Hartford BPOE – Hartford Club

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

Note: Thursday Doors will be taking a break next week. There will be no Thursday Doors post here and there will be no Recap next Sunday. See you again on August 5th.

Prospect Street in Hartford is one block east of Main Street and is flanked by the back of some very important buildings on the west side of the street and some interesting, important smaller buildings on the east side. Two of the smaller buildings are the ones I am sharing today, the Elks Lodge and The Hartford Club.

Both of these buildings were added to the National Registry of Historic Places in the early 1980s, about the time I arrived in Hartford. My best friend attended a meeting in the Elks lodge and told me that it’s a remarkable building – an assessment supported by numerous comments on other websites. The Hartford Club, a Men’s club organized in 1873 has been the largest luncheon club in the city since it opened. I have attended meetings, dinners, and parties in this club many times. I have no pictures from the interior, but you can view some at the club’s website.

The NRHP nomination form states, “In the Hartford Club, the style, design and scale are almost domestic in character” However, while the form doesn’t offer much in the way of description, it does include the following paragraph that is remarkably well suited for this blog challenge:

The single most important decorative element of the facade is the 1-story, flat-roofed, Corinthian portico, that is approached by broad stone steps. The portico is curvilinear in plan with clusters of three columns, right and left, supporting the entablature. There is an additional column at each side near the wall, in front of a pilaster, while pilasters flank the glazed, double door that has windows on either side and a fanlight above. The portico has a wooden balustrade that follows the curvilinear plan. On either side of the portico, in the central section of the facade, there is an 8-over-8 window. In each end section there is an 8-over-12 window flanked by glazing one light wide, in a tripartite effect. All of these windows have splayed lintels with key blocks and sills of limestone.

Like many social clubs across the country, The Hartford Club has suffered financially in recent years. The members contributed to a fund drive in the early part of this century. They have tried to offer more modern amenities in the club to attract new members, including women.

Two doors down from The Hartford Club is a Neo-Classical Revival style that houses Lodge No. 19 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Similar to the nomination form included above is this description of the front entrance to the Elks Lodge:

The central front entrance is approached by broad brownstone steps between heavy piers on which stand iron figures of elk. The double front door under stained glass transom has molded architrave and molded cornice cap with dentil course supported by consoles. Iron light fixtures flank the doorway. In the fascia over the door there is bronze lettering reading “B.P.O.Elks.'” flanked by heavy double consoles that support an iron balcony. The door surround, fascia and consoles are limestone.

A high, quarry-faced brownstone foundation wall with chiseled limestone water table, left’ and right of the front steps, is interrupted in the chamfers for basement windows. At the first floor, there are two 1-over-l windows on each side of the door. They have limestone sills and splayed lintels of vertically laid brick with limestone console keys. Above the windows, smooth limestone over a course of small blocks forms a first-floor cornice or string course.

While I have no idea what the future holds for these two buildings, I can well imagine the role they have played in the past. In an era when the city planners worked closely with the men in charge of the insurance companies headquartered in Hartford, I’m sure that much of the city’s history was charted in the lounge of The Hartford Club. I hope people in the future will come to understand the value of person-to-person, face-to-face communication and the benefits of this type of social engagement.

If you are in a hurry and don’t wish to scroll through the comments, click to Jump to the comment form.


    • I’m not sure if the arches are plaster or concrete, Given the description of the portico as being the only interesting element, I doubt very much that they were carved, but I could be wrong.

      I enjoyed going along with you as you shopped for tea.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Two beautiful old buildings, Dan. We also had men’s clubs here in Johannesburg and they to are suffering financially. I think business has changed and everything is frantic and desperate all the time now. People don’t take the time to relax anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great doors, windows, balconies, staircases and elaborate trim. Between both these buildings they have it all. A time of detailed architecture gone by. Two beautiful grand old buildings still standing proud. Nice to see. Really hope people begin flocking to them again. They need to serve their purpose, not sit there with their paint peeling off.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ginger. I read on the Hartford Club’s website they they have been adding members. That’s a good sign, and I hope the club continues well into the future. Having these buildings in the downtown zone is important. They give the city some character.


  3. “The value of person-to-person, face-to-face communication.” Amen. If these gorgeous old buildings are a reminder of that value, then long may they stand! That the Hartford Club opened those doors to — gasp! — women must be a sign of how important preservation is! Wonderful photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s interesting, There are women’s clubs as well, closer to the boarder with West Hartford, the first upscale suburb of the city. I hope they all find a way to survive. They are important for their history and for the purpose they serve.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It would be a travesty if these two buildings were lost. The younger generation needs to understand history and respect it. If we lose these gems, we lose a part of ourselves as well. In my humble opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The Hartford Club has the entrances that grab your attention and the arches are beautifully detailed. But both buildings have magnificent architecture.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Spectacular entrances and the buildings are simply elegant! Thank you for featuring them, Dan. When I visit my kids, I hope to go to Hartford to check out some of the historical masterpieces you’ve shown us. Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • A quick check on Google maps seems to indicate a basic flat roof, with all the concerns one would have and a large light well for the interior rooms.

      I liked your doors today, especially that second one. At least our posts have one thing and common ;-)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What beautiful and elegant buildings. It takes a lot of money and time to take care of such properties but they really stand out well against their modern counterparts, don’t they? Face to face in person communication and socializing has suffered a lot lately but I do hope it won’t be totally replaced by virtual means in the future. Meeting in such lovely old venues adds a charming ambiance to an event. Speaking of old buildings, here’s my offering for this week. Enjoy your break from Thursday Doors, Dan. https://jeanreinhardt.wordpress.com/2021/07/22/thursday-doors-ballycastle-the-diamond/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jean. I think the struggles the club has had have to deal with the upkeep of that building. It’s hard when the attraction for members is an elegant building, amazing food and opulent lounges.

      I enjoyed the tour you gave us today – that church is amazing.


  8. The two images on top: the pillars on the left image are really beautiful. On the right image the stained lass window above the door is so fitting and a beautiful feature. Further, all these houses are grand and make a beautiful post. Enjoy your well deserved rest the next week, Dan! Before I forget, because of another blog issue, I changed my username from Jeshie2 to Emille. Thanks for hosting so well! Emille

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Both buildings are lovely. I really like the Hartford Club’s portico and that balcony above it and of course the red brick with white trim is a favorite.

    I know next to nothing about the Elks club and had to look up what B.P.O. meant! 😂

    Enjoy your upcoming break!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had to look that up as well, Deborah. From what I read, the lodge is well known for its interior space and years of service. I think the two buildings are an important part of Hartford’s history. I can imagine Mark Twain sipping brandy and enjoying a cigar in the lounge at The Hartford Club.


  10. Both of these buildings are beautiful, but The Hartford Club photos….wow. And the words: curvilinear, entablature, tripartite effect…so wonderfully descriptive. You would laugh at one of our BPOE’s here in town. It’s a converted Tom Thumb convenience store. I kid you not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lois. A repurposed convenience store? That is a far cry from “The Elks Lodge is a fine example of Neo-Classical Revival architecture executed in the yellow brick popular at the time it was built, with stone dressing and restrained but complex detailing. The outstanding interior and the exterior are little altered since construction.”

      I left that out of the post because I was running out of space, but that’s the description in the nomination form.

      The Hartford Club is a beautiful building, inside and out.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Dan. I do like the Hartford Club building, especially the entrance. The Elks building is a bit stern for me but its important to maintain these buildings in productive use. I have to say I’m a bit suspicious of organisations like that. I have always avoided invites when I’ve been approached by them over here in the UK. I don’t think they are as big a thing here though. This week I have more doors in West Sussex, England.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. H Dan – the opening two photos had me zooming in more than usual – so grand and oh my gosh this must have had som thought in design – – wonder who came up with “one-story, flat-roofed, Corinthian portico” and said “yes, that will work fine” ha

    hope you have a nice break this next week and see you in August

    oh and her is my link for this week – https://priorhouse.blog/2021/07/22/thursday-doors-in-downtown-rva-treesquare-july-22/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Yvette. It looks like they put the bulk of their resources into the interior space. The entrance is welcoming and, once inside, the grand design reveals itself.

      I like the tour you took us on this week.

      Liked by 1 person

      • glad you liked my little tour Dan – and I am actually finding a new groove and getting my posts up on Thursday ( I know we have until Saturday noon – but I do prefer to have it up n Thursday if possible)

        anyhow, that grand interior likely saw lots of changes over the decades as the world changed a lot since it was built in late 1800s – and I wonder if that place was still a little busy during the Great Depression?? hm

        Liked by 1 person

        • If you check out their website, Yvette, you’d see that the interior hasn’t changed that much. They added an air cleaner to the cigar bar, but entering that lounge is like stepping back in time. They do have WiFi.


  13. Hartford is definitely an open air museum, Dan. I am glad that more buildings are added to the Registry of Historic Places. we have something similar in Romania too. We might not protect them from natural disasters, but we can definitely save their memory and mark their importance for further generations.
    The main entrance of Hartford Club is so grand. Imagine taking shelter there on a snowy day, waiting for your ride :)

    It snowed in South Africa! So here we go:

    Thank you again for hosting Thursday Doors. Have a merry holiday :) Safe and joyful travels.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I love the main entrance to the Hartford Club. That balcony is sweet. The side view to the Elks Lodge shows so much more of the architectural intricacies. As always, thanks for the great history for these places. We’ll miss you next week.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Enjoy your week away. Had mine last week but wouldn’t consider it a vacation. In case anyone needs to know, moving people charge way more during a pandemic–even in the middle of Kansas! in which case we took the DIY route. Ug! But daughter is settled in and ready for her next chapter. See ya’ll after the break!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. My goodness! These are two winners. I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t know a few of the descriptive words in the NRHP application. The doors and entranceways are architecture at its best. Dan, your last paragraph was really important. These two clubs are more than landmarks, they represent what is important in social interaction. It makes all the difference.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I learn new terms almost every time I read those nomination forms, Jennie. But it’s nice to learn something new. I’m glad you agree about the importance of real interaction (I was pretty sure you would).

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi Dan … love the look of these buildings – but your last sentence: ” I hope people in the future will come to understand the value of person-to-person, face-to-face communication and the benefits of this type of social engagement.” … I totally endorse. Enjoy your time away … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Fantastic. I worked nearby at CT. DEP on Elm St for years, and often went to the Polish Home for lunch (another good door site?) or walked the area, and many times have stopped to marvel at this place.


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