Press Release 11/6/17

(Kent, Connecticut) – On the Saturday following Thanksgiving, when downtown Kent is ablaze with lights from stores staying open late, the Library will feature two local authors with brand new books about Connecticut. Both of these books are perfect holiday gifts! On Saturday, November 25 from 4:00 to 7:45 p.m., Charles Monagan and Melinda K. Elliott will have their books ready to sell and sign: Monagan’s Connecticut Icons and Elliott’s Connecticut Schoolhouses Through Time.

A writer and editor for the past forty-five years, Charles Monagan is the author of three acclaimed humor books, The Neurotic’s Handbook, The Reluctant Naturalist, and Poodles from Hell, as well as Connecticut Icons and the novel Carrie Welton. He was the editor of Connecticut Magazine for 24 years and has freelanced for many publications, including The Boston Globe and The Washington Post. He wrote the book and lyrics for the musical Mad Bomber. Monagan lives in Middlebury, Connecticut with his wife, Marcia.

As editor of Connecticut Magazine for 24 years, Charles Monagan spent years discovering and describing the people, places, and things that comprise the character of his home state. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes, and little-known facts, Monagan presents 58 of his favorite icons—from the hot lobster roll to the Yale Bowl, the U.S.S. Nautilus to the Merritt Parkway—and shows native and newcomer alike the independent spirit and local pride at the heart of this great state of Connecticut.

Melinda K. Elliott first became interested in one-room schoolhouses from her mother’s exciting stories of school-room adventures. Melinda is involved in several historical endeavors, including being a director and docent of an 18th century brick schoolhouse. She enjoys historical research and sharing her latest finds through the historical society newsletter, brochures, panel displays, blogs, and a children’s book on local history. Melinda and her husband live in Southbury, Connecticut and have three children, all living nearby, and several grandchildren to spoil. They enjoy road trips and are always on the lookout for old grist mills, covered bridges, and one-room schoolhouses.

There was a time when you could walk through Connecticut and find schoolhouses scattered across the landscape every few miles. In the mid-1800s, schoolhouses were located in districts so that a child would not have to walk more than two miles to school.  Schools were literally everywhere: in the road, at the edge of the tobacco field, on top of a rocky hill, or next to the meeting house. Each schoolhouse was made for one teacher to “keep school” for all the neighborhood children aged 7-16. In 1852, there was a count of over 1600 schoolhouses. As the population changed, the school district borders changed, and new schools were constructed or old schools were moved to new locations.

Now in the 21st century, you can still see old Connecticut schoolhouses and imagine what it would have been like in the old times. Connecticut is blessed with over a hundred renovated and restored schoolhouses which are open to the public thanks to the hard work of the communities and numerous historical societies. The book features Kent’s Skiff Mountain School dating to 1766. Compare the new photographs with the up to 130 year-old photos to see how the schools and terrain have changed or remained the same through time.

Please join the Library as we welcome these two very special authors, Charles Monagan and Melinda K. Elliott, as they sell and sign their newly released books Connecticut Icons and Connecticut Schoolhouses Through Time about places we know and love. The event is free and open to the public. Registration is not necessary.