Bushnell Park

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Bushnell Park
Print celebrating completion of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial in 1886 by Kellog & Bulkeley print company
Bushnell Park is located in Connecticut
Bushnell Park
Location Bounded by Elm, Jewell, and Trinity Sts., Hartford, Connecticut
Coordinates 41°45′54″N 72°40′46″W / 41.76500°N 72.67944°W / 41.76500; -72.67944Coordinates: 41°45′54″N 72°40′46″W / 41.76500°N 72.67944°W / 41.76500; -72.67944
Area 50 acres (20 ha)
Built 1868
Architect Weidenmann, Jacob
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 70000692[1]
Added to NRHP October 22, 1970

Bushnell Park in Hartford, Connecticut is the oldest publicly funded park in the United States. It was conceived by the Reverend Horace Bushnell in the mid-1850s at a time when the need for open public spaces was just starting to be recognized.

Reverend Bushnell asked his good friend and Hartford native, Frederick Law Olmsted, to design the layout of the park. Olmsted, however, was occupied at the time with the double-duty of designing of New York City's Central Park and Springfield, Massachusetts' Forest Park, and thus declined the offer. Olmsted recommended Jacob Weidenmann, a Swiss-born landscape architect and botanist. Weidenmann's plan for the park included graceful paths and clusters of trees that shielded strollers from the sounds of the city, and enhanced the presence of the Park River which flowed through the park.

Later additions to the park include: the Horace Wells Monument in 1875, sculpted by Truman Howe Bartlett; the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch, designed by George Keller in 1886 to commemorate those who fought in the American Civil War; the Corning Fountain in 1899, with sculpture by J. Massey Rhind; the carousel in 1974; and the performance pavilion in 1995.

As a result of seasonal flooding, and especially after damage from the great flood of 1936, the Park River was buried in underground conduits, and a main feature of the park was lost.[1] A pond was later added to return a water feature to the park. Today Bushnell Park is a focal point in downtown Hartford, and it is the site of several festivals and music events each year.


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 

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