Hartford is the capital of the State of Connecticut. It is located in Hartford County on the Connecticut River, north of the center of the state and 24 miles south of Springfield, Massachusetts. Its 2006 population of 124,512 ranks Hartford as the state's second-largest city, after Bridgeport. New Haven, located 40 miles south of the city, has a population nearly identical to that of Hartford. Greater Hartford is also the largest metro area in Connecticut and 45th largest in the country (2006 census estimate) with a metropolitan population of 1,188,841.
Nicknamed the 'Insurance Capital of the World,' Hartford houses many of the world's insurance company headquarters, and insurance is the region's major industry. At almost 400 years old, Hartford is one of the oldest cities in the United States, and, following the American Civil War took the mantle of the country's wealthiest city from New Orleans. In 1868, Mark Twain described the city as follows: "Of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see, this is the chief.
With a brand new convention center and hotel, upcoming science center, reclaimed river front and an infusion of residential and commercial ventures in the city, Hartford has begun to attract new development, especially to its downtown, after years of relative stagnation. It is home to the nation's oldest public art museum (Wadsworth Atheneum), the oldest public park (Bushnell Park), the oldest continuously published newspaper (Hartford Courant), the second-oldest secondary school (Hartford Public) and the sixth-oldest opera company in the nation (Connecticut Opera). Its vibrant arts scene, ethnic and cultural diversity, as well as the region's highly educated workforce, have added to the city's appeal as a regional hub of economic and social activity.
In 2004, the Hartford metropolitan area ranked second in per capita economic activity nationwide, behind San Francisco, California. Hartford is ranked 32nd of 318 metropolitan areas in total economic production and generates more economic activity than sixteen U.S. states.
After Dutch explorer Adriaen Block visited the area in 1614, fur traders from the New Netherland colony set up trade at Fort Goede Hoop (Good Hope) at the confluence of the Connecticut and Park Rivers as early as 1623, but abandoned their post by 1654. Today, the neighborhood near the site is still known as Dutch Point. The first English settlers arrived in 1635 and their settlement was originally called Newtown, but was renamed Hartford in 1637. The name "Hartford" was chosen to honor the English town of Hertford.
The leader of Hartford's original settlers from what is now Cambridge, Massachusetts, Pastor Thomas Hooker, delivered a sermon which 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. 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 the Connecticut's nicknames is the 'Constitution State' .
On December 15, 1814, delegations from throughout New England gathered at the Hartford Convention to discuss possible secession from the United States. Later in the century, Hartford was a center of abolitionist activity. Harriet Beecher Stowe, daughter of Lyman Beecher and author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, lived in Nook Farm, part of the Asylum Hill section of the city.
On November 3, 1981, Thirman L. Milner became the the first black mayor elected in New England. In 1987, Carrie Saxon Perry was elected mayor of Hartford, the first female African-American mayor of a major American city.
Starting in the late 1950s the suburbs of Hartford grew while the capital city began its long, slow decline. This decline may have been accelerated by construction of highways (including I-84 & I-91 which intersect in downtown Hartford). Many residents moved out of the city and into the suburbs, and as this trend continues. During the 1980s, Hartford experienced an economic boom of sorts and by the late 1980s, almost a dozen new skyscrapers were proposed to be built in the city's downtown. For various concerns, including the economic recession that followed in the early 1990s, many of these buildings were never built. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, many workers in Hartford lived in towns located more than a twenty-minute drive from the city. In the last few years, development, both commercial and residential, has increased downtown.
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 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 its place, such as Jewell St. and the Conlin-Whitehead Highway.
Hartford lies in the Humid continental climate zone. Summers are typically hot and muggy, while winters are typically cold with frequent snowfall. The average annual precipitation is approximately 44 inches, which is distributed fairly evenly throughout the year. Hartford typically receives about 48.0 inches of snow in an average winter; the record seasonal snowfall was 115.2 inches in 1996. The first snowfall typically occurs in mid to late November and the last snow of the season usually occurs in late March, although accumulating snow has occurred as early as late September and as late as mid-May in extreme events. During the summer, temperatures often exceeding 90°F (32°C). Thunderstorms are common during the summer months since the frontal boundary that separates the tropical air mass from colder air to the north moves back and forth over the city throughout the summer. While these thunderstorms may be severe with damaging winds and hail, tornadoes are rare. Tropical storms and hurricanes have also struck Hartford, although the occurrence of such systems is rare.
|Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures|
|Rec High °F (°C)||71 (21.6)||73 (22.7)||89 (31.6)||96 (35.5)||99 (37.2)||100 (37.7)||102 (38.8)||102 (38.8)||99 (37.2)||91 (32.7)||81 (27.2)||76 (24.4)|
|Norm High °F (°C)||34.1 (1.2)||37.7 (3.2)||47.7 (8.7)||59.9 (15.5)||71.7 (22.05)||80 (26.6)||84.9 (29.4)||82.5 (28.05)||74.3 (23.5)||63.1 (17.3)||50.9 (10.5)||39 (3.8)|
|Norm Low °F (°C)||17.2 (-8.2)||19.9 (-6.7)||28.3 (-2.05)||37.9 (3.3)||48.1 (8.9)||57 (13.8)||62.4 (16.8)||60.7 (15.9)||52.1 (11.2)||40.6 (4.7)||32.6 (0.3)||22.6 (-5.2)|
|Rec Low °F (°C)||-26 (-32.2)||-21 (-29.4)||-6 (-21.1)||9 (-12.7)||28 (-2.2)||35 (1.6)||44 (6.6)||36 (2.2)||30 (-1.1)||17 (-8.3)||1 (-17.2)||-14 (-25.5)|
|Precip in (mm)||3.84 (97.536)||2.96 (75.184)||3.88 (98.552)||3.86 (98.044)||4.39 (111.506)||3.85 (97.79)||3.67 (93.218)||3.98 (100.33)||4.13 (104.902)||3.94 (100.076)||4.06 (103.124)||3.6 (91.44)|
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.
With thirty per cent of the population living below the poverty line, Hartford's rate of poverty is second in the United States only to Brownsville, Texas. About 28.2% of families were below the poverty line, including 41.0% of those under age 18 and 23.2% of those age 65 or over.
The median income for a household in the city was $24,820, and the median income for a family was $27,051. 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 2000, 32.56% of Hartford residents claimed Puerto Rican heritage. This was the second largest concentration of Puerto Ricans on the US mainland, behind only Holyoke, Massachusetts
|Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 25, 2005|
|Party||Active Voters||Inactive Voters||Total Voters||Percentage||Democratic||30,332||5,981||36,313||65.81%||Republican||2,248||351||2,599||4.71%||Unaffiliated||12,880||3,324||16,204||29.37%||Minor Parties||48||13||61||0.11%|
Hartford's neighborhoods are a diverse and historic lot. 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, the most upscale neighborhood and home to the Governor's residence, Elizabeth Park, and the University of Hartford, abuts the Hartford Golf Club. Sheldon Charter Oak gains renown 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 once 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 the Dodge Music Center. Other neighborhoods in Hartford include Barry Square, Behind the Rocks, Blue Hills, Clay Arsenal, South West, and Upper Albany.
Hartford is the historic international center of the insurance industry, with companies such as Travelers, Aetna, The Hartford, The Phoenix Companies, Inc. and Hartford Steam Boiler based in the city and major operations of companies such as ING. The area is also home to CIGNA, Colt Firearms, U.S. Fire Arms and United Technologies (the corporate parent of Pratt & Whitney, Otis, Sikorsky, Carrier Corporation, Hamilton Sundstrand, UTC Fire & Security and UTC Power).
Nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Hartford was a major manufacturing and publishing city. Among these was the pioneer automobile maker Pope. As in many northern industrial cities, many factories have been closed, relocated, or reduced operations.
Hartford has long been important to insurance companies and is often called the "Insurance Capital of the World," although recent insurance mergers reduced employment at insurance companies in Hartford. MetLife and Lincoln Financial have cut their Hartford workforces and MassMutual has relocated its Hartford operations to Enfield, Connecticut to be closer to its headquarters in Springfield, Massachusetts. Recently, Hartford has shown viability as an insurance mecca. Travelers Insurance Company has announced it will bring 600 jobs to the area (500 of them in downtown Hartford); Aetna is moving more than 3,500 employees to the city from Middletown, Connecticut.
Hartford houses several world-class institutions such as the Wadsworth Atheneum and Trinity College. Other notable institutions include the Hartford Conservatory (in the Asylum Hill neighborhood), The Institute of Living, 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 North Meadows branch campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). The University of Hartford is located in the city's West End as well as in neighboring West Hartford and Bloomfield.
The Hartford and Springfield, Massachusetts region hosts over 26 colleges and universities including each State's flagship university - the University of Connecticut and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Other area schools include Wesleyan University and Manchester Community College. The Hartford-Springfield area has been monikered as New England's Knowledge Corridor for the second largest concentration of institutions of higher learning in New England.
The Hartford area is also home to a number of prestigious private schools including Avon Old Farms, the Ethel Walker School, Kingswood-Oxford, Loomis Chaffee, Miss Porter's, Suffield Academy, the Watkinson School, the Westminster School and the Master's School.
The American School for the Deaf, founded in Hartford in 1817 by Thomas Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc, is the first institution for the education of the deaf in America.
|Hartford Wolf Pack||Ice Hockey||American Hockey League||XL Center|
|Hartford Wanderers||Rugby Union||New England Rugby Football Union'''||Colt Park|
The Discover Hartford Bicycling and Walking Tour is a family friendly tour of downtown Hartford. The most recent tour took place Saturday, September 8, 2007 and was co-sponsored by the City of Hartford and the Central Connecticut Bicycle Alliance More than 45 Hartford community organizations are supporting this unique experience of Connecticut's capital city. The tour includes and bicycling options, and a 2-hour walking tour option.
The University of Connecticut men's and women's basketball team - the UConn Huskies - also play a number of their home games at the XL Center downtown. Other home games are played at Gampel Pavilion located on the university's campus in Storrs.
Billed as "New England's Rising Star, Hartford has generated renewed interest with both local and national developers who are investing heavily in the city through a variety of projects. Investments include commercial and residential projects such as the new 36-story Hartford 21 apartment tower, the new river front Connecticut Science Center (opening Spring 2009), an extensive system of riverfront trails and parks, neighborhood improvements to Park Street and Parkville, renovation of the historic Colt building in line with National Park standards, and significant development in the central business district of condominiums and retail space.
In 1997, the city lost its professional hockey franchise, the Hartford Whalers, but efforts are being made to bring an NHL team back to the city. City officials and developers are talking about the possibility of a new city arena to house this team.
Currently there are more than 1 billion dollars' worth of private and publicly funded projects happening throughout the city's 17 neighborhoods. The overlying theme for development is to create more activity downtown and attract more residents to the city's different neighborhoods.
Some of the major 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 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 Connecticut Science Center.
The final component of the project, 'Front Street', sits across from the Convention Center and covers the entire plot of 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 increase the speed with which the project enters implementation phases. There has been talk of bringing an ESPN Zone to the Front Street retail space, which would make sense considering that ESPN is headquartered in nearby Bristol. On the back side of Front Street, the historic Beaux-Arts Hartford Times Building is being converted into the home of administrative offices for the Wadsworth Athenaeum. 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 hip hop enthusiasts from throughout New England to the Hartford waterfront.
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 of office space and 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 Hartford Wolfpack 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 former home of the G. Fox & Company Department Store on Main Street recently underwent a complete renovation and is now 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.
Connecticut 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: Though 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 been making 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 originally as the "Downtown Circulator Project" and now run by the Greater Hartford Transit District
New condos and apartments:
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.
Other airports serving the Hartford area include:
I-84 runs from Scranton, to its intersection with I-90 in Sturbridge, near the Massachusetts border with Connecticut. I-91 starts in New Haven at a junction with I-95 and continues to Canada along the Connecticut River. The two highways intersect in downtown Hartford. Hartford experiences heavy traffic as a result of its substantial suburban population (about 10 times that of the actual city), which is proportionally much larger than that of any other nearby 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.
Known as the Berlin Turnpike, Routes 5 and 15 run south of the city. Before I-91, the roadway carried people from Hartford to New Haven. Along the Berlin Turnpike is an array of stores, restaurants, and offices in Berlin, Newington, and Wethersfield. In Wethersfield, it becomes a limited-access roadway that intersects with I-91 and I-84. Past Berlin, Route 15 becomes the Wilbur Cross Parkway in Meriden, and later, the Merritt Parkway which runs parallel to I-95 to the New York border in Greenwich.
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.
Hartford has been home to many historically significant people: arts innovator "Chick" Austin (1900–1957); L. Paul Bremer (b. 1941), ex-Administrator of US-occupied Iraq and foreign service officer; city planner and parks champion Frederick Law Olmsted (1822–1903); dictionary author Noah Webster (1758 - 1843); inventor Sam Colt (1814-1862); 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 (1811–1896); and poet Wallace Stevens (1879–1955), an insurance executive in the city. More recently Dominick Dunne (b. 1925) and John Gregory Dunne (1932-2003) resided in Hartford.
Actors and others in the entertainment business from Hartford include Academy Award-winning film icon Katharine Hepburn, Linda Evans, comedian Totie Fields, Sherlock Holmes, William Gillette, Eriq La Salle, Norman Lear, Charles Nelson Reilly, Brooke Burke, and Sophie Tucker, (1884–1966), "last of the red-hot mamas." Amy Brenneman, who grew up in Glastonbury, adapted the experiences of her mother, a Connecticut Superior Court judge in Hartford, into the television series Judging Amy. In the field of music, residents include Mark McGrath; bass guitarist Doug Wimbish (Sugar Hill Records, Living Colour); jazz alto saxophonist Jackie McLean; concert violinist Elmar Oliveira (b.1950); and gospel artist Kurt Carr were born in the city. New York Jets head coach Eric Mangini is from Hartford. Basketball stars include NBA players Marcus Camby, Rick Mahorn, Johnny Egan, and Michael Adams, as well as NFL kicker John Carney. Jeff Bagwell and Vin Baker attended the University of Hartford.