Hartford is the capital of Connecticut and one of the most economically active cities in the United States. Settled in 1623 as a Dutch trading post under the name “House of Hope,” it was colonized in the 1630s by the English.
Hartford is famed as the headquarters for many large insurance companies. As the so-called “Insurance Capital of the World,” Hartford is home to Aetna, Travelers and Hartford Insurance, the oldest such company in the country. Hartford was also the home of Samuel Colt, famed for his Colt Revolver guns and popularizing interchangeable parts and assembly line manufacturing.
Many people who explore Hartford start at the Mark Twain House and Museum. To get to the former home of author Samuel Clemens, just drive your car rental to Farmington Avenue in Hartford's Asylum Hill neighborhood. In the same area is the beautiful Cathedral of St. Joseph. This 281-foot limestone Roman Catholic cathedral boasts gorgeous Parisian stained glass windows, an 8000-pipe organ, and a huge ceramic tile mural of Christ in Glory.
Another popular museum is the Wadsworth Athenaeum. Founded in 1844 and supported by prominent benefactors like J.P. Morgan, it is the oldest public art museum in the United States.
Hartford, Connecticut, was originally called House of Hope by Dutch settlers in 1623. Once a significant merchant district, Hartford evolved into “Insurance Capital of the World.” This destination is a plethora of historical homes, museums, and artifacts, as well as modern amusement parks, restaurants, and performance centers. Here are the top 5 things you can enjoy while visiting Hartford:
1. Connecticut Historical Society. The Connecticut Historical Society (CHS), with collections highlighting the 17th and 18th centuries, houses many multi-media exhibitions and features the Amistad story. CHS is the seventh oldest historical society in America.
2. Mark Twain House and Museum. Visit the 19-room Mark Twain House and Museum, and see the home in which the author wrote Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. This museum was chosen as a national historic landmark in 1963.
3. Wadsworth Atheneum. The Wadsworth Atheneum is our nation's oldest public art museum features European Impressionist, Renaissance, and decorative art as well as American decorative art and paintings.
4. Dinosaur State Park. Enjoy more than 2 miles of nature trails and wonder at 200 million-year-old Jurassic fossil tracks at the Dinosaur State Park. Visitors may also view the life-size Triassic diorama.
5. Elizabeth Park. At any time during your visit at Hartford, relax at Elizabeth Park and enjoy a stroll through the park's world-famous rose garden. If you are hungry, food and drink are available at the park's Pond House Café (closed Mondays). The park may be enjoyed year-round as ice skating is a popular activity during the winter months.