Hartford has changed quite a bit since it was first settled and is changing quite a bit as you read this section. Hartford was once one of the wealthiest cities in the country but like most major cities entered into an uphill battle as the automobile was created letting expansion into Hartford's suburbs start and the boom of road and highway construction in the area. In 1960's people started leaving Hartford for it's suburbs and Hartford's suburbs have expanded in immensly becoming home to world class shopping malls, prestigious private & parochial schools, major corporations and million dollar homes. Hartford had a high population of about 150,000 in 1950 and has stablized at about 121,500 but efforts are underway to increase the city population.

When the economy was centered around manufactoring Hartford was the home of Colt Firearms which still continues some production from a facility in West Hartford. The Colt Factory remains in the city's Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhood and is being converted into residential, office, retail and possibly musuem space. Hartford was also home to Plimpton Manufactoring and to this day Pratt & Whitney is still headquartered in East Hartford and still occupies office space in Downtown Hartford. Hartford was also a major manufactor of silver, pottery, engraved goods and home to reknowned publishing companies. In its heyday the city was home to more then 60 factories.

The Hartford area found a replacement for manufactoring industry when companies started closing or relocation out of the area. The area turned its focus to insurance and to many Hartford is still the Insurance Capital of the World. AETNA, The Hartford, Hartford Steam Boiler, Prudential Retirement and the Phoenix are all headquartered in Hartford for example.

Hartford has always been a center of business even as some people moved out of the city. Today though the focus has turned on trying to attract new residents to downtown Hartford as well as new visitors to this area. The first and one of the largest in a series of revitilization projects in the city broke ground back in 2001 and is known as Adriaens Landing. The project is named after the European explorer who first visited the area that became Hartford. The publicly and privately funded project sits on a site on the banks of the Connecticut River and features the new 540,000 square foot Connecticut Convention Center (Opened June 2005) and attached 22 story 409 room Marriott Hartford Downtown Hotel (Opened August, 2005). Across the street Front Street the retail, entertainment and residential component of the project is in the works. There will be residential units, shops, an ESPN Zone and a restored building known as the Hartford Times Building that will house portions of the Wadsworth Atheneum . On the other side of the convention center ground was broken in October, 2005 for the 144,000 square foot Connecticut Science Center which was designed by renknowned architect Cesar Pelli of New Haven and will open in 2008.

In addition to attracting visitiors the city is working to attract young professionals and empty nesters back to downtown Hartford to live in more then 1,000 new apartments, townhouses and condos being made in the central business district alone. The largest residential project is entitled Hartford 21 and is being at the Hartford Civic Center and features a 36 story residential tower (the residential tower in New England) that will feature 262 apartments as well as office space and retail space. In addition there are numerous other unique projects happening such as the conversion of the former Sage Allen Building on Main Street into townhouses for University of Hartford students and the and the conversion of the former Hartford Electric Building on Pearl Street into luxury condominiums.  

Intresting Facts about Hartford

Hartford's Old State House on Main Street in downtown Hartford which is now open to the public is the oldest state house in the country

Hartford was the first city to build a building for the YWCA back in 1867

The Bulkley Bridge which is part of I-84 connects Hartford and East Hartford is the largest stone arch bridge in the world

The Phoenix Mutual Insurance Company is headquartered in the world's fist two sided building which sits on Constitution Plaza in downtown Hartford

 

 The Hartford Courant  is the oldest continually published newspaper in the country

The Wadsworth Atheneum on Main Street in downtown Hartford is the country's oldest public art musuem

 

Trinity College a well known liberal arts college in Hartford was the first college in the country to have open admissions without regards to religious beliefs.

Hartford was the first city to vote to purchase a piece of land for the purpose of creating a park- Bushnell Park is located in downtown Hartford

The first time a president rode in a car was in Hartford by Theodore Roosevelt in 1902

The first FM radio station was the area's WDRC back in 1939

The Travelers Tower in downtown Hartford was the first commerical building to rise above 500 feeet (it was 527feet) outside of New York City

Four time Oscar winner Katharine Hepburn was born and raised in Hartford, CT. and her family are buried in Cedar Hills Cemetery.

 Mark Twain's (Tom Sawyer) house still stands on Farmington Avenue and his neighbor was Harriett Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom's Cabin)

Amy Brenneman based her popular tv show Judging Amy here in Hartford, CT which was based partially on the life of her own mother, Judge Frederica Brenneman.