Colin McEnroe (opinion): Inhale this hazy history of how CT invented pizza, burgers and itself

This artwork by Mark Weber relates to marijuana.

This artwork by Mark Weber relates to marijuana.

Mark Weber

1614. Adriaen Block, representing the Dutch, sails up the Connecticut River as far as Hartford. He acquires Fisher’s Island from indigenous people for 27 Amsterdam gummies.

1636. The Rev. Thomas Hooker founds the Colony of Connecticut. This is an actual quote from Hooker: “Look whether it be indifferently, as well for sins secret as open, what you find to be your best cordials to comfort you, whether God's Word, or natural means.” He was talking about pot, which scholars believe he acquired from a parishioner named Gatherer Biden.

1687. Sir Edmund Andros, governor-general of Connecticut under the orders of King James II, arrives to demand and collect the royal charter. The charter is passed out the window of a tavern to Capt. Joseph Wadsworth who, seeing British soldiers approaching him, tosses the parchment to his brother Marty Wadsworth who, unbeknownst to anyone, is very messed up.

The following day, Joseph asks for the charter.

Marty explains that he placed it inside an oak.

Which oak? asks Joseph.

One of them, Marty answers unhelpfully.

When Joseph becomes angry, Marty explains that the oaks love us. They told me so last night, he says.  They won’t lose the charter, he says.

1775. Forces under the command of Connecticut’s Benedict Arnold and Vermont’s Ethan Allen plan an attack on Fort Ticonderoga.

Do you want to get high first? Allen asks.

You mean put cannons up on Mount Defiance? Arnold asks. I don’t think we need to. Also, we don’t have any cannons.

Let me show you what I do mean, Allen says.

Four hours later, the men attack the fort, easily overwhelming it.

Give me some more of that, Arnold says.

Arnold subsequently consumes, in one night, 4 pounds of beef, 9 gallons of molasses, 6 pints of peas and four candles.

Allen and his men depart. Arnold spends two days standing in waist-high Lake Champlain water before announcing that he’s pretty sure it doesn’t matter which side he fights on and that he can knock musket balls out of the air with his sword.

1787. Oliver Ellsworth arrives in Philadelphia for the Constitutional Convention and immediately asks where the guys from Vermont are.

Later, while totally baked, Ellsworth and others craft the Connecticut Compromise, in which each state will have two senators, regardless of population, and House delegations will be based on population, with each slave counting as three-fifths of a person.

In ensuing years, Ellsworth was repeatedly asked how that made any sense.

I don’t know, man, he would explain. I was wasted.

1831. Wesleyan University is founded in Middletown by Methodists. It becomes the first institute of learning in America to offer courses in Critical Bong Theory.

1844. Hartford dentist Horace Wells becomes possibly the first medical practitioner to use anesthesia. After several weeks of experiments, Wells determines that the procedure works best if the patient inhales and he does not.

1871. Or 1940. Nobody is exactly sure. The Frisbie. Or the Frisbee. Is invented in Connecticut. Maybe. By a group of New Haven college students including Marty Wadsworth IV and Daniel Huntington Haar, who may have been throwing a pie plate around. And it was nice, and you didn’t have to learn any rules. Right around that time, a lot of the same people in New Haven invented hamburgers. And then someone was like, go get us some pizza. So that was invented too. In New Haven, man.

1954. Future Connecticut state Rep. Peter Tercyak is born in Maine.

1960. Beatrice Fox Auerbach, president of G. Fox department store, shows a group of civic leaders and state officials, who were very high, a design for the interchange of highways 84 and 91.

It should look like a trumpet, explained Auerbach, who was also very high. You know how a trumpet is like … it winds all around? Did you see that rainbow that just came out of Judge Elsner’s head? It was so beautiful.

The leaders and officials looked at the plan.

This will work, they kept saying.

1978. The Hartford Civic Center roof collapses in the middle of the night. In the rubble, workers find the colonial charter of Connecticut.

Marty Wadsworth VI says he has no idea how it got there. The oaks brought it back to us, he says enigmatically.

He adds, I can tell you this. In 45 years, we’re going to start selling pot legally, and a lot of what’s been happening is going to make more sense.

Colin McEnroe’s column appears every Sunday, his newsletter comes out every Tuesday and you can hear his radio show every weekday on WNPR 90.5. Email him at Sign up for his free newsletter at