Wilton Historical Society, Library Host 'Industrial Revolution' Series

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The Wilton Library and Wilton Historical Society are once again teaming up for the Scholarly Series starting Sunday, Feb. 9. Photo Credit: File Photo

WILTON, Conn. -- The Wilton Library and Wilton Historical Society are once again teaming up for a scholarly series starting Sunday, Feb. 9. 

The "American Made: The Industrial Revolution in Connecticut" program starts this weekend and runs through March. The five-part series "examines the role that Connecticut played in the emerging growth of a nation." Louise Herot and Greg Chann will host with moderators Stephen Hudspeth and Max Gabrielson. The series is sponsored by Bankwell in Wilton, with individual sponsors for each lecture.

“We are so happy to be continuing this endeavor with Wilton Library and the Wilton Historical Society and to be able to provide such rich programming for our appreciative audiences," said Herot. "After our successful 'Star-Spangled Nation' series examining the birth of our nation from the War of 1812, it was a natural progression to explore the Industrial Revolution with a Connecticut focus.”

Registration is required for each of the lectures. To learn more about the programs, residents are encouraged to visit the Wilton Library's website

The five lectures in the series, including descriptions and location, are as follows, courtesy the Wilton Library and Wilton Historical Society: 

  • “Leaving Connecticut, Shaping America” — At 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, at the Wilton Library. Walter Woodward, a state historian of Connecticut, discusses the reasons why people left Connecticut between 1780 and 1830 to go to new areas such as Pennsylvania, Vermont and western New York, and the impact of that outward migration on those left behind. The lecture is sponsored by Doon and John Foster. The moderator is Stephen Hudspeth.
  • “The Erie Canal, a Mule Named Sal and the Industrialization of America”—At 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23, at the Wilton Historical Society. Aside from being an engineering marvel of the early 19th century, the Erie Canal offers a window into the history of industrialization, and the role it played in environmental and energy history. Ann Greene, who will lead the discussion, is a faculty member and administrator at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of History and Sociology of Science. The lecture sponsor is Stamford Pathology Group. Max Gabrielson is the moderator.
  • “The Rise and Fall of the Connecticut Textile Industry” – At 4 p.m. Sunday, March 2, at the Wilton Historical Society. Connecticut experienced a robust textile industry with mills appearing shortly after the American Revolution and flourishing in the late 1800s and early 1900s, until their ultimate demise. Jamie Eves will trace the reasons for the rise and fall of Connecticut’s textile industry and its ramifications for the future. Eves is executive director of the Windham Textile and History Museum and has a doctorate in history from the University of Connecticut. Kathleen and Bill Brennan are the lecture sponsors. Stephen Hudspeth is the moderator.
  • “Silicon Valley of the 19th Century: Rediscovering the CT Valley’s Industrial Heritage”— At 4 p.m. Sunday, March 16, at the Wilton Library. Connecticut Valley was the first high-tech industrial corridor – spearheading the technology-based revolution in which guns, typewriters, sewing machines, bicycles, automobiles and more were manufactured using machines. William Hosley’s talk and photographs will highlight the contribution of Connecticut to the Industrial Revolution. Hosley, principal of Terra Firma Northeast, is an independent scholar, cultural resource consultant and photographer. The lecture sponsor is Lee Wilson of Wilson Properties. Max Gabrielson is the moderator.
  • “The Dawn of Innovation”— At 4 p.m. Sunday, March 30, at the Wilton Historical Society. Author Charles Morris addresses the growth spurt of the American nation stemming from the War of 1812 which jump-started the New England cotton mills, the iron centers in Connecticut and Pennsylvania and the forges around the Great Lakes, allowing the U.S. to move past Great Britain just 30 years after the Civil War. In addition to "The Dawn of Innovation: The First American Industrial Revolution," Morris has written 13 books, many of which have received “Notable Book” awards. Books will be available for purchase and signing courtesy of Elm Street Books. Lila and Buck Griswold are the lecture sponsors. Stephen Hudspeth is the moderator.

The Wilton Library is located at 137 Old Ridgefield Road. Call 203-762-3950 for more information. The Wilton Historical Society is located at 224 Danbury Road. Call 203-762-7257 for more information.

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