What to Watch in 2008
than a dozen developments are expected to change the face of
Farmington Avenue in 2008. Here’s what’s
in the works for the avenue.
- Pedestrians on
Farmington Avenue in Asylum Hill will see more
flowers, cleaner streets, less graffiti and increased security thanks to property
owners who fund the Business Improvement District (BID).
- A new
police substation opened on the ground floor of the Connecticut
Culinary Institute at the corner of Farmington Avenue and Imlay
city will be removing non-conforming newsracks (boxes that hold
newspapers and advertising circulars) that have been a source
of visual blight and litter.
office workers will be based on Farmington Avenue as The Hartford
moves into the brick colonial building at the corner of Farmington
Avenue and Asylum Place.
- Aetna is also expanding its workforce at its headquarters on Farmington
Avenue. The company will move a few thousand employees into the
former ING building as well as its large brick colonial building
on the avenue. A newly constructed parking garage on Flower Street
will accommodate some of the new staff.
first bus pullout, designed to get buses out of travel lanes
when passengers get on and off buses, will be installed in
front the Connecticut Culinary Institute (CCI). Its design,
including new sidewalk pavers, will preview what will be built
on the rest of the avenue for the streetscape project. Kudos
to CCI for sharing the cost and land for the new design.
Transit will be consolidating and relocating bus
stops to speed
up the time it takes passengers to travel the avenue.
era KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) restaurant will be torn down
and replaced with a new model, filling in a hole in the West
End commercial district.
- Parking for customers of West End restaurants has been made available
evenings (after 5 p.m.) at the rear of the lot between Kenyon
and Whitney Streets known in the neighborhood as the “Kinko’s
are underway to relocate and expand the Mark Twain Branch
of the Hartford Public Library at a location at the corner of
Farmington Avenue and Marshall Street.
new American cuisine restaurant at the former Roo Bar is under
- Plans for
a mixed use retail and residential building at the corner of
Farmington and Girard Avenues have changed. Currently the owner
is working on a plan for a two-story retail development.
ANNUAL FARMINGTON AVENUE STREET FESTIVAL – JUNE 9, 2007
Music …Celtic and Gospel roots. An old-fashioned trolley.
Architectural tours. Arts and crafts show and sale.
All of this
and more will be part of the second annual street festival along
Hartford’s Farmington Avenue. Discover our
Avenue will take placeon Saturday, June 9 from
noon to 5 p.m. between Forest Street and Girard Avenue.
is a great opportunity to get to know your avenue, and all it
has to offer,” Sally Taylor, president of the Farmington
Avenue Alliance, sponsor of the event, said. “Join your
neighbors for some great entertainment, good food and lots of
will feature Farmington Avenue’s significant historical,
cultural and artistic assets.
entertainers, clowns, artists painting street scenes and a wide
variety of activities will encourage festival goers to stroll
and explore the avenue. An old fashioned trolley will run
up and down Farmington all day.
will offer free rides on city buses traveling Farmington Avenue
(E-Line only) during the festival.
at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, such as horse and buggy
rides, old fashioned games, period costumes and dance will give
visitors a taste of a bygone era. Stowe’s home and
exhibits at the Mark Twain Museum will be open at no charge.
An Arts and
Crafts Show and Sale featuring work from local artists will line
the Nook Farm Green, between Woodland and Owen Streets.
can join architectural tours of historic homes, churches and
districts in the Farmington Avenue area. Or, the more adventurous
may tour the north branch of the Park River or peek into the
sanctuary of Immanuel Church.
be music all along the avenue throughout the afternoon at stages
at Nook Farm Green (near Woodland Street) and the corner of Farmington
and Girard Avenues. Performers will include the Boys of Wexford
featuring P.V. O’Donnell, fiddle, John Taub, accordion,
Paul Recker, “Old Time Country, and Claudine Langille,
banjo and mandolin. Vocalist Tony Harrington will also perform.
are: Aetna Foundation, Colonial Theater Renaissance Corporation,
Ensworth Charitable Foundation, Farmington Avenue Alliance, Greater
Hartford Arts Council, Hartford Advocate, Hartford Foundation
for Public Giving, and the West End Civic Association.
and Friends are: City of Hartford, Clemens Place, CT Transit,
Farmington Asylum Business District, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center,
Greater Hartford Magazine, The Hartford, Hartford Preservation
Alliance, Mark Twain House & Museum, Park River Initiative,
West End Civic Association and West End Community Center.
Center receives major grants for building renovation and preservation,
enrichment, and educational programs
Center at Nook Farm, located on the corner of Farmington Avenue
and Forest Street, has been awarded over $800,000 from local
and national organizations.
by Katherine Kane, also an active board member of the Farmington
Avenue Alliance, the Stowe Center has taken extraordinary steps
to preserve its buildings and collections, while expanding outreach
programs to Hartford schools.
Foundation for Public Giving gave $300,000 to install
and upgrade climate control, including heating, ventilation
and air conditioning, in the three historic structures on the
Stowe Center’s grounds. Additional money to complete
the preservation work came from a $400,000 grant from the National
Endowment for the Humanities.
supported a project to install climate control and fire suppression
systems in the Stowe Center’s three historic buildings
and create environmentally appropriate storage for the material
culture, library and archival collections.
to be protected include Harriet Beecher Stowe’s paint box;
her paintings; hand-written manuscript pages from her most famous
work, Uncle Tom’s Cabin; Beecher family abolitionist correspondence;
a Hadley-style chest from the Thomas Hooker family as well as
other important pieces of furniture; and significant print and
archival collections from Stowe as well as the extended Beecher
and Stowe families.
from the National Endowment for the Humanities was one of only
11 preservation projects funded nationally (four in Connecticut
and three in Hartford) and is one of five named as a We the People
award. We the People is a presidential initiative that recognizes
model projects critical to the study, teaching and understanding
of American history and culture.
Endowment for the Humanities also granted the Stowe Center $100,000
to fund a two-week intensive summer institute for middle and
high school teachers from around the country. “Slavery
and Emancipation in New England” will be an in-depth study
of the economic, social and physical impact of slavery and emancipation
in New England. Participating teachers will also learn innovative
techniques to incorporate primary source documents in the classroom
and create lesson plans that will be published and made available
to other teachers. The 2005 Institute was one of 13 funded by
the NEH from a pool of 44 applicants.
Center piloted the topic of Slavery in New England at the July
2004 Summer Institute, a week-long program funded by the Connecticut
Humanities Council’s Humanities in the Schools
the Visitor Experience
In early 2003,
the Stowe Center embarked on a multi-year program to transform
the visitor experience. This program includes enhancing the House
Tour, the largest education program, and changing the way the
entire staff interacts with visitors. Through the support of
the Heritage Advancement Program, a funding collaboration between
the Connecticut Humanities Council and the Greater Hartford
Arts Council, and supported by the Hartford Foundation
for Public Giving, the Stowe Center has been able to add the
position of Head Guide. In addition, the Stowe Center has focused
additional training resources on the guides – including
visiting exemplary heritage and social justice sites throughout
part of this initiative, supported by the Connecticut Humanities
Council’s Cultural Heritage Development Fund, is training
staff in presentation techniques, learning styles (especially
for children), customer service and cultural sensitivity. The
Stowe Center’s internal values of treating each person
with dignity and respect are reinforced and extended to visitors.
Grant for School Programs
Center has expanded its school programs, advancing collaborations
with Hartford Public High School and other schools, through a
leadership grant of $25,000 from the Lincoln Financial Group
Foundation. This award, together with significant support from
The Hartford Financial Services Group and other area foundations
and agencies, will allow the Stowe Center to be able to continue
to develop and deliver curriculum-based programs to increasing
number of students.
a museum design a program around our needs is a far more effective
approach for educating our students than offering programs ‘off
the shelf,’” said Luke Williams, a social studies
teacher and Hartford Public High School archivist.
Twain House Museum Honored as Nation’s First ‘Green
Just as Mark
Twain’s Farmington Avenue home in the last century had
features uncommon at the time - central heating, hot and cold
running water and gas lighting fixtures – its new museum
is at the forefront of innovative design.
A new 33,000
square foot Museum Center, opened in November 2003, has become
the first museum in the nation and the first building of any
kind in Connecticut to attain LEED (Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design) certification from the U. S. Green Building
rates building design by looking at sustainable site development,
water savings, energy efficiency, materials selected and indoor
environmental quality. For a building to received LEED certification
it must meet a long list of criteria.
new center used its site location to full advantage. Museum leaders
did not want to overpower the Twain House with a large building.
Available land was limited and the lot was steeply sloped, so
designers placed the building into the side of the hill with
half of it underground. This resulted in significant reductions
in heat gain and loss.
source of energy efficiency was the use of geothermal wells for
the predominant heating and cooling source rather than fossil
fuel. This resulted is an HVAC system nearly 30% more efficient
than the norm and especially good for museums which are “usually
energy hogs,” according to John V. Boyer, executive director
of the Mark Twain House & Musuem. Stringent temperature and
humidity requirements are needed to preserve collections in museums.
building uses natural light, known as daylighting, to illuminate
lower levels. It is an especially effective feature of the grand
staircase, whose walls are lined with humorous remarks by Twain
that amuse visitors as they walk. The staircase is the primary
way visitors get between floors, eliminating the need for one
renewable building materials were used throughout the building.
Museum parking was minimized to reduce storm water runoff and
pollution impact, lighting fixtures selected to reduce off-site
glare and native vegetation was used to eliminate the need for
an irrigation system. Boyer said the new building doesn’t
even have an outside water faucet.
the LEED certificate on Earth Week in April. He said the Museum’s
board felt “a moral imperative to go green.” Boyer
also said the design was “better for the bottom line and
the spaces are a better working environment.
Avenue Road Design Wins Silver Award
the firm that provided transportation engineering services for
the Farmington Avenue Plan, has won a Silver Award for Excellence
in Planning Studies for the firm’s work on the Farmington
Avenue Plan from the American Council of Engineering Companies
representing a membership of over 5,800 engineering firms, considers
itself the voice of the American engineering industry.
of Urbitran, who led the transportation planning portion of the
Farmington Avenue project, accepted the award at a black tie
reception at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City on April 3.
Farmington Avenue Street Festival a Success
An old-fashioned trolley. Architectural tours. Arts and crafts
for sale. Discounts on food at restaurants. Clowns, stilt walkers,
jugglers, horse and buggy rides, old fashioned games, period
costumes and dance. See
This was the
scene on Hartford’s Farmington Avenue during a street festival
on June 10 between Laurel and Whitney Streets.
featured Farmington Avenue’s significant historical, cultural,
artistic and culinary assets, including a birthday celebration
at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. Special thanks to festival
sponsors, collaborators and friends.
sponsors: Aetna Foundation, Bank of America, Colonial
Theater Renaissance Corporation, Ensworth Charitable Foundation,
Farmington Avenue Alliance, Greater Hartford Arts Council,
Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Knox Foundation, The
Hartford, and the West End Civic Association.
Collaborators and Friends: Churrascaria Braza Restaurant,
City of Hartford, Clemens Place, CT Transit, Dishes, Farmington
Asylum Business District, Greater Hartford Magazine, Half Door
Pub, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford Children’s
Theatre, Hartford Proud & Beautiful, Laurel Corner Gardeners,
Ichiban, Mark Twain House & Museum, Richard Cohen, Eliot
Gersten, and Phil Schonberger, Tisane Tea & Coffee, and
West End Farmers Market.
our Avenue Street
Festival on June 10, 2006
first street festival will be held on Saturday, June 10 from
noon to 5 pm. Organized by a number of avenue groups, Discover our Avenue is an event
to showcase the architectural, cultural, artistic, historical and
culinary treasures of Farmington Avenue.
Click here for a schedule and map of event activities.
People will be encouraged to stroll or ride a vintage trolley
along a three quarter mile stretch of Farmington Avenue between
Whitney and Laurel Streets. Festival goers may also explore all
the activity centers by hopping on a frequently passing city bus
that will be offering FREE rides along Farmington Avenue during
will be scheduled on the same day as the Harriet Beecher Stowe
Birthday celebration (located at the corner of Farmington Avenue
and Forest Street). Activities planned at the Stowe Center include:
Victorian games, living history exhibits, period dance demonstration
and instruction, carriage rides in a horse-drawn carriage and
lawn performances including: Hartford Metropolitan
Youth Choir, Bristow Big Band (jazz), Hopewell Concert Choir (gospel)
and Tierra Mestiva (Spanish).
The day will feature live street entertainment, an interactive
experience for 7-11 year old children, Raise Your Voice, at
Hartford Children’s Theatre, walking tours of Asylum Hill
and Nook Farm organized by the Hartford Preservation Alliance,
Park River tours, an open house at Clemens Place, live music performances
for a youth audience, an arts and crafts show, an antique car display
and snacks at avenue restaurants that will please every palate.
can enjoy conga drumming on Braza’s patio
where there will be specials on grilled meats (linguisa sausage,
chicken wings, flank steak) and Brazilian cheese bread. The Half
Door will have Irish music along with pub food and a wide variety
of imported beer. From 2-3 p.m. Ichiban will have a sushi and Korean
food demonstration outside its restaurant.
A key element that will provide connectivity among avenue venues
will be a sidewalk art and crafts show, strategically located along
the avenue. Brilliantly colored 20-foot banners will be attached
to street light poles to visually connect activities along the
The festival is designed to appeal to all ages. It will provide
an opportunity for people who live and work in the Farmington Avenue
area to discover the rich assets of the neighborhood.