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.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Moving On Down

Washington Street leading to Hartford Hospital is a very interesting stretch of Hartford road.   It starts across from the renowned State Capitol,  the Bushnell is right there, and just a little further down Washington Street is the Hartford Superior Court, an impressive building in its own right. Directly across from the Superior Court is Troop H, the Connecticut State Police's Hartford Barracks.  Across Park Street is of course Hartford Hospital which is, as far as we known, a well-respected state of the art hospital.   Despite this impressive array of law making, law enforcing, justice deciding, and care giving facilities crammed into the area, there still exists a very seedy underbelly to the area.

First we would be remiss to mention the Washington Street McDonald's, a well known area for heroin trafficking and usage.  It's reputation precedes it enough that we have never bothered to venture into it, but have heard tales of needles in the bathroom.  A few months back The Hartford Advocate The New Haven Advocate did an article on how heroin is cheap in Hartford due to the location smack in between Boston and New York. (Doesn't it always come down to that?) The article focused on a narcotics detective watching the drug trade in that particular McDonald's parking lot. (Thanks to Cosmo below for finding this article.) The point is, it's a known drug hot spot right down the street from the Capitol, a court and Police Troop.

Today's focus though is on the two abandoned buildings found at the corner of Washington and Jefferson.  As with many buildings in Hartford both look to be very old and places that if in good condition would be very desirable to tenants.  Courts and hospitals employ a lot of people. Workers that lived in these buildings would have just a couple minutes walk to work. While not in downtown area, they close enough that it would not be unreasonable at all to walk to downtown. A  cab ride from here would be very easy  for those looking to journey into downtown.

Of course there are a myriad of other factors in play here. Who owns the buildings? What kind of condition are they in on the inside? It's probably a pretty safe bet to assume that the insides are in pretty rough shape and would require a substantial investment.

(Ed. Note: Donald Poland, who is involved in urban planning provides us with "I believe these properties are owned by hartford hospital and are slated for demolition to construct a new medical facility that is in the process of design at this time."

There is of course the aforementioned drug trade and use around the corner that is enough to scare of most sane potential tenants.  We really don't have any answers.  It just seems a shame that two nice old buildings are just rotting and sitting as eyesores when given the proximity to jobs and attractions, it seems that they could be attractive places to live.  How these types of problems get dealt with will go a long way in determining Hartford's short and medium term future. If we had answers, we would certainly provide them.  Until then we will just continue to explore and observe the Sad City.


  1. I drive by these buildings every day and I often wonder who the owner is. They look like they once were quite majestic. Or at least passable.

  2. Looks like that article was in the New Haven advocate:


  3. As with so many places in Hartford, this could be the perfect place to put some mixed income housing. I also think about this every day on my walk to work, I wonder how the efforts to revitalize Frog Hollow might have a positive impact on areas like this. Is this Frog Hollow or Barry Square?? Either way, it'll be interesting (or heartbreaking) to see what happens in the next few years.

  4. Reader Donald J. Poland, who is involved in urban planning provides this "i believe these properties are owned by hartford hospital and are slated for demolition to construct a new medical facility that is in the process of design at this time."

  5. that would be great if they tear them down - sooner then later- get on with the process already - they are doctors don't they understand suffering - the community is suffering - don't prolong their agony - build your medical center - your emergency rooms are overcrowded as it is !

  6. "The New Haven Advocate did an article on how heroin is cheap in Hartford due to the location smack in between Boston and New York. "

    OK, I have to ask, was the pun intentional? If so, it was pretty decent.

    Anyway, despite being warned as a new Hartford resident to avoid the McDonalds, I am actually in there quite often, since I live right around the block.

    Now, when I was in NY, people at least made a pretense of hiding the fact that they were selling drugs... in that Mickey D's the very first time I went I heard people yelling across the restaurant what they had for sale that day, pillwise. I was a little shocked, but I am used to it now.

  7. I remember when these buildings were open. Not much to write home about. like 1 comment. It seems like they once were "majestic". These buildings should be restored though. Everyone is so quick to tear Hartford down (literally and figural). Hartford isn't a place to be afraid of...It is a place that a couple hundred thousand people call home. It is sad that there is even more people that work here in Hartford and won't spend a dollar in the community. I want to see the city turn into something great. I remember taking every dollar earned to downtown and spending it with my teenaged peers. all the way from shops in the HCC to the Pavilion. I can go on...but I will stop

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  9. We generate through these types of structures every single day as well as We frequently question that the dog owner is actually. These people seem like these people were in the past very regal. Or even a minimum of passable.

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