The plaza was named in a contest open to the general public. Mrs. June Martin of Wethersfield Avenue, a waitress, was selected by a panel of judges from more than 9,000 entries. She won a $500 cash prize for her effort.
Largely comprised of office buildings, the plaza itself hosts a water fountain created by Masao Kimoshita that was designed with the awareness that a traditional fountain would likely soak passing pedestrians with spraying water due to frequent wind gusts across the plaza. In response to this, the fountain was designed to resemble a mountain stream, with water flowing downward in a gentle cascade. The fountain pool is paved with black stones from Japan, and slabs of Quebec granite and Georgia white marble comprise the horizontal and vertical slabs that create the sculpture through which was flows. The clock tower, at the north end of the plaza, was also designed by Masao Kimoshita.
In 2004, UConn's School of Business opened the Graduate Business Learning Center on the plaza, offering part-time and executive MBA Programs, classroom and conference facilities.
Hidden away in the recesses of the Plaza is the bell from the U.S.S. Hartford, Admiral Farragut's flagship during the Civil War battles of New Orleans (1862) and Mobile Bay (1864). Farragut famously uttered the line, "Damn the torpedoesfull speed ahead!" The anchor from the same battleship is located on the campus of the University of Hartford in West Hartford.
Much of the activity on the plaza is seen during the noon hour on weekdays during warm weather when workers flock to the plaza to enjoy the open space. Several festivals and events take place on the plaza, and the entire plaza comes alive with lights during the December holidays.
More recently, with the connection of Constitution Plaza to Hartford's Riverfront Plaza, river views, noon-hour concerts and special events are more abundant.
For a interesting look at some of the colorful history of the old area known as East Side, check out this 1959 piece by Herbert J. Stoeckel.
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