Hartford, Connecticut

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Hartford, Connecticut
Flag of Hartford, Connecticut
Seal of Hartford, Connecticut
Location of Hartford,  Connecticut
Location in Hartford County, Connecticut
County Hartford County
Mayor Eddie Perez
 - Total
 - Water

46.5 km² (18.0 mi²)
1.7 km² (0.7 mi²) 3.67% 
 - City (2000)
 - Density
 - Metropolitan

Time zone Eastern (UTC –5)
WGS-84 (GPS)
 41.7622° N 72.6728° W
Official Website

Hartford is the capital of the state of Connecticut, in Hartford County. It is located on the Connecticut River, near the center of the state. As of the 2000 census, it has a population of 121,578, but a July 1, 2002 Census estimate put the city's population at 124,558. It is the second largest city in the state, after Bridgeport.



Dutch fur traders from New Netherland colony set up trade in the site as early as 1623, after Adriaen Block explored it in 1614. The Dutch named their post the 'Hope House' (Huys de Hoop). Prior to the Dutch arrival, the Indians who inhabited the area had called it Suckiaug. By 1633 Jacob van Curler had added a block house and palisade to the post while New Amsterdam sent a small garrison and a pair of cannons. The fort was abandoned by 1654, but its neighborhood in Hartford is still known as Dutch Point.

The first English settlers arrived in 1636. Thomas Hooker led 100 settlers with 130 head of cattle in a trek from Newtown (now Cambridge) in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and started their settlement just north of the Dutch fort. The settlement was originally called Newtown, but was changed to Hartford in 1637 to honor the English city of Hertford.

On December 15, 1814, the Hartford Convention was called to order in Hartford. Delegations from the five New England states, (Maine was still part of Massachusetts at that time) were sent to Hartford to discuss New England's possible secession from the United States.

During the early 1800s, the Hartford area was a center of abolitionist activity. The most famous abolitionist family was the Beechers. Reverend Lyman Beecher was an important Congregational minister known for his anti-slavery sermons. His daughter, Harriet Beecher Stowe, wrote the famous Uncle Tom's Cabin, while her brother, Henry Ward Beecher, was a noted clergyman who vehemently opposed slavery and supported the temperance movement and women's suffrage. Beecher Stowe's sister, Isabella Beecher Hooker, was a leading member of the women's rights movement.

In 1860, Hartford was the site of the first "Wide Awakes," abolitionist supporters of Abraham Lincoln. These supporters organized torch-light parades that were both political and social events, often including fireworks and music, in celebration of Lincoln's visit to the city. This type of event caught on and eventually became a staple of mid to late-1800s campaigning.

In July 6, 1944, Hartford was the scene of one of the worst fire disasters in the history of the United States. The fire, which occurred at a performance of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus circus, became known as the Hartford Circus Fire.

After World War II, many residents of Puerto Rico moved to Hartford and even today Puerto Rican flags can be found on cars and buildings all over the city. Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Hartford in 1969, when he was 12 years old.

In 1997, the city lost it's professional sports franchise, the Hartford Whalers, to Raleigh, North Carolina despite an increase in season ticket sales and an offer of a new arena from the state.

Lately, Hartford has been having problems as the population shrunk 11 percent during the 1990s. Only Flint, Michigan; Gary, Indiana; Saint Louis and Baltimore experienced larger population losses during the decade. However, the population has increased since the 2000 Census.


Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Hartford.
Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Hartford.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 46.5 km² (18.0 mi²). 44.8 km² (17.3 mi²) of it is land and 1.7 km² (0.7 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 3.67% water.

Hartford is bordered by the towns of West Hartford, Newington, Wethersfield, East Hartford, Bloomfield and Windsor. The Connecticut River separates Hartford from the region’s eastern suburbs.


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 121,578 people, 44,986 households, and 27,171 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,711.8/km² (7,025.5/mi²). There are 50,644 housing units at an average density of 1,129.6/km² (2,926.5/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 17.72% White, 38.05% Black or African American, 0.54% Native American, 1.62% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 26.51% from other races, and 5.44% from two or more races. 40.52% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 44,986 households out of which 34.4% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 25.2% are married couples living together, 29.6% have a female householder with no husband present, and 39.6% are non-families. 33.2% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.6% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.58 and the average family size is 3.33.

In the city the population is spread out with 30.1% under the age of 18, 12.6% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 18.0% from 45 to 64, and 9.5% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 30 years. For every 100 females there are 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 86.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $24,820, and the median income for a family is $27,051. Males have a median income of $28,444 versus $26,131 for females. The per capita income for the city is $13,428. 30.6% of the population and 28.2% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 41.0% of those under the age of 18 and 23.2% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


The Connecticut State Capitol in downtown Hartford
The Connecticut State Capitol in downtown Hartford
Central Business District/Downtown

Downtown is Hartford's primary business district. Downtown is home to St. Paul Travelers, The Hartford Financial Services Incorporated, The Hartford Steam Boiler and Phoenix Insurance.

Downtown is also home to the Hartford City Hall, the Hartford Public Library, the Old State House, the Wadsworth Atheneum, The Travelers Tower, Bushnell Park, and the State Capitol and Legislative Office Complex. Capital Community College is also located along Main Street in the former G. Fox and Company Building. The newly renovated University of Connecticut School of Business is located at Constitution Plaza.

Asylum Hill

The Asylum Hill neighborhood was originally known as "Lords Hill". The Asylum Hill neighborhood is home to the Asylum Hill Congregational Church (organized in 1864), The Trinity Episcopal Church, and Saint Joseph's Cathedral (dedicated 1892).

There are also many insurance companies that were or are still located in the Asylum Hill area such as the Hartford Fire Insurance Company (now the Hartford Insurance Group) and Rossia Insurance Company (now Northeastern Insurance Company). AETNA Insurance Company still remains as a major fixture along Farmington Avenue. Also along Farmington Avenue are the homes of Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe, which are now museums.

West End

The West End neighborhood, which runs a little bit past from the Mark Twain house to the West Hartford border, was mostly farmland until 1870. During the 1910s, many two and three story homes were built, giving the area more of a suburban feel.

Elizabeth Park in the West End was created in 1895, when Charles N. Pond gave his estate to the Hartford Parks Commission which created the park and named it in honor of his wife. The park boasts a playground, softball field, and other recreational facilities in addition to views of the downtown skyline.

The University of Connecticut School of Law and the Hartford Seminary are located in the West End. Part of Prospect Avenue boasts mansions including the Governor's Mansion. Mansions can also be found along Scarborough Street including the former residence of A. Everett Ausin (Director of Wadsworth Atheneum from 1927-1944).

Sheldon/Charter Oak

The neighborhood is located just south of downtown with the Connecticut River and I-91 running at the eastern end of the neighborhood.

The area was home to the Colts Firearm Factory which was started by Samuel Colt, who invented the automatic revolver. Along with building a factory, Mr. Colt also made a village with houses, a library, and recreational activities so that his employees could be close to work. Colt's estate, Armsmear, was given to the city as Colt's Park after Mr. and Mrs. Colt's death. A developer is currently in the process of renovating the whole facility to create office space and apartments for completion in 2006/2007.

The Capewell Horesenail Company was also in the area. In 1881, George Capewell invented a machine to make horseshoe nails.

North End

The neighborhood is a conglomeration of formerly distinct neighborhoods that have been collapsed into a largely impoverished zone. Generally identified as consisting of the vast area north of Albany Avenue leading up to the Bloomfield and Windsor borders, the North End has been wracked by decades of policies such as redlining and racist city planning that transformed a once multi-cultural area of African-American, Jewish, and European immigrants into an underdeveloped zone of housing projects and slums that is nearly entirely African-American and poor. This began in the 1950s with the construction of I-84, which cut off North End from the rest of the city, followed by a high concentration of government-financed housing projects that caused the flight of the working and middle class to the suburbs.

Although many of the housing projects have been demolished in 1990s and 2000s, and were replaced with HUD home constructions designed to increase the proportion of working families in the North End, the area still suffers from underdevelopment and crime. Many of the North End's parks, such as Keney Park, are considered among the city's most dangerous. The schools are among the most segregated and underperforming in the country, with populations of impoverished and African-American students extending into the 90th percentile. Mortality rates in the North End are comparable to those of the South Bronx in New York City.

The North End is home to an active community of West Indian immigrants that provide the area with a cultural and artistic presence: the West Indian Social Club and Scott's Jamaican Bakery are two notable neighborhood institutions. The North End is also home to Weaver High School, which was also the alma mater of ER actor Eriq La Salle.

South End

This neighborhood is home to the area of Franklin Avenue, known as Little Italy. Although many Italians have moved just over the border to Wethersfield, Newington, and Rocky Hill, there is still a major Italian presence in the city. There are numerous Italian bakeries along Franklin Avenue.

South Green

South Green is home to Barnard Park in honor of Henry Barnard, whose home is located on Main Street. Congress Street is a historic district with many Greek Revival and Italianate homes. Hartford Hospital and the Connecticut Children's Medical Center are also located in South Green.

South Meadows

Located at the southeastern corner of the city, the area is home to many industrial and commercial businesses. The neighborhood is home to the Regional Market, a 32 acre (129,000 m²) facility with 185,000 of warehouse space. Brainard Field along I-91 serves small aircrafts and offers flight instruction. The Hartford Electric Light Company which started in 1921 is still operational and owned by CT Light and Power. One of the Metropolitan District Water pollution control plants is located in the south meadows. Also, the Mid-Connecticut Resource Recovery Facility, which opened in 1987 and is on 57 acres (231,000 m²), is located in the area.


Greater Hartford is an international center of the insurance industry, with companies such as AETNA and The Hartford based in the city. The area is also home to Colt Firearms and large corporations like United Technologies (the parent corporation for Pratt & Whitney, Otis Elevator and Sikorsky Aircraft, Carrier Corporation, Hamilton Sundstrand, and UTC Fuel Cells) and others.


Hartford is the home of several institutions such as the Hartford Conservatory, Hartt School of Music, Trinity College, the Institute of Living, The American School for the Deaf, Capital Community College, Hartford Seminary, the University of Hartford, the University of Connecticut Law School, and the University of Connecticut School of Business. A branch campus for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is also located in the city.


Points of interest

  • Bushnell Park - Located below the State Capitol and legislative office complex, this park consists of rolling lawns, fountains, a lake, and a historic carousel.
  • Bushnell Center for Performing Arts
  • Cathedral of St. Joseph - Located outside of downtown, this Roman Catholic cathedral has stained glass windows and a large ceramic mural.
  • Charter Oak Cultural Center
  • Connecticut State Capitol - Located at Bushnell Park, this large Gothic-inspired building features many statues on its exterior. It is topped with a gold leafed dome.
  • Colt Arms Factory and Park - Topped with a blue and gold dome, the complex is currently being redeveloped and renovated. It will feature office space, apartments, and retail space.
  • Armsmear - The Colt family estate.
  • Connecticut Center for Science and Exploration - The 150,000 square foot (14,000 m²) facility will be built along the Connecticut River in Columbus Boulevard near the convention center (opening in 2007+).
  • Connecticut Convention Center - The 540,000 square foot (42,000 m²) convention center is now open, and overlooks the Connecticut River and the central business district. Attached to the center is a new 409 room 22 story Marriott Hotel (opened in late August 2005).
  • Constitution Plaza - Built in the early 1970s, Constitution Plaza is a renowned redevelopment project. The complex is comprised of numerous office buildings, underground parking, a restaurant, and outdoor courtyards along with a broadcasting studio. During the holiday season the area is filled with Christmas lights, and the annual Taste of Hartford celebration is held here. The Plaza passes over the highway and connects the city to the Connecticut River.
  • Elizabeth Park & Rose Garden - Located on the Hartford/West Hartford border.
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe House & Research Center - The former home of Harriet Beecher Stowe is now a museum located on Farmington Avenue near the Mark Twain House.
  • Hartford Civic Center - Built in 1978, the center hosts concerts and shows. It hosted the former NHL Hartford Whalers, and is also the home to the Hartford Wolf Pack AHL hockey team and is a part time home to UCONN basketball team. A new 36 story apartment complex (Hartford 21) is being built directly on top of the Civic Center and will also include retail and entertainment space. It will be the tallest apartment building in New England (completion expected in mid 2006).
  • Isham-Terry House- The house was built in 1854 as the residence of a business man. The house is designed in an Italian Villa style.
  • The Mark Twain House- Once the home of Samuel Clemens, the house is now a museum located in the city's west end on Farmington Avenue.
  • Old State House - The Old State House was the first in the U.S., designed by Charles Bulfinch, and recently restored with a gold-leafed dome rising from its top. The Old State House sits facing the Connecticut River in Downtown.
  • Pope Park, Hartford, Connecticut
  • Riverfront Recapture and Park - This park connects the downtown with the Connecticut River. It contains bike and walking trails, playing fields, and a white triangle-shaped dome covers one of the performing stages. The boat launch for a Connecticut River tour is also located here. A walkway spanning the Connecticut River leads to East Hartford.
  • Saint Thomas Seminary - Located on 80 acres (324,000 m²) in Bloomfield. The seminary is three miles north of Hartford near the University of Hartford. The seminary opened in 1930 and its campus consists of rolling greens and Gothic-inspired buildings.
  • Trinity College - The liberal arts college, founded in 1823, has more than 2,100 students. The college is consistently ranked as one of the best liberal arts colleges in America.
  • University of Connecticut Business School
  • University of Connecticut Law School - located just off Farmington Avenue, the campus includes an extensive, large Gothic-inspired library
  • University of Hartford - The University, which was founded in 1877, sits on 340 acres (1.4 km²) with a 13 acre (53,000 m²) campus on Asylum Avenue. There are more then 7,200 students and 86 undergraduate majors.
  • Hartt School of Music at University of Hartford
  • Wadsworth Atheneum of Art - the oldest art museum in the U.S.


The city is served by the daily Hartford Courant newspaper, which is one of the country's oldest newspapers, founded in 1764. A weekly newspaper, the Hartford Advocate, also serves Hartford and the surrounding area.

Several television and radio stations based in Hartford cover the entire state. These stations serve the Hartford/New Haven market, which is the 27th largest market in the U.S.



Bradley International Airport, in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, is twenty minutes north of Hartford and serves Hartford and Springfield.

Other airports serving the Hartford area include:


During the 1960s and 1970s, Hartford was something of a poster child for highway construction, and has several highways surrounding the downtown area. Still more projects were cancelled, both within the city and the suburbs, due to community opposition.

I-84 runs from Danbury, on the New York border, to Union on the Massachusetts border. I-91 starts in New Haven off of I-95 and continues all the way up into Canada along the Connecticut River. The two highways intersect in downtown Hartford.

Hartford suffers from notoriously heavy traffic as a result of its suburban population, which is proportionally much larger than that of any other nearby city. As a result, thousands of people clog area highways at the start of the workday. I-84 experiences traffic from Farmington through Hartford and into East Hartford and Manchester during the rush hour. Outside of Hartford, there are delays going westbound east of the Connecticut River and delays going eastbound west of the city, while in Hartford there is traffic in both directions. I-91 has significant delays, usually south of the city in Wethersfield and Rocky Hill and north of the city in Windsor and Bloomfield.

Besides the two major interstates, Route 2 runs from Norwich in the southeastern part of the state up to East Hartford where it then intersects with I-84. There are delays through Glastonbury and East Hartford in the morning hours.

Known as the Berlin Turnpike, Route 5 and 15 runs south of the city. Before I-91, the roadway carried people from Hartford to New Haven. Along the Berlin Turnpike is an array of department stores, restaurants, and offices in Berlin, Newington, and Wethersfield. In Wethersfield, it becomes a highway-grade roadway that intersects with I-91 and I-84. Past Berlin, Route 15 becomes the Wilbur Cross Parkway in Meriden, and later, the Merrit Parkway which runs parallel to I-95 to the New York border.

West of Hartford, Route 44 runs from West Hartford up into the hills of Litchfield County and eventually into New York.


Hartford's dependence on the railroad has decreased since the automobile. However, the Hartford train station at One Union Place still operates. Amtrak provides service from Hartford to New Haven, New York, Boston, Providence, and Washington DC. The station is also a major bus station serving numerous bus companies as Hartford is a mid way point between the popular New York to Boston route.

Currently there are preliminary plans to create a New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Commuter Rail Line with stations in communities close to I-91.

Public Transportation

Connecticut Transit is owned by the Connecticut Department of Transportation. CTTRANSIT operates local and commuter bus service within the city and the surrounding area. Taxi service is available from the train station at 1 Union Place or by calling one to any location in the area.

Famous Hartford residents

Harriet Beecher Stowe was originally from the Litchfield area, but settled in Hartford during the 1870s. Her house on Forest Street is now open to the public and is right next to that of Mark Twain. Twain moved to Hartford in 1874 and lived in Hartford for a number of years. The Mark Twain House is a national historic site. Twain, whose real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens, wrote many of his most famous works in Hartford, including The Gilded Age, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Roughing It, and his most read and controversial, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Wallace Stevens, the poet, was an insurance executive in Hartford. Katharine Hepburn, and Stephen Cole Kleene were born in the area.

Dwight Freeney (NFL Indianapolis Colts) and Nykesha Sales (WNBA Connecticut Sun) were also born in the Hartford area. They resided in the northwest suburb of Bloomfield and grew up within brief walking distance of each other on Farmstead Circle. Both attended Bloomfield High School and were All State(CIAC) varsity athletes in football and basketball respectively.

Sister cities

Because of Hartford's diverse population the city has numerous sister cities. They include:


Massive redevelopment projects are now under construction in the city. The largest is Adriaen's Landing along the Connecticut River. It will feature a 540,000 square foot (37,000 m²) convention center, the largest between New York City and Boston, and an attached 22 story Marriott Hotel. The Convention Center is currently open and the attached hotel is scheduled to open in late august 2005. An outdoor boardwalk will connect the convention center with Constitution Plaza and the recently developed Riverfront Recapture on the Connecticut River. The Connecticut Center for Science and Exploration, with approximately 150,000 square feet (14,000 m²), will open at Adriaen's Landing. A master plan has been created by the board of trustees and Cesar Pelli of New Haven has been chosen as the architect for the project.

Another project, Hartford 21, will result in New England's tallest residential tower at 36 stories. It will be connected to the existing Civic Center Arena. The Civic Center, which was built in 1975, is still operating and hosts shows and concerts each year in addition to being the home of the Hartford Wolf Pack AHL hockey team and the part time home to the UCONN women's and men's basketball teams. "Hartford 21" will include 262 luxury condos ranging in price from approximately $250,000 to $500,000, a video screen flashing on Trumbull Street (similar to those in Times Square in New York), retail, office space, restaurants and public spaces. Attached to the other side of the Civic Center the newly renovated, 4-Star Hartford Hilton Hotel, reopened recently with 392 rooms on 22 floors with 15,000 square feet (1,400 m²) of meeting space. The hotel also includes a rooftop pool and two restaurants: Element 15 (bar and lounge) and Morty and Ming's (Combination delicatessen and traditional Chinese cuisine).

In addition to the Hartford 21 apartment complex, there are also many other apartments recently finished, under construction or in the planning stages. The "Trumbull By The Park" apartment complex by Bushnell Park is under construction with 100 apartments and ground floor retail space. The former SNET building, also by Bushnell Park, was recently transformed into luxury apartments. On Main Street the former Sage Allen Department Store will be transformed into loft style apartments that will house students from the University of Hartford and Saint Joseph's College. In addition, there are also many other apartment building, multi-family homes and single family homes being renovated.

In addition to the residential projects planned for the downtown area, a retail and office project is currently in the planning phase. The project, Front Street, will be home to several national and local retailers. Since it is still in the design phase, many details are still unavailable. Although the project is not yet under construction, it is already receiving competition from the "Blue Black Square" in West Hartford. The project is being heavily opposed by the Westfarms Mall in West Hartford and several Hartford advocates.

Also in the works is a major multi-million dollar renovation of the Hartford Public Library and Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. The Atheneum also plans to expand into the Hartford Times Building near the Adrian's Landing site. The Old State House recently underwent a major refurbishing project and had been returned to its original splendor. Talks are also in the works for establishing a major bus route between Hartford and New Britain to further unify the region.

External links

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State of Connecticut




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