Colt Park History
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.