With its low self-esteem and high urban blight, Hartford is the ultimate underdog city. Sad City Hartford documents the joys, sorrows and eccentricities of New England's Rising Star.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hartford Kewl Buildings: The Keney Memorial Clock Tower

Being an old and formerly wealthy New England city, Hartford has tons of kewl old buildings. Some are dilapidated, some are well maintained, they can be found in both the worst and best neighborhoods. In exploring Hartford we have seen a lot of these buildings and wondered how they got there and what the history behind some of these buildings. Thus is born our latest feature; Hartford Kewl Buildings. The inaugural edition features the Keney Memorial Clock Tower.

The Keney Tower is located at the triangle of Main, Albany and Ely, one of our favorite areas of town that we lovingly refer to as Hartford's Bermuda Triangle. Most will recognize the name Keney, as in Keney Park. The tower stands on the spot of the Keney brothers grocery business. Constructed in 1898, it was built as a memorial to the Keney brothers' mother and is Hartford's only free standing tower. Sadly we must tell our mothers with near certainty that we will never be building either of them a 130 foot tall tower memorial.

Despite towering over everything in the area, the tower can be hard to notice. There are trees that when in bloom obscure the view of the tower from the street. There is a bus stop right outside the tower and the soon to be passengers gave us some weird looks as we walked through the black wrought-iron gate that surrounds the area.

Being in the area of the tower brings on the the rarest and most bizarre feelings one can get in a city; solitude. For some reason being in the grassy, tree covered area makes one almost forget that a busy city intersection is just yards away.

 The tower stands a towering 130 feet tall. It's appearance gives the impression that it might have once been part of a church, but it has always been a free standing structure. The area has heavy coverage from trees and a paved walk path around the perimeter. There are eight to ten benches around the tower.  A couple of power wires run into the clock tower. We found a pair of sneakers hanging from one of these wires.

Walking around the area is eerie. It's very quiet and the tower looms large over the area. One can't help but getting a touch of excitement walking around each corner. Behind the tower area is an open field and a church. The large wooden doors leading into the tower are, predictably and thankfully, locked. There is no signage. We didn't even know the name of the tower or anything about it until we looked it up after our visit.

If not technically a "building" still a very kewl Hartford structure.


  1. This feature is so much better than that stupid pay phone contest you are conducting.

  2. I have to say, I'm really fascinated by this building. It seems so cold and disconnected yet completely inviting. I find it oddly inspirational.

    Perhaps, I have a thing for clock towers.

  3. @ Nicholas - So would you be mad if we installed a pay phone on the clock tower?

    @Lionel - Go check it out. - it's really cool. You could chill on a bench on the back side and not even know where you are.

  4. I was always wondering where is that tower located ... thanks;) plus I love the name "Hartford's Bermuda Triangle":)haha

  5. @Hakaan - Sounds like something Hartford is know for doing, destroying its history with something obnoxious and irrelevant. Oh, and my head would explode.

  6. When I was a small child I used to think a giant lived inside the tower.