LaGrua Center programs cover ice harvesting, Great Depression in Stonington

Stonington - The Stonington Historical Society will sponsor talks about the local ice harvesting industry and the Great Depression this month at the LaGrua Center in the borough.

On Wednesday at 6 p.m. author Anne Connerton will present an illustrated program called "Stonington Ice," based on her recently published book of the same title.

She will discuss the period during the 19th century when ice harvesting was a major industry led by Portuguese immigrants Frank G. Sylvia and his son-in-law, Joseph Vargas. The ice business was important locally, impacting businesses from fishing fleets to summer hotels.

On Jan. 23 at 6 p.m. borough burgess Michael Adair will speak about "Stonington and Connecticut in the Great Depression."

Among his topics will be how the Depression transformed Connecticut from a red state to a blue state and how manufacturing employment soared with the coming of World War II. Both programs are free and open to the public.

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