This shortest and most direct route, marked with blue bands on poles, follows the Old Boston Post Road along the levels of the Quinnipiac river. An alternate route passes through Durham, Middletown, and Wethersfield (p 110).
From the Green we follow Elm, Orange, Lawrence, and State Sts. At the bridge over Mill River is the best view of East Rock, crowned by the Soldiers’ Monument. It is said that the regicides hid beneath this bridge on one occasion while their pursuers crossed above.
Skirting East Rock Park, just beyond the car barns where the trolley forks, turn right over the R.R. and cross the Quinnipiac river. From here to Wallingford is a level run parallel with the trolley. This is the old Turnpike and a straight road of oiled macadam. and bituminous concrete. (Exit from New Haven may also be made from the Green, following Whitney Ave. to the north of East Rock, joining the Turnpike at North Haven.) We pass through the village of Montowese, which perpetuates the name of the Indian Sachem from whom these lands were purchased in 1638, and follow the blue markers to.
8.5 NORTH HAVEN. Pop (twp) 2254. New Haven Co. Settled 1638. Mfg. bricks and carriage woodwork.
The clay deposits here underlying the meadows have furnished materials for brick-making since 1720. In the early days of the New Haven Colony this was known as North Farms. In the coaching days, before the railroad, the town was of some importance as a posting station. An old cemetery occupies a portion of the village green. The oldest epitaph is of one who “dyed Aug ye 21, 1736″:
“Reder stop your space & stay & harken unto what I say, Our lives but cobwebs tho’ near so gay, And death ye brome yt sweeps away.”
The road follows the level plain of the valley of the Quinnipiac and parallels the railroad. The railroad cuttings here show the rock to be a red sandstone, friable and weathered. On the upland are grown grapes and peaches.
As we approach Wallingford, and about a mile west of the little village of Quinnipiac, among the low rounded and wooded hills is Mt. Carmel. The rock composing these hills is of volcanic origin but different from the trap ridges hereabouts. Professor William Morris Davis, the Harvard geographer who has unraveled the geological history of this region, has identified here the stump of an ancient volcano. He says: “Mt. Carmel and the Blue Hills, southwest of Wallingford, have a peculiar interest from marking the site of great dikes or `necks’ of lava. In all probability they are the roots of the volcano or volcanoes from which the lava sheets of the Meriden district were erupted.”
The region about Wallingford is a characteristic `sand plain’ where, at the close of the Glacial Period, the waters from the melting ice sheet spread out widely over the country, depositing the material in a low delta, often with sharply defined and steep margins. The barren acres of cleanly washed sand support scarcely any vegetation except scrub pine and oak.
The road to the left, two miles before reaching Wallingford, leads in a half mile to the old Oakdale Tavern (1769) whose proprietor advertises it as “The only Inn in New England where Washington did not stop.” The blue-marked road does not pass through but leaves somewhat to the east the town of
13.5 WALLINGFORD. Alt 76 ft. Pop (twp) 11,155, (borough) 8690. New Haven Co. Settled 1667. Mfg. silver and plated ware, brass and rubber goods, and fireworks.
The business center of the town lies on a ridge to the right of the direct route. It is a busy town of varied industries, with a large population of Italians and Poles. On the edge of the rolling country to the east is The Choate School for Boys.
Wallingford orchards market a quarter: million baskets of peaches, a million peach trees, and a half million apple trees annually.
The town bears the name of the English village from which some of its settlers came. It was the center of Revolutionary protest, and at a meeting in 1767 protesting the Stamp Act it was resolved, “Whereas it appears from ancient Records and other Memorials of Incontestible Validity that our Ancestors with a great Sum Purchased said township, with great Peril possessed and Defended the Same, we are Born free (having never been in bondage to any), an inheritance of Inestimable Value.” And a fine of one pound sterling was imposed on any who should use the objectionable stamped paper. One of Wallingford’s citizens, Dr. Lyman Hall, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and the town remained throughout the Revolution a hotbed of patriotism.
Here Washington spent the night in 1789, making the following entry in his Diary:
“Left New Haven at 6 oeclock and arrived at Wallingford (i3 miles) by half after eight oeclock, when we breakfasted, and took a walk through the town. . . . At this place we see the white Mulberry growing, raised from the seed, to feed the Silkworm. We also saw samples of lustring (exceeding good) which had been manufactured from the Cacoon raised in this Town, and silk thread very fine. This, except the weaving, is the work of private families.”
In the middle of the nineteenth century a branch of the Oneida Community was located here, but its property was afterward taken over for the Masonic Home.
Beyond Wallingford to the northwest are the Hanging Hills of Meriden. The three sharp peaks (m00 ft) with a gentle slope to the northward are tilted and faulted trap ridges. The central peak, Castle Craig, has a round observation tower.
Northeast is the long, wooded Lamentation Mountain, another trap ridge, so called from the tradition that an early settler was lost on the mountain and never found, which caused his friends to lament. The excellent roads of this region are largely due to the abundant supply of hard trap rock.
Yalesville to the west, formerly Tylers Mills, was renamed in honor of Charles Yale, who had won a fortune making tin-ware and selling it in the South. He established here, about 1810, a pioneer factory for pewter and britannia wares.
Three miles from Wallingford we pass with a sharp turn under the railroad bridge and join the old turnpike which runs on the west side of the Quinnipiac, passing the village of Tracy, a suburb of Meriden. We enter the city by Old Colony and Cook Aves., passing on the west Hanover Park, a popular pleasure resort with a casino and a large lake.
20.0 MERIDEN. Alt 150 ft. Pop 27,265 (1910), loc. est. 40,000 (1915); nearly one third foreign-born. New Haven Co. Settled 1661. Mfg. silver, nickel, britannia and plated ware, granite and agate enamel ware, cut glass, firearms, cutlery, lamps and electric fixtures, and other metal goods. Value of Product, $16,316,000; Payroll, $5,428,000.
The `Silver City’ is well named, for it produces more than half the plated ware manufactured in the State and a good deal of solid silver as well. It is essentially an industrial city, but with well-shaded streets, attractive public buildings, and beautiful parks. The City Park and Brookside Park are near the center of the town. Hubbard Park, on the outskirts, the gift of one of Meriden’s leading citizens, is an attractive reservation of 1000 acres at the foot of the Hanging Hills.
Meriden, originally a portion of Wallingford, was settled by Captain Andrew Belcher, who named it for his home in Warwickshire, England. This was about a mile east of the present business center, which was then a swampy region known as “Pilgromes Harbor” because Goffe and Whalley, the regicides, fleeing from Milford, here lay hidden for several days. The coming of the railroad in 1830 met with such op-position that it was obliged to avoid the town and was built along the valley of Harbor Brook. Since then the town has moved to it. Exactly half way between Hartford and New Haven, this was in coaching days a favorite stopping-place. Most famous of its inns was the old Half Way House, formerly located at the junction of Broad and East Main Sts., which in consequence of its convivial hospitality and location was called the `Merry Den.e
The manufacture of pewter and britannia ware was begun here by Samuel Yale in 1794. One of the earliest trusts was formed in 1854 by the -combination of most of the firms in the Meriden Britannia Company. In 1898 with sixteen others it was absorbed by the International Silver Company, which has its general offices and some of its principal plants in Meriden, with factories in other Connecticut cities and Canada. This company manufactures the famous “1847 Rogers Bros.” brand of silverware. Its Meriden plants employ 7000 skilled workmen and turn out a product valued at $15,000,000. Meriden is the home of the mechanical piano player. The Angelus Player Piano, a pioneer of its kind, and a development, the Vocalion, are both made here. The Edward Miller, the Bradley & Hubbard, and the Handel plants turn out millions of lamps and electrical fixtures. Charles Parker & Co. are large manufacturers of hardware, and the firm of Parker Brothers have been making guns since 1862. Cut glass is made by the I. D. Bergen, the Meriden Cut Glass, and the Silver City Cut Glass companies.
Leaving the center of the town by North Colony St. we pass the old Goffe House, built in 1711; on a slope to the left is the State School for Boys. A mile and a half beyond the town we cross the line between New Haven and Hartford counties. To the northwest is the manufacturing town of New Britain.
26.0 BERLIN. Alt 64 ft. Pop 3728. Hartford Co. Settled 1686.
Mfg. structural iron, pressed brick, paper boxes, and bags.
A small industrial town and railroad junction, Berlin presents an ungracious appearance, though the street along the Old Post Road evidences age and respectability. Here was born in 1787 Emma Hart (Willard), and here she began her career as a teacher at the age of seventeen. Famous as an educator, she is less known as the author of “Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep.”
Berlin has, moreover, played an important part in the development of Connecticut industries and trade. About 1740 there came to Berlin from County Tyrone, Ireland, William and Edward Patterson, skilled in the art of shaping tin plate into small ware. Establishing a workshop they produced quantities of pans, pails, and dippers, which they peddled in hand-carts and by pack-horses through the surrounding countryside, where their goods were eagerly bought as luxuries. Thus originated the Connecticut tin peddler who carried his Yankee products in gayly painted wagons from Quebec to the Mississippi. The infant industry throve so that Dr. Dwight tells us, in 1815 “ten thousand boxes of tinned plates were manufactured into culinary utensils in the town of Berlin in one year.” But the lusty `infant’ was clamoring for ‘protection’ a century later. Iron bridges were the chief output of Berlin for years, till the works, acquired by the trust, were diverted to other uses.
The Turnpike trends northeasterly; it leaves the trap ridge and passes through low, rolling country. Beyond Newington Junction (31.o) to the east are the wooded heights of Glastonbury. On the outskirts of Hartford is Trinity College on a ridge to the left. Route ro from Saybrook and Middletown joins this route, entering Maple Ave. from Wethersfield Ave. on the right.
37.0 HARTFORD (R. 1,P 111).
Alternate route, New Haven to Hartford. 41.0 m.
Via DURHAM, MIDDLETOWN, and WETHERSFIELD. STATE
ROAD marked in yellow to Durham, thence in blue.
This route, though four miles longer and over an excellent macadam but less traveled road, is well worth taking because of the beautiful old towns through which it passes, contrasting strongly with the industrial towns on the direct route.
Leaving New Haven by way of Elm and State Sts. the route crosses Mill River to East Haven, and passes immediately beneath East Rock, continuing along Middletown Ave. across the Quinnipiac by iron bridge; leaving the trolley to the right it continues straight to
9.5 NORTHFORD. Alt 76 ft. (In the town of North Branford.)
Its Indian name was Paug, and here about 1720 the farmers of Branford established a summer settlement during the crop-growing season, returning to Branford in the winter. The first permanent settlement here was in 1775. In posting days there were several taverns here, and it was an industrial town with fulling mills and tanneries. Today combs, tin and wooden articles are manufactured.
Beyond Northford the route follows the yellow markers to the right. To the south is Totoket Mountain. To the north as it crosses the boundary line into Middlesex County is Pistapaug Pond and Mountain. After nine miles of almost straight road it enters Durham Center and turns left along the principal elm-shaded street, which follows the crest of a ridge with fine views off on either side. The broad expanse of Durham Meadows are on the left of the small bridge over Mill Brook.
20.5 DURHAM. Alt 529 ft. Pop (twp) 997. Middlesex Co. Settled 1698. Indian name Coginchaug, “the long swamp.” Mfg. cash and safe deposit boxes.
The village with its one main street is one of the most beautiful and best preserved of eighteenth century village communities, unspoiled by the influx of modern industries or foreign population. In 1774 its population was 1076; in 1810, 1101; in 1910, 997,-but like so many New England villages it has given liberally to the nation of its sons. Austin, the capital city of Texas, is named for a native of Durham, Moses Austin, who, in 1820, inaugurated a scheme for the colonization of Texas. Durham established the first public library in Connecticut in 1733.
On the main street still stands the pleasant maple-shaded old Swathel Inn, an important posting hostel in old stage coach days, where Washington was entertained. A carved stone in its cellar bears the date of its construction, ” June 15, 1730.” To the north is Bear Rock, from which there is a fine view. This was a favorite hunting ground of the Mattabesett Indians, and many Indian relics have been found. In 1905 twenty arrow heads were dug up in a spring here.
The main street of Durham continues straight on as a State Road, Durham Ave., through a well cultivated peach-growing country. The yellow bands on the poles mark the way to
30.0 MIDDLETOWN (R.10).
37.0 HARTFORD. Alt 38 ft. Pop 98,915 (1910), 115,000 (loc. est. 1915); about one fourth foreign-born; one half foreign parentage, including Irish, Germans, Russians, Italians, Swedes, and English. State capital, County-seat of Hartford Co. Indian name Suckeag. Port of Entry. Insurance and banking center, tobacco market. Mfg. firearms, machinery, hardware, silver plate, typewriters, rubber tires, and electrical goods. Insurance assets, about $500,000,000; Value of Products (1915), $60,680,000; Payroll, $20,000,000.
Hartford, a beautiful and historic city of wealth, has been well called `The Queen City of New England.’ Built on land rising from a curving bend of the Connecticut, its broad shaded streets, substantial public buildings, prosperous residences, accessible well-kept parks lead the visitor to decide it the second most beautiful of American cities, his own civic pride, of course, reserving his home town for first place. As in the seventeenth century, “Hartford is a gallant town, and many rich men in it.” There is less of newness and a more prosperously settled look about its streets than is generally characteristic of our cities, as befits the two and a half centuries of historic and literary associations.
Occupying a commercially strategic position on the lower Connecticut valley, fifty miles from the Sound, its present importance was first established by river trade and has been maintained by the railroads, which radiate in five directions. Today Hartford is not only the capital city of Connecticut, but an important center of the insurance business, a city of important manufacturing industries, and a tobacco market.
City Hall Square, the heart of the city, was originally the `Meeting House Yard,’ or Green, and of greater extent. The trolleys now center at the forum of the colonists, where they assembled yearly to elect their officers, and here were witnessed and celebrated many historic events. The Square presents interesting traditions of oldtime and modern architecture. The stately old brick City Hall, completed in 1796 with funds raised in part by a lottery, was used as the State Capitol for nearly a hundred years. It is one of the best examples of the work of Bulfinch, New England’s first and greatest architect. In it was held the Hartford Convention during the War of 1812 at which the secession of New England from the Union was more than hinted at.
On Main St. a block south is the old Center Church, a fine example of meeting house architecture with a Christopher
*Wren spire. This `First Church’ was organized in 1632 in Cambridge. The present beautiful edifice was completed in 18o7 and the interior has been little changed. The early settlers lie in the ancient burying ground. The epitaph of Samuel Stone, a divine who died in 1663, begins,
“New Englandes glory and her radient crowne Was he, who now on softest bed of downe, Till glorious resurrection morn appeare, Doth safely, sweetly sleepe in Jesus here.”
Opposite the church is the castellated front of the Wads-worth Athenwum, built in 1842 on the site of the founder’s house, where Washington and Rochambeau had their first conference. On the Green is a statue of Nathan Hale. Within are valuable libraries, an historical museum, a bird collection, and an art collection, including canvases by Stuart, Trumbull, West, and Sargent. The beautiful Morgan Art Gallery next the Athenaeum was completed in 1913 and presented to the city by J. Pierpont Morgan as a memorial to his father, Junius Spencer Morgan, a native of Hartford. Hartford’s handsome new Municipal Building was dedicated in November, 1915. Colt Memorial forms the connecting link between the Athenaeum and the Morgan Memorial and contains memorials of the Colt family, including a collection of firearms gathered by Colonel Samuel Colt.
Adjacent are the buildings of the “Etna Fire and AEtna Life Insurance Companies, and nearby are the Phoenix, Hart-ford, and Connecticut Mutual. The Travelers Insurance Building stands on the site of Zachary Sanford’s tavern, and it was here in 1687 when Governor Andros called in session the General Court for the purpose, so it was mooted, of depriving them of their charter of liberties, that the candles were suddenly extinguished and the charter spirited away. Just across the Park river, on Charter Oak Place off Main St., a tablet marks the site of the Charter Oak in the hollow of which the charter was secreted. The tree stood on the Governor Wyllis homestead, and was thirty-three feet in circumference when it was blown down in 1856. Mark Twain asserted that he had since seen made from the wood: “a walking stick, dog collar, needle case, three legged stool, boot jack, dinner table, ten pin alley, tooth pick, and enough Charter Oak to build a plank road from Hartford to Salt Lake City.”
At the further end of Main St. in Tunnel Park at the junction of High St. and Windsor Ave. is the Keney Memorial Tower, with a chime clock. On the river nearby is the beautiful Riverside Park.
In the center of the city is Bushnell Park, a beautiful undulating tract of fifty acres bordering the Park river, and reclaimed in 1859 from an unsightly spot through the good citizenship. of the great preacher Horace Bushnell (d. 1876). It is entered through a turreted gateway, a memorial to soldiers of the Civil War. The city’s outdoor sculpture exhibit here includes J. Q. A. Ward’s statue of General Israel Putnam.
Adjoining are the Capitol Grounds, formerly the Campus of Trinity College. The State Capitol, a conspicuous object in all views of the town, is of Upjohn Gothic architecture, completed in 1880 at a cost of over $3,300,000. Within are Civil War trophies, and statues and busts of Connecticut worthies. The dome (250 ft) commands an extensive view.
Facing the Capitol Grounds are the new State Arsenal and Armory of granite, completed in 1910, and the Connecticut State Library, completed in 1914 at a cost of $1,500,000. The latter is a beautiful and dignified example of Italian Renaissance architecture. The archives include many ancient and important documents and charters, the oldest bearing the auto-graph of King Charles II. In Memorial Hall at the south end hangs Stuart’s celebrated full length portrait of Washing-ton, and beneath in a cabinet is preserved the famous charter which for a time was secreted in the Charter Oak. In the floor of Memorial Hall there is a central tile panel showing a collection of seals used by the State of Connecticut at various periods. Here is the Mitchelson numismatic collection complete for all U.S. coinages and issues.
The Hartford Theological Seminary, founded in 1733 at Windsor and transferred to Hartford in 1865, is near the Capitol on Broad St. It has a famous theological library of 100,000 volumes and includes the Kennedy School of Missions and the School of Religious Pedagogy. A tract of thirty acres has been purchased in the western part of Hartford, to which it will move from its present quarters.
Above Bushnell Park on Asylum Ave. to the right is the Deaf and Dumb Asylum founded in 1817 by Dr. Gallaudet who inaugurated the education of deaf mutes.
Farmington Avenue, a handsome residential road, is rich in literary associations. A mile and a quarter from the center of the city Mark Twain’s house stands on a knoll beside an oak grove well back from the Avenue, and with its kitchen and laundry toward the street. The author maintained that by this unusual arrangement he had solved the servant problem for so long a time as policemen should continue to wear their uniforms with grace and sauntering superiority. The house, gabled and vine embowered, is built of many kinds of colored brick in elaborate and fantastical design. Next to the south, while they lived there, joined by a well-worn footpath, is the spacious dwelling where Charles Dudley Warner (18291900) lived while editor of the “Hartford Courant.”
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, who endeared himself to the American people as Mark Twain, after the success of his “Innocents Abroad” came to Hartford in 1871 and lived first in a “rambling Gothic cottage” just off Forest St. Adjoining was the “little red brick cottage embowered in green” where Warner then lived, with the garden at the back, which in-spired his first book, “My Summer in a Garden.” It was here, too, that he wrote his “Backlog Studies.” Nearby was the slate-roofed cottage among the trees and shrubs where Mrs. H. B. Stowe came to live in the early ’70′s and which remained her home until her death in 1896, and here came her admirers from all quarters to pay homage. Near the top of Vanderbilt Hill, on Farmington Ave., is the residence of Ira Dimock, erected by Cornelius Vanderbilt 2d, son of Cornelius 1st.
The Trinity College buildings, designed by Burges of Lon-don in early English style, stand out on Rocky Hill to the south of the city. The earliest Episcopalian college, it was chartered in 1823 as Washington College, and became Trinity in 1845. The steep side of the quarry behind the buildings shows clearly the interesting structure of the hill, consisting of trap rock overlying the horizontal red sandstones.
Hartford has been lavishly supplied with parks of unusual beauty through the foresight and generosity of her citizens. They number twenty-one and aggregate 1335 acres. Keney Park, an extensive wild tract of land of 680 acres in the north of the city, is the gift of Henry Keney. Elizabeth Park, to the west, famous for its rose gardens, floral displays, and at-tractive landscaping, is the gift of Charles M. Pond, and named for his wife. Goodwin Park (200 acres), Colt Park (106 acres), the gift of Colonel Colt’s widow, and Pope Park (90 acres) are to the south. Charter Oak Park, so called, is a trotting park and fair grounds. There are also charming drives to Tumbledown Brook and Talcott Mountain.
The first settlement on the site of Hartford was made in 1633 by the Dutch from New Amsterdam who built a two gun fort “The Hirse of Good Hope” at the junction of the Park and Connecticut rivers, to this day known as Dutch Point. Two years later appeared on the scene, much to the disgust of the Dutch, a whole congregation from Newtowne (now Cambridge), Mass., led by Thomas Hooker, that “rich pearl which Europe gave to America.” They came over-land, driving their cattle before them, but sent their goods by sea. At first they called their settlement Newtowne. A year later it received its present name in honor of Hookeres companion, Samuel Stone, whose birthplace was Hertford, England. The discrepancy in spelling does not imply a similar difference in pronunciation, for in England the “er” in “clerk” is pronounced as “ar” in “dark.”
Hartford immediately became a place of significance and the meeting place of the first General Court of the Connecticut Colony. Here in 1639 the planters of the neighboring settlements assembled and adopted “The Fundamental Orders,” the first written constitution in history.
Under the influence of the stern Puritan pastors the laws of this time prescribed the death penalty for idolatry, witchcraft, blasphemy, rebellion, and numerous similarly heinous offenses.
The famous version of the Blue Laws which makes such interesting reading was due to Samuel Peters, an Episcopal minister whose stanch loyalty to the crown so provoked the `Sons of Libertye that he was mobbed, threatened with tar and feathers, and driven out of town. With vengeance in his heart he published anonymously in London in 1781, “A General History of Connecticut, Including a Description of the Country, And many curious and interesting Anecdotes.” In this he gave the long accepted but spurious version of the Blue Laws.
Some of these, as he gave them, stipulated that “No woman shall kiss her child on the Sabbath or Fasting Days,” “No minister shall keep school,” “No one shall travel, make beds, cook, sweep house, shave, or cut hair on the Sabbath,” “No one shall read the common prayer, keep Christmas or Saintse Days, make minced pies, dance, play cards, or play on any instrument of music except it be the drum, trumpet, or a Jewsharp.”
Peters presented a somewhat distorted and biased portrait of the Connecticut Puritans, who, he said, “out-pop’d the Pope, out-king’d the King, and out-bishop’d the Bishops.”
`Blue Laws,e as a matter of fact, were common to all the Colonies. For example, Massachusetts in 1647 banished Quakers under penalty of death if they returned, while New Haven more mercifully never threatened Quakers with death, but gave them the choice of imprisonment, banishment, whipping, and branding, with the thrifty proviso that the expense was to be paid by the victim.
Puritan seriousness interfered with the enjoyment of a joke as appears in a Connecticut record of 1648, as follows: “The Court adjudgeth Peter Bussaker for his filthy and profane expressions (namely, that he hoped to meete some of the members of the church in hell ere long, and he did not but question that he should) to be committed to prison, there to be kept in safe custody, till the sermon, and then to stand the time thereof in the pillory, and after to be severely whipped.”
Forty years before Salem became interested in the hunting down and exterminating of witches the Land of Steady Habits entered upon such a campaign. In 1662 quite an epidemic of witch-hanging broke out in Hartford. Among those caught in the net at this time were Nathaniel Greensmith of Hartford and his wife, who lived on the present Wethersfield Ave. He was a well-to-do farmer, though he had been occasionally convicted of theft, assault, and lying, and his wife Rebecca was described by Rev. John Whiting as a “lewd, ignorant, and considerably aged woman.” They each seemed to suspect the other of familiarity with Satan, and as a result of this and other suspicions were hanged in 1662 on Gallows Hill about where Trinity College now stands, from which the crowd in the meadows could witness the show.
Washington came to Hartford from the Hudson by way of Litchfield with a guard of twenty-two dragoons in September, 1780, to confer with Rochambeau, whose aide-de-camp wrote of Washington on this occasion: “This most illustrious man of our century. His majestic, handsome countenance is stamped with an honesty and a gentleness which correspond well with his moral qualities. He looks like a hero; . . . he is very cold, speaks little, but is frank and courteous in manner; a tinge of melancholy affects his whole bearing, which renders him, if possible, more interesting.” It was during Washingtones absence at this time that Benedict Arnold betrayed West Point to the enemy, and it was the patrol of farmers formed to insure Washingtones safe journey to Hartford on this occasion who were directly responsible for the capture of Major Andre.
Some time after the Revolution Hartford became perhaps the chief literary center of the country because of the `Hartford Wits,e an influential group of literary men who were the publicists of the Federalist Party. They were a group of nine young Yale graduates who banded together for the cultivation of letters and for a time resided in Hartford. John Trumbull, Timothy Dwight, and Joel Barlow were the leaders. Timothy Dwight wrote an epic in twelve books, “The Conquest of Canaan,” and his “Travels in New England,” the first guide book to this region, is good reading. In addition to celebrities previously mentioned are John Fiske, historian, Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy under President Lincoln, and Frederick Law Olmsted. Hiram P. Maxim, the inventor of the Maxim silencer, and son of the inventor of the Maxim gun, is a native of the city and one of the most prominent residents of the present day.
Up to the nineteenth century Hartford’s commerce was her chief source of wealth, but the advent of the railroads brought a change, and manufacturing and insurance have since been the chief source of income. The manufacture of woolens commenced with the erection of the first woolen mill in New England in 1788. In 1846, or thereabouts, the Rogers process of electro-silver plating was invented and patented here. Not long afterward the manufacture of firearms be-came another leading industry. This was due to the efforts of Colonel Samuel Colt, born at Hartford, July 19, 1814. He was hardly more than a lad when he sailed before the mast to Calcutta and back. On the voyage he worked out the idea of his famous revolver and made a wooden model of it. Upon his return he was unable to secure the interest or financial backing necessary. To obtain funds he toured the country delivering lectures on chemistry. In 1858, 60,000 revolvers were made. Today the Colt Patent Firearms Company is one of the leading firms in this city, manufacturing revolvers, automatic pistols, and automatic machine guns. Connecticut produces four fifths of the total value of ammunition of the United States, and one fourth of the value of firearms. Underwood and Royal Type-writers, the machine tools of the Pratt and Whitney Company, church organs, engines, harnesses, and horseshoe nails are local products.
In the business world Hartford ranks first of all as an insurance center. The. origin of the insurance business dates from Colonial days, when the merchant traders whose ships sailed to the West Indies and the Spanish Main realized the value of having their cargoes underwritten or insured against the depredations of the buccaneers and pirates who thronged the seas. In 1794 the following card appeared in the “Hartford Courant”:
“HARTFORD FIRE INSURANCE OFFICE.
The subscribers have this day opened an office for the purpose of insuring Houses, Household Furniture, Goods, Wares, Merchandise etc. against Fire.
Sanford and Wadsworth. Hartford, 10th March, 1794.”
In 1810 a charter was secured by the Hartford Fire Insurance Company with a capital of $150,000. It is now the second oldest stock fire insurance company in America.
The growth of this business continued steadily until now there are a dozen or more companies that have been born and brought up here. Among these are the Hartford Fire, which issued a policy as early as 1794, Hartford Life, /Etna (fire), !Etna Life, Phoenix Fire, Phoenix Mutual Life, Travelers, National Pire, Connecticut General Life, Connecticut Mutual Life, and Connecticut Fire. The assets of the Hartford companies total about $500,000,000. Since the beginning of fire insurance in this city, $340,000,000 have been paid out. The San Francisco Fire occasioned payments of $18,000,000 by Hartford companies. More than 5000 people in Hartford live by insurance.
The main route follows the east bank of the Connecticut from this point to Springfield. For the route along the west bank see Route 10.