Saturday, February 2, 2013


The front page of today's Connecticut Post Newspaper has an article regarding the once famous Sterling Opera House in Derby, CT and fundraising plans for a renovation. Bridgeport, CT, also, once had an opera theatre house, although I can find no specific information about the opera house except for press releases regarding stage performances in the 1890's which include Columbia University Library archives.  I am a graduate of Columbia University in the City of New York:  

The Proctor Opera House existed in Bridgeport, CT and was part of a chain of opera houses managed from a main office in New York City.  There is still a Proctor Theatre in Schenectady, NY (

One newspaper announcement and critique for a play at Bridgeport's Proctor Opera Theatre is as follows:


"The Bottom of the Sea'

Merely Made For
Mechanical Effects.
At Proctor's Opera House, Bridgeport, Ct.,
Aug. 25, "The Bottom of the Sea" was acted
for the first time on any stage, under that
title. It is an adaptation, by Hart Conway,
of an old French spectacle by M. Cotambert,
its original name, we believe, being "Au
Fond de la Mer." It was' produced at San
Francisco about fifteen years ago. \V. A.
Hart owns the right, and one of his troupes
is touring it. There is but little plot. Dramatic
incidents are almost entirely lacking,
except such as are created by the mechanical
contrivances and scenic effects.
Briefly told, the play deals with the wreck
of a ship, and the loss of a casket of jewels
belonging to Ernest Le Brun, who is drowned
in the marine disaster, while his daughter,
the heroine ot the play, is rescued by the gal-
Iantry of James Norton, the hero. A cousin
of Miss Le Brun , Hcnri De Sartene. is as
deeply in love with her as the hero. The two
are engaged iu Iaying an Atlantic cable. They
are jealous of each other. The cable is parted
through the maliciousness of AIexis Banalli
a Greek, who hates every one, and is anxious
to get to the bottom of the sea to recover the
lost jewels. Four men descend to the ocean's
bottom to splice the cable. The Greek discovers
the jewels, and attempts to murder
De Sartene. She throws the blame upon Norton,
who is miraculously saved by the reappearance
of the supposed dead man. The
play ends in a love feast for the good after
the guilty have received their reward."

Friday, February 1, 2013


The month of February in the dog show world is renown for the Westminster Dog Show which has been held yearly at Madison Square Garden in New York City since the 1880's.  I cross-post this with my "Dog Training History Blog".

Dr. James E. Hair of Bridgeport, CT was a recognized dog show judge including assignments at the Westminster Dog Show.  He was known for judging Pointers and Setters, however, he also judged other dog breeds.

Reference from the Outing Magazine, 1899:

"Notes of the Month.
The Connecticut State Field Trials Club
have elected the following officers: President,

E. K. Sperry; Secretary and Treasurer, John E.
Bassett; First Vice-President, Dr. James E. Hair
Vice-President, W. J, Erwin; Second Vice-President, F. M. Chapin;
Executive Board of Governors, William G. Comstock, W. S. Hawley."

The above list of the Connecticut State Field Trials Club also contains some
other Bridgeport, CT notables.


In the 1880's, while cycling in France and other countries in Europe had developed as a major sport, pastime, and mode of touring the countryside, America appeared with a representation of local and regional cycling or wheelmen clubs.

There were a number of bicycle manufacturers in the State of Connecticut by the end of the 1880's and 1890's.  Also, there was intense competition between bicycle manufacturers in the United States.  These bicycle manufacturers sponsored road racing and track cycling clubs.   Reference my blog post from September 26, 2012 regarding cycling history in Connecticut:

Ultimately, by 1900 many of the Connecticut cycling clubs, including in Bridgeport, disappeared.  Perhaps this was related to the intense competition between bicycle manufacturers which caused many of them to close or consolidate with other companies and funding, prize money, and/or sponsorships became economically depleted.

Some of the bicycling clubs were:

The Pequonnock Wheelmen (1884 reference from Outing Magazine):


Pequonnock Wheelmen, of Bridgeport,

Connecticut, have chosen for officers for the

ensuing year: G. H. Johnson, president; E. S.

Sumner, secretary, and J. H. Smith, treasurer"

The Rambling Wheel Club (1890 reference from The Sporting Life):

Tournament of the Rambling Wheel Club
at Bridgeport.
The races of the Rambling Wheel Club, of
Bridgeport, Ct., took place at Seaside Park
May 30. The banks of the race course were
lined with a large crowd. The races resulted:
One hundred yards dash (on foot) Won by Charles
Fred Schubert won the one mile ordinary race In
3m. 285i«.
Tho half-mile race between Charles Fox and Fred
ScMibert w^a Tory interesting and was taken by Fox
iu 1m. 37s.
The half-mile safety race was won by Fox In
1m. 37-).
The most interesting race was the three mile ordinary,
in which there were Qiree contestants. Fox
was again victorious, winning in llm. 3SS. Fox won
the same race Imt year In 10m. 20^4-.
The two mile safety ruce between George North
and William Seltsam wa-j won by the latter in 7m. 27*.
The last and bes: race '-f tbe serit-s was a two mile
tandum safety between Guorce North aud William
Seltsam, and J. Wilkmson snd W. A. O'Nril. It was
very close, aud all during the rac« there was only a
fow fe-t between them. On the home stretcu tlie two
I.jrmer spurted in fine atjle, winning the race in
3ui. 25s.
The track officers were: Referee, T. H.
Smith; starter, C. A. Reed; clerk of course, II.
H. Brautigan; judges, F. A. Bartholomew, H.
E. Walters, H. S. Towe; timers, Fred Nichols,
L. Ricli,"

(There use to be a track a Seaside Park)

The Bridgeport Wheelmen (1892 Reference from The Sporting Life):

The Bridgeport Wheel Club.of Bridgeport
Ct., dressed in their natty uniforms of white
flannel with white flannel caps to match.
presented the best appearance and were awarded
first prize.
Tin-Colt Bicycling.Clnb, of Hartford, took the
first prize for the greatest number of men ii
line, and the Lincoln Cycling Club.of Chi
cago. took second prize.
On Tuesday night the excursion down the
Potomac to Marshall Hull,on the steamers.
River Queen and Mncalester, nttractec
about 1000 people in spite of the heavy rain
storm which took place early in the evening"

In the United States during these early years, the League of American Wheelmen was the governing organization for races and clubs.  A Mr. Thomas Sheridan who was born and grew-up in Bridgeport, CT became a Vice-President of the League of American Wheelmen in 1892.  He had moved to Illinois by that time period: