Noah Webster Hauntings - West Hartford, CT



Open the last two weekends before Halloween 2019.  West Hartford Hauntings is a frightening nighttime tour of one of West Hartford’s oldest Cemeteries. Guests make their way to the North Cemetery on North Main Street, where they meet a costumed guide. The guide leads them through the grounds, stopping at several vignettes which are based on events in the lives of real past residents of West Hartford.



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A big thank you to Bennett Forrest and the Rotary Club of West Hartford for an unexpected and generous donation to the museum! Listen to an interview with Bennett and our Exeuctive Director Jenn DiCola Matos below.

Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society shared a post.

A big thank you to Bennett Forrest and the Rotary Club of West Hartford for an unexpected and generous donation to the museum! Listen to an interview with Bennett and our Exeuctive Director Jenn DiCola Matos below.
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The Rotary Club Of West Hartford today made a donation to the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society. While we were there, Rotary President Bennett Forrest spoke with Jenn Matos, executive director about the Noah Webster House. youtu.be/kn9TF4v_A-k

On July 6, #Connecticut commemorated the 75th of the #HartfordCircusFire. This was one of worst disasters in Connecticut history, claiming the lives of nearly 170 people. 

Six to eight-thousand people were gathered under the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus big top set up on Barbour Street in Hartford for an afternoon performance. 

The Great Wallendas trapeze artists were just beginning their act when a small fire broke out near the entrance of the tent. The fire spread unbelievably quickly when in came into contact with the paraffin wax coated canvas tent. (The tent was coated with this substance to provide water-proofing. To make matters worse, the wax was also thinned with gasoline that made it especially flammable.)

At first, spectators thought the fire was part of the show. Then chaos ensued. Spectators ran for the exits, but several of them were blocked by the chutes used to bring animals in and out of the tent. With so many people trying to leave at the same time through few exits, crowds formed, and in some cases, stampedes. Those with pocket knives handy slashed holes in the canvas to escape. Others sat and waited for the chaos to calm down, believing that the fire would be put out. But the fire was moving too swiftly. Within 8 minutes, the support system for the big top had burned out and the fiery canvas fell on the remaining spectators.  

A family of three spectators who perished that day are buried in West Hartfords #FairviewCemetery. 30-year old Alice 
 Kirkorian Boyajian. Boyajian attended the circus that day with her two young sons, Frederick (age 5) and Stephen (age 3). Alice was born in May of 1914 in Hartford, the daughter of Armenian immigrants. She graduated from Bulkeley High School in 1932. She worked as a typist for Travelers Insurance Company and lived with her mother and siblings at 769 Wethersfield Ave. in Hartford.  

Anna married Frederick K. Boyajian on Valentines Day in 1937. Their first son, Frederick K Boyajian, Jr., was born on October 30, 1938. A second son, Stephen Boyajian, was born on August 15, 1940. In the 1940 U.S. Census, the family is shown living in apartment on Park Terrace in the Frog Hollow section of Hartford. Fred worked as a shipping clerk for a department store; Alice as a housewife raising their sons - the couples third son, Norman Frederick Boyajian was born on March 10, 1943. By 1944, the family was living in a triple-decker at 379 Hillside Avenue in Hartford. 

Alice and her sons Fred and Stephen were severely injured in the Hartford Circus Fire and were taken to Municipal Hospital, where they succumbed to their wounds that night. They were survived by Frederick Boyajian and baby Normen. After a service held at Talarski Funeral Home, Alice and her boys were laid to rest at Fairview Cemetery. Their graves are located in Lot 13, Section 2. 

Frederick Boyajian went on to live a long life. He eventually remarried and fathered more children. He passed away in 2004 and is buried at Fairview Cemetery with the wife and children he lost in the Hartford Circus Fire.

On July 6, #Connecticut commemorated the 75th of the #HartfordCircusFire. This was one of worst disasters in Connecticut history, claiming the lives of nearly 170 people.

Six to eight-thousand people were gathered under the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus big top set up on Barbour Street in Hartford for an afternoon performance.

The Great Wallendas trapeze artists were just beginning their act when a small fire broke out near the entrance of the tent. The fire spread unbelievably quickly when in came into contact with the paraffin wax coated canvas tent. (The tent was coated with this substance to provide water-proofing. To make matters worse, the wax was also thinned with gasoline that made it especially flammable.)

At first, spectators thought the fire was part of the show. Then chaos ensued. Spectators ran for the exits, but several of them were blocked by the chutes used to bring animals in and out of the tent. With so many people trying to leave at the same time through few exits, crowds formed, and in some cases, stampedes. Those with pocket knives handy slashed holes in the canvas to escape. Others sat and waited for the chaos to calm down, believing that the fire would be put out. But the fire was moving too swiftly. Within 8 minutes, the support system for the big top had burned out and the fiery canvas fell on the remaining spectators.

A family of three spectators who perished that day are buried in West Hartford's #FairviewCemetery. 30-year old Alice
Kirkorian Boyajian. Boyajian attended the circus that day with her two young sons, Frederick (age 5) and Stephen (age 3). Alice was born in May of 1914 in Hartford, the daughter of Armenian immigrants. She graduated from Bulkeley High School in 1932. She worked as a typist for Traveler's Insurance Company and lived with her mother and siblings at 769 Wethersfield Ave. in Hartford.

Anna married Frederick K. Boyajian on Valentine's Day in 1937. Their first son, Frederick K Boyajian, Jr., was born on October 30, 1938. A second son, Stephen Boyajian, was born on August 15, 1940. In the 1940 U.S. Census, the family is shown living in apartment on Park Terrace in the Frog Hollow section of Hartford. Fred worked as a shipping clerk for a department store; Alice as a housewife raising their sons - the couple's third son, Norman Frederick Boyajian was born on March 10, 1943. By 1944, the family was living in a triple-decker at 379 Hillside Avenue in Hartford.

Alice and her sons Fred and Stephen were severely injured in the Hartford Circus Fire and were taken to Municipal Hospital, where they succumbed to their wounds that night. They were survived by Frederick Boyajian and baby Normen. After a service held at Talarski Funeral Home, Alice and her boys were laid to rest at Fairview Cemetery. Their graves are located in Lot 13, Section 2.

Frederick Boyajian went on to live a long life. He eventually remarried and fathered more children. He passed away in 2004 and is buried at Fairview Cemetery with the wife and children he lost in the Hartford Circus Fire.
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So sad... 😢 So thankful my Mom, Mary Frances Shea Callan (8 years old at the time), my Grandmother, 3 uncles, cousin & my Grandmother's best friend all survived the Circus Fire to return home to 98 Arundel Ave. by WH Center. 🙏

1 week ago
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Horrible tragedy

7 days ago
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A ticker tape in action, courtesy of the 1940 film Edison, the Man, directed by Clarence Brown with Spencer Tracy, Rita Johnson, Lynne Overman, and Charles Coburn. The ticker tape was the paper in the stock ticker machine, which transmitted stock price information over telegraph lines. The abbreviated company names printed as alphabetic symbols followed by numeric stock transaction price and volume information. The stock ticker machine was in use between 1870 through 1970.

No surprise, the stock ticker got its name from the ticking sound it made when it printed, as evidence in this clip of Edison, the Man.
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