We’re off to the races! Join the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society for this seasonally-appropriate lecture on Thursday, July 19 at 7 p.m. when historian Eugene E. Leach presents a lively talk on West Hartford’s fun and controversial racetrack, Charter Oak Park.
Back when Hartford was admired for machine tools, insurance, and literature, West Hartford gained fame for sport, fun, and raucous ballyhoo. In 1874, a bigtime racetrack named Charter Oak Park opened on the edge of town – and over the edge of respectability, as many townsfolk saw it. Over 50 years, Charter Oak hosted country fairs, landlorded a short-lived amusement park, drew picnickers and dignitaries, but mostly it reigned as a prime venue for risqué masculine recreation. Gene Leach will trace the ins, outs, ups, and downs of this astonishing – and astonishingly forgotten – landmark of West Hartford’s past.
Dr. Eugene E. Leach taught U.S. history and American Studies at Trinity College until his retirement in 2012. He came to Trinity in 1975 with degrees from Harvard, Michigan, and Yale. He has served as director of American Studies, chair of the History Department, and director of the graduate programs in both fields. He is an officer, writer, and volunteer for a number of organizations devoted to Connecticut history and culture. When asked, he lectures and gives short courses on topics in Connecticut history and national cultural history. Dr. Leach is currently at work on a study of Lincoln’s political philosophy.
This event is free to the public (suggested donation $5 per person), but seating is limited. Reservations are recommended. Visit noahwebster.yapsody.com to save your seat or call (860) 521-5362 x 21.