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Staubach's book takes state's motorists
on historical tour
February 15, 1999

Did you know that George Washington stayed in Ashford in November 1789? He was hoping to see his friend General Putnam, who lived in Pomfret, but the five-mile trek over bad roads would have delayed his schedule.

This and other fascinating tidbits of information about the Nutmeg State can be found in a new book by Suzanne Staubach, called Connecticut - Driving Through History (North Attleborough, Mass., Covered Bridge Press, 1998).

Intended as a guide book for drivers, the book covers every city and town in Connecticut's eight counties. The routes that run through the towns, the incorporation date of each town, and information about the Native American people who inhabited the areas are all included, along with other historical notes, such as ghost tales.

Staubach, manager of the General Books Division of the UConn Co-op, has a long-standing interest in Connecticut history. During her work, she noticed that historical guidebooks existed for other states, but not for Connecticut. So she decided to write one herself.

Staubach does not attempt to provide a comprehensive history of the state's cities and towns, although she does include an extensive selected bibliography of recent and older historical works. Instead she sought out interesting information and anecdotes.

"I hope that the book will be seen as fun history," says Staubach. The area around the Storrs campus, for example, is often seen as quiet but it is alive with history, she says.

She says she was particularly eager to write about the northeastern part of the state because she works on the Storrs campus and lives in Ashford. She was less knowledgeable about Fairfield County, and was concerned with how she would write about that part of the state. "However, it worked out because so much important colonial history took place there - it was fascinating," she says.

Staubach says she hopes that people who drive in Connecticut every day - to work, to the store, or to drop off their kids - will stop to look at Connecticut's "rich and varied history."

The book is now available at most Connecticut book stores.

Staubach hopes to gather more stories from around the state and invites people to send their suggestions to her by e-mail: She plans to publish a revised edition in the future.

Joseph Holstead