This post was originally planned for late September. I moved it up in the rotation for two reasons. One, my friend Kate posted a story (I lost the link but Kate put it in a comment) about how they are tearing a historic building down in Portland, OR in order to replace it with a common steel and glass high-rise. The story reminded me of the story of this beautiful piece of Hartford’s past. The second reason can wait until the end.
Goodwin Square is part of my meandering study of the Ann Uccello district in Hartford. When I first arrived in Hartford, the Goodwin Apartment building was still standing, but it was in deep trouble. By the mid-1980s, there was talk of tearing it down so the next “highest” building could be built. Local opposition fought hard against losing this beautiful structure, but the best deal they could cut was to preserve it as part of a much larger project.
The Goodwin was built in 1881 as an apartment building. The Building was expanded in 1891 to Ann Street and again in 1900 to Pearl Street. Among the people who called the Goodwin home was J.P. Morgan (who was born in Hartford) but only while visiting from New York.
In 1985, developers gutted the apartment building. The outer walls, with their striking Queen Anne facade decorated with ornamental terra cotta, were worked into the Goodwin Square office tower. When completed in 1989, Goodwin Square was the third tallest building in Hartford and the Goodwin Hotel opened in what had been the apartment building.
Unfortunately, the office tower was the product of overly-ambitious developers and ultimately proved to be a bad investment. The complex sold for over $40 million in 2004 but went into foreclosure in 2013. The Goodwin Hotel closed in 2008.
Goodwin Square was purchased in an auction in 2015, for a little over $17 million. The new owners have plans to revitalize the office tower, but have not revealed any details. There are no current plans to revive the hotel. I have been reading lately how other historic buildings in the are being turned into apartments. Maybe there’s hope that the Goodwin will return to its roots.
If you’re not familiar with Thursday Doors, it’s a weekly blogfest brought to us from Norm Frampton up in Canada. Norm is taking a break, and he has transferred the mantle of doorthority to Joey this week. She’s up to the task, she’s a trooper. If you want to join the fun, or if you just want to see a world, that’s right, world full of doors, hike yourself over to Joey’s place in Indianapolis. Once there, check out Joey’s doors. Then look for the blue frog. Yes, Norm sent the frog to Indianapolis, too. Click that tadpole and prepare to be amazed.
The featured photo today is offered in honor of Joey’s service to the cause of doors. If you follow Joey, or if you’ve seen her comments, you know that she likes light fixtures. That’s the other reason I moved this post up a couple of weeks.
Thanks for viewing my doors, and if Norm is checking in, enjoy your vacation big guy. Rest easy, Joey’s got this.