Forgotten Asylum Hill

Status: Upcoming

Not everything is saved -- but this tour helps bring it back to life

Tour Details

This tour covers the Sigourney Square District, which runs between Woodland Street and Garden Street north of Collins Street. It covers landmarks gone and not often remembered in the neighborhood, including the Hartford Reservoir, the Hartford Almshouse and Pest House, some of the historic residents of the district, and even the old traffic patterns. The tour also serves as a primer to architectural and housing development in the second half of the 19th century. In person, the tour typically runs 45 minutes to an hour, and it goes as far west as Huntington Street, but the virtual tour extends throughout the district to Woodland Street.

Tour Guide

Jonathan Clark is a local historian and longtime resident of Asylum Hill. He covers important sites that are no longer extant, including the Old Town Farm, the Old Town Reservoir, the Collins Street mansions, and as an extra treat his own home on Huntington Street. He integrates historic photographs into his presentation, giving you a glimpse of what the neighborhood looked like, and he gives you a sense of how and why this section of Asylum Hill has changed since the 1870s.

Tour Stops

Virtual Tour Stop 1: Alice Cogswell Statute, 707 Asylum Avenue where Asylum and Farmington Avenues diverge, commemorates the life of Alice Cogswell, whose father Myron helped to found the American School for the Deaf
Virtual Tour Stop 2: The Trident, 707 Asylum Avenue along Broad Street, part of the complicated legacy of a colonial traffic grid that radiated out from the original English colony of Hartford to its satellite English settlements like Farmington.
Virtual Tour Stop 3: The Hartford, 690 Asylum Avenue, the campus is the entire block but the domed building is the original office building constructed in 1920-1921 on the site of the American School for the Deaf
Virtual Tour Stop 4: The Old Caledonian-American Insurance Company, 150 Cogswell Street, now part of The Hartford
Virtual Tour Stop 5: The Old Hartford Reservoir, corner of Garden and Cogswell Streets, provided water for the city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, now a parking lot for The Hartford but the old berm wall still visible along Garden Street.
Virtual Tour Stop 6: Liam McGee Memorial Park, 140 Garden Street, the old property of the Connecticut Mutual Insurance Company, now part of The Hartford and named in honor of their former CEO who passed away in 2015 - the park is the entire block, but it's best viewed along Garden Street.
Virtual Tour Stop 7/Walking Tour Stop 1: Connecticut Mutual Insurance Building, 140 Garden Street, now part of The Hartford's Liam McGee Memorial Park
Virtual Tour Stop 8/Walking Tour Stop 2: Old Collins Street, intersection of Collins and Garden Streets, viewed from the Garden Street sidewalk
Virtual Tour Stop 9: 132 Collins Street, an example of the apartment buildings developed in the 1920s
Virtual Tour Stop 10: 136 Collins Street, an example of the street from its heyday in the 1860s
Virtual Tour Stop 11: 142 Collins Street, a second but later example of the street from its heyday
Virtual Tour Stop 12/Walking Tour Stop 3: 207 Garden Street, a NINA project developed as the Zunner Building in honor of its architect, George Zunner and now called the Jacobson.
Virtual Tour Stop 13/Walking Tour Stop 4: The Victorian Lady, 21 Ashley Street, moved to this location from 47 Sigourney Street in 2004.
Virtual Tour Stop 14/Walking Tour Stop 5: The Mahl Houses, 31 through 47 Ashley Street, built by Frederick Mahl in the 1880s, alternating in design as they move up the street. Mahl also built several of the houses on the north side of the street, in particular 30-32 and 34-36 Ashley, the only two two-families on this block.
Virtual Tour Stop 15/Walking Tour Stop 6: The Henry Green House, 50 Ashley Street, home of Henry Green, who conducted early research on x-rays including in a lab (demolished) in the backyard.
Virtual Tour Stop 16/Walking Tour Stop 7: The Jonathan Clark House, 102 Huntington Street, owned and occupied by Jonathan for 40 years, with an incredible hidden garden attached at 98 Huntington Street.
Virtual Tour Stop 17: 94 Huntington Street, an early example of a three-family constructed in the district
Virtual Tour Stop 18: 182 Collins Street, another example of Collins Street from its heyday
Virtual Tour Stop 19: The George Seyms House, 181 Collins Street, home of George Seyms, a prominent hydrologist whose house sits on an angle (best seen from Huntington Street)
Virtual Tour Stop 20: 54 Huntington Street, a new home built by NINA in 2017
Virtual Tour Stop 21: 52 Huntington Street, a second new home built by NINA in 2018
Virtual Tour Stop 22: Sigourney Square Park, 251 Sigourney Street, the only remaining open section of the Old Town Farm, and the only municipal park owned continuously by the City of Hartford
Virtual Tour Stop 23: 310 Collins Street
Virtual Tour Stop 24: Willard Street
Virtual Tour Stop 25: Asylum Avenue
Virtual Tour Stop 26: 99 Woodland Street, former location of the Goodwin Castle, demolished by the family, the only remaining extant part is the parlor, which was installed as an exhibit in the Wadsworth

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