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COLT PARK

Restoring the park's former glory and preserve its history.


Colt Park - Samuel Colt Memorial, Colt Park

U.S. National Historic Landmark District

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Location: Hartford, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°45′7″N 72°40′16″W
Area: 106 acres (43 ha)
Built: 1905
Part of: Colt Industrial District
Added to NRHP June 8, 1976

Colt Park is a city park in the southeast Hartford, Connecticut neighborhood of Sheldon/Charter Oak. The park was established by the former Armsmear Estate of Samuel Colt and Elizabeth Jarvis Colt and gifted to the city upon her death in 1905. Today the 107 acres park is home to playgrounds, sports fields, a skating rink and Dillon Stadium.  Colt Park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 8, 1976, designated as part of the Colt Industrial District, valued for its association with industrialist Samuel Colt. It is bounded by Wawarme, Wethersfield, Hendricsen, Van Dyke Avenues and Stonington, Maseek and Sequassen Streets.

The grounds were originally developed in High Victorian Gothic style, and served as Colt's exclusive "pleasure-grounds." It was complete with large reflecting pools, rustic furnishings, fountains, urns, statuary, artificial ponds for fish and foul, a deer park, orchards, fields and more.

Pope Park and Colt Park were the last major additions to the City of Hartford Parks System in 1898 and 1905, respectively. The two parks were intended to serve the traditionally working-class Hartford neighborhoods of Frog Hollow, Parkville, and Front Street.

The current amenities at Colt Park need renovations


Colt Park - 107.58 acres - 2 Outdoor Pools, 2 Playscapes, 1 Track, 1 Spray Pool, 2 Handball / Racquet Ball Courts, 2 Swing Sets, 2 Basketball Courts, 2 Soccer Fields, 3 Baseball Diamonds, 7 Softball Diamonds, 2 Football Fields.

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Colt Park History

 

Elizabeth Colt and Samuel Colt

From Mrs. Elizabeth Colt gave 106 Acres of land to the City in 1900 and the donation was accepted by the Common Council on November 13, 1905. The donated lands, extending to the Connecticut River, are shown on the map following this page. A plan was developed for the park by Theodore Wirth, Parks Superintendent. This plan retained the portion of the Colt estate grounds (which was originally designated by noted landscape gardener, Ignatz Pilat) facing Wethersfield Avenue and included an ornamental pond with picturesque plantings, grand shade trees and a curving drive. The balance of the land was framed with an edge of trees, leaving the center open for field play. The plan includes an area adjacent to the river labeled “River Grove, Boathouse and Landing.” 1.5 Acres in 1919 from E. Valentin, H. Porter, and A. Lippincott.

In July 1920 lands on both sides of Stonington St. were acquired through an exchange by S. P. Colt.  The granite and bronze memorial to Colonel Samuel Colt is inscribed “On the grounds which his taste beautified by the home that he loved this memorial stands to speak of his genius, his enterprise and his success and of his great and loyal heart. His wife in faithful affection dedicates this memorial, 1905.” Elm trees lining the park drives were planted in 1920 to commemorate one hundred and eighty-nine men who lost their lives during World War I. In 1926 memorial tablets were provided by the American Legion.

The lands for Dillon Stadium were a part of the original Colt gift. The stadium was a FERA project (Federal Emergency Relief Administration) and was dedicated in 1935. The related Field House was erected in 1939. Stadium seating capacity is 9,600. Lighting was introduced in 1964. The block west of the stadium is used for surface parking.

Colt Park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 8th, 1976. It was designated as part of the Colt Industrial District, valued for its association with Samuel Colt, bounded by Wawarme, Wethersfield, Hendricxsen, Van Dyke Avenues and Stonington, Masseek and Sequassen Streets.