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Hartford was founded in 1635 and is among the oldest cities in the United States. It is home to the country's oldest public art museum (Wadsworth Atheneum), the oldest publicly funded park (Bushnell Park), the oldest continuously published newspaper (the Hartford Courant), and the second-oldest secondary school (Hartford Public High School). It is also home to the Mark Twain House, where the author wrote his most famous works and raised his family, among other historically significant sites. Mark Twain wrote in 1868, "Of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see this is the chief."
Hartford was the richest city in the United States for several decades following the American Civil War. Today, it is one of the poorest cities in the U.S., with 3 out of every 10 families living below the poverty threshold. In sharp contrast, the Greater Hartford metropolitan statistical area was ranked 32nd of 318 metropolitan areas in total economic production and 8th out of 280 metropolitan statistical areas in per capita income in 2015.
Nicknamed the "Insurance Capital of the World", Hartford holds high sufficiency as a global city, as home to the headquarters of many insurance companies, the region's major industry. Other prominent industries include the services, education and healthcare industries. Hartford coordinates certain Hartford-Springfield regional development matters through the Knowledge Corridor Economic Partnership.
The first Europeans 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 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 fort was abandoned by 1654, but the area is known today as Dutch Point; the name of the Dutch fort "House of Hope" is reflected in the name of Huyshope Avenue.
The Dutch outpost and the tiny contingent of Dutch soldiers who were stationed there did little to check the English migration, and the Dutch soon realized that they were vastly outnumbered. The House of Hope remained an outpost, but it was steadily swallowed up by waves of English settlers. In 1650, Peter Stuyvesant met with English representatives to negotiate a permanent boundary between the Dutch and English colonies; the line that they agreed on was more than 50 miles (80 km) west of the original settlement.
The English began to arrive in 1636, settling upstream from Fort Hoop near the present-day Downtown and Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhoods.Puritan pastors Thomas Hooker and Samuel Stone, along with Governor John Haynes, led 100 settlers with 130 head of cattle in a trek from Newtown in the Massachusetts Bay Colony (now Cambridge) and started their settlement just north of the Dutch fort. The settlement was originally called Newtown, but it was changed to Hartford in 1637 in honor of Stone's hometown of Hertford, England. Hooker also created the nearby town of Windsor in 1633. The etymology of Hartford is the ford where harts cross, or "deer crossing."
The fledgling colony along the Connecticut River was outside of the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Bay Colony's charter and had to determine how it was to be governed. Therefore, Hooker delivered a sermon that inspired the writing of the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, a document ratified January 14, 1639 which invested 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 inspired the Connecticut Constitution, and ultimately the U.S. Constitution. Today, one of Connecticut's nicknames is the "Constitution State".
The original settlement area contained the site of the Charter Oak, an old white oak tree in which colonists hid Connecticut's Royal Charter of 1662 to protect it from confiscation by an English governor-general. The state adopted the oak tree as the emblem on the Connecticut state quarter. The Charter Oak Monument is located at the corner of Charter Oak Place, a historic street, and Charter Oak Avenue.
1877 map of Hartford
Throughout the 19th century, Hartford's residential population, economic productivity, cultural influence, and concentration of political power continued to grow. The advance of the Industrial Revolution in Hartford in the mid-1800s made this city by late century one of the wealthiest per capita in United States.
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.
Industrialization and the Colt legacy
Industrialist and inventor Samuel Colt and his wife Elizabeth had a great influence on Hartford's development in the 100 years after independence. Colt is often considered the father of the Connecticut River Valleyindustrial revolution, although there were a handful of small outfits already in operation by the time that he purchased a large tract of land in the area in the 1840s.
In 1836, Connecticut-born Colt received a U.S. patent for a revolver mechanism which enabled a gun to be fired multiple times without reloading. Sales were initially slow and his business ventures struggled. Then the U.S. government ordered 1,000 Colt revolvers in 1846, with the Mexican-American War under way. In 1848, Colt was able to start again with a new business of his own, and he converted it into a corporation in 1855 under the name of Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company. The original factory is situated in the Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhood just south of downtown Hartford.
With business booming by 1855, Colt entered an aggressive expansionary phase and opened the Colt Armory, the world's largest private armament factory. He employed advanced manufacturing techniques such as interchangeable parts and an organized production line. By 1856, the company could produce 150 weapons per day. The Civil War led to a surge in demand, and Colt supplied the Union Army. Colt's Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company operated at full capacity and employed over 1,000 people in its Hartford factory. By that time, Colt had become one of the wealthiest men in America. He was presiding over his enterprise from Armsmear, an ornate Italianate manor built near the armory in 1857. Upon his death in 1862, he was worth over $15 million ($380 million by 2015 standards).
Colt's methods were at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution, and his successes secured Hartford's place as a major 19th century manufacturing center. It is estimated that his company produced over 400,000 revolvers in its first 25 years of manufacturing. His use of interchangeable parts helped him become one of the first to exploit the assembly line. Moreover, his innovative use of art, celebrity endorsements, and corporate gifts to promote his wares made him a pioneer in the fields of advertising, product placement, and mass marketing. His business practices were also innovative, involving a shrewd use of patents to protect his products, as well as new developments in marketing and business organization to create a highly successful business which long outlived him.
Elizabeth Colt inherited a controlling interest in her late husband's manufacturing company following his death in 1862. At the time, Colt firearms were producing an estimated 1/996th of the entire gross national product of the United States. She steered the company until 1901 with her brother Richard Jarvis as president, becoming one of the most prominent female industrialists in America. Together they transitioned the company from the end of the American Civil War into the 20th century, seeing the evolution from percussion revolvers to cartridge revolvers to semiautomatic pistols and machineguns.
In addition, the Colts left an indelible imprint on Hartford's architectural environment. Samuel Colt was inspired by what he had seen during a trip to London in 1851, and he embarked upon one of the boldest real estate development campaigns in Hartford's history. His intention was to build an industrial community to house his workers adjacent to the Colt Armory. By 1856, it was a city within a city, where workers of many nationalities and religions worked and lived alongside one another. Coltsville was among the first of America's 19th century company towns, and it was easily the most advanced of its time--though not the largest, the most prominent, or the most tightly controlled. Colt's complex also included the largest armory in the world, as well as wharf and ferry facilities on the Connecticut River.
A major fire destroyed the original armory in 1864, but Elizabeth Colt had it rebuilt, including its most dramatic feature: the blue onion dome with gold starts, topped by a gold orb and a rampant colt, the original symbol of Colt Manufacturing Company. The Colt Armory is visible to commuters on I-91 and stands as a monument to Hartford's first "celebrity industrialist" and the once mighty empire that he created.
Church of the Good Shepherd, 2010
Elizabeth Colt dedicated her final decades to philanthropy and public works. She commissioned the Church of the Good Shepherd in 1866 as a monument to her husband; the adjacent parish house was built in 1895 and is dedicated to the memory of her son. The ensemble is built in High Victorian Gothic style, and architectural features include a variety of gun parts, such as bullet molds, gun sights, and cylinders--likely the only church in the world with a gun motif.
With no remaining children, Elizabeth willed her extensive collection of rare art to the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, one of the oldest art galleries in America. The Elizabeth Hart Jarvis Colt Memorial Wing was the first American museum wing to bear the name of a female patron.
When Elizabeth Colt died in 1904, she willed the majority of her estate Armsmear to the City of Hartford for use as a public park. Today the 105 acres (42 ha) Colt Park serves the community with a number of athletic fields, playgrounds, a swimming pool, skating rink, and Dillon Stadium.
Hartford was a major manufacturing city from the 19th century until the mid-20th century. 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 automobile maker Pope. Many factories have been closed or relocated, or have reduced operations, as in nearly all former Northern manufacturing cities.
Rise of a major manufacturing center
Colt's Armory from an 1857 engraving viewed from the east
Old Post Office and Custom House next to the Old State House (left) in 1903. The building was completed in 1882 and demolished in 1934.
Around 1850, Hartford native Samuel Colt perfected the precision manufacturing process that enabled the mass production of thousands of his revolvers with interchangeable parts. A variety of industries adopted and adapted these techniques over the next several decades, and Hartford became the center of production for a wide array of products, including: Colt, Richard Gatling, and John Browning firearms; Weed sewing machines; Royal and Underwood typewriters; Columbia bicycles; and Pope automobiles.
The Pratt & Whitney Company was founded in Hartford in 1860 by Francis A. Pratt and Amos Whitney. They built a substantial factory in which the company manufactured a wide range of machine tools, including tools for the makers of sewing machines, and gun-making machinery for use by the Union Army during the American Civil War. Pratt Street (off Main St) continues to reflect this heritage.[clarification needed] In 1925, the company expanded into aircraft engine design at its Hartford factory.
Just three years after Colt's first factory opened, the Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company set up shop in 1852 at a nearby site along the now-buried Park River, located in the present-day neighborhood of Frog Hollow. Their factory heralded the beginning of the area's transformation from marshy farmland into a major industrial zone. The road leading from town to the factory was called Rifle Lane; the name was later changed to College Street and then Capitol Avenue. A century earlier, mills had located along the Park River because of the water power, but by the 1850s water power was approaching obsolescence. Sharps located there specifically to take advantage of the railroad line that had been constructed alongside the river in 1838.
The Sharps Rifle Company failed in 1870, and the Weed Sewing Machine Company took over its factory. The invention of a new type of sewing machine led to a new application of mass production after the principles of interchangeability were applied to clocks and guns. The Weed Company played a major role in making Hartford one of three machine tool centers in New England and even outranked the Colt Armory in nearby Coltsville in size. Weed eventually became the birthplace of both the bicycle and automobile industries in Hartford.
Industrialist Albert Pope was inspired by a British-made, high-wheeled bicycle (called a velocipede) that he saw at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, and he bought patent rights for bicycle production in the United States. He wanted to contract out his first order, however, so he approached George Fairfield of Weed Sewing Machine Company, who produced Pope's first run of bicycles in 1878. Bicycles proved to be a huge commercial success, and production expanded in the Weed factory, with Weed making every part but the tires. Demand for bicycles overshadowed the failing sewing machine market by 1890, so Pope bought the Weed factory, took over as its president, and renamed it the Pope Manufacturing Company. The bicycle boom was short-lived, peaking near the turn of the century when more and more consumers craved individual automobile travel, and Pope's company suffered financially from over-production amidst falling demand.
In an effort to save his business, Pope opened a motor carriage department and turned out electric carriages, beginning with the "Mark III" in 1897. His venture might have made Hartford the capital of the automobile industry were it not for the ascendancy of Henry Ford and a series of pitfalls and patent struggles that outlived Pope himself.
In 1876, Hartford Machine Screw was granted a charter "for the purpose of manufacturing screws, hardware and machinery of every variety." The basis for its incorporation was the invention of the first single-spindle automatic screw machine. For its next four years, the new firm occupied one of Weed's buildings, milling thousands of screws daily on over 50 machines. Its president was George Fairfield, who ran Weed, and its superintendent was Christopher Spencer, one of Connecticut's most versatile inventors. Soon Hartford Machine Screw outgrew its quarters and built a new factory adjacent to Weed, where it remained until 1948.
On the week of April 12, 1909, the Connecticut River reached a record flood stage of 24.5 feet (7.47 meters) above the low water mark, flooding the city of Hartford and doing great damage. On July 6, 1944, Hartford was the scene of one of the worst fire disasters in the history of the United States. Claiming the lives of 168 persons, mostly children and their mothers and injuring several hundred more. It occurred at a matinee performance of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus on Barbour Street in the city's north end and became known tragically as the Hartford Circus Fire.
After World War II, many residents of Puerto Rico moved to Hartford. Starting in the late 1950s, the suburbs ringing Hartford began to grow and flourish and 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 had been hailed as a model of urban renewal, but it gradually became a concrete office park. Once-flourishing department stores shut down, such as Brown Thomson, Sage-Allen, and G. Fox & Co., as suburban malls grew in popularity, such as Westfarms and Buckland Hills.
In 1997, the city lost its professional hockey franchise, with the Hartford Whalers moving to Raleigh, North Carolina--despite an increase in season ticket sales and an offer from the state for a new arena. In 2005, a developer from Newton, Massachusetts tried to work with the city to bring an NHL team back to Hartford and house them in a new, publicly funded stadium.
In 1987, Carrie Saxon Perry was elected mayor of Hartford, the first female African-American mayor of a major American city. Riverfront Plaza was opened in 1999, connecting the riverfront and the downtown area for the first time since the 1960s.
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 Connecticut River. These events are held outdoors and include live music, festivals, dance, arts and crafts. 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).
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 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.
State House Square in Downtown Hartford, 2008
Hartford lies in the humid continental climate zone (KöppenDfa), and is part of USDAHardiness zone 6b, degrading to 6a in the northern, western, and eastern suburbs away from the Connecticut River valley. Winters are cold and periods of snow are common, summers are warm to hot and humid, while springs and fall are cool to mild.
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 35 °F (2 °C) to 38 °F ( 1 °C to 3 °C) and overnight lows around 18 °F (-8 °C) to 23 °F (-8 °C to -5 °C).
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, in the winter, overnight temperatures can dip to 5 to -5 °F (-15 to -21 °C) at least one night a 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 -2 °F (-19 °C) on December 2, 1917, while, conversely, the record warm daily minimum is 80 °F (27 °C) on July 31, 1917.
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 southern 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.
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, up from 32% in 1990.Whites not of Latino background were 15.8% of the population in 2010, down from 63.9% in 1970.
The Hispanic population is concentrated on the south side, while African Americans are concentrated in the north. The white population is in the majority in only two census tracts: the downtown area and the far northwest. Many areas in the middle of the city, in Asylum Hill, and in West End, have a significant white population. More than three-quarters (77%) of the Hispanic population was Puerto Rican (with more than half born on the island of Puerto Rico) and fully 33.7% of all Hartford residents claimed Puerto Rican heritage. This is the second-largest concentration of Puerto Ricans in the Northeast, behind only Holyoke, Massachusetts, approximately 30 miles (48 km) to the north along the Connecticut River.
There are small but recognizable concentrations of persons with origins in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and the Dominican Republic as well. Among the non-Hispanic population, the largest ancestry group is people from Jamaica; in 2014, Hartford was home to an estimated 11,400 Jamaicans, as well as another 1,200 people who are simply identified as West Indian Americans.
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.
At the American Community Survey's 2018 estimates, the population increased to 122,591. From 2014 to 2018 there were 53,890 housing units, 46,072 households, and 26,233 families within Hartford. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.35.
Hartford's racial makeup was 12.7% non-Hispanic white, 36.1% Black or African American, 2.3% Asian, 0.4% from some other race, 2.9% from two or more races, and 45.4% Hispanic or Latino of any race. The city's Hispanic and Latin American populace primarily consisted of Puerto Ricans (34.7%), Dominicans (2.6%), Mexicans (1.8%), Cubans (0.5%), and other Hispanic or Latinos at 5.1%.
The city of Hartford's median household income was $30,444, and the mean income was $48,318.
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. 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.
In March 2018, Infosys announced that opening of a new technology innovation hub in Hartford, creating up to 1,000 jobs by 2022. The Hartford technology innovation hub will focus on three key sectors- insurance, healthcare and manufacturing.
Local unemployment remains high in Hartford compared to other cities, the state, and the U.S. Of the four major cities in Connecticut (Bridgeport, New Haven, and Stamford), Hartford's unemployment rate of 7.5% in the fall of 2018 was the highest. As a whole, Connecticut's unemployment rate remains above 5% while the national rate hovers just under 4%.
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 do 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.
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. 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.
The city's high school graduation rate reached 71 percent in 2013, according to the state Department of Education.
Hartford is governed via the strong-mayor form of the mayor-council system. The current mayor is Luke Bronin. Hartford voted in favor of restoring a mayor-council system in 2003, more than 50 years after establishing the council-manager form. Mayor Eddie Perez was first elected in 2001 and 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 provide nearly all local services such as fire and rescue, education, and snow removal, as county government has been abolished since 1960.
Hartford passed an ordinance providing services to all residents regardless of their immigration in 2008. Said ordinance also prohibits police from detaining individuals based solely on their immigration status, or inquiring as to their immigration status. In 2016, the ordinance was amended to declare that Hartford is a "Sanctuary city", although the term itself does not have an established legal meaning.
Hartford has voted for every Democratic presidential candidate since Al Smith in 1928.
Hartford city vote by party in presidential elections
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. It is the fifth-largest fire department in Connecticut and maintains a fire apparatus fleet.
The Hartford Police Department was founded in 1860, though the history of law enforcement in Hartford begins in 1636. It is located at 253 High Street and includes divisions such as animal control, bomb squad, and detective bureau.
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.
Amtrak provides service from Hartford to Vermont via Springfield and southward to New Haven. The station also serves numerous bus companies.
Hartford Union Station is also served by the Hartford Line, a commuter rail service that runs between New Haven and Springfield and stops at stations in communities along Interstate 91. It uses the rail line owned by Amtrak. "CTrail" branded trains provide service along the corridor, and riders can use Hartford Line tickets to travel on board most Amtrak trains along the corridor at the same prices. The service launched on June 16, 2018.
Connecticut Transit (CTtransit) is owned by the Connecticut Department of Transportation. The Hartford Division of CTtransit operates local and commuter bus service within the city and the surrounding area. Hartford's Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH) bus route is a free downtown circulator. All city buses are equipped with bike racks.
In March 2015, CTfastrak, Connecticut's first bus rapid transit system, 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 suburban communities like Southington and Cheshire, providing reliable public transportation between these communities for the first time. CTfastrak consists of 10 stations along the dedicated New Britain to Hartford busway, as well as a downtown loop serving Union Station and other downtown landmarks. Amenities include high-level station platforms, on-board wi-fi, ticket machines for pre-boarding fare collection, and real-time arrival information at stations.
Interstate bus service is provided by Peter Pan Bus, Greyhound Bus and Megabus. 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 main bus station is located on the ground floor of the transport center at Hartford Union Station at One Union Place, serving Peter Pan Bus and Greyhound Bus customers. All Megabus arrivals and departures are at the corner of Columbus Boulevard and Talcott Street on the opposite side of downtown.
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.
A bike share program from LimeBike that allows riders to find a GPS-tracked bike, unlock it and pay $1 per half-hour of ride time began in Hartford in April 2018. The bike share program enabled more than five thousand rides in the first week of the program.
The first American Cookbook was American Cookery, The Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry, and Vegetables by Amelia Simons, published in Hartford by Hudson & Goodwin in 1796. It was also the first cookbook to include recipes for squash and cornmeal, and it contained the first published recipe for pumpkin pie. It influenced a generation of American baking with a recipe for leavening bread with pearl ash. The full text of the book is available online.
Hartford's cuisine was shaped by its early settlers, who brought Dutch and English influence which combined with that of the Saukiog Indians in the area. The first half of the 20th century brought significant Polish immigration and a number of Polish restaurants, some of which still operate today. On the other hand, Italian food wasn't always accepted; a long-time Hartford restaurant owner recollected that, "in 1938, you wouldn't put an Italian name on a restaurant sign because everyone would think you were associated with the Mafia." But the New York Times remarked on the diversity of food available in Hartford in 1979, noting that "Hartford has undergone a culinary revolution in recent years."
Hartford earned praise from Food and Wine as "a foodie destination". Food trucks are restricted to designated areas in the city, mostly along Bushnell Park in Downtown Hartford and at farmers' markets. Food can today be found throughout the city from a very wide variety of ethnic influence.
Hartford hosts a number of seasonal farmers' markets. The Hartford Regional Market is the largest market between New York City and Boston. In 2018, the Connecticut State Assembly voted to transfer ownership of the Regional Market to the Capital Region Development Authority, leaving its future somewhat uncertain.
The seashore is less than 35 miles away and has played a large role in Hartford's food habits. Recently there has been an aquaculture boom in Long Island Sound, and as a result local kelp has started to appear on plates. The Connecticut River Valley is the most agriculturally productive region in New England and neighboring Wethersfield is renowned for its red onions, whose smell was said to waft into Hartford when production was at its historical height in the early 1800s.
Hartford and the surrounding area have a vibrant craft beer, cider, and spirit industry, and there were more than two dozen breweries and distilleries in the Hartford area in 2017. The Connecticut Spirits Trail has a number of stops in Hartford and surrounding towns. These businesses all feed the city's collection of bars and nightclubs.
Bulkeley Bridge - A stone-arch bridge spanning the Connecticut River and connecting the city of Hartford with East Hartford.
Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts - The theater was constructed in the 1930s by the same architects who designed New York City's Radio City Music Hall. It features a Georgian Revival exterior and an 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 - This park is located below the State Capitol and legislative office complex and consists of 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 Civil War Memorial Arch frames the northern entrance to the park, the first triumphal arch in the United States.
Cathedral of St. Joseph - This 281-foot (86 m) limestone Roman Catholic cathedral was built in 1961 to replace its predecessor lost to fire. It is located west of downtown along Farmington Avenue in the Asylum Hill neighborhood and 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 is located at 60 Gold Street and is also known as Center Church. It was founded by Thomas Hooker.
Cheney Building - This building was designed in the late 19th century by H. H. Richardson. It is located downtown on Main Street and once housed the Brown, Thomson & Co. department store.
City Place I - The tallest building in Connecticut at 38 stories, located at 185 Asylum Street.
Colt Armory - The complex was once the main factory building of Colt's Manufacturing Company, topped with a blue and gold dome. It is currently being redeveloped and renovated and will feature apartments, retail space, and office space.
Xfinity Theater (formerly the Meadows Music Theater) - An indoor/outdoor amphitheater-style performance venue located in the North Meadows.
Connecticut State Library - The building also contains the Museum of Connecticut History and a number of galleries devoted to Samuel Colt memorabilia, located in the hill district near the State Capitol atop Bushnell Park.
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 409-room, 22-story Marriott Hotel.ConnectiCon is hosted every summer at the convention center.
Connecticut Opera - Founded in 1942 and performing three fully staged operas per season, primarily at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford.
Connecticut State Capitol - This large Gothic-inspired building is located atop Bushnell Park and features many statues and engravings on its exterior. It is topped with a gold-leafed dome.
Constitution Plaza - Constitution Plaza is a renowned and notorious redevelopment project built in the early 1960s.Hartford's historic Front Street neighborhood was razed to build the plaza. The complex is composed of numerous office buildings, underground parking, a restaurant, a broadcasting studio, and outdoor courtyards and fountains.
The Hartt School at the University of Hartford is recognized as one of the premiere performing arts conservatories in the United States.
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.
University of Connecticut Hartford Campus - The downtown campus of the University of Connecticut, anchored on Prospect Street by the historic Beaux-Arts entrance of the former Hartford Times building.
University of Hartford - The university was founded in 1877 and sits on 340 acres (140 ha) with a 13-acre (5.3 ha) campus on Bloomfield Avenue situated on land divided among Hartford, West Hartford, and Bloomfield in the Blue Hills neighborhood.
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art - The oldest art museum in the US 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. Alexander Calder's Stegosaurus sculpture sits in a plaza between it and the Hartford Municipal Building.
Greater Hartford West Indian Parade - Northeast - August - Run by The West Indian Independence Celebrations since 1962.
Hooker Day Parade - Downtown - May - Run by Hartford Business Improvement District.
Connecticut Veterans Parade - Downtown - November - Run by The Ferris Group, LLC.
CTfastrak was built to connect the suburbs to Hartford.
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.
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.
Front Street - The final component of Adriaen's Landing, 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, and 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.
Hartford Line - According to Connecticut Governor Malloy, the Hartford Line commuter rail service will reach speeds up to 110 mph (177 km/h). The rail line is intended to unite the densely populated, 61 mi or 98 km) 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.
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 mi or 39 km) 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.
New condos and apartments:
Spectra Boutique Apartments - The former 300 room Sonesta Hotel at 5 Constitution Plaza was converted into 190 luxury rental apartments in 2015 by New York City Developers Girona Ventures and Wonder Works Construction & Development Corp. The building was awarded the Best of Hartford: 2017 for Best Upscale Apartment Building.
Hartford 21 - 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, and is located at the intersection of Trumbull Street and Asylum Street. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), considered the father of the profession of Landscape Architecture, was born in Hartford. Among his designs are New York's Central Park, 1893 Chicago World's Fair, and Asheville's Biltmore Estate. Other projects that Olmsted was involved in include the country's first and oldest coordinated system of public parks and parkways in Buffalo, New York; the country's oldest state park, the Niagara Reservation in Niagara Falls, New York; one of the first planned communities in the United States, Riverside, Illinois; Mount Royal Park in Montreal, Quebec; the Emerald Necklace in Boston, Massachusetts; Highland Park in Rochester, New York; Belle Isle Park, in the Detroit River for Detroit, Michigan; the Grand Necklace of Parks in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Cherokee Park and entire parks and parkway system in Louisville, Kentucky.
In the field of music, natives include singer Sophie Tucker (1884-1966), "last of the red-hot mamas." Others include:
^Bacon, Nick. 2013. "Podunk after Pratt: Place and Placelessness in East Hartford, CT." p. 46-64 in Confronting Urban Legacy: Rediscovering Hartford and New England's Forgotten Cities. Xiangming Chen and Nick Bacon (eds). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
^Scaeva (1853). Hartford in the Olden Time, Its First Thirty Years (1st ed.). Hartford: F.A. Brown. pp. 25-36.
^Walsh, Andrew. "Hartford: A Global History." pp. 21-45 in Confronting Urban Legacy: Rediscovering Hartford and New England's Forgotten Cities. Xiangming Chen and Nick Bacon (eds.). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books
^Goddard, Stephen B. (December 30, 2008). Colonel Albert Pope and His American Dream Machines: The Life and Times of a Bicycle Tycoon Turned Automotive Pioneer. McFarland. pp. 176-182. ISBN0-7864-4089-9.
^Sacks, Michael Paul (May 1, 2011). "The Puerto Rican effect on Hispanic residential segregation: A study of the Hartford and Springfield metro areas in national perspective". Latino Studies. 9 (1): 87-105. doi:10.1057/lst.2011.1. ISSN1476-3435.
^Lande, Nathaniel; Lande, Andrew. The 10 Best of Everything, Third Edition: An Ultimate Guide for Travelers (National Geographic the 10 Best of Everything) (New York: National Geographic, 2012), p. 60-1.
^Dixon, Ken, "Music Hall of Fame proposed for state", article in Connecticut Post in Bridgeport, Connecticut, April 26, 2007 ("Other famous state residents include the late jazz saxophonist Jackie McLean of Hartford")