Among the churches in the area is Saint Peter's. Established in 1859 when the entire population of the city numbered less than 30,000, St. Peter's was the second Roman Catholic church established in Hartford, and its parish included the area south of the Park River as well as the Town of Wethersfield. The congregation consisted primarily of Irish immigrants. Forced to leave their homeland due to the potato famine, they came to Hartford seeking work as laborers. The present structure was designed by a New York City architect and constructed of Portland brownstone. The Star of David featured in the church's rosette window was a tribute to the friendship between Father Peter Kelly and the rabbi who led the state's first synagogue at the Charter Oak Temple.
Towards the end of the 19th century, an influx of Polish immigrants occurred. Many worked in Hartford's factories and shops, including Colt, Capewell and Emhart. The concentration of factories in the neighborhood allowed the Polish immigrants to settle along Sheldon, Governor, Woodbridge and Union streets. A second influx of Polish to the area during World War I grew the community. In 1913, the Polish National Alliance was formed to assist both newcomers and established residents and, in 1915, a new Saints Cyril and Methodius church was built on Governor Street to accommodate the ever-expanding congregation.
The Polish National Home is a cultural and social organization that was created more than 80 years ago to serve the Polish-American community in Hartford. The 1930 Art Deco building on Charter Oak Avenue contains a full-service restaurant , banquet hall and meeting rooms.
The Sports & Medical Sciences Academy is a relative newcomer to the neighborhood. It is a college-prepatory magnet school for grades 612 that uses a cross-disciplinary approach in its curriculum, integrating technology into all subject areas. Admission is through an application process. Another school recently located in the neighborhood is the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, an interdistrict magnet high school that offers both full-day and half-day programs for students throughout the Greater Hartford area.
When Elizabeth Colt died in 1904, she willed the majority of her estate, Armsmear, to the City of Hartford for use as a public park. Today, the park services the community with a number of athletic fields, a swimming pool, playground, a track and a spray pool.
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