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Historical Artifacts Unearthed By Firefighter Presented At Monroe Library

Jake Lattanzi, 8, displays Spanish silver coin (circa 1773-89) he found in Monroe with his dad.
Jake Lattanzi, 8, displays Spanish silver coin (circa 1773-89) he found in Monroe with his dad. Photo Credit: John Babina

MONROE, Conn. -- Check out some scandalous history of Monroe, along with newly-discovered Colonial-era artifacts, at a presentation at the Edith Wheeler Memorial Library.

"Unlocking the Mystery Behind History: Extraordinary Stories From Monroe’s Past" is the   the theme of the free presentation from 1:30-3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12 in the Ehlers Room.

Colonial-era artifacts found at an excavation site in the Stevenson District will be on display, and a Cyberspace archeologist will recount unexplored neighbood stories.

George Lattanzi, a Greenwich firefighter and Monroe volunteer firefighter, unearthed the relics using a metal detector while exploring with his son Jake, 8.

“History has always been a love of mine. We need to know more about the town we live in,” Lattanzi said.

Some of his discoveries include:

  • A Spanish silver coin, known as a half-real, minted between 1773 and 1789
  • Early hard-forged tools and cutlery
  • Remnants of cast-iron cookery and crockery
  • Colonial glass, blue trade beads
  • Upwards of 200 buttons of various design
  • Musical instruments

A local historian said the findings are “the most historically significant” since the Monroe Historical Society was established 57 years ago.

Cyberspace archeologist Kevin Daly is also assembling a presentation that pokes around the past for what he describes as the “cool and extraordinary but largely unexplored accounts of neighborhood life in the Monroe of yesteryear.”

He plans to reveal exploits such as:

  • Three young girls brandishing shotguns to protect the Victorian Johnson House on Elm Street against burglars.
  • Scandalous parties at the exclusive clubhouse of the old Copper Smelter in the Walker’s Farm District.
  • Murder and intrigue in the Stepney and East Village Districts.
  • Connecticut Gov. John Trumbull’s forced landing on Bagburn Hill Road while piloting a biplane.

The afternoon is co-sponsored by the library and the historical society and also features an exhibit of the forerunner of the iPhone, the crank-style wall telephone, with narrative by historian-engineer John Babina, the founder of radio station WMNR.

Light refreshments will be served. Prior to the presentations, the historical society convenes for its annual meeting.

The Edith Wheeler Memorial Library is located at 733 Monroe Turnpike, Monroe.

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