Special Events

Trumbull Coolidge Wedding

The Sept. 23, 1929, marriage in Plainville of Florence Trumbull, the daughter of then-Gov. John H. Trumbull and John Coolidge, son of former President Calvin Coolidge, was easily the biggest local event in the past 100 years, ac­cording to Town Historian Ruth S. Hummel.  Hummel, who also served until May as presi­dent of the Plainville Historical Society, has written several articles about the Trumbull­Coolidge wedding, which united the families of the Connecticut chief executive and the 30th U.S. president.

Hummel said the wedding, which took place at the Plainville Congregational Church on West Main Street, was accompanied with the hoopla that befitted such a ceremony. A large file with articles, photos, a copy of the marriage license, newspaper and maga­zine clippings and other infor­mation is in several folders in one of the file cabinets at the Plainville Historic Center.

Hundreds of guests attend­ed the wedding at the church and thousands of area resi­dents were in Plainville to catch a glimpse of the bride and groom and their famous families.

The historian had the chance to interview John and Florence Trumbull Coolidge in 1988, in time for their 60th wedding anniversary when they lived in Farmington. Both are now deceased.

She said that at the time the Coolidges were impressed with the local and area interest in the wedding and the amount of people who showed up to get a glimpse of the wedding party. Hummel said the governor’s daughter had met the presi­dent’s son while traveling by train to an event in Washing­ton, D.C. Florence Trumbull Coolidge later donated her wedding dress and accessories to the historical society, which has preserved the dress that is stored in an acid-free box and is in the organization’s vault. The dress has been periodical­ly put on display at the historic center. Also part of the memo­rabilia is a carefully preserved piece of the wedding cake that was given to a young girl who later gave it to the historical society. The cake is wrapped in tin foil and stored in a small cardboard jewelry box.

The piece of cake literally is icing for a secondary part of this story, which began several weeks ago from an e-mail re­ceived at The Plainville Citi­zen from Scott Pilato, of Flori­da, who was looking to find a photograph of the wedding cake, which was baked by his grandfather, Giovanni “John” Canina, who during the 1920s was a pastry chef at several top restaurants in New York City. At the time, Canina had won several awards for his pas­try.

Pilato said his mother, Rena Canina Pilato, cherished a photo of the wedding cake for many years, but it was subse­quently lost. She currently lives in Altamonte Springs, Fla. and Scott Pilato wanted to obtain a copy of the photo in time for her 80th birthday.

Pilato said the family liked the photo and the story be­cause it underscored how an immigrant to the United States can become a success through hard work and ultimately be­came his crowning achieve­ment.

Pilato had heard stories about the Trumbull-Coolidge wedding in Plainville and de­cided to contact the local news­paper. He also said he contact­ed the White House and the Calvin Coolidge Library Muse­um in Vermont. He said The Plainville Citizen was the first to get back to him.

Hummel looked through the files at the historic center, but was not able to find the photo of the wedding cake. However, there copies of photos from the 1929 wedding day, including one of the bride and groom with attendants and another of President Coolidge and his wife. However, Hummel said she is not sure that photo was taken in Plainville.

Of the wedding dress made of white heavy satin, Hummel said the bride’s family pur­chased it in New York City. In addition, 1,100 mums were transported by refrigerated rail car from California to Plainville and the flowers were used to decorate the wedding.

John H. Trumbull, who was known as “the flying gover­nor” because he was a pilot and because of his pioneering use of aircraft, was the state’s chief executive from 1925 to 1931. The family lived in a large Georgian-style mansion on Farmington Avenue, near where the Route 72 Express­way crosses Route 10.

Calvin Coolidge, who was from Vermont, served as the 30th U.S. president from 1923 until 1929. Coolidge succeeded President Warren G. Harding in office after Harding’s un­timely death.