Hartford is the Capitol of Connecticut and is conveniently located between Boston and New York. Only 18 square miles, Hartford is as cosmopolitan and diverse as these larger cities to the northeast and southwest, offering Fortune 1000 employers, prestigious learning institutions and centers of excellence, leading medical centers and facilities, historical attractions, world-class restaurants, and beautiful parks. Hartford uniquely blends an urban lifestyle with small town charm.
Hartford derives its character from the significant role it played in the development, industrialization, and growth of this great nation:
- Hartford was first settled in 1623 by Dutch fur traders who sailed from New Amsterdam (now New York City) after Adriaen Block explored the area in 1614. The Dutch called the settlement Fort Goede Hoop and was located in an area appropriately named "Dutch Point". Unfortunately, the Dutch abandoned their settlement in 1653.
- In 1635, an Englishman, Reverend Thomas Hooker led about 100 of his parishioners from Cambridge MA to Hartford. Rev. Hooker is considered the founding father of Hartford. He named Hartford in 1637 after a town in England called "Hertford" the hometown of some of his parishioners.
- Thomas Hooker wrote about self-rule by the people in the "Fundamental Orders of Connecticut". This document is said to have provided the framework for the United States Constitution and is why Connecticut is called the "Constitution State".
- In 1764 the Connecticut Courant, now known as the Hartford Courant, started in Hartford, and is the nation's oldest continuously published newspaper.
- Several major insurance companies were founded and incorporated in Hartford; the Hartford Fire Insurance Company (known today as The Hartford) in 1810, Aetna Insurance Company in 1819, and the Travelers Insurance Company in 1864. The location of these and other insurance companies in Hartford is why Hartford is sometimes called as the "Insurance Capital of the World".
- In 1823, Washington College was founded. In 1845, the name of the college was changed to Trinity College, often referred to as one of the "Little Ivies".
- In the early to mid-19th century, Hartford was a center for the abolitionist movement in the North. Harriett Beecher Stowe, daughter of the vocal abolitionist Rev. Lyman Beecher, wrote the famous novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin".
- In the mid-19th century, Samuel Colt perfected and engineered the "Colt revolver". Mr. Colt built his Colt Firearms Manufacturing factory in the Dutch Point area of Hartford to "mass produce" his weapons. A big blue onion dome covered with gold stars with the famous ''colt" statute atop a gold ball sits above the dome and is visible to travelers then and now on the Colt Factory and Armory.
- In 1842, the Wadsworth family started construction of the Wadsworth Atheneum, the nation's oldest continuously operating public art museum since 1844.
- Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, wrote many of his famous novels between 1874 and 1881 while living at the Twain House at Nook Farm in Hartford.
- Albert Augustus Pope founded Pope Manufacturing in 1878 and began manufacturing the Columbia bicycle in Hartford, and later motorcycles and automobiles.
- In 1901 the Underwood Typewriter Company and in 1908 the Royal Typewriter Company began manufacturing typewriters in Hartford.
Hartford's history and culture are dispersed throughout its 17 neighborhoods; each neighborhood as distinct and different from its neighbor.
- North Meadows
- North End
- Blue Hills
- Upper Albany
- Asylum Hill
- West End
- Frog Hollow
- Behind the Rocks
- South End
- South Meadows
- South Green
- Sheldon-Charter Oak
- Barry Square