By Jason Harris
Author Thomas Fatone took over 15 years to complete his book, The Signs of Connecticut. It took him 13 years to drive around the state taking the pictures of all the blue town history signs and another two years to write the book, he said.
1. What was the impetus behind the book?
My impetus behind the book was my interest in history within the state I live. I also did not have much money to travel to far places when I was younger, so I decided to make Connecticut my own little playground, traveling to all corners of our great state. The CT Post did a story about me when I was 50 signs in. They said “give us a call when you write your book.”
2. What year did you start the project? How old were you at the time?
My project began with my 1st picture of the Trumbull Sign in 1997. I was approx. 29 years old at this time, still had hair and was wet behind the ears. It had taken me a lifetime to finally stop and take a picture of this 1st sign. From there on in, I was hooked!
3. Did your job as a traffic coordinator for the Department of Transportation inspire this project? And did having the job help you in your project at all?
Working as a traffic coordinator helped me a great deal when it came to this book. My job has me dealing with maps often. So by working with the maps, it helped me a great deal in getting familiar with the roads before they were traveled.
4. What were some of the most memorable towns in Connecticut that you visited?
This is a question I receive often. There is not one favorite town, but I like to go with my top 5. They would be, in no order: Washington, Ridgefield, Milford, Woodstock and Branford. This list could continue, but these are the most memorable.
5. Since you will be speaking at Books & Boos in Colchester in March, did you learn anything about Colchester when you took a picture of the Colchester sign?
The thing that’s stands out about Colchester is that it seems all the state roads in the state come together here at the town green. I also, learned about legendary Harry’s, as it was right down the road. Of course, I stopped for a hot dog and shake.
6. Where is the Colchester sign located?
The Colchester sign is located on its town green, like most of the 169 signs. But not all.
7. Did you learn anything about the different Connecticut towns during your travels that you didn’t know about them?
There are so many things I learned about CT while traveling the state and taking the pictures of the signs. This is why I wrote this book, as I wanted to share my experience. Some that stand out are that the highest point of the state is in Salisbury, visiting the Book Barn in Niantic, and that Mystic is not officially one of the 169 towns. How about getting books for buying a meal at the Travelers Restaurant in Enfield?
8. Since you have been to all 169 towns of Connecticut, have you thought about writing a book about what each town offers and what people can find there?
In my book, I not only have taken the pictures of the blue town history signs, but I have also documented my experience as well. It’s two stories in one. You have the history of the town itself based on what is written on the sign. Then you have my experience, based on a place I ate, a person I met, a picture I took and anything off the beaten path.
9. Do you have any current projects?
At this time, I have no current projects in mind, though I would love to do another book. Maybe boroughs of Connecticut, more signs of Connecticut or anything Connecticut. I love this state!
Thomas Fatone will be at Books & Boos with his book, The Signs of Connecticut, on Saturday, March 8, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. He will talk about his experience working on the book and answer any questions about this endeavor.