Stop #1: College Hill and the Original Trinity College Campus
Richard Michell Upjohn
The College Hill campus was the original campus of Trinity College, then called Washington College until 1845. The college moved their campus to Gallows Hill in the late 19th century because of a feud between New Haven and Hartford trying to establish themselves as the official State Capitol. Hartford decided to buy Trinity College’s downtown campus as a spot for a new capitol building in the heart of the city.Start Here
Stop #2: Spanish-American War Monument
Evelyn Beatrice Longman
Evelyn Longman's 1927 Spanish-American War Monument in Bushnell Park commemorates the patriotism and valor of Hartford men who served during the Spanish-American War in 1898. The bronze figure is an allegory of Victory that harkens back to Hellenistic Greek traditions of remembrance.Start Here
Stop #3: Dr. Horace Wells
Truman Howe Bartlett
Hartford dentist, Dr. Horace Wells (1815-1848), discovered the pain reducing effects of anesthesia in December 1844. He died tragically by his own hand in 1848 but gained posthumous credit and fame for his life-saving idea.Start Here
Stop #4: Black Lives Matter Mural Hartford (2020)
BLM 860 – Black Lives Matter 860
The Hartford Black Lives Matter street painting was created on July 26, 2020 as part of the nationwide protest movement “Black Lives Matter” that erupted following the May 25, 2020 strangulation of George Floyd in Minneapolis by police officer Derek Chauvin. The street art mural was over one hundred feet long, and was painted on the surface of Trinity Street in Bushnell Park within sight of the Connecticut State Capitol. The BLM 860 version of 2020 was replaced in 2023 when Trinity Street was repaved.Start Here
Stop #5: Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch
Albert Entress, George Keller
The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch, which stands on the Ford Street bridge, was intended to commemorate the soldiers and seamen of Hartford who died in the Civil War. Competitions for the design of the memorial took six years, with George Keller’s eclectic-style triumphal arch being chosen and constructed from 1884-1886.Start Here
Stop #6: General Israel Putnam
John Quincy Adams WardStart Here
Stop #7: Corning Fountain
John Massey Rhind
John Massey Rhind's 1899 Corning Fountain depicts four Saukiog Indian warriors, natives of central Connecticut at the time of the foundation of Hartford.Start Here
Bushnell Park in Hartford was the first publicly funded park in the United States. The civic action to create the park was by a vote of the citizenry of Hartford in 1854, making the origins of Bushnell Park earlier than Central Park in New York. It was designed by the landscape architect Jacob Weidenmann (1829-1893) beginning in 1859 at the request of Dr. Horace Bushnell. Weidenmann’s final plan was completed by 1861. Early surviving photographs from 1870 or earlier show it as a purely landscape park adjacent to the College Hill campus of Trinity College. The site had previously been occupied by tanneries and shanties along the branch of the Park River which flowed through the valley. The river was commonly called the Hog River because it served for the effluent of the hide tanneries when this area was a slum.
Bushnell Park did not become an open air sculpture collection until a decade after the end of the Civil War. The two first sculptures were commissioned in 1874, one by T.H. Bartlett of Dr Horace Wells, the Hartford doctor and inventor of anesthesia, and the other by J. Q. A. Ward of General Israel Putnam, Connecticut’s first civilian soldier to rush to fight for the Revolution. Today, Bushnell Park is the central concentration of public sculpture in Hartford.
The Park River was buried in an underground tunnel in the early 1940s as part of a flood control project. This overzealous solution has had the unfortunate effect of removing the picturesque centerpiece of the meandering river which formerly passed under the bridge of Keller’s Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil War Memorial and gave the park its distinctive undulating northern boundary.
Starting at stop #1, this Walking tour is 1.2 miles long.