- Historical Maps -
At home on Kenyon's first block - our favorite street in Hartford's West End.


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Below is detailed text describing the times of the historical maps shown for Hartford and the West End - 
 from the city's founding in 1636 to 1909, when most of today's homes existed in the neighborhood....

Historical Hartford Maps:   1636    1766    1776    1811    1855    1869    1896    1909  
   Modern Maps:   Illustrated West End Map     West End Street Map      Hartford Neighborhoods      Hartford Streets    


 1636:  Hartford's Founding English Settlement:  arrow - click to link

Click map for enlargement.  Original plates combined - from: The Colonial History of Hartford  on-line
(added notations in brown)

HartfordMap_1636.jpg (522213 bytes)


Dutchman Adrien Block explored the CT River in 1614, and established a trading post in Hartford in 1633. This followed the epidemics that destroyed 90% of the native population along the Eastern Seaboard of North and South America.  The Suckiaug inhabited this area.  

Englishman The Rev. Thomas Hooker's church was established in Cambridge, MA in 1632 and 4 years later, 
he lead over 100 English colonists and 120 cattle here, in part to establish an English beachhead in Connecticut, and in part to establish his own flavor of Puritanism (Congregationalism) - without mandatory membership.  Hooker renamed the settlement after Hertford, England.  

The settlement of Hartford occurred amidst  the Indian wars between the Pequot and Mohawk (who wanted to trade exclusively with the Dutch), and the English, Dutch and Pequot - vying for control over Connecticut.  Within a year, the three river towns of Hartford, Wethersfield and Windsor joined together to fight the Pequot attack on Wethersfield, and created a common court in Hartford. Within two years, the new plantation of Springfield became part of the common court in Hartford.  Freemen voted to establish their first constitutional government based on "the will of the people" with the Fundamental Orders of 1639.

The settlement map shows 50 original property owners, most of them part of Hooker's congregation, many highly educated, and all seeking land to raise cattle and make their family fortunes. Most of their names are familiar to us 350 years later.  Their homes were located between what is now Main Street and the Connecticut River.  The Little River (now the Park River) divided the city north and south into two separate plantations.   They purchased their lots from the Suckiaug who needed an ally against the Pequot. The Dutch also claimed the south side of the Park River.

Jump to detail:   

 1755-1766:  Hartford's Pre-Revolutionary Period:   arrow - click to link 

In pre-revolutionary CT, Hartford is the crossing point for the Post Road going up the east and west side of the 
CT River into Massachusetts, through Springfield to Boston and south through New Haven, then west to Danbury and south to New York.  The shoreline post road goes to Providence, R.I.  
These historic post roads mirror present-day  I-91 inland and I-95 along the shore.

Below are the Thomas Jefferies map of the northeast, 1755, and the 
Miles Park map executed for the Earl of Shelborne, His Majesty's Secretary of State - 
"The Colony of Connecticut, North America, 1766".

Click maps for enlargement

.New England Map_1755

Connecticut Map_1766


The original footprint for Hartford included present-day West Hartford, East Hartford and Manchester.  
East Hartford will split off in 1783, including Manchester, which will incorporate in 1823.  
West Hartford is part of Hartford for the first 215 years, until 1854.

The meeting house and two churches are shown in Hartford:  currently Center Church and South Congregational churches.

Hartford Map_1766


 1776-1796:  Hartford's Revolutionary Period   arrow - click to link 

By 1776,  the beginning of the Revolution, the major roads in the state appear much as they did twenty years earlier.

Hartford Region Map_1776


A map dated 1780 shows Farmington Avenue extending from Hartford all the way to Fairfield. 
The current cities of West Hartford, East Hartford and Manchester are still part of Hartford.

Connecticut Map_1780


Bohn's 1796 map shows the Wells Ferry crossing at Hartford.  In addition to the town center, there are four grist mills, 2 saw mills, an oil mill and a paper mill in Hartford.
Four roads fan out from Hartford (Albany, Asylum, Farmington and New Britain avenues).

Hartford Map_1796


 1811:  Hartford During the British Embargo   arrow - click to link 

By 1811, the developed core city has spread a couple of blocks in each direction.  Major homes are along Washington Street and Maple Avenue.  The Warren map shows only three grist mills in the city, a reduction in small manufacturing within the city limits, compared to 15 years before. 

 This is a period of British embargo spurring small manufacturing everywhere throughout New England.  But Hartford has developed as a major shipping port - the most northerly navigable point in the CT River.
Now eight major roads form the routes to towns outside of the City of Hartford.  
The first bridge across the CT River at Hartford was built the year before, in 1810.  It was an uncovered bridge made of wood.  It will be washed away in the flooding of 1818, and replaced with a covered bridge.  

Click map for enlargement.

Hartford Map_1811



 1855:  Hartford in the Industrial Revolution     arrow - click to link

Samuel Colt gets his own factory in 1847 on Pearl Street.  He is 32, finally able to control his own product patented 11 years earlier.  Colt's manufacturing genius was to perfect the concept of interchangeable parts - 80% of his gun was made by machine alone.  He hired Elisha Root as head superintendent from the Collinsville Axe Co.  By 1855 Colt builds his spectacular armory along the Connecticut River, designed and constructed by Root who would go on to train a generation of engineers including Pratt and Whitney.  

The railroad from Hartford to New Haven (1839), skirts downtown and connects with a spur  to steamship service from the Hartford dock to New York.  There has been rail service to Boston for 9 years and to New York for seven.  The path of the railway will define the highway footprint constructed 100 years later.  

The West End in 1855:
By now, urban development has spread west out to Flower Street, on the eastern edge of what is now Aetna.  The year before, West Hartford split off and incorporated as a separate town, making Hartford's west boundary Prospect Avenue.  There are thirteen homes located in what is now the West End, all of them along the only streets: Albany, Bloomfield, Farmington, Asylum and Prospect - all major routes from the city to other towns.  The rest of the land is primarily flat farmland divided by whitewashed wooden fences.  

Jump to the Farmington Avenue Business District History page on Facebook:  

West End Map-North_1855


 1869:  Hartford after the Civil War  arrow - click to link

Fifteen years later, the city has expanded west into the current Asylum Hill neighborhood.  It is 4 years after the Civil War, and Hartford is still a major port city - with 22 piers. Bushnell Park has just been built. 
Harriett Beecher Stowe, world famous author of Uncle Tom's Cabin (1851), moves to "Nook Farm" in Hartford in1873.  Mark Twain builds his house next door to her in 1874, and publishes Tom Sawyer two years later.

The West End in 1869:
Fourteen years later, there are only 10 more houses in the West End - now totaling 23, and one more street has been added in the neighborhood - Sisson Avenue.  The area, then known as "Middle District', is still mostly farmland.  
Next year, Eugene Kenyon will build a path north of his home on Farmington Avenue and build his farm house halfway up what is now the first block of Kenyon Street (now 96 Kenyon). 
It will be the first home in the neighborhood built off of one of the major avenues. 

Click map for enlargement, or click for pdf file.  

Hartford Map_1869


 1896:  Hartford's Gilded Age 
arrow - click to link

The covered bridge across the Connecticut River burned the year before in 1895.  The current Bulkeley Bridge is a stone arch bridge that opened thirteen years later in 1908. It  is one of the oldest bridges in use by the interstate highway system (I-84).  

The West End in 1896:

Click map for enlargement, or click for pdf file

West End Map-North_1896


 1909:  Hartford is fully urbanized    arrow - click to link


The West End in 1896:

Click map for enlargement, or click for pdf file

West End Map_1909

Many thanks to the  Hartford Preservation Alliance for the loan of the last three original city plates from 1869-1909.  
Maps digitized by C. West Designs.
The 1636 map appears in The Colonial History of Hartford, William DeLoss Love, 1914. 
Thanks to the University of Connecticut for the early maps of Connecticut: 1766-1855.



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