The roots of steampunk lie in 19th century technology, and during that era the Connecticut River Valley played a role similar to that of today's Silicon Valley. The corridor stretching from Springfield, Mass. to Hartford and New Haven was home to factories that pioneered the so-called "American system of manufacturing," notable for its innovative use of interchangeable parts.
Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin, spent much of his life in New Haven, though he was in Georgia when he developed the contraption. In Hartford, Samuel Colt established Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company, and the city was also a center for making typewriters, sewing machines and bicycles.
Today, that heritage is preserved in places like the Eli Whitney Museum, New Britain Industrial Museum, and Museum of Connecticut History. You'll find these and other locations of interest in the listings below. Check out the "Steamiest Places" section for attractions likely to be of greatest interest to steampunks.