Ansonia rolls out ‘living museum’ of historical past
By Jean Falbo-Sosnovich
Published 3:59 pm, Thursday, January 4, 2018
ANSONIA — Did you know John F. Kennedy made a campaign stop here in 1960? Or ever hear about the time when Thomas Edison paid a visit in 1878 to check out early competition which eventually led to the creation of the light bulb?
Those interesting tidbits and more are just some of the facts residents can expect to find every Monday on the city’s Facebook page about Ansonia’s rich, historical past.
Thanks to an idea by Greg Martin, the city’s director of constituent services, residents can now take a weekly trip back in time and see what was happening here way back when.
“What’s a New Year without new ideas?” Martin said. “I did this to show how much history we have and unfortunately probably don't appreciate or realize it. Sometimes you really need to look around and understand there's a story to be told behind every park, street and building. These things weren't planted with a seed.”
The historical timeline launched on Monday, and features facts ranging from Jan. 1 to Jan. 7. For example on Jan. 2, 1947, Howard Emerson, publisher of the Ansonia Evening Sentinel, died after a long illness. Then on Jan. 5, 1969, the 19-acre Emmett O’Brien Regional State Vocational Technical School began undergoing a $1 million renovation. And on Jan. 6. 1910, Dr. FC Goldstein, Ansonia’s first director of public health, issued a reminder to all city milk peddlers that they must register with his office within 30 days.
City Historian John Tuohy, who posts a similar history column on the Ansonia Historical Society’s Facebook page is providing the city with the historic tidbits from comprehensive research he’s done “culled from the files of the former Evening Sentinel, dating 1880-1980,” Martin said.
Tuohy, a non-fiction writer, is thrilled to share Ansonia’s past with others.
“Growing up here I was fascinated by the history I could see and touch across the city and I am still enamored with the stories I heard from the adults about what such and such a place used to be or how things were years before,” Tuohy said. “I truly believe that knowing our history enhances the sense of civic pride and its helps people to understand where we have been and how we got to where we are now.”
Both Tuohy and Martin believe Ansonia boasts such a rich past that it could someday evolve into a living museum of sorts, as a tourist attraction, similar to New York City’s Museum of Tenant Life, Tuohy said.
“I’d like to in the near future initiate a small Ansonia museum of history on Main Street as one of the many pet projects I have in mind… this little Facebook feature could start the interest,” Martin said.
Tuohy said through his extensive research he has uncovered all kinds of neat things about Ansonia.
“The most interesting thing in doing this is how many truly famous people have come through Ansonia for one reason or the other,” he said. “Thomas Edison was here to check on the competition. Adlai Stevenson campaigned here and toured the factories. John F. Kennedy came through on a campaign stop.”
Tuohy said the new column will be posted on the city’s Facebook every Monday throughout all of 2018. However, it could go on even longer.
“Ansonia has a long an interesting history, we could post for another three or more decades and only touch the surface of the days behind us,” Tuohy said.