I thought I’d return to Hartford today for an easy door. Easy, in the sense that the post wouldn’t take too long to write (or read, I do think of you guys from time to time). I think it will remain easy to read, but that’s somewhat because it wasn’t easy to write.
I like to provide a little bit of history around doors like this, but the history of the pump house is curious. Let me share a couple of the conflicting facts with you:
The Pump House gallery website says the pump house was originally built in 1947. The State of Connecticut Office of Policy and Management (OPM) website says it was originally built in 1949. The plaque on the wall says it was built between 1947 and 1949. OK, potato/potahto. I guess it comes down to the meaning of “originally built” because one meant “started” and one meant “completed” but who’s to fuss over that?
However, the OPM site goes on to say:
“…originally built in 1949 as a pumping station for flood control. Due to erosion problems, the river was rerouted beneath the City and the function of the pump house was no longer needed.”
Whereas the Pump House Gallery site says:
“Originally built in 1947 by the Army Corps of Engineers using stones from the bridges that were removed when the Park River was buried… This quaint-looking building, reminiscent of an English cottage, is actually a functioning pump house–part of the Connecticut River Flood Control Project–and an art gallery, featuring exhibits by area artists.” (Text bolded by me).
I am going to go with the Pump House Gallery on this one, because, according to Wikipedia (yes, I know) The Park River was: “Buried in 1940 by Army Corps of Engineers.”
You have to put your thinking cap on here and approach this as a logic problem:
A) Two of the three sites mention that at least portions of the Pump House were built from stones removed from the bridges that used to cross the Park River. That tells me that the river was buried before the Pump House was built.
B) What would the pumps have been pumping before the river was buried? A free-flowing river wouldn’t be prevented much from flooding by pumping the water faster, but water moving through a tunnel would be aided by pumps.
C) There is a plaque on the wall of the Pump House, (not the Gallery) indicating the span of the construction.
D) A fourth source Karen O’Maxfield’s History and Connecticut’s Landmarks website, says:
“The park changed dramatically after the floods of 1936 and 1938 when all of Hartford was inundated from water backing up from the Connecticut River. By the 1940s, the Park River, which has flowed along the north edge of the park, was streaming underground through a concrete vault, its flow assisted by a series of pumps. The Bushnell Park Pump House was designed by H. Hilliard Smith to resemble a Cotswold Cottage.”
Whether the pumps still run today or not, the building is beautiful and it has some beautiful doors. I like the fact that it was built from the stones of the old footbridges. I’m not sure we would have gone to that much effort today.
This post is part of Norm Frampton’s fun and interesting Thursday Doors series. Please consider joining us.