Hartford is the State Capitol of Connecticut, with a population of around 125,000 people. The City dates back to the time of Dutch Settlement in 1623 for a short while before English settlement took place, with Hartford becoming a River Trading Post in 1633, and the City Founded in 1637. This early settlement makes Hartford one of the most historic cities in the United States.
The city is located on the Connecticut River and is inland from the coast, roughly 125 miles north from New York City and 110 miles south of Boston. The city is best known as a center for Insurance, sometimes being called the “Insurance Capital of the World”.
A little known fact is that Hartford was where in the 1890’s to early 1900’s that a Bicycle manufacturer set up a business called the Pope Motor Carriage Company, and joining with another company, the Electric Vehicle Company of Hartford, they began making the Columbia Electric cars, that looked like a buggy carriage on four wheels, powered by 20 two-volt batteries. The cars went into production in 1903 but lasted just three years. One of their cars, a 1904 model is in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. The company folded in 1912. For interest also see www.bplegal.com/wseldon for a story on George Seldon, who patented the rights to produce automobiles using gasoline fuel.
Hartford’s most famous citizens were Mark Twain, who wrote the classic Adventure books about ‘Tom Sawyer’(published 1876) and ‘Huckleberry Finn’ (published 1884), and Harriet Beecher Stowe who wrote ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’, published in 1852, this book having a tremendous impact at the time on attitudes towards slavery. You can visit their homes here in Hartford.
THINGS TO SEE IN HARTFORD –
- Mark Twain House and Museum – 351 Farmington Avenue. See marktwainhouse.org Tel: 860 247 0998. Mark Twain was the pen-name of Samuel Clemens (1835-1910) who built this house and lived here between 1874 and 1891. This house and museum is a ‘must see’ in Hartford, and his characters, Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn, two of the best known fictional characters ever created.
- Harriet Beecher Stowe House – 77 Forest Street. See harrietbeecherstowecenter.org Tel: 860 522 9258. This is the house that was lived in by the writer, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896). Her most famous book is ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’, which fuelled anti-slavery abolitionist views, selling over 300,000 copies on its first print run in 1852.
- Connecticut State Capitol Building – 210 Capitol Avenue. Tel: for tours (860) 240 0222. This is a stunning Gothic Cathedral style building constructed with marble and granite with towers and a central Cupola dome on top covered with Gold leaf. Inside the building there are marble and slate floors, stained glass windows and other features all equally stunning to see. Inside you can also see the Hall of Flags and Hall of Fame, as well as possibly see the Legislative offices and view the General Assembly proceedings from the Public Gallery.
- Wadsworth Atheneum – 600 Main Street, Hartford. See thewadsworth.org . This Art Gallery was started in 1842 and has over 50,000 works of art, with a vast collection of paintings and artworks to see. Outside the Gallery, look for the statue of the Revolutionary War Hero, Nathan Hale (1755-1776) who is said to have uttered the words “ I only regret is that I have but one life to give for my Country” at the time of his execution by the British who tried him as a spy.
- Ancient Burying Ground – 60 Gold Street next to the First Church of Christ. Here you will find gravestones that date back to the 1600’s to 1800’s.
- Soldiers & Sailors Memorial in Bushnell Park – 60 Elm Street. This memorial with its archway and twin tower turrets was built in 1886 to commemorate those who died in the Civil War (1860-65).
- Bulkeley Bridge – built between 1903 and 1908 is a beautiful stone bridge that crosses over the River from Hartford to East Hartford in the city center. It is built in Granite and has 9 arches, five of the arches being 119 feet long, with the bridge itself being 1192 feet long. It replaced an old Covered wooden Bridge, built in 1818 that was destroyed in a fire in 1895.
- Riverwalks – there is the Great River Park on one side of the River, and on the other http://www.cialispharmaciefr24.com/ side the Riverwalk North where there is also a number of Sculptures along the Riverbank.
- Rose Garden, Elizabeth Park – at corner of Prospect Avenue and Asylum Avenue, this 100 acre park has the rose garden that is said to be the first Municipal Rose Garden in the United States, started in 1903. There are lots of walkways, trees, tulips and other flower gardens, small bridges and the Pond House Café. It is a beautiful garden particularly in Spring time.
- Isham-Terry House – 211 High Street. See ctosh.org Tel: 860 247 8996. The house dates back to 1854. This is an Italianate Villa, complete with period furnishings.
- Old State House – 800 Main Street. This was built in 1792. They have tours of the building and interesting exhibitions and displays (Mark Twain’s Bicycle is here), and outside on Tuesdays and Fridays there is a Farmers Market that happens from mid-June to end of October each year. See cga.ct.gov/osh
- Connecticut Science Center – 250 Columbus Boulevard. See ctsciencecenter.org Tel: 860 724 3623. One of the central attractions is the “Grossology”- a study of the human body and what happens as we smell, see, taste, hear and feel our lives happening.
- Cathedral of St Joseph – 140 Farmington Avenue. Tel: 860 249 8431. The Cathedral was built in 1962, after the earlier one here burnt down in 1956. It has masses of stained glass windows.
- Theaters – there are a number of venues to check out what is on stage and happening while you are here in Hartford –
- Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts – 166 Capitol Avenue. Tel: 860 987 6000
- Hartford Stage – 50 Church Street. See hartfordstage.org Tel: 860 527 5151
- Theater Works – Bushnell Towers, 233 Pearl St. See theaterworkshartford.org Tel: 860 527 7838.
- X Finity – 61 Savitt Way. See xfinity.net An indoor/outdoor amphitheatre that can seat up to 30,000 people
- XL Center – 1 Civic Center Plaza. See xlcenter.org Tel: 860 249 6333A large arena that can seat up to 16,000 people.
- Webster Theater – 31 Webster Street. A smaller theater for live shows. Tel: 860 525 5553.