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In honor of Connecticut Magazine’s 50th anniversary year, throughout 2021 State Historian Walter Woodward is highlighting some of the moments that have helped shaped our state throughout its history.

May 6, 1997

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Owner Peter Karamanos announced he was moving the NHL Hartford Whalers hockey franchise from Hartford to Charlotte, North Carolina, and renaming it the Carolina Hurricanes. Though the Whalers played their last game decades ago, a fiercely loyal fan base has kept NHL merchandise bearing Connecticut artist Peter Good’s Whalers’ logo a perennial and profitable favorite. 

May 12, 1907

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Katharine Hepburn in 1941.

Meryl Streep, a longtime Salisbury resident, has won three Oscars. So has Daniel Day-Lewis, a Roxbury resident, and Jack Nicholson. But Katharine Houghton Hepburn, born on this date in Hartford and whose family had a shoreline home in Old Saybrook, won four, more than any other actor. 

May 13, 1897

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Certain to be the car of the future, the electric car has a long past, too. In 1897, Albert Pope unveiled the nation’s first mass-produced electric car, the battery-powered Columbia Motor Carriage, outside his Hartford factory. 

May 15, 1992

Hotel impresario Leona Helmsley, dubbed “the Queen of Mean” for her dismissive treatment of staff and service workers, checked into the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury for an extended stay courtesy of the U.S. government.

May 21, 1901

Connecticut passed the nation’s first law regulating the speed of automobiles. Drivers were not to exceed 12 mph in the city, and 15 mph on rural roads, and to slow down or stop when approaching a horse. Fines for violators were a hefty $200 — the equivalent of $6,000 today. 

May 22, 1781

George Washington met the French Comte de Rochambeau at the Wethersfield home of merchant Silas Deane, and drew up plans for the military campaign that resulted in the victory over the British at Yorktown the following October, and the end of the American Revolution.

May 2, 1907

Dr. Benjamin Spock, the pediatrician who wrote the go-to book on rearing the babies who became the Baby Boom generation, was himself born on this date in New Haven. His Baby and Child Care has beenin continuous print for more than seven decades and has sold more than 50 million copies. Babies! Boom!

Today in Connecticut History with Walter Woodward can be heard daily on Connecticut Public Radio (WNPR). Subscribe to stories at TodayinCTHistory.com.