Hartford, Connecticut: Landmarks~History~Neighborhoods | Neighborhoods: Barry Square. All photos ©Karen O'Maxfield. All Rights Reserved.
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Barry Square takes its name from Father Michael Barry, whose Catholic parish built St. Augustine's Church on Campfield Avenue in 1902. Many early parishioners at St. Augustine's were Irish who came to Hartford as laborers, the greatest number having come from County Kerry.

The Trinity College campus dominates the northeast corner of the neighborhood, on land that was formerly known as "Gallows Hill" due to the number of hangings there (more).

Originally called the Hartford Retreat for the Insane, the Institute of Living was founded in 1822. One of the oldest psychiatric treatment facilities in the country, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead, laid out the grounds as a park-like campus of 35 acres. Today, it is part of Hartford Hospital and serves as a patient care, research and education facility in the fields of behavioral, psychiatric and addiction disorders.

Engine Company 15 of the Hartford Fire Department has been in its Fairfield Avenue location since it opened on April 16, 1909. It is now the oldest extant firehouse in Hartford. The station was designed by the architectural firm of Zunner & Sellew in the Colonial Revival style, with two entrances. Behind the main floor apparatus room was a horse stable with eight stalls and a shower bath for the horses. Evidence of these stalls is still visible today. On April 16, 2009—the station's 100th anniversary—a dedication ceremony was held to rename the station the Michael "Mayor Mike" Peters Fire Station, in honor of the man who was the only firefighter in Hartford who served as its mayor.

The Old South Burying Ground on Maple Avenue was established when the first burying ground in Hartford became filled. (more)

Street Map of Barry Square Neighborhood in Hartford, Connecticut   

In the heart of Barry Square is located the Camp Field Branch of the Hartford Public Library. Built in 1928, one of its features is a fresco mural above the entryway painted by artist Alton Tobey, which was part of a WPA project. (more). The central part of the neighborhood served as a military campground in both the Revolutionary and Civil wars, due to the open fields west of Campfield Avenue. In fact, this how the street acquired its name—the camp field streched south and east from the site of the existing Campfield library. Two monuments in the vicinity commemorate that military history:

Griffin Alexander Stedman, born in Hartford and a graduate of Trinity College, Stedman joined the 14th Connecticut Infantry and almost immediately became a captain in the 5th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers. Fatally wounded on August 5, 1864 at Petersburg, he was 26 years old at the time of his death, and is buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery.

Thomas 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 Wethersfield Line of the Hartford & Wethersfield Horse Railroad Company ran from the Congregational Church in Wethersfield to Spring Grove Cemetery on North Main Street in Hartford, for 15-cents fare. It was the first line to convert to electricity, with trolley cars running between the Wethersfield Avenue barn and the terminus in Wethersfield. The stable was replaced in 1903 by a brick structure that could accommodate tracks running through it. When the trolleys disappeared from Hartford's streets, this building saw various uses – including as an arena for boxing matches, ice skating and dances. Today, the property houses The Village for Families and Children, an organization that was given an award in 2004 by the Hartford Preservation Alliance for the architecturally-sensitive adaptive reuse of the building.

A portion of Fairfield Avenue falls within the Barry Square neighborhood.Considered one of Hartford's prettiest roads, it runs along a ridge between New Britain Avenue and Cedar Hill Cemetery (more).

Today, Barry Square is a mix of residential, commercial and institutional use. It has a strong NRZ that works to improve streetscapes and the quality of life for residents, workers and students in the neighborhood.

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