When the first airmail was delivered to Hartford in 1918, it was in Goodwin Park that the plane landed there was no other facility available. In 1921, two young airmen were killed trying to make a landing in the "barnstorming field." It was this incident that prompted the mayor, Newton C. Brainard, to build a proper landing field. Thus, Brainard Field was born. That airport is in operation today in the South Meadows.
Goodwin Park is now comprised of 237 acres (85 of which sit in the town of Wethersfield), and offers a playground, community pool and 27-hole golf course. In December each year, illuminated structures festoon the interior road and thousands of cars stream through from Thanksgiving to early January to enjoy the display.
Many residents would be surprised to know that there is a monument in the neighborhood, a photograph of which is carried around by people in Northern Ireland. In 1981, ten jailed Irish Republicans started a hunger strike to win status as political prisoners. Beginning with Bobby Sands, all ten died. The Hunger Strikers Memorial on Maple Avenue was established by the Hartford chapter of the Irish Northern Aid Committee and local Irish-Americans. The Celtic Cross sits on a base inscribed with the name of Bobby Sands and the other prisoners who died in the hunger strike.
Some may still remember going to games at Bulkeley Stadium, the home of Hartford's minor league baseball team, variously known as The Hartford Chiefs, The Hartford Senators, The Hartford Laurels and The Hartford Bees. Teams that played here between 1921 and 1952 were affiliated with the Eastern League. Lou Gehrig, Jim Thorpe, Leo Durocher, Hank Greenberg, Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain all played for teams at one point in their careers. Babe Ruth played at the stadium in an exhibition game in 1940. When the Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee at the end of the 1952 season, Hartford's minor league team was relocated. The stadium ultimately was demolished in 1960. A memorial plaque was placed on George Street at the intersection of Hamner in what would have been the outfield. More recently, Norman Hausmann, a local baseball enthusiast and one who remembers attending games in his youth, worked with the Friends of Vintage Base Ball to locate the exact position on home plate and install a granite marker.
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