35 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About New HavenDo you know where to find Midnight Mary? This and much more in the authoritative list of New Haven trivia.
1. Garry Trudeau, the satirist responsible for Doonesbury, started the strip when he was attending Yale. 2. Mr. Burns is one of many famous fictional alumni of Yale. If anything, he’s probably the richest. Or most twisted.
Source: Flickr user Kent Wang3. Nick Carraway, the humble narrator of The Great Gatsby, doesn’t state exactly which college he went to when he said he graduated from “New Haven,” but it was probably Yale. 4. Claire Danes, Jodie Foster, Lupita Nyong’o, Sigourney Weaver, the incomparable Meryl Streep—powerful actresses from many different generations are all Yale grads as well.
Source: Giphy.com5. Gene Siskel, of Siskel and Ebert fame, has a nice Yale diploma—in philosophy. 6. Paul Giamatti, Edward Norton, Lewis Black, Dick Cavett, Anderson Cooper, Demetri Martin, Ben Stein, Henry Winkler—the actors who are Yale grads are just as impressive as the list of leading ladies.
Source: Flickr user Karon Liu7. The Frisbie Baking company sold pies, and it wasn’t long before college students, having finished the pies, discovered the upward mobility of the metal discs they came in. Fitting that college students invented the Frisbee, no?
Source: Flickr user Mike Mozart8. New Haven Green was built large enough to accommodate the number of people who would be spared in the Second Coming of Christ. It was 144,000. 9. Pizza was invented in New Haven. ‘Nuff said.
Source: Giphy10. New Haven has its own resident ghost (or ghost story, at the very least). Mary E. Hart was buried in 1872, but after her aunt had a disturbing dream in which Mary had been buried alive, the family went to disinter the coffin, just in case. Turns out there was evidence to suggest that “Midnight Mary” may have been laid in a little prematurely—blood on the fingertips and scratch marks on the coffin. You might even see her ghost around the area at night, so watch out. 11. The Collegiate School changed its name after a large donation from the former governor of Madras and merchant with the British East India Company, Elihu Yale. Guess what the name changed to. Anyone?
Source: Yale University Facebook12. Everyone loves the ‘90s for the bevy of great female singer-songwriters it produced. Arguably one of the queens of that musical movement, Liz Phair, hails from New Haven. 13. Lunch history was made at Louis’ Lunch back in 1900 when a harried businessman walked in and ordered something he could walk and eat with. Louis didn’t have anything like that on the menu, so in a flash he lumped together some bits of steak—and created the very first hamburger.
Source: Flickr user rick14. America’s very first public tree planting program was in New Haven. No wonder the city’s nickname is “Elm City.” 15. Dr. Henry Bronson of New Haven was one of the world’s first experts in treating cholera 16. The New Haven District Telephone Company’s first telephone book—the first one ever—only had 50 names in it. It was a lot easier to tear in half back then!
Source: Flickr user Michael Coghlan17. The first lollipop machine, and by extension the first lollipop, was made here in New Haven. It was named after a popular racehorse… so I wonder what was the racehorse named after? 18. Skull & Bones, the most famous secret society in the world besides the Freemasons, is a group at Yale University that includes many world leaders, successful businessman and famous celebrities. The organization is housed in a windowless building called “The Tomb” on High Street.
Source: Flickr user m0122919. The Constitution of the United States of America wasn’t actually the first Constitution on the mainland. New Haven’s “The Fundamental Orders” hold that honor, and served as the model for that best breakup letter in the history of ever. 20. Colonial New Haven had their own spin on the bowl cut—but they used a cut pumpkin! It only makes sense that proto-hipsters who rocked this fashion were called “pumpkin heads”.
Source: Flickr user Imnop88a21. Beating out Boston’s Public Library by more than century, New Haven opened the country’s first public library in 1656. 22. Eli Whitney invented and patented the famous cotton gin in New Haven.
Source: Flickr user Barbara Hobbs23. As if a cotton gin wasn’t enough genius, Samuel Colt also invented the automatic revolver in Eli’s factory. 24. Michael Bolotin switched up his name in New Haven and became the golden-tressed ‘80s heartthrob responsible for hits like “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You.”
Source: Flickr user Alterna2 https://www.flickr.com/photos/alterna2/25. Yale has groomed five of our country’s presidents: George H. W. Bush, his son George Walker Bush, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton and William Howard Taft. 26. 33 percent of the current Supreme Court justices are Yale grads. 27. Nathan Hale, the Revolutionary-era American version of James Bond, who famously proclaimed ”I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country,” was one of New Haven’s first homegrown celebrities.
Source: Wikipedia user MarmadukePercy28. Famous two-tone painter Mark Rothko was born in New Haven before making his name synonymous with large canvases. 29. Geronimo, Annie Oakley and John Wayne all used a Winchester—a gun company which began in New Haven, CT. 30. Northeast of the Green is West Rock Ridge State Park, where the site of the Judges’ Cave lies. Two judges, Edward Whalley and William Goffe, signed King Charles’ death warrant back in 1661 and hid out here after fleeing the UK.
Source: Wikipedia user 2112guy31. A particular sycamore in Wooster Square Park drew a crowd in 1992 when it was noted that the bark and limbs resembled Jesus Christ on the crucifix. The image is exactly as clear as you’d expect it to be. 32. New Haven’s downtown was blocked out into nine square blocks, and is considered to be America’s first planned city. 33. Leave it to a city that served as the birthplace of so many modern conveniences to also invent the ERECTOR set—the metal, sophisticated version of Legos. 34. The Voynich manuscript held in Yale’s library has yet to offer up its mysterious secrets, despite direct scrutiny by the best codebreakers of the past century. 35. New Haven served as co-capital of Connecticut from 1701 to 1873, when sole governance was given to Hartford. Too bad. What’s your favorite fun New Haven Fact? Tell us in the comments below!
Zip Codes and Neighborhoods in New Haven, CT
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