Reverend Horace Bushnell proposed the development of a public park for Hartford in 1853. Believe it or not, the land that Reverend Bushnell proposed for the site of the park was then occupied by two leather tanneries, a soapworks, pigsties, livestock, and a garbage dump. A railroad spur and the Park River also ran through parts of the proposed site. Along both sides of the park were tenements whose out houses emptied into the river. Reverend Bushnell made a pursuasive argument to the Hartford City Council that resulted in the City purchasing the land in November 1853 for $105,000. Bushnell Park became Hartford’s first public park.
Bushnell Park was designed by Jacob Weidenmann in 1861 with graceful paths and 157 trees and shrubs of differing varieties to enhance the park’s main feature, the Park River. But after severe flooding in 1936, the Park River was buried in underground conduits.
In 1886, George Keller designed the Soldiers and Sailors Arch to commemorate the Hartford residents who served in the American Civil War. Today, the Soldiers and Sailors Arch is the “gateway” to Bushnell Park.
Maria Hagan, REALTOR
Prudential Connecticut Realty