Local city information for Hartford, CT
is the capital of the State of Connecticut. It is located in Hartford County on the Connecticut River, north of the center of the state, south of Springfield, Massachusetts. Its 2006 population of 124,512 ranks Hartford as the state's second-largest city, after Bridgeport. New Haven, to the south, has a population nearly identical to that of Hartford. Greater Hartford is also the largest metro area in Connecticut and 45th largest in the country (2006 census estimate) with a metropolitan population of 1,188,841.
Nicknamed the "Insurance Capital of the World", Hartford houses many of the world's insurance company headquarters, and insurance remains the region's major industry. Almost 400 years old, Hartford is among the oldest cities in the United States, and following the American Civil War, Hartford took the mantle of the country's wealthiest city from New Orleans. In 1868, Mark Twain exclaimed: "Of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see, Hartford is the chief".
With a new convention center and hotel, a nearly completed science center, the reclaimed riverfront, and an infusion of residential and commercial ventures in the city, Hartford has begun to attract new development, especially downtown, after years of relative stagnation. It is home to the nation's oldest public art museum (Wadsworth Atheneum), the oldest public park (Bushnell Park), the oldest continuously published newspaper (The Hartford Courant
), the second-oldest secondary school (Hartford Public), and until its recent closure, the sixth-oldest opera company in the nation (Connecticut Opera).
In 2004, the Hartford metropolitan area ranked second per capita for economic activity, behind San Francisco, California. Hartford is ranked 32nd of 318 metropolitan areas in total economic production and generates more economic activity than sixteen U.S. states.
This is a summary. For more information, see: History of Hartford, Connecticut
After Dutch explorer Adriaen Block visited the area in 1614, fur traders from the New Netherland colony set up trade at Fort Goede Hoop (Good Hope
) at the confluence of the Connecticut and Park Rivers as early as 1623, but abandoned their post by 1654. Today, the neighborhood near the site is still known as Dutch Point. The first English settlers arrived in 1635 and their settlement was originally called Newtown, but was renamed Hartford in 1637. The name "Hartford" was chosen to honor the English town of Hertford.
The leader of Hartford's original settlers from what is now Cambridge, Massachusetts, Pastor Thomas Hooker, delivered a sermon which inspired the writing of the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, a document (ratified January 14, 1639) investing the people
with the authority to govern, rather than ceding such authority to a higher power. Hooker's conception of self-rule embodied in the Fundamental Orders went on to inspire the Connecticut Constitution, and ultimately the U.S. Constitution. Today, one of the Connecticut's nicknames is the 'Constitution State'.
On December 15, 1814, delegations from throughout New England gathered at the Hartford Convention to discuss possible secession from the United States. Later in the century, Hartford was a center of abolitionist activity. Harriet Beecher Stowe, daughter of Lyman Beecher and author of ''Uncle Tom's Cabin, lived in Nook Farm, part of the Asylum Hill section of the city.
On the week of 12 April, 1909 the Connecticut River reached a then-record flood stage of 24 1/2 feet above the low water mark flooding the city and doing great damage.
In July 6, 1944, the Hartford Circus Fire destroyed the big top at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the deadliest circus fire in the history of the United States. On November 3, 1981, Thirman L. Milner became the first black mayor elected in New England. In 1987, Carrie Saxon Perry was elected mayor of Hartford, the first female African-American mayor of a major American city.
Starting in the late 1950s the suburbs of Hartford grew while the capital city began a long decline. This decline may have been accelerated by construction of highways (including I-84 & I-91 which intersect in downtown Hartford). Many residents moved out of the city and into the suburbs, and this trend continues. During the 1980s, Hartford experienced an economic boom of sorts and by the late 1980s, almost a dozen new skyscrapers were proposed to be built in the city's downtown. For various reasons, including the economic recession that followed in the early 1990s, many of these buildings were never built. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, many workers in Hartford lived more than twenty-minutes drive from the city -- though according to the Census Bureau, the city's average commute time of 22 minutes is a full three minutes less than the U.S. average . In the past few years, development, both commercial and residential, has increased downtown.
List your home on the MLS in Hartford, Connecticut