Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Windsor War Chest

During World War II, the National War Fund helped finance the USO, which entertained about 1.6 million soldiers a month in service units operating at home and abroad—87 of them in combat zones overseas. The Fund also financed the shipment of over 300 tons of textbooks, games, musical instruments, craft materials, and athletic equipment to U.S. prisoners of war through the YMCA’s War Prisoners’ Aid program.

Money raised in Windsor for the National War Fund went to the Fund’s local branch office, the Greater Hartford War Chest. It not only sent money to the national program but also distributed funds to Hartford area family welfare, child care, health, and emergency wartime agencies. One of these agencies was the Windsor Public Health Nurse Association.
The Windsor War Chest's fundraising goal for 1944 was $8,500, or about $120,000 in today’s money. Led by chairman Charles W. Gould, the goal was surpassed when 166 volunteers raised about $10,000. Ernest Chagnon, one of the fundraising volunteers, was singled out for praise when he collected $1 from each of 157 Jamaican tobacco workers who were employed at the time at Windsor tobacco farms.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

First Woman Elected to State Legislature from Windsor

Democrat Hazel Thrall Sullivan became the first woman ever to be elected from Windsor to the Connecticut House of Representatives when she polled the highest number of votes for any candidate for the legislature from town in the November 7, 1944 election. A group of Republican, Democratic, and Independent voters were organized to support her historic bid by Martha H. Hoskins.

The daughter of a prominent Republican leader and tobacco grower in Windsor, Hazel graduated from Chaffee School, Smith College, Katherine Gibbs School, and attended the University of Santander in Spain. She was married to U.S. Army Captain Frank J. Sullivan and was the mother of two children. A member of the Windsor League of Women Voters, Hazel was associated with the State Labor Department working in the fields of slum clearance and public housing. 
She said, “I firmly believe that women should take a definite part in government. It is just as essential as bringing up a family or going to church.”

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Yodeling in a Windsor Hot Spot

The Sunlight Restaurant at 103 Poquonock Avenue was a popular place to go in town for good food and good music in the late 1940’s.

Al’s Prairie Troubadours yodeled, played cowboy songs, and music for square dancing, every Friday night. It is unclear if Al chose the name “Prairie Troubadours” from the nickname earned by the major American poet Vachel Lindsay after he completed three walking tours of America in 1906, 1908, and 1912, during which he traded his poetry for food and lodging.
Today, 103 Poquonock Avenue is occupied by The Tobacco Shed Café. Chances are there is little to no yodeling heard there on Friday nights!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

For the Mothers of Windsor Soldiers in World War II

This anonymous poem was printed in the October 6, 1944 issue of The News-Weekly

The poem was set on the same page as a letter from Private Dick Senger of Windsor who was serving with a Post Battalion “somewhere in France.” His unit helped manage the postal service for the soldiers in Europe.
Senger said the brick houses he saw in the French countryside reminded him of the brick houses in Windsor. He wrote that his only entertainment consisted of “some good movies” shown by the Red Cross and “some swell shows.” Senger speculated that he probably got more enjoyment out of a good movie than most people did in Windsor.
He added that he wished he could tell of the work he was doing with his Post Battalion in France “but the censors won’t permit it.”

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Windsor’s American Legion

Windsor’s American Legion Post, the Gray-Dickinson Post No. 59, installed Robert E. Strahan of Maple Avenue as its new commander on September 30, 1944. He succeeded George C. Dugdale.

The installation ceremony took place in the new Legion home on Palisado Avenue in what formerly was known as the old Bell School. The Town of Windsor granted the Legion a long-term lease on favorable terms. In 1944, the Legion had 250 members, most of them World War I veterans, but 21 of the legionnaires were World War II veterans.

The Gray-Dickinson Post No. 59 was organized in 1919 by 58 World War I servicemen. The name of the Post was taken in honor of two Windsor men who lost their lives in France. They were Howard B. Gray and Seth H. Dickinson.

The Post’s first headquarters was in a home on Maple Avenue purchased from the Grace Episcopal Church of Windsor in 1929.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

“Windsor is a Tobacco Town!”

Those are the words used by Dr. Paul J. Anderson to conclude an article he wrote in the September 29, 1944 issue of The News-Weekly that traced the history of Windsor tobacco. Anderson was director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Sub-Station in Windsor and Chief of Tobacco Research.

In his article, he argued that New England’s multi-million dollar tobacco industry started in Windsor in 1640 when Windsor farmers imported a mild tobacco seed from the West Indies and began cultivating it.
Anderson wrote that in 1944, Windsor farmers grew 1800 acres of the highest-priced tobacco in the world. He said the value of the crop was approximately $3.5 million, or about $49.5 million in today’s money.

Chief of Tobacco Research from 1925 to 1952, Anderson developed a successful method of controlling the Wildfire Disease on tobacco, and originated a fermate spray for controlling blue mold. In addition to being an authority on tobacco culture, Anderson was a founder and president of the Windsor Federal Savings & Loan Association. He also was a tennis enthusiast and maintained a fine tennis court on the grounds of his home on Bloomfield Avenue.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Honoring Windsor Veterans of World War II in Poquonock

Two Windsor veterans of the Pacific campaign, Pfc. Walter Danner and Pfc. Chester Romayko, unveiled the Poquonock Honor Roll on September 17, 1944 as part of the dedication ceremonies that were viewed by nearly 400 Windsorites.

The guest speaker was Major Frederick Maples, chaplain at Bradley Field, who reminded his audience that they should stop writing letters to the men and women in service containing complaints and trivial problems on the home front and in the home.

First Selectman Leland B. Granger praised Poquonock residents for their war effort and lauded the men and women whose names appear on the Honor Roll. Other speakers included: Harmon T. Barber, chairman of the board of education; Superintendent of Schools Earle S. Russell; and Brony Grabowski, master of ceremonies.

Mrs. Eunice Rogers Clark was the guest soloist and also directed the singing of a group of school children.