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8 Interesting and Fun Facts About Hartford, The Capital of Connecticut

As the capital of Connecticut and the third-largest city in the state, Hartford is among the oldest cities in the United States. As the seat of state government and as a hub for employment, Hartford is also the center for arts and entertainment in the region. Here are 10 things you might not have known about Connecticut’s capital city.

1) Hartford is the World’s Insurance Capital

Hartford is home to the headquarters of more than 100 insurance companies, including United Healthcare, Lincoln National Insurance, The Hartford, Travelers Insurance, Aetna, and many others. This has led to Connecticut having the highest number of insurance professionals per capita in the U.S. 

2) Home of the oldest public art museum in the US

Since opening its doors in 1844, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is the oldest public art museum in the United States. The museum is home to almost 50,000 works of art, spanning 5,000 years and contains everything from antique European art to American art from the 1600s through today. 

The castle-like museum is located at 600 Main Street in downtown Hartford, Connecticut. With over 75,000 square feet of exhibition space, it is also the largest art museum in Connecticut. 

3) Oldest continuously published newspaper

The Hartford Courant is not only the largest daily newspaper in the U.S. state of Connecticut, but it is also the oldest continuously published newspaper in the United States. The first edition of the paper was published on On October 29, 1764, by New Haven printer Thomas Green. It consisted of just 4 pages printed on 8 ½ x 14 ½ paper but has now grown to maintain a daily circulation of over 200,000. 

4) Oldest publicly funded park

First conceived by the Reverend Horace Bushnell in 1854 due to a need for open public spaces, Bushnell Park is the oldest publicly funded park in the United States. Today, the park’s 37 green acres are visited by more than one million people each year and include artwork, sculpture, and play areas. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Bushnell Park boasts the largest turkey oak tree in New England, with a trunk that is nearly 17 feet around.

5) The nation’s first legally married gay mayor

Pedro Segarra served as the 66th mayor of Hartford, Connecticut. In 2012, he became the nation’s first legally married gay mayor when he wed his partner of 14 years, Charlie Ortiz. At the time of his election in 2010, he was only America’s second openly gay mayor.

In support of the LGBTQ community in Connecticut and nationwide, Delamar is donating 10% from every booking through our True Colors Package to True Colors, Inc., a Hartford-based non-profit organization dedicated to recognizing and meeting the needs of sexual and gender minority youth and a producer of the largest LGBTQ youth conference in the country.

6) Site of the first witch hunt in America

30 years before the Salem witch trials, hysteria, accusations, and trials rattled Hartford in what was the nation’s first witch hunt. The Connecticut Witch Trials, also sometimes referred to as the Hartford witch trials occurred from 1647 to 1663. Eleven women and men were executed, beginning with Alice Young. Her hanging in Hartford on May 26, 1647, was the first witchcraft execution to occur in America.

Mark Twain House Museum

Mark Twain House and Museum, Hartford, CT.

7) Home of Mark Twain

Located in Hartford, The Mark Twain House was once home to legendary writer Samuel L. Clemens, who wrote under the name Mark Twain.  

This 25-room Victorian home-turned museum is where he lived with his family from 1874 to 1891 and wrote many of his famous novels, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper, A Tramp Abroad, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. The house has been named “one of the ten best historic homes in the world” by National Geographic and is a must-see for anyone exploring the rich literary history of Connecticut.

8) Home to the largest hand-painted ceiling mural in the United States

Drama, the ceiling mural in Mortensen Hall at The Bushnell Performing Arts Center, is the largest hand-painted ceiling mural of its type in the United States. Measuring 187-by-40-foot, this art deco mural was created by artist Barry Faulkner and his staff of Prix de Rome artists in 1929. It features the Melpomene (Muse of Drama) as its centerpiece, surrounded by other symbols of music and drama. 

Explore the Rich History of Hartford, Connecticut

Hartford has been a vital part of Connecticut’s history and story, whether it’s in the arts, government, or literacy. When you’re exploring the rich history of Hartford, be sure to book your stay at a hotel that offers a convenient home base for which to explore the city.

Delamar West Hartford brings unparalleled luxury and distinctive charm to West Hartford and the Capital Region. The hotel, located 10 minutes from downtown Hartford, offers 114 elegantly appointed rooms and suites, as well as fine dining, and a full-service luxury spa. Book your stay with us today!

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