History Competition Won with Hartford Circus Fire Project featuring Aetna Ambulance

HARTFORD – Up-and-coming historian Sam Porcello has won several awards with a project on the Hartford Circus Fire that incorporated the birth and early days of Aetna Ambulance Service. (Click here for more about Aetna and the Circus Fire). Attached are pictures of the exhibit during National History Day at the Museum of American History (The Circus Fire exhibit was selected to represent Connecticut).

The physical display, as shown, contains a panel on Aetna Ambulance.  The project started life at the Regional History Day competition on March 9th at Torrington High School and was visited by Grady daughter Dianne Evans and her daughters. Sam then advanced to the State Competition at Central Connecticut State University on April 27th, where the exhibit earned first place.

 On June 13, the exhibit won the silver medal at the National Competition in Maryland where the judges were fascinated by canvas squares with information from the survivors and Aetna Ambulance.  The origins of Aetna was read and appreciated by many hundreds of people.

Sam says, “During the interview at Nationals, the judges asked about what surprised me the most about the project, and I told them about the beginnings of Aetna Ambulance, including how the Grady’s tried to conceal their ownership.”

The exhibit will be at Connecticut’s Old State House in July, along with many other state entries.

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