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Hartford City Parks Photograph Collection

Identifier: HPL-HHC-CP

Scope and Contents

At present the photographs are arranged by size, from largest (A) to smallest (D). There is no known order.


  • 1890-1975

Access Restrictions

The photographs are stored in a restricted area and therefore may not be available on a same-day basis.

Use Restrictions

See Hartford History Center's Collection Use policy. Permission to publish from the collection must be obtained in writing from curator of the Hartford History Center, and a copy of the published work may be requested by the Hartford History Center. The Hartford History Center reserves the right to refuse permission to publish, etc. to those who have not complied with its policies. Use of the collections will normally not be permitted for the purpose of promotion of commercial products and services or political campaigns. Hartford History Center at Hartford Public Library reserves the right to limit the number of photographic prints/captures and to restrict the use or reproduction of rare, fragile, or valuable objects.

Historical Note

The photographs illustrate Hartford's parks, their beauty, and their many uses.

During the first half of the 20th Century, Hartford was known throughout the nation for its system of parks. Building on the initiative of the Reverend Horace Bushnell in the 1850s, Hartford transformed an area of land along its Hog River (also called the Park River) into America's first public city park; an oasis in the midst of a growing industrial and commercial municipality. Designed by landscape architect Jacob Weidenmann, the City Park (later re-named for Bushnell) became the cornerstone of a chain of parks, large and small. The park system reached its zenith around 1900 under the direction of two visionary superintendents, Theodore Wirth and George A. Parker. They were aided by designs of the Olmsted firm. During that time, Hartford's chain of parks and projected linking parkways became a model for cities across the nation, as they sought to introduce space for relaxation and recreation into increasingly crowded urban settings. Inspired by the city's initiative, public benefactors like brothers Walter and Henry Keney, Colonel Albert Pope, Charles M. Pond, and Elizabeth Colt added large tracts, either as outright gifts of land or through funds dedicated to the purchase of additional parkland. Parks had many uses and amenities, such as golf courses, baseball diamonds, tennis courts, children's gardens, boating, and picnic facilities. Combined with experimental gardens and the nation's first public rose garden, Hartford's parks afforded all social and economic levels of the city's populace the opportunity for healthful recreation.


6 linear_feet (approximately)

Language of Materials



Photographs from the Hartford City Parks collection.


The collection is closed. Additional accruals are not expected.

Hartford City Parks Collection Photographs
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Hartford History Center Repository

Hartford History Center
Hartford Public Library
500 Main St
Hartford CT 06103 USA