Hartford, Connecticut: Landmarks~History~Neighborhoods | Downtown: Travelers Tower All photos ©Karen O'Maxfield. All Rights Reserved.
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In 1859, James Goodwin Batterson, while traveling in Europe, decided to look into accident insurance as practiced by several British companies. Upon his return to Hartford, he solicited the interest of a local group of businessmen to entice Americans to consider such protection. Thus began what would become one of the largest insurers in North America.

The first office of The Travelers Insurance Company consisted of James G. Batterson and a Mr. Rodney Dennis occupying two rooms located on the second floor of the City Bank Building at the intersection of Main and Kinsley streets. The office was furnished only with two chairs and a secondhand pine desk. The office moved around Hartford several other times, and finally settled at the intersection of Main and Grove streets, site of the historic Sanford Tavern, from whence the royal charter granted by King Charles II granting power of self-governance to the Colony of Connecticut was said to have been spirited away when it became imperiled and hidden in the cavity of an old oak tree some distance away.

Once settled, the insurance giant began to expand. Initially, it expanded upward. New York City architect, Donn Barber, who also designed the Connecticut State Library, Supreme Court Building and the Hartford Times building, conceived of several visions for a tower and settled on what we have today. It tower was completed in 1919.

At 34 stories in height, the tower reaches 527 feet above street level. When its construction was completed, it was the seventh tallest building in the world and the tallest in New England. Due to its height, the FAA requires a flashing red beacon on the tower as aan aid to air navigation. At night, the tower is lit by white light, unless a championship of the UConn Huskies basketball team is being celebrated, in which case the light becomes blue. During the Travelers golf tournament, the light is red.

In recent years, the tower has been a nesting site for Peregrine Falcons, an endangered species in the state. A "falconcam" was set up on the tower for scientific observation and was made available on the web for public viewing. In 2013, however, a major facelift project to the iconic tower necessitated removing the nesting box to another nearby location while scaffolding was built and the work begun. The restoration project is expected to be completed by 2015 at which time the observation deck on the 27th floor will be once again be open to the public on weekdays from May through October, free of charge.

The Travelers Tower is still a dominant architectural feature in Hartford.

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Photo ©2004 Karen O'Maxfield. All rights reserved.


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Travelers Tower, Hartford, Connecticut ©2011 Karen O'Maxfield. All rights reserved. Travelers Tower, Hartford, Connecticut ©2011 Karen O'Maxfield. All rights reserved. Travelers Tower, Hartford, Connecticut ©2011 Karen O'Maxfield. All rights reserved. Travelers Tower, Hartford, Connecticut ©2011 Karen O'Maxfield. All rights reserved.
Travelers Tower, Hartford, Connecticut ©2011 Karen O'Maxfield. All rights reserved. Travelers Tower, Hartford, Connecticut ©2011 Karen O'Maxfield. All rights reserved. ©2012 Karen O'Maxfield. All rights reserved. Travelers Tower, Hartford, Connecticut ©2011 Karen O'Maxfield. All rights reserved.
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