The carousel isn’t a Hartford native. Rumor has it that it was originally constructed in Albany, NY. The records aren’t entirely clear on that, but at some point in the 1940s it was moved to Canton, Ohio and in 1974 it was purchased and moved to Hartford to be part of the city’s renaissance. I’m not sure that renaissance ever took place, or that it played out the way city planners hoped it would, but the Carousel has been operating ever since.
I moved to Hartford in 1981. I have experienced the carousel with my wife and we took our daughter there back in the 1980s when the Hartford Civic Center was still somewhat of a shopping destination.
Hartford may be flirting with a new renaissance. Shopping has long since migrated to the suburbs and the Internet. Many members of Hartford’s bedrock insurance industry have also moved out of the city, but Hartford seems poised to become a center of education, recreation and cultural attractions. These are things that I think Hartford can do well, and things with which I don’t think the suburbs can compete.
Recent activity, not to mention future Thursday Doors posts, include a renovation and expansion of the Wadsworth Athenaeum, one of America’s first art museums, the renovation of the Old Connecticut State House, the construction of the University Connecticut’s Hartford campus, the construction of Dunkin Donuts Field, future home of the Hartford Yard Goats – I’m not making that up, but then again, that project is currently mired in delays and finger-pointing. Oh, I almost forgot, the renovation and expansion of the Bushnell Park Carousel.
For its 100th birthday, the city gave the carousel some heat along with the addition of a pavilion so the facility can be used for parties, meetings and events; and can be used year-round. Of course, the most important thing to remember is that this carousel is one of only three Stein and Goldstein carousels, hand-carved and built by Russian immigrants Solomon Stein and Harry Goldstein, still operating in the United States. At a time when wealthy collectors would rather buy up the horses for their personal displays, to have the 48 horses still in motion in Hartford is a huge deal.
This post is part of Norm Frampton’s interesting and fun Thursday Doors weekly blogfest. If you want to join us, all you need is a door. Visit Norm’s page, link up or at least view all the other doors.