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Ethnic Heritage Center launches its “Walk New Haven: Cultural Heritage Tour” of Grand Avenue

It is 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, Conn. — Grand Avenue in New Haven was once filled with what historians call a lively and diverse community. 

"I think that understanding what came before can inspire us and help guide us and our endeavors in the future,"  explained Rhoda Zahler Samuel,  Walk New Haven Coordinator.

On Monday, The Ethnic Heritage Center (EHC) added a new tour to its Walk New Haven Heritage Tour lineup to help with that vision primarily focused on Grand Avenue, in historic Wooster Square. It is 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 the other EHC Walk New Haven tours, coordinators said the Grand Avenue sticks to the organization's mission of cultivating ethnic pride and celebrating cultural differences and similarities among ethnic groups.

Ethnic Historical Center comprises five societies, and each represents the melting pot of cultures in the city's history. Organizations include The Jewish Historical Society of Greater New Haven, the Italian-American Historical Society of CT, CT Ukrainian- American Historical Society, The Greater New Haven African-American Historical Society, and the Connecticut Irish-American Historical Society

"It's great because we're all learning all the different cultures, and we're sharing it," explained Laura Parisi, President of the Italian-American Historical Society of CT. "And it's funny because we're all finding similarities in different cultures." 

Which is precisely the point of the Walk New Haven Tours. 

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"It shows people just what can happen and look at all there is to learn about each other's cultures," explained  Carolyn Baker, Co-president, Greater New Haven African-American Historical Society

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

"It can give us hope that it can be that way again with the right development," said Zahler Samuel. 

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

 Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at rharrington@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


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