Ethnic Heritage Center launches new tour

It runs from State Street to East Street and is about a mile long, with 25 different stops showcasing history from the 1830s to the 1970s.

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut – Grand Avenue in New Haven was once filled with what historians call a vibrant and diverse community.

“I think understanding what happened before can inspire us and help guide us and our efforts in the future,” explained Rhoda Zahler Samuel, coordinator of Walk New Haven.

On Monday, the Ethnic Heritage Center (EHC) added a new tour to its lineup of Walk New Haven heritage tours to contribute to this primarily Grand Avenue-focused sight in historic Wooster Square. It runs from State Street to East Street and is about a mile long, with 25 different stops showcasing history from the 1830s to the 1970s.

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Like other EHC Walk New Haven tours, coordinators said the Grand Avenue stands by the organization’s mission to cultivate ethnic pride and celebrate cultural differences and similarities between ethnic groups.

The ethnic historical center includes five societies and each represents the melting pot of cultures in the history of the city. Organizations include the Jewish Historical Society of Greater New Haven, Italian-American Historical Society of CT, Ukrainian-American Historical Society of CT, African-American Historical Society of Greater New Haven, and Irish-American Historical Society of Connecticut.

“It’s great because we’re all learning about all the different cultures and sharing them,” said Laura Parisi, president of CT’s Italian American Historical Society. “And it’s funny because we all find similarities in different cultures.”

This is precisely the purpose of the Walk New Haven Tours.

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“It shows people what can happen and looks at how much there is to learn about other people’s cultures,” said Carolyn Baker, co-chair of the Greater New Haven African-American Historical Society.

Although many of the buildings the highlights of the tour are not standing, the rich history is still alive. Zahler Samuel said the goal was to share their stories to bring the future to life.

“It can give us hope that it will be the same with the right development,” said Zahler Samuel.

There are four Cultural Heritage Walk New Haven tours available for people to explore. For more information, click here.

Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter for FOX61 News. She can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and instagram.

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