With the expansion of industry came the reduction in farmland. Pastures gave way to rows of brick multi-stories apartment buildings. Hartford was seeing a manufacturing boom with thousands of immigrants flocking to the city for work. Unlike in some other areas of the city, these apartment buildings were primarily constructed of brick with ornamental details, front and rear porches. Today, the neighborhood is virtually devoid of manufacturing but much of the brick housing stock remains.
The Park River, once the force that help drive the factories, was put underground in the 1930s to reduce the inevitable flooding that occurred when the Connecticut River backed up. Access to the river, however, is still able to be achieved and many intrepid explorers and urban speleologists have made the trek by kayak to the Connecticut River from the opening near Pope Park.
Lafayette is the neighborhood's oldest street, appearing on a 1640 map of Hartford as part of the "Road from George Steele's to the Great Swamp." It was called Cooper Lane between 1838 and 1851 and was home to the pre-Civil War African-American community in Hartford. On the street can be found a statue honoring the Marquis de Lafayette, who aided Colonists during the American Revolution, as well as a statue of Christopher Columbus (more).
Park Street was once called Malt Lane. In 1821, it was renamed for Barnard Park at its eastern end, the only park in the city at the time. Today, it is the commercial center of Frog Hollow, with shops and restaurants lining both sides of the street for most of its length.
One newer addition to the neighborhood is Billings Forge. It a community-driven complex of apartments, performance and instructional venues restaurants, garden and farmers' market, with programs for youth and adults alike.
The neighborhood is of mixed use, hosting state office buildings, Zion Hill Cemetery, a major public park, shops, restaurants and residences. It is truly one of Hartford's most varied areas. Ethic groups calling the area home have been diverse, and have included Swedish, Danish, German, Irish, French Canadian, Greek and Puerto Rican.
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