter Production:
Bonnie Delaney


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