Hartford, Connecticut

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.


This is a summary. For more information, see: History of Hartford, Connecticut

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.

In July 6, 1944, the Hartford Circus Fire destroyed the big top at the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey, the deadliest circus fire in the history of the United States.

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.

Geography and Climate

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

Hartford is bordered by the towns of West Hartford, Newington, Wethersfield, East Hartford, Bloomfield, South Windsor, and Windsor.

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
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
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)


As of the census of 2000, there were 121,578 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/sq mi (1,129.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 27.72% White, 38.05% Black or African American, 0.54% Native American, 1.62% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 26.51% from other races, and 5.44% from two or more races. 40.52% of the population were Hispanic or Latino, chiefly of Puerto Rican origin. 17.83% of the population classified itself as non-Hispanic White.

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%
Total 45,508 9,669 55,177 100%


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.


Colleges and universities

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.

Primary and 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, 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 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.


Points of Interest

  • Aetna Headquarters - The world's largest colonial revival building, the Aetna headquarters is crowned by a tall Georgian tower inspired by the Old State House downtown.
  • 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 the largest stone-arch bridge in the world.
  • 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 just west of downtown along Farmington Avenue in the Asylum Hill neighborhood, this 281-foot 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • Connecticut Science Center - The 150,000 square foot (14,000 m²) facility is being built along the Connecticut River on Columbus Boulevard next to the Connecticut Convention Center (opening Spring 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).
  • The Connecticut Executive Residence - An imposing Georgian revival mansion situated near the highest point in the City of Hartford on upper Prospect Avenue in the upscale West End. 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.
  • Cricket Hall of Fame
  • Elizabeth Park & Rose Garden - Straddling the Hartford/West Hartford border, both sections of the park administered by the City of Hartford. Its rose garden is the oldest of its kind in the United States.
  • 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 Stage - One of the top regional theaters in the Northeast (winner of a Tony Award) dedicated to the production of classic works and new play development.
  • Hartford Symphony Orchestra - Connecticut's premier musical organization and one of America's leading regional orchestras.
  • 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 - Once the home of Samuel Clemens, the house is now a museum, located in Nook Farm, now part of the Asylum Hill neighborhood, on Farmington Avenue.
  • New England Dodge Music Center - Located in the North Meadows, it is an indoor/outdoor amphitheater-style performance venue.
  • 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.

  • Trinity College - The liberal arts college, founded in 1823, has more than 2,100 students. The college is consistently ranked as one of the top 30 liberal arts colleges in America and is the second-oldest in Connecticut after Yale University in New Haven.
  • University of Connecticut School of Business - In an effort to be more accessible to part time business students, a branch of the University of Connecticut Business school operates in downtown Hartford. The building is located on Market Street just north of Constitution Plaza.
  • University of Connecticut School of Law - located just off Farmington Avenue, the campus features an extensive, large Gothic-inspired library. It is consistently ranked as one of the top 50 law schools in the United States.
  • University of Hartford - The University, which was founded in 1877, sits on 340 acres (1.4 km²) with a 13 acre (53,000 m²) campus on 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 City Hall, Alexander Calder's 'Stegosaurus' soars above a peaceful Downtown gathering space.
  • 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. A new 36 story apartment complex (Hartford 21) has been built directly atop the XL Center and includes retail and entertainment space - it is the tallest apartment building in New England (completed in 2006). The arena also hosted WrestleMania XI in 1995, the 1981 World Figure Skating Championship, and the 1986 NHL All Star Game.

Hartford Views


Club Sport League Venue
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.

Hartford was once home to the NHL's Hartford Whalers who have since moved to Raleigh, North Carolina.

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.

New Development

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:

  • 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 901 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. Today, the building is being converted into condominiums and apartments with renovated ground-level retail space.


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 based in Hartford cover the entire state. These stations serve the Hartford/New Haven market, which is the 29th largest market in the U.S.



Bradley International Airport, in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, is twenty minutes north of Hartford and serves Hartford and Springfield. The airport offers non-stop service to locations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Amsterdam, Netherlands. Via Amsterdam's Schipol Airport (service ending October 2008) connections can be made to other locations in Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Other airports serving the Hartford area include:


Hartford city buses run at regular intervals throughout the city, and less frequent service to the suburbs. A free circulator bus operates in Downtown. Interstate bus service is provided by Bonanza Bus, Greyhound Bus and Peter Pan Bus Lines. Additionally, 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.


During the 1960s and 1970s, Hartford was a poster child for highway construction, and several highways surround the downtown area.

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.

Besides the two interstates, the Route 2 expressway runs from Norwich in the southeastern part of the state northward to East Hartford where it intersects with I-84.

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.

West of Hartford, Route 44 runs from West Hartford westward to the hills of northern Litchfield County and into New York. East of Hartford, Route 44 runs eastward to Putnam and into Rhode Island.


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 3000 mile ECG runs from Calis 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.


The dependence on railroads has decreased since the construction of federal highways 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 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.

Public transport

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.

Famous Hartford residents

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.

Sister cities

Hartford features numerous sister cities. They include:

Appearances in popular culture

  • The city was the setting for the Amy Brenneman series Judging Amy, which aired on CBS from 1999-2005.
  • Many scenes in the WB/CW series Gilmore Girls take place in Hartford.
  • Hartford was the setting for the 2002 movie, Far From Heaven.
  • In the Simpsons episode They Saved Lisa's Brain, Homer enters a talent competition in which the winner will receive (as advertised on television) "a free trip to Hawaii". When participants show up for the event, the announcer reveals that the trip is actually to Hartford, Connecticut, claiming that "no one said Hawaii".
  • In Stephen King's novella The Mist, Hartford is the only word heard on the radio by protagonist David Drayton after he leaves with a group from the supermarket in his home town.


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