Jennifer Crutchfield, Head Editor, INALJ Connecticut
My Top 5 historical places to visit in Hartford, CT
The Connecticut Historical Society is one of my most favorite places to visit. I have volunteered there for a few years and the employees I have worked with are very knowledgeable and friendly. They always have new exhibits to view. One incredible ongoing exhibit at CHS is the Inn & Tavern Signs exhibit. CHS has a display of over 60 inn and tavern signs that date between 1750 and 1850. All of these signs were created by American painters. These signs offer a glimpse into tavern life, travel, and patriotic ideals in early America. CHS has many other exhibits and activities to enjoy. To what CHS has to offer, please visit: http://www.chs.org/.
I had the pleasure of working at the Harriet Beecher Stowe House as a Historical Interpreter. Stowe lived in this house for 23 years! The house is decorated with furnishings from the extended Beecher and Stowe families. Through the guided tour, you will learn about the life of this international bestselling author and her family. You will learn of the impact Stowe had on people all over the world with her writings and her critical role in the abolishment of slavery in the United States. http://www.harrietbeecherstowecenter.org/
A must see in Hartford is the Mark Twain House. Twain loved Hartford and is known to have said he that the time he spent living in Hartford was the best period of time in his life. The painted walls in the Entrance Hall were designed by Louis C. Tiffany & Co., and the intricacy is stunning. It is a huge and extravagant house that is a must see for those visiting Hartford. The whole house is wonderful, but for me the best room of the house is the Billiard Room. Twain wrote his greatest works in this room on a desk that you are able to view. There is much to see in this house! http://www.marktwainhouse.org/
Hartford’s ancient burial ground is the oldest historic site in Hartford. This is the place where Hartford’s Founding Fathers were buried. From 1640 to the early 1800s anyone who died in Hartford was buried here. There are a variety of tablet styles from Puritan style to elaborate folk art styles. Most interesting to me is the tablet erected in the 1990s commemorating the 400 African American slaves buried in unmarked graves. The grounds and tablets are being preserved by the Ancient Burying Ground Association. http://www.theancientburyingground.org/
Last, but not least is the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. The Wadsworth is the oldest public art museum in the United States. Museum contains collections of Greek and Roman antiquities and European decorative arts, Hudson River School landscapes, impressionist and modernist paintings. The Wadsworth also has collections of textiles and costumes, surrealist paintings, as well as African American art. I really enjoy the American Decorative Collection, which displays the history and skill of America’s craftsmen. Please visit http://www.thewadsworth.org/ to learn more about the exhibits and collections the Wadsworth has to offer.