State capital of Connecticut, located in the north-central part of the state, at the head of navigation on the Connecticut River, 96 km/60 mi from Long Island Sound; population (2000 est) 121,600. Called the ‘Insurance Capital of the World’, the city has the headquarters of more than 40 insurance companies. Other companies based here include Pratt and Whitney Aircraft, and the Colt Company, which began making revolvers in the 19th century. Industries include the manufacture of office equipment and tools.
History Originally an American Indian community, the area was settled by the Dutch in 1623, who established a trading post called the House of Hope on the site, and by Puritans from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1636. The Hartford Colony drew up the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut in 1639, which was possibly the world's first written constitution and later became the model for the US constitution. Hartford Colony became the colony of Connecticut in 1662. The city was chartered in 1784. Its link with insurance dates from 1794, when the first Hartford fire-insurance policy was issued. The Hartford Fire Insurance Group was founded in 1810. Hartford is also the home of the Winchester rifle, whose development is shown in the gun museum.
Features Hartford has 124 entries on the national register of historic places. Historic buildings include the Old State House (1796), designed by Charles Bulfinch and the oldest in the USA; the Noah Webster House, the birthplace of the author of the American Dictionary; the Mark Twain House (1874); and the Harriet Beecher Stowe House. Hartford also houses the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch, a Civil War memorial of 1886 (restored in the 1980s), and the Keney Clock Tower of 1898. There is also the Museum of Connecticut History and the Hartford Police Museum. The many skyscrapers in the city include Constitution Plaza (1964), an urban renewal project (including the Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Building); Hartford Civil Centre (1975); City Place (1984), the tallest building in the state when built; and One Corporate Centre (1980s). The Wadsworth Atheneum (1842) is the oldest free public art museum in the USA. Hartford is the seat of Trinity College (1823), Hartford Seminary (1834), Hartford College for Women (1939), and the Hartford Graduate Centre (1955). The University of Hartford (1877) is located nearby in West Hartford. Events include the Annual Riverfest, which celebrates independence, the Hartford Festival of Jazz, and the annual Pumpkin Festival. The US poet Wallace Stevens lived in Hartford.
Greater Hartford Convention and Visitors Bureau