Thursday Doors – The Gold Building

dutch door
My favorite door in the Gold Building

Thirty-five years ago this week, I rolled into Hartford, Connecticut for a permanent stay. I had been here in June 1981 for an interview, but it wasn’t until August 3rd that I arrived here from Seattle, Washington via the Trans-Canada Highway and a few days of vacation in Montreal.

My interview in June had been hastily arranged after another interview with the same firm (Peat Marwick Mitchell) fell through. It didn’t so much fall as it was thrown. A partner in their New York City office stood me up after I had traveled 2 hours from CT to NYC. Late that night, when the partner from Hartford called, I wasn’t interested, at first. We talked until well after midnight, and I grew to like him. He offered me the chance to interview later the same morning. Since I had never been to Connecticut before, I asked for directions.

Can you find your way to I-91?

Yes.

Good. From your hotel, you can only go north on 91, so do that. We’re in a building in Hartford called ‘The Gold Building’, if you can’t find that, I wouldn’t hire you anyway.”

For some reason, his snarky answers only made him seem more interesting.

I left for the interview at 6:00 am and I felt pretty silly when I arrived, over an hour early, especially since Hartford only had 4 tall buildings at the time and only one was gold. The interview is another story, but suffice it to say, I took the job and returned in August ready to work.

Once inside on day-1, I was introduced to the only consultant who I hadn’t met in June, John M. I was also sent to Office Accounts to have my picture taken and to complete my paperwork. I spent the first part of that process, standing at the shelf of a Dutch door that protected the accounting staff from the riffraff of alleged professionals like me. With the paperwork complete, I was told to go get a haircut. I protested, thinking that it would be hard to find a barber on a Monday morning, but I was pointed in the direction of a shop that was open.

That barber, is still my barber. John M. is my best friend, and was my best man two years later when I married the woman who helped me fill out the paperwork. I had been to that door, many times in two years, usually asking for a travel advance. I’ve been asking her for money ever since.

Within the span of about an hour, I met what a friend of mine has labeled “my trifecta” – 35 years later, these people are all still in my life.

Gold Building
One Financial Plaza

One Financial Plaza, the official name of the Gold Building is 344.6’ (102 m) tall with 26 floors of commercial space and a lobby and basement level with a little bit of retail space. There was a restaurant in the basement in 1981, but none of us can remember its name. It served quiche. It also had a nice bar. The building has a helipad on the roof, and it was rumored that Harry Gray, then Chairman of United Technologies Corporation (UTC) was the occupant of the only helicopter to regularly land there. We were on the 15th floor, but you knew when Harry had arrived.

On a personal note, the Gold Building figured prominently in a recurring nightmare of mine for years. In the 80s, the building was owned by UTC (makers of jet engines, helicopters and all things military in nature). In my dream, those vertical round tubes separating the windows, were actually rocket engines. The building would take off from Hartford and John and I would pilot it into space.

This post is part of the ongoing study of doors being conducted by Norm Frampton each Thursday. You can drive for about 5 hours up I-91 (& I-89) from Hartford to Montreal to find Norm, or, you can fly your building to his website. Check out his doors, click the blue button and either add your own door or view lots of others.

107 thoughts on “Thursday Doors – The Gold Building

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  1. I am trying to write a novel based on my experiences trading currencies in the City of London in the 70s and 80s. For the front cover, I wanted picture of a city tower and decided to photograph the building I last worked in during 1985. I got to the Bank of England on a sunny Sunday and parked up. There was lots of builders lorries around. When I walked to 50 years down the street to take the photo, all I could see was the concrete services shaft in the middle of the building. They were in the process of demolishing it! I will, therefore, never get that photo of the tower I worked in!

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    1. Thanks Judy. I know these aren’t the greatest doors, but it’s such z significant place. That was a pivotal time in my life. When I arrived in Hartford, things weren’t heading in a good direction. Two years later, my life was on a new path. My career still had some bumps in the road, but the people part was set.

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  2. Accepting that job so many years ago was certainly a pivotal moment in your life!! It was literally a life changer :)

    Great photos of all the reflected buildings. I read with interest your comment about the building featuring prominently in recurring nightmares. I too had recurring nightmares for years about my workplace. In my case, it involved an approaching tornado. I wasn’t stressed much, was I? Your’s doesn’t sound much better … rockets taking off into space? Yeah, that would be stressful!

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    1. I should have had your nightmare, Joanne. I was in a high rise dorm at the university of Georgia when tornados were approaching. That was a mix of fascinating and petrifying. The reflections and the memories far outweigh the doors at this place, but the timing was perfect.

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  3. Peat Marwick Mitchell used to audit the company I worked for in NJ. The accountants sat in the empty office right next to my cube. Who knew accountants could be so funny! Great post, Dan. Especially about meeting your wife. I met my husband at my second job down here in FL. One of the perks of the job, I always said.

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  4. Happy “ThisismynewhomeandI’mabouttomeetthewomanI’llmarry” Anniversary, Dan! Very cool that you are good friends with your barber many years later and that this job took you to meet your wife. I love feel-good stories like this. You have made a wonderful life in Connecticut.

    We have a gold building in Appleton, although it’s only about seven stories high. When they first built it, people were complaining because of the glare when the sun hit it. I almost ended up working in the gold building many moons ago when we were looking for new office space. It would have been really convenient to where I live now, but a little too convenient to the mall.

    Awesome post, Dan. I hope you find a way to celebrate this anniversary.

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    1. Ha ha – this should be a holiday. Actually, I did take today off but it’s because the oil burner guy is coming. Pretty romantic, huh? The reflection from this and one other building is very bad at certain points in the year. It snacks me in the face as I am making a left-hand exit from one highway to the other. It’s pretty annoying. I’ve followed my barber through about 6-8 shops, but I really like him. He’s retiring slowly. I’m not sure what I’m going to do if he quits for good. My best friend and I have worked together. I’ve worked for him, he worked for me and he bought furniture from me when I had my shop. It’s quite the connection.

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      1. Hey, I think that’s a good excuse to be off. You can relax a bit in between.

        I feel your pain, to some extent, with your barber retiring. I used to have a stylist that I loved and followed around to about four different shops. She eventually became a mom and her husband’s job took them away from the area. I searched and searched for someone that could take her place, but that could never be. I like the gal that I go to now, but she’s not Shelley. We talked about family, parents and life and I gave her cookies at Christmas. Like your barber, I had a special connection with Shelley, one that will probably not be replaced.

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        1. I was kinda hoping I would just lose the rest of my hair before he retired. The worst thing is that he might spend six months a year in Italy but work here the rest. I can’t make that work at all, unless I just go to walk in places…

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  5. One of my goals for this week or next week is to drive downtown and take some photos of all those buildings I drove past twice a day for the last 17-1/2 years, but which I never had time to stop and photograph. Hopefully, the weather will drop into the lower 80s so I can do that – I don’t handle heat well.

    BTW, I remember when quiche was all the rage – and that book (I think it was a book) came out entitled “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche.” I always thought that was a silly premise – real men can eat anything they damn well please.

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    1. I understand the “photographing what you’ve driven by for years” thing. I’m trying to get photos of places I lived and worked. Much has changed over time, but a lot remains. I’m not sure I ever had quiche. I was at the bar a few times. I was on the road a lot back then, and I wasn’t in that building often. Once, they moved our offices to the 16th floor, and then, after several months, to the 18th. I never unpacked on 16, as I was only there about 3-5 days over several months.

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  6. One of the great things about life’s journey is that you really don’t know when you meet someone, how crucial or temporary they’ll be. Sometimes relationships start out with an instant kinship, and sometimes they’re an evolution, but the beginning doesn’t seem to affect the end result.
    I can’t imagine working anywhere for 35 years, but then, I think, you never can tell.
    Previously, I hadn’t thought I’d marry.
    I never thought I’d have such a big family, or that I’d enjoy watching birds…
    I work for a classmate now. We had plenty of classes together, and even talked on the phone once, but we never really spent time together. I suppose we both know one another these last 30 years as polite, bright, competent people — and it’s occurred to me more than once that this is probably the perfect level for co-workers.
    By the by, I am the kind of person who would say something snarky about how if you can’t find the gold building…Especially after seeing it. Well it’s an enormous gold building, Dan. :)

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    1. See, I like that about you too! :) He had other snarky comments during that conversation. I wrote a whole post on that, for a different blog. I may revisit at some point.

      I left Peat Marwick to open my cabinet shop. When it closed, I went to work for John M at a different firm. Then I started working with a small insurance company as a consultant. Two years later, I took a job there. 28 1/2 years later, I’m still there. It actually is hard to imagine, even though I’ve done it. In addition, for about four years, after John retired from consulting, he worked for me. You never do know where things are heading when you meet people or when you think you’re saying goodbye to them.

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  7. Ha, this may be the most door-less Thursday Door post yet, Dan! Which isn’t a criticism — it’s a pretty cool-looking building, and obviously one of great personal significance. The rocket imagery makes perfect sense. Curious, though, that the only real door to speak of is a drawing, and that they’d even have a Dutch one in a building like that. Happy Anniversary-of-Meeting-the-Missus!

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    1. I did stick the revolving doors in there, but you’re right, there ain’t much door in this doors post. I was going to try to get a close-up, but the building staff came out to talk to me and people were going in and out, so I settled for the reflections. My wife really liked that Dutch Door. I wish we had a place where she could have one here, I’d be happy to put one up for her. I wanted to draw a rocket-building image too, but I ran out of time. I’m not sure it would have added much :)

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  8. What a great building! I wish you had a photo of that Dutch door, though — I love ’em. My mother used to work in the black building in Corning, New York. It wasn’t as beautiful as your gold building, but it wasn’t as blindy, either.

    And I’m glad you’ve come to see your “nightmare” as an adventure. Sounds like fun to me!

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    1. The original dream was kinda funny. It featured some unprintable dialog between my friend John and our boss. I wish I had a photo of the Dutch door, too. But that was yearss before the Internet and Norm and doors being a thing :)

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    1. It’s funny as I look back on it, Jan. At the time, I had no idea how small Connecticut was, let alone Hartford. I went to bed wondering if 6:00 am was early enough to leave.

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  9. I love the Gold Bldg in the early light, and all the different reflections you imaged in its glass.

    What a neat life story too! Congratulations on the anniversary. I hope you and the misses celebrate your arrival in CT with a drink at least. :)
    Isn’t it amazing to look back on your life and see how it’s gone. I hope the path leads you to continued success and happiness in the next 35 yrs.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great pictures and an even more wonderful story! Wow-that building had a lot for you indeed. It is so interesting to look back and see how things all played out. God had a wonderful plan for you. Good thing you found the building so you could get the job to kick it all into action! :)

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  11. Interesting door of the One Financial Plaza! Going through the interview stage is nerve wracking! Have to say, you are more patient than I am – if someone would have said to me “If you can’t find that, I wouldn’t hire you anyway,” I would have retorted, ” if you can’t be more civil, I’m not interested in working for your company.”

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    1. I was out of work at the time. I had had several interviews, and although two of them had gone very well, the jobs seemed boring by comparison to the job this guy was describing.

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    1. Thanks Jean. Yeah, from the highway, it’s like a lighthouse. I could see why he wouldn’t want me if I missed it., Still it would have been nice if he had said “it should take you about 45 minutes to get here” Oh well, I had time for a nice breakfast.

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  12. When are you going to pen your memoir? Nice story! You literally found gold (your lovely wife), when you found the gold building that early Monday morning. A barber, a best man and the “best mate”, all in one day:) Nice pictures! I like your favorite door in your gold building. We had one of those “half doors” in my childhood home.

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  13. What a great story. You reminded me of “Travel Advances. ” Those wonderful days of taking hundreds in cash and traveler’s checks and hitting the road with the idea of turning the advance into a fair return for the company. This was great, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John. I guess travel advances are part of lost business history. Travel expenses were just dumped into our paycheck at PMM. I got to the point where I didn’t know what a regular check looked like. Fortunately, my wife always had a handle on it.

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  14. Enjoyed the personal share and dude – you are “steady eddy” meaning stable like Mabel – ha!
    What nice relationships you must have – and truly a special door for the golden memories
    ❣🌹

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  15. THAT is an auspicious beginning. And serendipitous, or meant-to-be. The interview that fell through was merely to get you closer to your destiny. I love this post, one of my favorites (read it to M too.) I also realize I have a door story for Norm…. Happy Happy Anniversary!

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  16. I really loved the Gold Building, although, I very rarely like glass buildings, but I seriously like this one for its simple structure.While I was reading this article a series of questions flashed through my mind, so I’ll fire it right away. If you are going to some place which you haven’t been before, do you check direction on GPS & Google Maps or ask someone? Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve passed by a certain building many times and you had this feeling of going in and check it out from inside, and then one fine day you get a call or opportunity to visit the same building for work or for any other reason.

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    1. I’m glad you like this building. I am also not normally a fan of steel and glass boxes, but at least this one was interesting. As for your questions, I almost always check a map, so I have a good idea of where I’m going, but these days, I also use my GPS (no such options in 1981). If I can ask someone for directions, I will, because they usually know the traffic patterns as well. I have had many opportunities to visit buildings that I had previously admired or thought about. It happened a lot when I was consulting, as each assignment took me to a new place. I wish I had had a camera with me at those times/

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  17. Great shots and story! My husband and I also met at work many years ago. We called the building “the castle” because it looked like one. It’s had many lives over the years. I always drive the kids past it when we go to my hometown, but this post makes me want to go back and photograph it!

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  18. Out of this entire post what jumped out at me and had me really thinking were your words …Within the span of about an hour, I met what a friend of mine has labeled “my trifecta” – 35 years later, these people are all still in my life.
    One never knows what is about to happen no matter where you are. That is pretty cool, Dan. In fact, downright incredible!! I’d say you were riding on a golden ticket that day!! :) <3

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Wracking my brain now to see if I have any “moments” like that. I can think of one about a day I decided to go for a run on a very very hot humid August day and on that run met my present husband. Sometimes I do wish I had decided not to go for that run, but … ;) I wouldn’t be who I am today if I had not. I’d like to have more of those kind of moments that are life changing for the better. Hmmmm …… You’ve really got me thinking now, Dan. LOL

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  19. Dan, I learn so much about the state I once lived in from your posts! CT is a wonderful place to live! I’m wonder struck by the old buildings, and kept looking for them and old doors on my recent visit there! Next will be old barn doors & decorations. From this post I got a flash back to a Dutch door I had from the kitchen to the dining room. Loved that door & it’s shelf! Very useful & decorative! 💛 Elizabeth

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  20. This gold building is a beautiful structure and so glad you have had the place to work, Dan. This along with meeting a wonderful trio or your Tri-Delta, all lasting 35 years. Wow, I love the golden glow behind the glass front doors! Great doors post!

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