Hartford, Connecticut: Landmarks~History~Neighborhoods | Monuments & Plaques.
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Elsewhere Downtown

Map of Suckiaug (Prospect and Arch streets) Bronze relief map that shows where the earliest settlers lived the downtown area called Suckiaug by Native Americans, and meaning "Black Fertile River-Enhanced Earth, good for planting."

High Water Mark, Flood of 1936 (Prospect and Arch streets) Arrow points to the level to which the waters flooded during the great hurriane of 1936.

Frederic Edwin Church (28 Trumbull Street) Plaque marks the site of the noted painter's boyhood home.

William R. Cotter Building (High and Church streets) While not technically a monument, the magificent piece of architecture was built by the federal government in 1932 as part of the government's construction program during the Great Depression. It stands as a testament to the strength of the federal government in a time of great anxiety. The façade features a frieze with figures on horse-back in bas-relief along with an inscription that alludes to postal service duties; aluminum eagles guarding the roof corners; and globes at each of the two entrances are in the Art Deco style (more).

Constitution / Riverfront Plazas

Bell from the battleship Hartford In 1864, during the Civil War, Rear-Admiral Farragut led the attack on Mobile Bay in his flagship, the U.S.S. Hartford. When warned that the Southerners had placed many torpedoes in the bay, the Admiral uttered his famous retort, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" The anchor of the battleship is located on the grounds of the University of Hartford in West Hartford. Two cannons from the ship are located on the lawn of Trinity College. Although the Admiral won the battle, his ship is now at the bottom of the drink somewhere off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia.

Quenticut (near pedestrian entrance to Charter Oak Bridge) Named for the Native American word for the Connecticut River, the statue by Clyde Lynds is made of fiber optics, concrete and steel. At night, the fiber optics display fish that mature in the ocean and return to the Connecticut River to spawn.

Mortensen Riverfront Plaza Bill Mortensen served as the managing director of the Bushnell for 40 years; was Hartford's mayor from 1943–1945; and held numerous other public service positions which defined his life as one of service for the good of many. The plaza at Riverfront was named in his honor.

Neighborhoods West

Marquis de Lafayette (Washington Street) French "Hero of Two Worlds" who came to aid the American colonists during the American Revolution. The original of this statue stands in the Louvre, a gift to France from the school children of the United States. One unique addition is the turtle by the horse's hind foot symbolizing the artist's tardiness in completing the replica. Sculptor, Paul Wayland Bartlett.

Christopher Columbus (Washington Street) The "Admiral of the Ocean Seas" and discoverer of America. Statue given to city by Italian-American residents and dedicated on October 12, 1925. Sculptor, Vincenzo Miserendino. The proximity of the Columbus and Lafayette statues has the "Admiral of the Ocean Sea" facing the rear of the horse ridden by the "Hero of the Two Worlds." This created a brouhaha by some local residents, but the original placement remains today.

Hartford Public High School (Farmington Avenue at Asylum Avenue) From 1869 until 1963, the school stood on the site as the country's second-oldest secondary school, having been founded in 1638 as a Latin grammer school. Architect George Keller's magnificent work was hailed as a masterpiece and was a forerunner in terms of science facilities, including a telescope and observatory, state-of-the art laboratories and fossil collections, notably that of the famous dinosaur tracks that were donated by James Batterson. The building was razed in the 1960s to make way for Interstate 84.

World War II Monument (Parkville) Granite monument dedicated to "the patriotic men and women of this community who by service in WW II confirmed their fatith in the United States of America."

Alice Cogswell. Daughter of Mason Cogswell, one of the founders of the Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons, Alice was the first student enrolled when the school was established in 1807. Designed by Frances Wadsworth, the statue honors Thomas Hopkins Galludet, Mason F. Cogswell and Laurent Clerc, founders of the institution.

Wallace Stevens Walk. Businessman and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Stevens (1879-1955) lived on Westerly Terrace and worked at The Hartford on Asylum Avenue. On his walk to work each day, he often composed poetry in his head. Thirteen granite stones mark the course of Stevens' walk, each with a stanza from his poem, "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird."

Albert Pope Fountain (Pope Park) In 1878 Albert Pope, an industrial pioneer, manufactured the Columbia, the first American bicycle. He went on to make one of the first gasoline-driven automobiles in America, as well as an electric car. The fountain is located in the park created by the donation of land from the industrialist.

Royal Typewriter Factory (New Park Avenue) The Royal operated its manufacturing plant from 1908 until 1972 when its operations were moved oversees. At the height of its production, the plant in Parkville employed almost 7,000 workers, giving it the distinction of being one the city's largest manufacturers. The facility sat idle for several years until the summer of 1992 when it was heavily damaged by fire. Demolished a year later, a Super Stop & Shop was built on the site and heralded as a boon to the neighborhood.

Neighborhoods South

Porter Estate From 1850 to about 1890, Col. Solomon Porter and his wife, Nancy Belden Porter, made their home onCharter Oak Avenue next to the Borden-Munsill House. The land was given in 1942 to the city for a children's park by grandchildren of the original owners. Today, a granite bench honors their memory.

Charter Oak Marker (Charter Oak Avenue) Gift of the Society of Colonial Dames. The great tree that became known as the Charter Oak was revered by Native Americans because of its great size, and was used by them as a Council Tree. By the middle of the 19th century, the base of the tree measured over 33 feet in circumference. After the tree fell in a storm during 1856, the rings of its trunk were counted, and it was discovered to be almost 1,000 years old. (more)

Samuel Colt (Entrance to Colt Park) Two statues by sculptor Massey I. Rhind showing the great manufacturer as an ingenious and inventive sailor boy and as a rich and powerful man. (more)

Charter Oak Bridge (Reserve Road) The original Charter Oak Bridge, built in 1942 and the longest steel-plate girder bridge in the world when it was built, spanned four car lanes across the Connecticut River. Less than 50 years later, it was not wide enough to carry the volume of traffic that used the structure each day and a new, six-lane bridge was built parallel to the old a short distance away. The only surviving artifacts from the original are the 40-pound medallions that had been mounted in its railings. Bridge designer George Dunkelberger created the medallions to represent the Charter Oak Tree, the Old State House in Hartford, the First Congregational Church in East Hartford and an airplane, symbolizing Pratt & Whitney. These were given to Riverfront Recapture and reinstalled at sites nearby.

Thomas McManus (Barry Square) McManus served in the Union Army, 1862-1863, as a major in the 25th Connecticut Regiment. He went on to serve as a judge, member of the General Assembly, and director of the Connecticut State Prison at Wethersfield. The plaque, dedicated in 1923, reads in part, "Upon this field which was once their camping ground, his surviving comrades in affectionate memory have placed this tablet as a tribute to his merit and patriotism as citizen and soldier."

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

Griffin Alexander Stedman (Barry Square) Born in Hartford and a graduate of Trinity College, joined the 14th Connecticut Infantry and almost immediately became a captain in the 5th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers. He was fatally wounded on August 5, 1864 at Petersburg. 26 years old at the time of his death. He is interred at Cedar Hill Cemetery. When the monument was dedicated on October 4, 1900, in attendance were veterans of the 5th, 8th, l0th, 14th, 16th, 22nd and 25th Connecticut regiments. It was probably the last gathering of Civil War veterans of that size in Hartford.

Hunger Strikers Memorial (Barry Square) 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 at the end of Freeman Street in the South End 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.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Fairfield Avenue) Established by Boy Scout Troop 105 and dedicated on May 29, 1989, the obelisk pays tribute to Hartford residents who served and died in Viet Nam. Since that time, each year on Memorial Day, members of Boy Scout Troop 105 lays a wreath at the monument and raises the American and a POW flag in a ceremony to honor the war dead.

Charter Oak Project (Flatbush Avenue in shopping center) In the 1940s a public housing project was built on Flatbush Avenue to house defense workers at the brink of World War II. They project became low-income rental units in the 1950s and hundreds of families lived there over the next four decades. Demolished in the 1990s to make way for a shopping plaza, a plaque has been put in place to commemorate the site where so many one called home.

Neighborhoods North

Marjorie Morrissey Tribute (Riverside Park) Contemporary sculpture on the grounds of the boathouse invite visitors to "Rub my dorsal fin for good health, good wealth and good hurmor." Established in memory of Marjorie Murphy Morrissey, board member of Riverfront Recapture.

Johnny Duke Memorial Park Dedicated to the man who ran the Bellevue Square Boys' Club from 1960-1997.

Summers Square (Wooster Street) Lucy Cooper Summers was a beloved community activist who helped to institute the model Head Start program in Hartford, then went on to become one of the city's first female African American administrators when she was named to be the program's parent and volunteer coordinator. She was the founding volunteer president of the community group Organized Northeasterners, which later became ONE-CHANE. She died in 1995 and a condominium project was named in her honor.

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