Historic Rain of Parks Photos At Hartford Public Library
By ROGER CATLIN
August 28, 2010
Rain and parks are usually incongruent words.
If there is rain, then your day at the park is usually ruined. But the large-scale exhibit "The Rain of Parks" at Hartford Public Library refers to the term used to describe the unified system of parks that ringed the city in the early 20th century.
One hundred and fifty years ago, the city was the forefront of the urban-park movement with the establishment of Bushnell Park in 1853. A historic, circa-1912 photo of the downtown park in the current exhibit, culled from the City Parks Collection at the Hartford History Center, shows the familiar towers of the Soldiers and Sailors Arch, dedicated in 1886. But the bridge that approaches the towers, seen through the fanciful fauna in the foreground, crosses over the Park River, which has long since been covered.
Eleven 4 x 5 foot reproductions of historic photos of Hartford's parks are on view in the lobby of the downtown library. On Monday, the large-scale exhibit was used to kick off the city of Hartford's Week of Parks, which organized volunteer cleanups at Keney, Colt, Goodwin and Bushnell parks. And while the weeklong celebration ends today, the exhibit continues through the fall at the library, which houses the Hartford History Center on the third floor.
Last fall, the History Center was given a $20,000 grant by the Greater Hartford Arts Council and the Connecticut Humanities with additional support from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to preserve the multi-media archive of the City Parks Collection, whose holdings of manuscripts, photographs, maps, lantern slides, block prints and books spans a century from the 1850s to 1950s.
GOOD TO KNOW
WHAT: "The Rain of Parks" exhibit. Admission is free.
WHERE: The lobby of Hartford Public Library, 500 Main St.
WHEN: Through the fall. Library hours are Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 1 a.m. to 5 p.m.
INFORMATION: 860-695-6295 or http://www.hplct.org
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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