The Shoeleather History Project

Stories from Hartford's Grassroots

Playing ’til Sundown

Mahlon “Duck” Duckett and John “Mule” Miles returned to Hartford in 2007. Duck and Mule are surviving members of a proud but shrinking club: baseball players who were members of … Continue reading

May 22, 2013 · Leave a comment

A Feeling of Solidarity

It was March, 1912. Emily Pierson and her sister suffragists were on a statewide tour of Connecticut, putting up posters, distributing handbills, speaking wherever they could find a space. Pierson’s … Continue reading

May 10, 2013 · 2 Comments

Lincoln: “There is a Strike!”

March, 1860. Abraham Lincoln considers an invitation to Hartford, determined to widen his appeal as a possible presidential candidate. “Do not fail, for the sake of Connecticut,” his anxious host … Continue reading

May 7, 2013 · Leave a comment

Solidarity and 75 cents

It started out as a dispute over seventy-five cents and ended up as a test of wills between hundreds of Hartford construction workers and their employer. Decades before working people … Continue reading

May 6, 2013 · Leave a comment

Indian Summer in the City

Hartford’s Wild West fans and kids of all ages had to make a hard choice one hot summer day in 1899. They could travel to the park on Albany Avenue … Continue reading

May 5, 2013 · Leave a comment

Hobo Life

On the Big Rock Candy Mountain  /All the cops have wooden legs/ The bulldogs all have rubber teeth/ And the hens lay soft boiled eggs… The original hobo’s version of this … Continue reading

May 4, 2013 · Leave a comment

The Shameful Legacy of Sam Colt

Some Hartford people are pretty desperate for heroes. What other explanation could there be for the recent attempts to glorify gunmaker Samuel Colt?  His 19th century factory is now a … Continue reading

May 3, 2013 · 3 Comments

Factory Girls Strike for Their Health

The factory owner demanded sixty hours a week from the young women employed at the Government Envelope Works on South Ann Street. But apparently this was not enough for the … Continue reading

May 2, 2013 · Leave a comment

Standing Your Ground

On the cold morning of November 29, 1976, snow and ice rained down on a small group crowded in the doorway of 18 Congress Street, the one-way street between Wethersfield … Continue reading

May 2, 2013 · Leave a comment

Sand Hogs

We might drive over the Bulkeley Bridge every day, but we seldom think about the sweat and toil it took to produce the link between Hartford and East Hartford. Even … Continue reading

May 2, 2013 · Leave a comment

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The Shoeleather History Project