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.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hartford Kewl Find: An Even Older Map

Earlier this week we posted a 1908 Hartford map we found while avoided real responsibilities and wasting time on Ebay. This post lead reader Donald Poland to email us about an 1850 map that he had a digital image of. This 1850 map was surveyed and drawn by Marcus Smith and reproduced from the Map and Geographic Information Center at UConn. A larger image and some interesting notes on how the city has changed from Donald Poland after the jump.

"1. The title says 1850 and then 1902. it is 1850, not 1902.

2. On Ann street, opposite Chaple street, you will find Fredrick Law Oldmsted's parents property which they purchased in 1834 when he was a teenager.

3. on Pratt street, north side near Trumbull, you will find Catharine Beechers Hartford Female Seminary School.

4. Near Front street, you will find Colt's first factory, before it moved south.

5. Bushnell Park does not exist yet...a rail line runs from Union Station through the now park to a pump station where water was taken from the river for the steam engines.

6. Trinity College is on what Horace Bushnell called the Lords Hill, also known as College Hill, where the capitol is today.

7. Capitol avenue is named College street, since there is no capitol.

8. On Asylum, second property in from Trumbull (where City Place II is today) is the home of J.P. Morgan's father, where J.P. grew up.

9. Horace Bushnell's home can be found on Winthrop street, off of North Main street just north of todays downtown.

10. You will notice the city limits at Union station...Hartfod was a small urban village with a population of only about 11,000 persons.

11. You will also notice that almost all the properties west of Main street are residential and single family. if you look at Washington street, the lots and homes get larger, this is the emergence of suburban designs.

12. City Hall is located on Market street, where State House Square is today.

13. Hartford Public High School is located on the corner of Ann and Asylum."

Some good stuff and an interesting village. It is hard to conceptualize that in only a span of 150 years Hartford went from a village of 11,000, to the wealthiest and most cutting-edge cities in the U.S., to our beloved very poor and very underemployed city we have today. 

Thanks again to Donald Poland, whom we hope to see some further Sad City contributions discussing Hartford's history and future. 


  1. Great map! Its amazing to see how the city has changed.. maybe not for the better but hindsight is 20/20. Hartford today mirrors the decline of manufacturing to a modern service economy while this map offers a city just beginning its journey into the industrial age.

    Its interesting to see how 84 has cut off about a 1/3 of the city from what we today think of as the downtown and also how the Park River plays such an important role for mills and foundries. The CT river is lined with wharves and docks and its clear that Hartford imported and exported goods. Imagine that. People had jobs at the docks in Hartford.

  2. nice post. interesting facts on hartford , especially enjoyed the location of the olmsted home. if your suffering from that sick feeling of living in a city that has had its whole center ripped out , just google ' rob camp fuoco video hartford' for a walking tour of victorian hartford. it may make you feel better to see the parts of our missing picture.