Like much of New England, eastern Connecticut is bursting with history from the birth of our nation to the present day. Governor Jonathan Trumbull, the only colonial governor to side with the Patriots at the start of the Revolutionary War, called Lebanon home. Coventry native Nathan Hale famously said, “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country,” as he was hanged by British Forces in New York City after being captured while serving as an American spy. Samuel Huntington, a Connecticut delegate to the Continental Congress and signer of the Declaration of Independence, was from Scotland. Gov. Trumbull’s son, also named John Trumbull, went on to achieve great success as a painter after the Revolutionary War, and may be most well-known for his work, Declaration of Independence, which hangs in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda along with several other of his paintings.
Eastern Connecticut has a rich agricultural tradition, with dairy farms dotting the landscape to this day. Today, the Farmer’s Cow is a group of six local, family-owned dairy farms in Franklin, Woodstock, Thompson, Lebanon, Coventry and Hebron. Some of them have been operating since the 18th century, producing fresh, local milk and other dairy products that are shipped to grocery stores across the Second District and beyond.
Eastern Connecticut also has a proud industrial history dating back more than 150 years. Thanks to its many rivers, there were an abundance of water-powered textile mills during the Industrial Revolution. Willimantic, known as the “Thread City,” was home to the American Thread Company from 1898 until the 1980s. In Stafford Springs, the Warren Mill had been operating for 160 years before closing its doors at the end of 2013. However, in June 2014 after assistance from Congressman Joe Courtney and the State of Connecticut, an investor was able to purchase the mill and will continue to produce fine wool for men’s suits there.
Today, eastern Connecticut is still home to many vital manufacturing jobs. For example, General Dynamics’ Electric Boat facility in Groton and New London employs over 11,000 skilled manufacturing workers and builds two Virginia Class Submarines per year for the United States Navy. They also maintain submarines docked at the U.S. Naval Submarine Base in New London.
Eastern Connecticut is also committed to educating it’s future workforce. The Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance works with Quinnebaug Valley Community College in Danielson & Willimantic and Three Rivers Community College in Norwich to promote manufacturing as a career path to students. Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield also offers skilled manufacturing certificates and degrees at its manufacturing technology center. Eastern Connecticut takes pride in quality higher education, and in addition to QVCC, TRCC and Asnuntuck, is home to the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, as well as Connecticut College, Mitchell College, and the United States Coast Guard Academy which are all in New London.
With miles of shoreline on Long Island Sound including Hammonasset State Park in Madison, Ocean Beach in Waterford, and over 100 miles of scenic roads and spectacular autumn foliage, the environment in eastern Connecticut is a true highlight of the Second Congressional District.
Eastern Connecticut is also host to many examples of our vibrant culture, including Sailfest in New London, Willimantic’s Boom Box Parade, the Woodstock Fair, the Four Town Fair, the Hebron Harvest Fair and the Brooklyn Fair.