5 Things In Connecticut That Exist Nowhere Else In The US

March 21, 2016 8:00 AM

Image courtesy TheGlassHouse.org

Connecticut is known for many things, including its beaches, state parks, and casinos. It is also home to several unique attractions, places not quite like anything else in the U.S. Whether it is original architecture or museums that house valuable and fascinating cultural or historical artifacts, residents and visitors alike will definitely want to check out these state landmarks.

Skull And Bones Tomb
64 High St.
New Haven, CT 06511

One of the most famous secret organizations in the U.S. is the Skull and Bones Society of Yale University, which was founded in 1832. Among the famous alumni who have claimed membership are three former presidents, as well as top businessmen, Supreme Court justices, and Secretary of State John Kerry. In 1856 the Skull and Bones Tomb was built as a meeting house for Society members to conduct their mysterious business. The sandstone building is decorated on the inside with portraits of prominent Bonesmen, couches, coffins and skulls, including — allegedly — those of Geronimo and Pancho Villa.

Submarine Force Museum
1 Crystal Lake Rd.
Groton, CT 06340
(860) 448-0893

Officially run by the U.S. Navy, the Submarine Force Museum by the banks of the Thames River in Groton is a mecca of submarine history. Founded in 1969, the museum contains over 30,000 artifacts and photographs as well as over 20,000 official documents and a reference library with 6,000 books. Its centerpiece, though, is the one display item that stays constant — the USS Nautilus. The Nautilus was the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, and the first to ever travel to the North Pole (in 1958), eventually logging 500,000 miles before being decommissioned in 1980. Today museum visitors are free to climb aboard the legendary sub and experience for themselves what it was like inside.

Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center
300 Main St.
Old Saybrook, CT 06475
(877) 503-1286

Katherine Hepburn is one of the most popular American actresses in movie history, winning a record four Academy Awards during her long career. She was also a Connecticut native, born in Hartford and moving to Old Saybrook, where she also spent her final years. The Old Saybrook Town Hall and Theater, included on the National Register of Historic Places, was restored and renamed in her honor as the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in 2009, six years after her death. “The Kate” is the world’s only theater to be named for the Hollywood legend and, in addition to hosting movie screenings, plays and concerts, holds a museum filled with rare Hepburn memorabilia such as her 1975 Emmy award.

Related: Top Historically Significant Bars In Connecticut

Philip Johnson Glass House
199 Elm St.
New Canaan, CT 06840
(203) 594-9884

Cleveland native Philip Johnson was one of the most acclaimed and influential architects of the 20th century, eventually settling in New Canaan. It is there at his estate where you can find one of his best-known creations, The Glass House. Completed in 1949, is 2,000 square feet with transparent glass walls and steel edges. Set slightly above the ground, it is not divided into rooms but did have areas for eating and sleeping. Although the Glass House wouldn’t seem ideal for granting privacy, Johnson did use it for hosting guests and sometimes even stayed there himself (he died there in 2005 at the age of 98). Public tours of the house will begin again in May.

The Warrens’ Occult Museum
466, 482 Monroe Turnpike
Monroe, CT 06468

Horror movie buffs are probably familiar with Ed and Lorraine Warren, who were involved in the Amityville Horror incident and were portrayed in the 2013 film “The Conjuring.” The couple were paranormal investigators who in 1952 started the New England Society For Psychic Research and began collecting haunted artifacts from their cases, securing them in the basement of their Monroe home. Known as the Warrens’ Occult Museum, its most notorious item is a supposedly possessed Raggedy Ann doll whose story was told in the 2014 film “Annabelle.” Ed died in 2006 but Elizabeth and her son occasionally arrange public Warrenology events at the museum.

Related: Top Locally-Focused Podcasts About Connecticut

Joshua Palmes is a freelance writer covering all things Connecticut. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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