|City of Hartford|
Skyline of Hartford viewed from the Connecticut River
|Nickname(s): The Insurance Capital of the World, The Heartbeat, New England's Rising Star|
Location in Hartford County, Connecticut
|• Mayor||Pedro Segarra (D)|
|• City||18.0 sq mi (46.5 km2)|
|• Land||17.3 sq mi (44.8 km2)|
|• Water||0.7 sq mi (1.7 km2)|
|• Urban||469 sq mi (1,216 km2)|
|Elevation||59 ft (18 m)|
|• Density||7,025.5/sq mi (2,776/km2)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC−5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC−4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0213160|
Hartford is the capital of Connecticut and the historic seat of Hartford County until Connecticut disbanded county government in 1960. As of the 2010 Census, Hartford's population was 124,775, making it Connecticut's fourth-largest city after the coastal cities of Bridgeport, New Haven, and Stamford.
Nicknamed the "Insurance Capital of the World", Hartford houses many insurance company headquarters, and insurance remains the region's major industry. Almost 400 years old, Hartford is among the oldest cities in the United States. Hartford is home to the nation's oldest public art museum, the Wadsworth Atheneum; the oldest public park, Bushnell Park; the oldest continuously published newspaper, The Hartford Courant; the second-oldest secondary school, Hartford Public; Trinity College, an elite, private liberal arts college, and the Mark Twain House where the author wrote his most famous works and raised his family, among other historically significant attractions. In 1868, resident Mark Twain wrote, "Of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see this is the chief."
Following the American Civil War, Hartford was the richest city in the United States for several decades. Today, Hartford is one of the poorest cities in the nation with 3 out of every 10 families living below the poverty line. In sharp contrast, the Hartford metropolitan area is ranked 32nd of 318 metropolitan areas in total economic production and 7th out of 280 metropolitan statistical areas in per capita income. Highlighting the socio-economic disparity between the Hartford and its suburbs, 83% of Hartford's jobs are filled by commuters from neighboring towns who earn over $80,000, while 75% of Hartford residents who commute to work in other towns earn just $40,000.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Climate
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Government
- 6 Neighborhoods
- 7 Economy
- 8 Media
- 9 Education
- 9.1 Colleges & universities
- 9.2 Primary & secondary education
- 9.3 Hartford Public Schools
- 9.4 Non-Hartford Public Schools
- 10 Transportation
- 11 Culture
- 12 Sports
- 13 "Hartford Has It"
- 14 Notable Hartford residents
- 15 Sister cities
- 16 See also
- 17 Notes
- 18 References
- 19 External links
Various tribes, all part of the loose Algonquin confederation, lived in or around present-day Hartford. The area was referred to as Suckiaug', meaning "Black Fertile River-Enhanced Earth, good for planting." These included the Podunks, mostly east of the Connecticut River; the Poquonocks, north and west of Hartford; the Massacoes, in the Simsbury area; the Tunxis tribe, in West Hartford and Farmington; the Wangunks, to the south; and the Saukiog in Hartford itself.
The first whites known to have explored the area were the Dutch, under Adriaen Block, who sailed up the Connecticut in 1614. Dutch fur traders from New Amsterdam returned in 1623 with a mission to establish a trading post and fortify the the area for the Dutch West India Company. The original site was located on the south bank of the Park River in the present-day Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhood. This fort was called Fort Hoop, or the “House of Hope.” In 1633, Jacob Van Curler formally bought the land around Fort Hoop from the Pequot chief for a small sum. It was home to perhaps a couple families and a few dozen soldiers. The area today is known as Dutch Point, and the name of the Dutch fort, "House of Hope," is reflected in the name of Huyshope Avenue. The fort was abandoned by 1654, but its neighborhood in Hartford is still known as Dutch Point. The Dutch outpost, and the of the tiny contingent of Dutch soldiers that were stationed there, did little to check the English migration. The Dutch soon realized they very vastly outnumbered. The House of Hope remained an outpost, but it was steadily swallowed up by waves of English settlers. In 1650, when Peter Stuyvesant met with English representatives to negotiate a "permanent" boundary between the Dutch and English colonies, the line they agreed on was more than 50 miles (80 km) west of the original settlement.
The English began to arrive 1637, settling a few miles upstream from Fort Hoop near the present-day neighborhood of Sheldon/Charter Oak. Pastor Thomas Hooker and Governor John Haynes led 100 settlers with 130 head of cattle in a trek from Newtown (now Cambridge, Massachusetts) 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 town of Hertford the explorer also created the town of Windsor (in 1633).
The fledgling colony along the Connecticut River had issues with the authority by which it was to be governed because it was outside of the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Bay Colony's charter. Therefore, Hooker delivered a sermon that inspired the writing of the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, a document (ratified January 14, 1639) investing the people with the authority to govern, rather than ceding such authority to a higher power. Historians suggest that Hooker's conception of self-rule embodied in the Fundamental Orders went on to inspire the Connecticut Constitution, and ultimately the U.S. Constitution. Today, one of Connecticut's nicknames is the "Constitution State."
The original settlement area is site of The Charter Oak site. The Charter Oak was an unusually old white oak tree in which, according to legend, colonists hid the Connecticut's Royal Charter of 1662 to protect it from confiscation by an English governor-general. Thus the grand, stately tree came to symbolize the power of nature as a defender of freedom throughout Connecticut. In fact, the state adopted the image as the emblem of the Connecticut state quarter. The Charter Oak Monument is located at the corner of Charter Oak Place, a historic street, and Charter Oak Avenue.
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 19th century, the Hartford area was a center of abolitionist activity. The most famous abolitionist family was the Beechers. The 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, the Reverend 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-19th century campaigning.
On 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, 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. Former Hartford Mayor Eddie Pérez was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Hartford in 1969, when he was 12 years old.
Starting in the late 1950s, as the suburbs ringing Hartford began to grow and flourish, the capital city began a long decline. Insurance giant Connecticut General (now CIGNA) moved to a new, modern campus in the suburb of Bloomfield. Constitution Plaza, at first hailed as a model of urban renewal, gradually became a concrete office park. Once-flourishing department stores such as Brown Thomson, Sage-Allen, and G. Fox & Co. all shut down as suburban malls such as Westfarms and Buckland Hills grew in popularity.
In 1997, the city lost its professional hockey 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. Currently a developer from Newton, Massachusetts who is also the city's largest property owner is working with the city to bring an NHL team back to Hartford and house them in a new largely publicly funded stadium.
Hartford experienced problems as the population shrank 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.
In 1987, Carrie Saxon Perry was elected mayor of Hartford, the first female African-American mayor of a major American city.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.0 square miles (47 km2), of which 17.3 square miles (45 km2) is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) (3.67%) is water.
The Connecticut River forms the boundary between Hartford and East Hartford.
The Park River originally divided Hartford into northern and southern sections and was a major part of Bushnell Park, but the river was nearly completely enclosed and buried by flood control projects in the 1940s. The former course of the river can still be seen in some of the roadways that were built in the river's place, such as Jewell Street and the Conlin-Whitehead Highway.
Hartford lies in the humid continental climate zone (Köppen Dfa), and is part of USDA Hardiness zone 6b, degrading to 6a in the northern, western, and eastern suburbs away from the Connecticut River valley.
Seasonally, the period from May through October is warm to hot in Hartford, with the hottest months being June, July, and August. In the summer months there is often high humidity and occasional (but brief) thundershowers. The cool to cold months are from November through April, with the coldest months in December, January, and February having average highs in the lower 30's F and overnight lows near 20 F.
The average annual precipitation is approximately 45.9 inches (1,170 mm), which is distributed fairly evenly throughout the year. Hartford typically receives about 44.5 inches (113 cm) of snow in an average winter – about 40% more than coastal Connecticut cities like New Haven, Stamford, and New London. seasonal snowfall has ranged from 115.2 inches (293 cm) during the winter of 1995–96 to 13.5 inches (34 cm) in 1999–2000. During the summer, temperatures reach or exceed 90 °F (32 °C) on an average of 17 days per year, though the record number of occurrences was 38 in 1983 and 1920 saw none. Conversely, on average, temperatures do not rise above freezing on 30 days and dip to 0 °F (−18 °C) or below on 4.0 nights per year. Tropical storms and hurricanes have also struck Hartford, although the occurrence of such systems is rare and is usually confined to the remnants of such storms. Hartford saw extensive damage from the 1938 New England Hurricane, as well as with Hurricane Irene in 2011. The highest officially recorded temperature is 103 °F (39 °C) on July 22, 2011 and the lowest is −26 °F (−32 °C) on January 22, 1961; the record cold daily maximum is −1 °F (−18 °C) on December 2, 1917, while, conversely, the record warm daily minimum is 80 °F (27 °C) on July 31, 1917.
|Climate data for Bradley International Airport, Connecticut (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1905–present)[a]|
|Record high °F (°C)||72
|Average high °F (°C)||34.5
|Daily mean °F (°C)||26.1
|Average low °F (°C)||17.7
|Record low °F (°C)||−26
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||3.23
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||12.3
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inch)||10.8||9.7||11.5||11.2||12.8||12.2||10.4||10.0||9.8||10.2||10.7||10.7||130.0|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 inch)||5.8||4.7||3.5||0.5||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.9||4.7||20.1|
|Average relative humidity (%)||63.9||63.0||60.4||58.0||63.0||67.3||68.0||70.6||72.9||69.2||68.3||68.0||66.0|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||169.8||176.1||213.9||228.2||258.6||273.4||293.1||269.6||223.6||199.4||139.4||139.5||2,584.6|
|Percent possible sunshine||58||59||58||57||57||60||64||63||60||58||47||49||58|
|Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961–1990)|
As of the census of 2010, there were 124,775 people, 44,986 households, and 27,171 families residing in the city. The population density was 7,025.5 people per square mile (2,711.8/km²). There were 50,644 housing units at an average density of 2,926.5 per square mile (1,129.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 29.8% white, 38.7% African American or black, 0.6% Native American, 2.8% Asian, 0% Pacific Islander, 23.9% from other races, and 4.2% from two or more races. 43.4% of the population were Hispanic or Latino, chiefly of Puerto Rican origin. Whites not of Latino background were 15.8% of the population in 2010, down from 63.9% in 1970.
There were 44,986 households, out of which 34.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 25.2% were married couples living together, 29.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.6% were non-families. 33.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.33.
In the city, the population distribution skews young: 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 were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $20,820, and the median income for a family was $22,051. Males had a median income of $28,444 versus $26,131 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,428. After World War II, and continuing through the latter half of the 20th century, many Puerto Ricans moved to the city. As of 2010, 33.7% of Hartford residents claimed Puerto Rican heritage. This was the second-largest concentration of Puerto Ricans in the Northeast, behind only Holyoke, Massachusetts (source: 2010 census).
Hartford is governed via the strong-mayor form of the mayor-council system. The current mayor is Pedro Segarra. He succeeded former Mayor Eddie Perez in 2010 and was subsequently elected for a full term the next year. Segarra, who was sworn in as mayor on June 25, 2010, is Hartford's second mayor of Puerto Rican ancestry and the first openly gay mayor of the city. He is also the second openly gay mayor of an American state capital city (David Cicilline of neighboring Providence, Rhode Island was the first).
More than fifty years after establishing the council-manager form, Hartford voted in favor of restoring a mayor-council system in 2003, restoring municipal authority in an elected mayor in 2003. Mayor Eddie Perez, first elected in 2001, was re-elected with 76% of the vote in 2003. As the first strong mayor elected under the revised charter, he is widely credited with reducing crime, reforming the school system and sparking economic revitalization in the city. However, his reputation was hurt by accusations of corruption
In Connecticut there is no county-level executive or legislative government; the counties determine probate, civil and criminal court boundaries, but little else. Connecticut municipalities (like those of neighboring states Massachusetts and Rhode Island) provide nearly all local services (such as fire and rescue, education, snow removal, etc.), as county government has been abolished since 1960.
|Voter registration and party enrollment as of October 29, 2013|
|Party||Active voters||Inactive voters||Total voters||Percentage|
The Hartford Fire Department provides fire protection and first responder emergency medical services to the city of Hartford. Operating out of 12 fire stations located throughout the city, the HFD is the fifth-largest fire department in Connecticut. Under the command of two Deputy Chiefs in two Districts, the HFD maintains a fire apparatus fleet of eleven engines, five ladders, one tac unit (rescue), one fireboat, one rehab unit, one decon Unit, one foam unit, one fire investigation unit, three Maintenance Units, and numerous other spare apparatus. The spare apparatus fleet comprises six spare engines, three spare ladders, one spare tac, and three spare district chief's units.
The Hartford Police Department (HPD) was founded in 1860, though the history of law enforcement in Hartford begins in 1636. The current Hartford Police Chief is James Rovella. The department is located at 253 High Street and includes divisions such as Animal Control, Bomb Squad, Detective Bureau, K-9 Unit, Marine Division, Negotiator, Records, S.W.A.T and Vice & Narcotics. To date seven officers have died in the line of duty. The proposed 2010–2011 budget for the police department was $76,110,089, which includes 424 sworn officers.
Hartford's neighborhoods are diverse and historic. The central business district, as well as the State Capitol, Old State House and a number of museums and shops are located Downtown. Parkville, home to Real Art Ways, is named for the confluence of the north and the south branches of the Park River. Frog Hollow, in close proximity to Downtown, is home to Pope Park and Trinity College, which is one of the nation's oldest institutions of higher learning. Asylum Hill, a mixed residential and commercial area, houses the headquarters of several insurance companies as well as the historic homes of Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe. The West End, home to the Governor's residence, Elizabeth Park, and the University of Connecticut School of Law, abuts the Hartford Golf Club. Sheldon Charter Oak is renowned as the location of the Charter Oak and its successor monument as well as the former Colt headquarters including Samuel Colt's family estate – Armsmear. The North East neighborhood is home to Keney Park and a number of the city's oldest and ornate homes. The South End features "Little Italy" and was the home of Hartford's sizeable Italian community. South Green hosts Hartford Hospital. The South Meadows is the site of Hartford-Brainard Airport and Hartford's industrial community. The North Meadows has retail strips, car dealerships, and Comcast Theatre. Blue Hills is home of the University of Hartford and also houses the largest per capita of residents claiming Jamaican-American heritage in the United States. Other neighborhoods in Hartford include Barry Square, Behind the Rocks, Clay Arsenal, South West, and Upper Albany- which is dotted by many Caribbean restaurants and specialty stores.
In 2010, Hartford ranked 19th in the United States' annual national crime rankings, (below the 200.00 rating.) It had the second highest crime rate in Connecticut, behind New Haven. Statistically Hartford's Northern districts (North East, Asylum Hill, Upper Albany) had the highest murder rate, while the South districts (Downtown, Sheldon, South Green) had a slightly lower murder rate, but had the most crime overall. Overall, the South Meadows neighborhood had the lowest crime rate, respectively.
Hartford is the historic international center of the insurance industry, with companies such as Aetna, Conning & Company, The Hartford, The Phoenix Companies, UnitedHealthcare and Hartford Steam Boiler based in the city, and companies such as Travelers and Lincoln National Corporation having major operations in the city. The city is also home to the corporate headquarters of U.S. Fire Arms and United Technologies.
From the 19th century until the mid-20th century, Hartford was a major manufacturing city. During the Industrial Revolution into the mid-20th century, the Connecticut River Valley cities produced many major precision manufacturing innovations. Among these was Hartford's pioneer bicycle (and later) automobile maker Pope. As in nearly all former Northern manufacturing cities, many factories have been closed, relocated, or reduced operations.
Aetna and the Hartford Financial Services Group, both Fortune 100 companies, are headquartered in Hartford. Travelers Insurance has its largest national employment center and historical headquarters in the city. CIGNA insurance is headquartered in the region with a presence in Hartford and its suburb Bloomfield. United Health Insurance has a significant presence in the city.
At the same time, many companies have moved to or expanded in the central business district and surrounding neighborhoods. Aetna announced mid-decade that by 2010 it would move nearly 3,500 employees from its Middletown, Connecticut offices to its corporate headquarters in the Asylum Hill section of the city. Travelers recently expanded its operations at several downtown locations. In 2008, Sovereign Bank consolidated two bank branches as well as its regional headquarters in a nineteenth-century palazzo on Asylum Street. In 2009, Northeast Utilities, a Fortune 500 company and New England's largest energy utility, announced it would establish its corporate headquarters downtown. In the same year, work began at the southeastern corner of Constitution Plaza on the AI Technology Center, the future headquarters of the eponymous engineering firm. AI's chief executive helped finance the building, the first commercially leasable structure in Connecticut to be certified at the platinum level under the US Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program. Other recent entrants into the downtown market include GlobeOp Financial Services and specialty insurance broker S.H. Smith. CareCentrix, a patient home healthcare management company, is moving into downtown from East Hartford, where it will add over 200 jobs within the next few years.
Hartford is a center for medical care, research, and education. Within Hartford itself the city includes Hartford Hospital, The Institute of Living, Connecticut Children's Medical Center, and Saint Francis Hospital & Medical Center (which merged in 1990 with Mount Sinai Hospital).
The daily Hartford Courant newspaper is the country's oldest continuously published newspaper, founded in 1764. A weekly newspaper, owned by the same company that owns the Courant, the Hartford Advocate, also serves Hartford and the surrounding area, as does the Hartford Business Journal ("Greater Hartford's Business Weekly") and the weekly Hartford News.
The Hartford region is also served by several magazines. Among the local publications are: Hartford Magazine, a monthly lifestyle magazine serving Greater Hartford; CT Cottages & Gardens; Connecticut Business, a glossy monthly serving all of Connecticut; and Home Living CT, a home and garden magazine published five times a year and distributed statewide.
Several television and radio stations are based in Hartford, including Connecticut Public Television, which is headquartered in Hartford. These stations serve the Hartford/New Haven market, which is the 29th largest media market in the U.S.
See also: List of newspapers in Connecticut in the 18th-century: Hartford
Colleges & universities
Hartford houses several world-class institutions such as Trinity College. Other notable institutions include Capital Community College (located Downtown in the old G. Fox Department Store building on Main Street), the University of Connecticut School of Business (also Downtown), the Hartford Seminary (in the West End), the University of Connecticut School of Law (also in the West End) and Rensselaer at Hartford (a Downtown branch campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). University of Saint Joseph opened its school of pharmacy in the downtown area in 2011. The University of Hartford features several cultural institutions: the Joseloff Gallery, the Renee Samuels Center, and the Mort and Irma Handel Performing Arts center. The "U of H" campus is co-located in the city's Blue Hills neighborhood and in neighboring towns West Hartford and Bloomfield.
Primary & secondary education
Hartford is served by the Hartford Public Schools. Hartford Public High School, the nation's second oldest high school, is located in the Asylum Hill neighborhood of Hartford. The city is also home to Bulkeley High School on Wethersfield Avenue, Global Communications Academy on Greenfield Avenue, Weaver High School on Granby Street, and Sport Medical and Sciences Academy on Huyshope Avenue. In addition, Hartford contains The Learning Corridor, which is home to the Montessori Magnet School, Hartford Magnet Middle School, Greater Harford Academy of Math and Science, and the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. One of the technical high schools in the Connecticut Technical High School System, A.I. Prince Technical High School, also calls the city home.The Classical Magnet School is one of the many Hartford Magnet Schools. The city's high school graduation rate reached 71 percent in 2013, according to the state Department of Education. Hartford is also home to Watkinson School, a private coeducational day school, and Grace S. Webb School, a special education school. Catholic schools are administered by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford.
Hartford Public Schools
- Achievement First Hartford High Academy
- Culinary Arts Academy at Weaver High School
- OPPortunity High School
- Dr. Joseph S. Renzulli Gifted & Talented Academy
- Bulkeley High School Teacher Preparation and Humanities Academies
- Adult Education Center
Open Choice schools
- Hartford Public High School – The nation's second oldest high school is now open to both Hartford students & Greater Hartford students, the school now operates as three academies under one roof:
- HPHS Academy of Engineering and Green Technology
- HPHS Academy of Nursing and Health Sciences
- HPHS Law & Government Academy
- Global Communications Academy
- High School Inc.: Hartford's Insurance & Finance Academy
- Capital Preparatory Magnet School Upper School
- Classical Magnet School
- Hartford Journalism & Media Academy Magnet School
- Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy
- R.J. Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts
- Pathways Academy of Technology & Design
- Sport & Medical Sciences Academy
- University High School of Science & Engineering
- The Academy of Aerospace and Engineering High School
- Greater Hartford Academy of Math and Science
- Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts
Non-Hartford Public Schools
State Technical School
- A.I. Prince Technical High School
- Watkinson School
- Grace Academy
K-12 School at The Institute of Living
- Grace S. Webb School
The following Catholic Schools are administered by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford:
- St. Augustine
- SS. Cyril & Methodius (Closed May 2014)
Bradley International Airport, in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, is twenty minutes north of downtown Hartford. It features over 150 daily departures to over 30 destinations on nine airlines. Other airports serving the Hartford area include:
- Hartford-Brainard Airport, located in Hartford off I-91 and close to Wethersfield, serves charter flights and local flights.
- Westover Metropolitan Airport, located in Chicopee, Massachusetts, 27 miles (43 km) north of Hartford, serves commercial, local, charter, and military flights.
- Tweed New Haven Regional Airport, located in New Haven, Connecticut, is served by US Airways Express.
Hartford city buses run at regular intervals throughout the city. Interstate bus is provided by Peter Pan Bus, Greyhound Bus and to a lesser degree, Bonanza Buses. Chinatown bus lines provide low-cost bus service between Hartford and their New York and Boston hubs. In addition, there are buses for connections to smaller cities in the state. The bus station is located on the ground floor of the transport center at One Union Place in Downtown Hartford. A free people circulator, known as the "Star Shuttle," operates around downtown.
In March 2015, CTfastrak, Connecticut's first bus rapid transit corridor opened, providing a separated right-of-way between Hartford and New Britain. In addition, express bus services travel from downtown Hartford and Waterbury, servicing intermediate communities like Southington and Cheshire, providing reliable public transportation between these communities for the first time.
I-84, which runs from Scranton, to its intersection with I-90 in Sturbridge, just over the Massachusetts border, and I-91, which runs from New Haven along the Connecticut River ultimately to Canada, intersect in downtown Hartford. In addition to I-84 and I-91, two other highways service the city: Route 2, an expressway that runs from downtown Hartford to Westerly, passing through Norwich and past Foxwoods Resort Casino; and the Wilbur Cross Highway portion of Route 15 that skirts the southeastern part of the city near Brainard Airport. A short connector known as the Conlin–Whitehead Highway also provides direct access from I-91 to the Capitol Area of downtown Hartford.
Hartford experiences heavy traffic as a result of its substantial suburban population (nearly 10 times that of the actual city). As a result, thousands of people travel on area highways at the start and end of each workday. I-84 experiences traffic from Farmington through Hartford and into East Hartford and Manchester during the rush hour.
Several major surface arteries also run through the city. Albany Avenue Route 44 runs westward through the northern part of West Hartford to the hills of northern Litchfield County and into New York, and eastward towards Putnam and into Rhode Island. Main Street (Route 159) heads north through Windsor towards the western suburbs of Springfield, Massachusetts. Wethersfield Avenue (Route 99) heads south through Wethersfield towards Middletown. Farmington Avenue heads west through West Hartford Center and Farmington towards Torrington.
A bicycle route runs through the center of Hartford. This route is a small piece of the large eastern bicycle route – the East Coast Greenway (ECG). The 3,000-mile (4,800 km) ECG runs from Calais, Maine to the Florida Keys. The route is intended to be off road, but some sections are currently on-road. The section through Hartford is right through the middle of Bushnell Park.
There are designated bicycle lanes on several roads including Capitol Avenue, Zion Street, Scarborough Lane, Whitney, and South Whitney.
The dependence on railroads has decreased since the construction of Interstate 91 and Interstate 84 through the city center. However, Hartford's Union Station at One Union Place still operates a significant schedule. Amtrak provides service from Hartford to Vermont, via Springfield, (and from there to points west, e.g. to Chicago, or east through the western suburbs of Boston,) and southward to New Haven, with connections to New York, Boston, Providence, and Washington DC. The station also serves numerous bus companies because of Hartford's mid-way location on the 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. It would use rail currently used by Amtrak, which in turn was formerly part of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad system.
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. There is a free downtown shuttle, and city buses are equipped with bike racks.
Points of interest
- Aetna Headquarters – The world's largest colonial revival building, the Aetna headquarters on Farmington Avenue is crowned by a tall Georgian tower inspired by the Old State House downtown.
- Ancient Burying Ground – The oldest historic site in Hartford. It was Hartford's first graveyard. Many of Hartford's first renowned residents and founders are buried there.
- Armsmear – The Colt family estate.
- Bulkeley Bridge – Spanning the Connecticut River and connecting the city of Hartford with East Hartford, the nine-span structure is a stone-arch bridge.
- Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts – Constructed in the 1930s by the same architects who designed New York City's Radio City Music Hall, the theater features a Georgian Revival exterior and an exquisite Art Deco interior, with a large hand-painted mural suspended from the ceiling that is the largest of its kind in the United States.
- Bushnell Park – Located below the State Capitol and legislative office complex, this park consists of rolling lawn, sculpture, fountains, and a historic carousel. It is the first park in the country purchased by a municipality for public use, and it was designed by Jacob Weidenmann. The Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Arch, a Civil War Memorial, which frames the northern entrance to the park, is the first triumphal arch in the United States.
- Cathedral of St. Joseph – Located west of downtown along Farmington Avenue in the Asylum Hill neighborhood, this 281-foot (86 m) limestone Roman Catholic cathedral (built in 1961 to replace its predecessor lost to fire) has large Parisian stained glass windows, an 8,000 pipe organ, and the largest ceramic tile mural of Christ in Glory in the world.
- Center Church – The First Church of Christ in Hartford, located at 60 Gold Street and also known as Center Church, has stood at the corner of Main and Gold Streets in downtown Hartford for more than two centuries and was founded by Thomas Hooker.
- Charter Oak Cultural Center – Located at 21 Charter Oak Avenue, near the Charter Oak monument, COCC is housed in Connecticut's first synagogue, built in 1876. Today it is a secular non-profit institution bringing together art, drama, music, and other cultural excursions.
- Cheney Building – Constructed in the late 19th-century, this notable building by famed architect H. H. Richardson is located Downtown on Main Street. It housed the Brown, Thomson & Co. department store.
- City Place I- The tallest building in Hartford at 38 stories and the tallest building in Connecticut. It is located at 185 Asylum Street.
- Colt Armory – Topped with a blue and gold dome, the complex was once the main factory building of Colt's Manufacturing Company. It is currently being redeveloped and renovated and will feature apartments, retail and office space.
- Comcast Theater (formerly the Meadows Music Theater) – Located in the North Meadows, it is an indoor/outdoor amphitheater-style performance venue.
- Connecticut Science Center – 154,000 square foot (14,000 m²), nine-story, $165 million museum. Designed by César Pelli, it opened on June 12, 2009.
- Connecticut State Library & Supreme Court – Located in the hill district near the State Capitol atop Bushnell Park, the building also contains the Museum of Connecticut History and a number of galleries devoted to Samuel Colt memorabilia.
- 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 late August 2005).
- Connecticut Governor's Mansion – An imposing Georgian revival mansion situated near the highest point in the City of Hartford on upper Prospect Avenue. Four landscaped acres surround the residence continuing the garden setting of Elizabeth Park, just opposite Asylum Avenue.
- Connecticut Opera – Founded in 1942, is the six-oldest opera company in the United States, performing three fully staged operas per season, primarily at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford.
- Connecticut State Capitol – Located atop Bushnell Park, this large Gothic-inspired building features many statues and engravings on its exterior. It is topped with a gold leafed dome.
- Constitution Plaza – Built in the early 1960s, Constitution Plaza is a renowned, and notorious, redevelopment project. To build the plaza, Hartford's historic Front Street neighborhood was razed. The complex is composed of numerous office buildings, underground parking, a restaurant, broadcasting studio, and outdoor courtyards and fountains. During the holiday season the area is filled with Christmas lights for the Festival of Light. The Plaza passes over I-91 and connects the city to the Connecticut River by way of Riverfront Plaza.
- Elizabeth Park & Rose Garden – Straddling the Hartford/West Hartford border, both sections of the park administered by the City of Hartford.
- Harriet Beecher Stowe House & Research Center – The former home of Harriet Beecher Stowe, located in the Asylum Hill neighborhood on Farmington Avenue, has become a museum, along with its neighbor – the home of Mark Twain.
- The Hartford Financial Services Group headquarters campus on Asylum Hill occupies the former site of the American School for the Deaf, which has moved to a campus in West Hartford.
- Hartford Public Library – The Library was founded in 1774 and has over 500,000 holdings, an extensive calendar of programs and free public access computers and wifi.
- Hartford Stage – Dedicated to the production of classic works and new play development.
- Hartford Symphony Orchestra – Connecticut's regional orchestra.
- The Hartt School at the University of Hartford is recognized as one of the premiere performing arts conservatories in the United States.
- Isham-Terry House – This Italian Villa was built in 1854 as the residence of a businessman and is one of the city's older homes.
- The Mark Twain House and Museum – The home was built by Samuel Clemens and his wife in 1874. They lived here 17 years, raising three daughters. This is where Mark Twain wrote many of his most popular books. The house is open year-round for tours, events, and author programs. It is located in Nook Farm, part of the Asylum Hill neighborhood, on Farmington Avenue. National Geographic named it one of the ten best historic homes in the world.
- Old State House – The Old State House, dating back to 1796, makes it one of the nation's oldest. It was designed by Charles Bulfinch, who later went on to design the Massachusetts State House in Boston. Recently restored with a gold-leafed dome rising from its top, the Old State House sits facing the Connecticut River in Downtown. The Old State House was the site of the Amistad trial.
- Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Building – The first two-sided building in the world, it is located on Constitution Plaza and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Pope Park – Public park originally landscaped by the Olmsted brothers.
- Real Art Ways – An alternative art gallery and hosts contemporary art, music, and film productions.
- Riverfront Recapture and Park – The 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.
- Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch – Located in Bushnell Park, the now buried Park River once flowed beneath it. Honoring the 4,000 Hartford citizens who served in the American Civil War, and the 400 who perished, the brownstone memorial is the first triumphal arch in the United States.
- Stone Field Sculpture – Located at the corner of Gold and Main Streets, this work of public art consisting of 36 boulders was completed by the Minimalist, Carl Andre, in 1977.
- Trinity College – The liberal arts college was founded in 1823 and has more than 2,100 students. It is the second-oldest in Connecticut after Yale University in New Haven.
- University of Connecticut School of Business – A branch of the University of Connecticut Business school operates in downtown Hartford. The building is located on Market Street, north of Constitution Plaza.
- University of Connecticut School of Law – located off Farmington Avenue, the campus features an extensive Gothic-inspired library.
- University of Hartford – The University, which was founded in 1877, sits on 340 acres (140 ha) with a 13-acre (5.3 ha) campus on Bloomfield Avenue situated on land divided between Hartford, West Hartford and Bloomfield. Located in the Blue Hills neighborhood, the campus is minutes from Downtown. There are more than 7,200 students and 86 undergraduate majors.
- Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art – The oldest art museum in the U.S. is located on Main Street in downtown Hartford opposite the Travelers Tower. The museum features a significant collection of Italian Baroque old masters and post-impressionist modern art. In the plaza located between it and Hartford Municipal Building, Alexander Calder's 'Stegosaurus' sculpture sits in an open-air plaza.
- XL Center – Built in 1975, the center hosts concerts and shows. Formerly home to the NHL Hartford Whalers, it is currently the home to the Hartford Wolf Pack AHL hockey team and, part-time, to the UConn Huskies basketball team.
- Greater Hartford St. Patrick's Day Parade – Downtown – March 2015 will be the 44th year – Run by The Central Connecticut Celtic Cultural Committee
- Greater Hartford Puerto Rican Day Parade – Downtown, South Green, and Frog Hollow – June 2010 – Run by The Connecticut Institute for Community Development
- Greater Hartford West Indian Parade – Northeast – August – Run by The West Indian Foundation
- Hooker Day Parade – Downtown – October – Run by Hartford Business Improvement District
- Connecticut Veterans Parade – Downtown – November – Run by The Ferris Group, LLC
The Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League plays ice hockey at the XL Center in downtown Hartford. The XL Center also hosts larger-profile games for both the men's and women's basketball teams of the UConn Huskies. Other UConn home games are played at Gampel Pavilion located on the university's campus in Storrs.
The New Britain Rock Cats, the Double-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, will be moving to Hartford in 2016. The city will build a new baseball stadium in time for opening day of that season, with a seating capacity of at least 10,000 spectators. The move was made in an effort to keep the team from leaving the state for nearby Springfield, Massachusetts.
Hartford became the home of the WHA's New England Whalers in 1975 after the club moved from Boston, one of four WHA teams that joined the NHL in 1979. The city was home to the NHL's Hartford Whalers from 1979 to 1997, before the team relocated to Raleigh, North Carolina and became the Carolina Hurricanes.
"Hartford Has It"
Formerly promoted as "New England's Rising Star", The City of Hartford Recently unveiled "Hartford Has It" this has generated renewed interest with both local and national developers who are investing in the city and the Knowledge Corridor region.
Some of the major new development projects include:
Adriaen's Landing: The state- and privately funded project is situated on the banks of the Connecticut River along Columbus Boulevard, and connects to Constitution Plaza. Constitution Plaza forced hundreds of households to relocate when it was built a few decades ago. The latest project includes the 540,000-square-foot (50,000 m2) Connecticut Convention Center, which opened in June 2005 and is the largest meeting space between New York City and Boston. Attached to the Convention Center is the 22-story, 409 room Marriott Hartford Hotel-Downtown, which opened in August 2005. Being constructed next to the convention center and hotel is the 140,000-square-foot (13,000 m2) Connecticut Science Center. The final component of the project, 'Front Street', sits across from the Convention Center and covers the land between Columbus Boulevard and The Hartford Times Building. The Front Street development combines retail, entertainment and residential components. Publicly funded parts of the project will include transportation improvements. There have been significant delays in the Front Street project – the first developer was removed from the project because of lack of progress. The city has chosen a new developer, but work is yet to begin on the retail and residential component of Front Street. The city and state may soon take action to increase the speed with which the project enters implementation phases. There has been talk of bringing an ESPN Zone to the Front Street (ESPN is headquartered in nearby Bristol). On the back side of Front Street, the historic Beaux-Arts Hartford Times Building is being converted into a downtown campus of the University of Connecticut. In 2004, Underground Coalition, a Connecticut hip hop promotion company, produced The First Annual Hartford Hip Hop festival, which also took place at Adriaen's Landing. The event drew over 5,000 fans. A significant number of cultural events and performances take place every year at Mortensen Plaza (Riverfront Recapture Organization) by the banks of the CT River. These events are held outdoors and include live music, festivals, dance, arts and crafts and they are very diverse in ethnicity. Hartford also has a vibrant theater scene with major Broadway productions at the Bushnell Theater as well as performances at the Hartford Stage and Theaterworks (City Arts).
The New Haven – Hartford – Springfield commuter rail line (officially named The Knowledge Corridor Intercity Rail Line) is expected to be operational during 2015. According to Connecticut Governor Malloy, the Knowledge Corridor line will reach speeds up to 110 mph (177 km/h). The rail line is intended to unite the densely populated, 61 mile region between Hartford, Springfield, and New Haven; ease the frequently congested Interstate 91 automobile highway; and increase mobility in a region that is now almost entirely dependent upon automobile ownership. As of May 2011, Connecticut's portion of the commuter line has been 3/4 funded. Currently, the state is seeking the $227 million necessary to complete the northern portion of the line from the $2.4 billion in Federal funds that Florida rejected to fund its own high-speed rail project.
Hartford 21: Recently completed on the site of the former Hartford Civic Center Mall (now known as the XL Center), the project includes a 36 story residential tower—the tallest residential tower between New York City and Boston. Attached to the tower is 90,000 square feet (8,000 m2) of office space and 45,000 square feet (4,200 m2) of retail space, all contained within a connected complex. The Greater Hartford YMCA has opened in the complex and will soon be closing its Jewell Street site, which will be knocked down for another project. The XL Center Arena remains open and hosts the AHL Connecticut Whale and the UConn men's and women's basketball teams, as well as shows and concerts.
Capital Community College at the 11-story G. Fox Department Store Building: The 913,000-square-foot (84,800 m2) former home of the G. Fox & Company Department Store on Main Street has been renovated and made the new home of Capital Community College as well as offices for the State of Connecticut and ground level retail space. Capital Community College helps train (mostly) adult students in specific career fields. On Thursdays, vendors sell crafts on the Main Street level. Two music clubs, Mezzanine and Room 960, are housed in the building.
Lincoln Culinary Institute: The school recently relocated its main campus to the former Hastings Hotel and Conference Center, which is next to Aetna headquarters in the city's Asylum Hill neighborhood just west of downtown. The school also has a branch campus in Suffield, Connecticut. The Hastings Hotel and Conference Center, which closed abruptly in 2004, was the hotel where former President Bill Clinton stayed when he was in the city.
Rentschler Field: In neighboring East Hartford, the stadium for UConn football was part of the revitalization plan for Hartford and was built on some of the lands donated by United Technologies. The bulk of the land donated will be used for technology, entertainment, lodging and retail development. A high-tech research park is also currently being planned for the site.
Transportation and parking changes: The New Britain-Hartford Busway is in the works. Local activists are pushing for more bike lanes, as well as for these lanes to be respected by motorists and kept clear of debris. The local bicycle advocacy organization formed in 2005, Central Connecticut Bicycle Alliance, has made surprising inroads in Hartford and the surrounding suburbs.
Some roads were turned into pedestrian walkways to reduce gridlock, while other roads were widened or made one-way. Some intersections were also improved to better handle traffic. A large parking garage was built downtown to ease parking problems. A series of shuttle routes was created, known as the "dash" is a service of the CT Department of Transportation and operated by CTTRANSIT.
New condos and apartments:
- Hartford 21: Opened adjacent to the XL Center in September 2006, this sleek 36-story apartment tower is the tallest in New England, and is located at the intersection of Trumbull Street and Asylum Street. The building includes 232 luxury one-bedroom and two-bedroom units (including four penthouses), an adjacent parking garage and spacious common areas.
- Trumbull on the Park: Recently opened along Bushnell Park, this apartment community is housed in a new 11-story brick building along with a parking garage and ground-level retail space. Additional units are housed in recently renovated historic buildings on nearby Lewis Street.
- 55 on the Park: Formerly a SNET office building, it has been turned into luxury apartments that sit along Bushnell Park. The building reopened a few years ago and was among the first new residences to open downtown in years.
- Sage Allen Building: On Main Street, the former Sage Allen department store building has been turned into 44 4-bedroom townhouses as well as an upscale apartment building comprising about 70 units that opened in January 2007. The project also includes the renovation of the Richardson Food Court and the reopening of Temple Street, which once again reconnects Main and Market Streets. Many of the townhouses will be occupied by University of Hartford students. It sits directly across Market Street from the University of Connecticut Graduate Business Learning Center.
- The Metropolitan: The former Hartford Electric Light Company Building on Pearl Street is being converted into luxury condominiums.
- American Airlines Building: Located at 915 Main Street across from Capital Community College and the Residence Inn by Marriott, the site was formerly home to an E. J. Korvette department store and later American Airlines. The building has been converted into apartments with renovated ground-level retail space.
Knowledge Corridor Partnership
In 2000, at The Big E in West Springfield, Massachusetts, Hartford and Springfield, Massachusetts – the two major New England, Connecticut River Valley cities with centers only 24 miles apart – jointly announced the Knowledge Corridor Partnership. The Knowledge Corridor Partnership aims to unite the two metropolitan areas economically, culturally, and geographically. The nickname comes from the metropolitan region's over 32 universities and liberal arts colleges, including several of the United States' most prestigious. As of the 10th anniversary of the Knowledge Corridor, it was announced that the Knowledge Corridor is beginning to receive federal funds, as opposed to either state or city.
Notable Hartford residents
Hartford has been home to many historically significant people such as dictionary author Noah Webster (1758–1843); inventor Sam Colt (1814–62); and American financier and industrialist J.P. Morgan (1837–1913).
Some of America's most famous authors lived in Hartford, including Mark Twain (1835–1910), who moved to the city in 1874; his next-door neighbor at Nook Farm, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–96); poet Wallace Stevens (1879–1955), an insurance executive in the city; and World War II correspondent Lyn Crost (1915-1997). More recently Dominick Dunne (1925–2009), Suzanne Collins (1962–?), and John Gregory Dunne (1932–2003) resided in Hartford.
Many broadcasters have called Hartford home over the years. Howard Stern worked mornings at WCCC-FM in 1979, meeting local resident and sidekick Fred Norris there. Both Bill O'Reilly and Gayle King worked at WFSB. Twisted Sister lead vocalist Dee Snider also did a morning show on WMRQ radio in the mid-2000s. MSNBC "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski was a reporter for years on WTIC ch 61 and WFSB. Former NFLer Beasley Reece was Sports Director for WVIT in the late 80's and early 90's, also a one-time home to ESPN's Chris Berman.
Actors and others in the entertainment business from Hartford include Academy Award–winning film icon Katharine Hepburn, actors Linda Evans, Eriq La Salle, William Gillette, Charles Nelson Reilly, TV producer and writer Norman Lear. Former (deceased) Marvel Comics artist George Tuska was born in and spent the formative years of his life in Hartford.
In the field of music residents include singer Sophie Tucker (1884–1966), "last of the red-hot mamas." Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Members Gene Pitney, Mike Carabello (of Santana); Mark McGrath; bass guitarist Doug Wimbish of Living Colour; Cindy Blackman (drummer for Lenny Kravitz); jazz alto saxophonist Jackie McLean; concert violinist Elmar Oliveira (b. 1950); was born in the city; and brothers Jeff Porcaro, Mike Porcaro and Steve Porcaro (of the group Toto). Composer and multi-instrumentalist Dawn LaRue (b. 1962) from AOL Music is also from Hartford.
Former Cleveland Browns head coach Eric Mangini is from Hartford. Former NHL player Craig Janney and current player Nick Bonino were born in Hartford. Other sports stars include NBA players Marcus Camby, Rick Mahorn, Johnny Egan, and Michael Adams, as well as NFL kicker John Carney, and former NFLer Eugene Robinson.
- Bydgoszcz, Poland
- Caguas, Puerto Rico
- Floridia, Sicily, Italy
- Freetown, Sierra Leone
- Hertford, Hertfordshire, England
- Mangualde, Portugal
- Morant Bay, Jamaica
- New Ross, Ireland
- Ocotal, Nicaragua
- Thessaloniki, Greece
- Dongguan, Guangdong, China
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- Official website
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- Texts on Wikisource:
- "Hartford". Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921.
- Forrest Morgan (1920). "Hartford, Conn.". Encyclopedia Americana.
- "Hartford". The New Student's Reference Work. 1914.
- Thomas Stephen Duggan (1913). "Diocese of Hartford". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
- "Hartford". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.
- "Hartford". New International Encyclopedia. 1905.
- "Hartford". Encyclopaedia Britannica 11 (9th ed.). 1880.
- Hawes, J. W. (1879). "Hartford, a city in the town of the same name". The American Cyclopædia.
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