Hartford (/hɑːrtfʌrd/) is the capital city of the U.S. state of Connecticut. It was the seat of Hartford County until Connecticut disbanded county government in 1960. The city is nicknamed the "Insurance Capital of the World", as it hosts many insurance company headquarters which is the region's major industry.
Hartford was founded in 1635 and is among the oldest cities in the United States. It is home to the nation's oldest public art museum (Wadsworth Atheneum), the oldest publicly funded park (Bushnell Park), the oldest continuously published newspaper (the Hartford Courant), and the second-oldest secondary school (Hartford Public High School). It also is home to Trinity College, a private liberal arts college, and the Mark Twain House where the author wrote his most famous works and raised his family, among other historically significant attractions. Mark Twain wrote in 1868, "Of all the beautiful towns it has been my fortune to see this is the chief."
Hartford was the richest city in the United States for several decades following the American Civil War. Today, it is one of the poorest cities in the nation, with 3 out of every 10 families living below the poverty threshold. In sharp contrast, the Hartford metropolitan area is ranked 32nd of 318 metropolitan areas in total economic production and 8th out of 280 metropolitan statistical areas in per capita income.
|City of Hartford|
Location in Hartford County and Connecticut
Location in the United States and Connecticut
|Settled||October 15, 1635|
|• Mayor||Luke Bronin (D)|
|• Council||Hartford City Council|
|• State capital||18.1 sq mi (46.8 km2)|
|• Land||17.4 sq mi (45.0 km2)|
|• Water||0.7 sq mi (1.7 km2)|
|• Urban||469 sq mi (1,216 km2)|
|Elevation||59 ft (18 m)|
|• Estimate (2016)||123,243|
|• Density||7,135/sq mi (2,754.7/km2)|
|• Urban||924,859 (US: 47th)|
|• Metro||1,214,295 (US: 47th)|
|• CSA||1,489,361 (US: 36th)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC−5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC−4)|
|Area code(s)||860 and 959|
|GNIS feature ID||0213160|
Various tribes lived in or around Hartford, all part of the Algonquin people. These included the Podunks, mostly east of the Connecticut River; the Poquonocks north and west of Hartford; the Massacoes in the Simsbury area; the Tunxis tribe in West Hartford and Farmington; the Wangunks to the south; and the Saukiog in Hartford itself.
The first Europeans known to have explored the area were the Dutch under Adriaen Block, who sailed up the Connecticut in 1614. Dutch fur traders from New Amsterdam returned in 1623 with a mission to establish a trading post and fortify the area for the Dutch West India Company. The original site was located on the south bank of the Park River in the present-day Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhood. This fort was called Fort Hoop or the "House of Hope." In 1633, Jacob Van Curler formally bought the land around Fort Hoop from the Pequot chief for a small sum. It was home to perhaps a couple families and a few dozen soldiers. The fort was abandoned by 1654, but the area is known today as Dutch Point; the name of the Dutch fort "House of Hope" is reflected in the name of Huyshope Avenue.
The Dutch outpost and the tiny contingent of Dutch soldiers who were stationed there did little to check the English migration, and the Dutch soon realized that they were vastly outnumbered. The House of Hope remained an outpost, but it was steadily swallowed up by waves of English settlers. In 1650, Peter Stuyvesant met with English representatives to negotiate a permanent boundary between the Dutch and English colonies; the line that they agreed on was more than 50 miles (80 km) west of the original settlement.
The English began to arrive in 1636, settling upstream from Fort Hoop near the present-day Downtown and Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhoods. Puritan pastors Thomas Hooker and Samuel Stone, along with Governor John Haynes, led 100 settlers with 130 head of cattle in a trek from Newtown in the Massachusetts Bay Colony (now Cambridge) and started their settlement just north of the Dutch fort. The settlement was originally called Newtown, but it was changed to Hartford in 1637 in honor of Stone's hometown of Hertford, England. (Hooker also created the nearby town of Windsor in 1633.) The etymology of Hartford is the ford where harts cross, or "deer crossing." The Seal of the City of Hartford features a male deer.
The fledgling colony along the Connecticut River was outside of the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Bay Colony's charter and had to determine how it was to be governed. Therefore, Hooker delivered a sermon that inspired the writing of the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, a document ratified January 14, 1639 which invested the people with the authority to govern, rather than ceding such authority to a higher power. Historians suggest that Hooker's conception of self-rule embodied in the Fundamental Orders inspired the Connecticut Constitution, and ultimately the U.S. Constitution. Today, one of Connecticut's nicknames is the "Constitution State."
The original settlement area contained the site of the Charter Oak, an old white oak tree in which colonists hid Connecticut's Royal Charter of 1662 to protect it from confiscation by an English governor-general. The state adopted the oak tree as the emblem on the Connecticut state quarter. The Charter Oak Monument is located at the corner of Charter Oak Place, a historic street, and Charter Oak Avenue.
Throughout the 19th century, Hartford's residential population, economic productivity, cultural influence, and concentration of political power continued to grow. The advance of the Industrial Revolution in Hartford in the mid-1800s made this city by late century one of the wealthiest per capita in United States.
On December 15, 1814, delegates from the five New England states (Maine was still part of Massachusetts at that time) gathered at the Hartford Convention to discuss New England's possible secession from the United States. During the early 19th century, the Hartford area was a center of abolitionist activity, and the most famous abolitionist family was the Beechers. The Reverend Lyman Beecher was an important Congregational minister known for his anti-slavery sermons. His daughter Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin; her brother Henry Ward Beecher was a noted clergyman who vehemently opposed slavery and supported the temperance movement and women's suffrage. The Stowes' sister Isabella Beecher Hooker was a leading member of the women's rights movement.
In 1860, Hartford was the site of the first "Wide Awakes," abolitionist supporters of Abraham Lincoln. These supporters organized torch-light parades that were both political and social events, often including fireworks and music, in celebration of Lincoln's visit to the city. This type of event caught on and eventually became a staple of mid-to-late 19th-century campaigning.
Industrialist and inventor Samuel Colt and his wife Elizabeth had a great influence on Hartford's development in the 100 years after independence. Colt is often considered the father of the Connecticut River Valley industrial revolution, although there were a handful of small outfits already in operation by the time that he purchased a large tract of land in the area in the 1840s.
In 1836, Connecticut-born Colt received a U.S. patent for a revolver mechanism which enabled a gun to be fired multiple times without reloading. Sales were initially slow and his business ventures struggled. Then the U.S. government ordered 1,000 Colt revolvers in 1846, with the Mexican–American War under way. In 1848, Colt was able to start again with a new business of his own, and he converted it into a corporation in 1855 under the name of Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company. The original factory is situated in the Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhood just south of downtown Hartford.
With business booming by 1855, Colt entered an aggressive expansionary phase and opened the Colt Armory, the world's largest private armament factory. He employed advanced manufacturing techniques such as interchangeable parts and an organized production line. By 1856, the company could produce 150 weapons per day. The Civil War led to a surge in demand, and Colt supplied the Union Army. Colt's Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company operated at full capacity and employed over 1,000 people in its Hartford factory. By that time, Colt had become one of the wealthiest men in America. He was presiding over his enterprise from Armsmear, an ornate Italianate manor built near the armory in 1857. Upon his death in 1862, he was worth over $15 million ($380 million by 2015 standards).
Colt's methods were at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution, and his successes secured Hartford's place as a major 19th century manufacturing center. It is estimated that his company produced over 400,000 revolvers in its first 25 years of manufacturing. His use of interchangeable parts helped him become one of the first to exploit the assembly line. Moreover, his innovative use of art, celebrity endorsements, and corporate gifts to promote his wares made him a pioneer in the fields of advertising, product placement, and mass marketing. His business practices were also innovative, involving a shrewd use of patents to protect his products, as well as new developments in marketing and business organization to create a highly successful business which long outlived him.
Elizabeth Colt inherited a controlling interest in her late husband's manufacturing company following his death in 1862. At the time, Colt firearms were producing an estimated 1/996th of the entire gross national product of the United States. She steered the company until 1901 with her brother Richard Jarvis as president, becoming one of the most prominent female industrialists in America. Together they transitioned the company from the end of the American Civil War into the 20th century, seeing the evolution from percussion revolvers to cartridge revolvers to semiautomatic pistols and machineguns.
In addition, the Colts left an indelible imprint on Hartford's architectural environment. Samuel Colt was inspired by what he had seen during a trip to London in 1851, and he embarked upon one of the boldest real estate development campaigns in Hartford's history. His intention was to build an industrial community to house his workers adjacent to the Colt Armory. By 1856, it was a city within a city, where workers of many nationalities and religions worked and lived alongside one another. Coltsville was among the first of America's 19th century company towns, and it was easily the most advanced of its time—though not the largest, the most prominent, or the most tightly controlled. Colt's complex also included the largest armory in the world, as well as wharf and ferry facilities on the Connecticut River.
A major fire destroyed the original armory in 1864, but Elizabeth Colt had it rebuilt, including its most dramatic feature: the blue onion dome with gold starts, topped by a gold orb and a rampant colt, the original symbol of Colt Manufacturing Company. The Colt Armory is visible to commuters on I-91 and stands as a monument to Hartford's first "celebrity industrialist" and the once mighty empire that he created.
Elizabeth Colt dedicated her final decades to philanthropy and public works. She commissioned the Church of the Good Shepherd in 1896 as a monument to her son following his death. It is built in High Victorian Gothic style, and architectural features include a variety of gun parts, such as bullet molds, gun sights, and cylinders—likely the only church in the world with a gun motif.
With no remaining children, Elizabeth willed her extensive collection of rare art to the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, one of the oldest art galleries in America. The Elizabeth Hart Jarvis Colt Memorial Wing was the first American museum wing to bear the name of a female patron.
When Elizabeth Colt died in 1904, she willed the majority of her estate Armsmear to the City of Hartford for use as a public park. Today the 105 acres (42 ha) Colt Park serves the community with a number of athletic fields, playgrounds, a swimming pool, playground, skating rink, and Dillon Stadium.
Hartford was a major manufacturing city from the 19th century until the mid-20th century. During the Industrial Revolution into the mid-20th century, the Connecticut River Valley cities produced many major precision manufacturing innovations. Among these was Hartford's pioneer bicycle and automobile maker Pope. Many factories have been closed or relocated, or have reduced operations, as in nearly all former Northern manufacturing cities.
Around 1850, Hartford native Samuel Colt perfected the precision manufacturing process that enabled the mass production of thousands of his revolvers with interchangeable parts. A variety of industries adopted and adapted these techniques over the next several decades, and Hartford became the center of production for a wide array of products, including:
The Pratt & Whitney Company was founded in Hartford in 1860 by Francis A. Pratt and Amos Whitney. They built a substantial factory in which the company manufactured a wide range of machine tools, including tools for the makers of sewing machines, and gun-making machinery for use by the Union Army during the American Civil War. Pratt Street (off Main St) continues to reflect this heritage. In 1925, the company expanded into aircraft engine design at its Hartford factory.
Just three years after Colt's first factory opened, the Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company set up shop in 1852 at a nearby site along the now-buried Park River, located in the present-day neighborhood of Frog Hollow. Their factory heralded the beginning of the area's transformation from marshy farmland into a major industrial zone. The road leading from town to the factory was called Rifle Lane; the name was later changed to College Street and then Capitol Avenue. A century earlier, mills had located along the Park River because of the water power, but by the 1850s water power was approaching obsolescence. Sharps located there specifically to take advantage of the railroad line that had been constructed alongside the river in 1838.
The Sharps Rifle Company failed in 1870, and the Weed Sewing Machine Company took over its factory. The invention of a new type of sewing machine led to a new application of mass production after the principles of interchangeability were applied to clocks and guns. The Weed Company played a major role in making Hartford one of three machine tool centers in New England and even outranked the Colt Armory in nearby Coltsville in size. Weed eventually became the birthplace of both the bicycle and automobile industries in Hartford.
Industrialist Albert Pope was inspired by a British-made, high-wheeled bicycle (called a velocipede) that he saw at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, and he bought patent rights for bicycle production in the United States. He wanted to contract out his first order, however, so he approached George Fairfield of Weed Sewing Machine Company, who produced Pope's first run of bicycles in 1878. Bicycles proved to be a huge commercial success, and production expanded in the Weed factory, with Weed making every part but the tires. Demand for bicycles overshadowed the failing sewing machine market by 1890, so Pope bought the Weed factory, took over as its president, and renamed it the Pope Manufacturing Company. The bicycle boom was short-lived, peaking near the turn of the century when more and more consumers craved individual automobile travel, and Pope's company suffered financially from over-production amidst falling demand.
In an effort to save his business, Pope opened a motor carriage department and turned out electric carriages, beginning with the "Mark III" in 1897. His venture might have made Hartford the capital of the automobile industry were it not for the ascendancy of Henry Ford and a series of pitfalls and patent struggles that outlived Pope himself.
In 1876, Hartford Machine Screw was granted a charter "for the purpose of manufacturing screws, hardware and machinery of every variety." The basis for its incorporation was the invention of the first single-spindle automatic screw machine. For its next four years, the new firm occupied one of Weed's buildings, milling thousands of screws daily on over 50 machines. Its president was George Fairfield, who ran Weed, and its superintendent was Christopher Spencer, one of Connecticut's most versatile inventors. Soon Hartford Machine Screw outgrew its quarters and built a new factory adjacent to Weed, where it remained until 1948.
On July 6, 1944, Hartford was the scene of one of the worst fire disasters in the history of the United States. It occurred at a performance of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus and became known as the Hartford Circus Fire.
After World War II, many residents of Puerto Rico moved to Hartford and Puerto Rican flags can be found on cars and buildings all over the city even today. Former Hartford Mayor Eddie Pérez was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Hartford in 1969 when he was 12 years old.
Starting in the late 1950s, the suburbs ringing Hartford began to grow and flourish and the capital city began a long decline. Insurance giant Connecticut General (now CIGNA) moved to a new, modern campus in the suburb of Bloomfield. Constitution Plaza had been hailed as a model of urban renewal, but it gradually became a concrete office park. Once-flourishing department stores shut down, such as Brown Thomson, Sage-Allen, and G. Fox & Co., as suburban malls grew in popularity, such as Westfarms and Buckland Hills.
In 1997, the city lost its professional hockey franchise, with the Hartford Whalers moving to Raleigh, North Carolina—despite an increase in season ticket sales and an offer from the state for a new arena. In 2005, a developer from Newton, Massachusetts (who was also the city's largest property owner) tried to work with the city to bring an NHL team back to Hartford and house them in a new, publicly funded stadium.
Hartford experienced problems as the population shrank 11 percent during the 1990s. Only Flint, Michigan, Gary, Indiana, Saint Louis, and Baltimore experienced larger population losses during the decade. However, the population has increased since the 2000 Census.
In 1987, Carrie Saxon Perry was elected mayor of Hartford, the first female African-American mayor of a major American city.
In 2004, Underground Coalition, a Connecticut hip hop promotion company, produced the First Annual Hartford Hip Hop Festival, which also took place at Adriaen's Landing. The event drew over 5,000 fans. A significant number of cultural events and performances take place every year at Mortensen Plaza (Riverfront Recapture Organization) by the banks of the Connecticut River. These events are held outdoors and include live music, festivals, dance, arts and crafts. They are very diverse in ethnicity. Hartford also has a vibrant theater scene with major Broadway productions at the Bushnell Theater as well as performances at the Hartford Stage and Theaterworks (City Arts).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.0 square miles (47 km2), of which 17.3 square miles (45 km2) is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) (3.67%) is water.
Hartford is bordered by the towns of West Hartford, Newington, Wethersfield, East Hartford, Bloomfield, South Windsor, and Windsor. The Connecticut River forms the boundary between Hartford and East Hartford, and is located on the east side of the city.
The Park River originally divided Hartford into northern and southern sections and was a major part of Bushnell Park, but the river was nearly completely enclosed and buried by flood control projects in the 1940s. The former course of the river can still be seen in some of the roadways that were built in the river's place, such as Jewell Street and the Conlin-Whitehead Highway.
Hartford lies in the humid continental climate zone (Köppen Dfa), and is part of USDA Hardiness zone 6b, degrading to 6a in the northern, western, and eastern suburbs away from the Connecticut River valley.
Seasonally, the period from May through October is warm to hot in Hartford, with the hottest months being June, July, and August. In the summer months there is often high humidity and occasional (but brief) thundershowers. The cool to cold months are from November through April, with the coldest months in December, January, and February having average highs in the lower 30's F and overnight lows near 20 F.
The average annual precipitation is approximately 45.9 inches (1,170 mm), which is distributed fairly evenly throughout the year. Hartford typically receives about 44.5 inches (113 cm) of snow in an average winter – about 40% more than coastal Connecticut cities like New Haven, Stamford, and New London. Seasonal snowfall has ranged from 115.2 inches (293 cm) during the winter of 1995–96 to 13.5 inches (34 cm) in 1999–2000. During the summer, temperatures reach or exceed 90 °F (32 °C) on an average of 17 days per year, though the record number of occurrences was 38 in 1983 and 1920 saw none. Conversely, on average, temperatures do not rise above freezing on 30 days and dip to 0 °F (−18 °C) or below on 4.0 nights per year. Tropical storms and hurricanes have also struck Hartford, although the occurrence of such systems is rare and is usually confined to the remnants of such storms. Hartford saw extensive damage from the 1938 New England Hurricane, as well as with Hurricane Irene in 2011. The highest officially recorded temperature is 103 °F (39 °C) on July 22, 2011 and the lowest is −26 °F (−32 °C) on January 22, 1961; the record cold daily maximum is −1 °F (−18 °C) on December 2, 1917, while, conversely, the record warm daily minimum is 80 °F (27 °C) on July 31, 1917.
|Climate data for Bradley International Airport, Connecticut (1981–2010 normals,[a] extremes 1905–present)[b]|
|Record high °F (°C)||72
|Mean maximum °F (°C)||55.6
|Average high °F (°C)||34.5
|Daily mean °F (°C)||26.1
|Average low °F (°C)||17.7
|Mean minimum °F (°C)||−2
|Record low °F (°C)||−26
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||3.23
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||12.3
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inch)||10.8||9.7||11.5||11.2||12.8||12.2||10.4||10.0||9.8||10.2||10.7||10.7||130.0|
|Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 inch)||5.8||4.7||3.5||0.5||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.9||4.7||20.1|
|Average relative humidity (%)||63.9||63.0||60.4||58.0||63.0||67.3||68.0||70.6||72.9||69.2||68.3||68.0||66.0|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||169.8||176.1||213.9||228.2||258.6||273.4||293.1||269.6||223.6||199.4||139.4||139.5||2,584.6|
|Percent possible sunshine||58||59||58||57||57||60||64||63||60||58||47||49||58|
|Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961–1990)|
As of the census of 2010, there were 124,775 people, 44,986 households, and 27,171 families residing in the city. The population density was 7,025.5 people per square mile (2,711.8/km²). There were 50,644 housing units at an average density of 2,926.5 per square mile (1,129.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 29.8% white, 38.7% African American or black, 0.6% Native American, 2.8% Asian, 0% Pacific Islander, 23.9% from other races, and 4.2% from two or more races. 43.4% of the population were Hispanic or Latino, chiefly of Puerto Rican origin. Whites not of Latino background were 15.8% of the population in 2010, down from 63.9% in 1970.
There were 44,986 households, out of which 34.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 25.2% were married couples living together, 29.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.6% were non-families. 33.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.33.
In the city, the population distribution skews young: 30.1% under the age of 18, 12.6% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 18.0% from 45 to 64, and 9.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $20,820, and the median income for a family was $22,051. Males had a median income of $28,444 versus $26,131 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,428.
As of 2010, 33.7% of Hartford residents claimed Puerto Rican heritage. This was the second-largest concentration of Puerto Ricans in the Northeast, behind only Holyoke, Massachusetts, approximately 30 miles (48 km) to the north along the Connecticut River.
Hartford is governed via the strong-mayor form of the mayor-council system. The current mayor is Luke Bronin. Hartford voted in favor of restoring a mayor-council system in 2003, more than 50 years after establishing the council-manager form. Mayor Eddie Perez was first elected in 2001 and was re-elected with 76% of the vote in 2003. As the first strong mayor elected under the revised charter, he is widely credited with reducing crime, reforming the school system, and sparking economic revitalization in the city. However, his reputation was hurt by accusations of corruption.
In Connecticut, there is no county-level executive or legislative government; the counties determine probate, civil, and criminal court boundaries, but little else. Connecticut municipalities provide nearly all local services such as fire and rescue, education, and snow removal, as county government has been abolished since 1960.
|Voter registration and party enrollment as of November 2017|
|Party||Active voters||Inactive voters||Total voters||Percent Change since 2015 ||Percentage|
|Glendowlyn H. Thames||President||Democrat|
|Julio A. Concepción||Majority leader||Democrat|
|John Q. Gale||Councilman||Democrat|
|James B. Sanchez||Councilman||Democrat|
|Wildaliz Bermudez||Minority leader||Working Families|
|Larry Deutsch||Councilman||Working Families|
|Cynthia Renee Jennings||Councilwoman||Working Families|
The Hartford Fire Department provides fire protection and first responder emergency medical services to the city of Hartford, operating out of 12 fire stations located throughout the city. It is the fifth-largest fire department in Connecticut and maintains a fire apparatus fleet.
The Hartford Police Department was founded in 1860, though the history of law enforcement in Hartford begins in 1636. It is located at 253 High Street and includes divisions such as animal control, bomb squad, and detective bureau.
The central business district, as well as the State Capitol, Old State House and a number of museums and shops are located Downtown. Parkville, home to Real Art Ways, is named for the confluence of the north and the south branches of the Park River. Frog Hollow, in close proximity to Downtown, is home to Pope Park and Trinity College, which is one of the nation's oldest institutions of higher learning. Asylum Hill, a mixed residential and commercial area, houses the headquarters of several insurance companies as well as the historic homes of Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe. The West End, home to the Governor's residence, Elizabeth Park, and the University of Connecticut School of Law, abuts the Hartford Golf Club. Sheldon Charter Oak is renowned as the location of the Charter Oak and its successor monument as well as the former Colt headquarters including Samuel Colt's family estate, Armsmear. The North East neighborhood is home to Keney Park and a number of the city's oldest and ornate homes. The South End features "Little Italy" and was the home of Hartford's sizeable Italian community. South Green hosts Hartford Hospital. The South Meadows is the site of Hartford–Brainard Airport and Hartford's industrial community. The North Meadows has retail strips, car dealerships, and Comcast Theatre. Blue Hills is home of the University of Hartford and also houses the largest per capita of residents claiming Jamaican-American heritage in the United States. Other neighborhoods in Hartford include Barry Square, Behind the Rocks, Clay Arsenal, South West, and Upper Albany, which is dotted by many Caribbean restaurants and specialty stores.
In 2010, Hartford ranked 19th in the United States' annual national crime rankings (below the 200.00 rating). It had the second highest crime rate in Connecticut, behind New Haven. Statistically Hartford's northern districts (North East, Asylum Hill, Upper Albany) had the highest murder rate, while the southern districts (Downtown, Sheldon, South Green) had a slightly lower murder rate, but had the most crime overall. Overall, the South Meadows neighborhood had the lowest crime rate, respectively.
Hartford is the historic international center of the insurance industry, with companies such as Aetna, Conning & Company, The Hartford, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, The Phoenix Companies, and Hartford Steam Boiler based in the city, and companies such as Travelers and Lincoln National Corporation having major operations in the city. The city is also home to the corporate headquarters of U.S. Fire Arms, United Technologies and Virtus Investment Partners.
Aetna and the Hartford Financial Services Group, both Fortune 100 companies, are headquartered in Hartford. Travelers Insurance has its largest national employment center and historical headquarters in the city. CIGNA insurance is headquartered in the region with a presence in Hartford and its suburb Bloomfield. United Health Insurance has a significant presence in the city.
At the same time, many companies have moved to or expanded in the central business district and surrounding neighborhoods. Aetna announced mid-decade that by 2010 it would move nearly 3,500 employees from its Middletown, Connecticut offices to its corporate headquarters in the Asylum Hill section of the city. Travelers recently expanded its operations at several downtown locations. In 2008, Sovereign Bank consolidated two bank branches as well as its regional headquarters in a nineteenth-century palazzo on Asylum Street. In 2009, Northeast Utilities, a Fortune 500 company and New England's largest energy utility, announced it would establish its corporate headquarters downtown. Other recent entrants into the downtown market include GlobeOp Financial Services and specialty insurance broker S.H. Smith. CareCentrix, a patient home healthcare management company, is moving into downtown from East Hartford, where it will add over 200 jobs within the next few years.
In March 2018, Infosys announced that opening of a new technology innovation hub in Hartford, creating up to 1,000 jobs by 2022. The Hartford technology innovation hub will focus on three key sectors- insurance, healthcare and manufacturing.
Hartford is a center for medical care, research, and education. Within Hartford itself the city includes Hartford Hospital, The Institute of Living, Connecticut Children's Medical Center, and Saint Francis Hospital & Medical Center (which merged in 1990 with Mount Sinai Hospital).
The daily Hartford Courant newspaper is the country's oldest continuously published newspaper, founded in 1764. A weekly newspaper, owned by the same company that owns the Courant, the Hartford Advocate, also serves Hartford and the surrounding area, as do the Hartford Business Journal ("Greater Hartford's Business Weekly") and the weekly Hartford News.
The Hartford region is also served by several magazines. Among the local publications are: Hartford Magazine, a monthly lifestyle magazine serving Greater Hartford; CT Cottages & Gardens; Connecticut Business, a glossy monthly serving all of Connecticut; and Home Living CT, a home and garden magazine published five times a year and distributed statewide.
Several television and radio stations are based in Hartford, including Connecticut Public Television, which is headquartered in Hartford. In addition to Connecticut Public Television, Hartford's major television stations include WFSB 3 (CBS), WTNH 8 (ABC), WVIT 30 (NBC O&O), WTIC-TV 61 (Fox), WCCT-TV 20 (The CW), and WCTX 59 (MyNetworkTV). These stations serve the Hartford/New Haven market, which is the 29th largest media market in the U.S.
Hartford houses several world-class institutions such as Trinity College. Other notable institutions include Capital Community College (located Downtown in the old G. Fox Department Store building on Main Street), the University of Connecticut's Hartford campus (downtown in the old Hartford Times Building on Prospect Street), the University of Connecticut School of Business (also Downtown), the Hartford Seminary (in the West End), the University of Connecticut School of Law (also in the West End) and Rensselaer at Hartford (a Downtown branch campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). University of Saint Joseph opened its school of pharmacy in the downtown area in 2011. The University of Hartford features several cultural institutions: the Joseloff Gallery, the Renee Samuels Center, and the Mort and Irma Handel Performing Arts center. The "U of H" campus is co-located in the city's Blue Hills neighborhood and in neighboring towns West Hartford and Bloomfield.
Hartford is served by the Hartford Public Schools. Hartford Public High School, the nation's second-oldest high school, is located in the Asylum Hill neighborhood of Hartford. The city is also home to Bulkeley High School on Wethersfield Avenue, Global Communications Academy on Greenfield Avenue, Weaver High School on Granby Street, and Sport Medical and Sciences Academy on Huyshope Avenue. In addition, Hartford contains The Learning Corridor, which is home to the Montessori Magnet School, Hartford Magnet Middle School, Greater Harford Academy of Math and Science, and the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. One of the technical high schools in the Connecticut Technical High School System, A.I. Prince Technical High School, also calls the city home. The Classical Magnet School is one of the many Hartford magnet schools. Hartford is also home to Watkinson School, a private coeducational day school, and Grace S. Webb School, a special education school. Catholic schools are administered by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford.
The city's high school graduation rate reached 71 percent in 2013, according to the state Department of Education.
I-84 which runs from Scranton, to its intersection with I-90 in Sturbridge, just over the Massachusetts border, and I-91, which runs from New Haven along the Connecticut River ultimately to Canada, intersect in downtown Hartford. In addition to I-84 and I-91, two other highways service the city: Route 2, an expressway that runs from downtown Hartford to Westerly, passing through Norwich and past Foxwoods Resort Casino. The Wilbur Cross Highway portion of Route 15 that skirts the southeastern part of the city near Brainard Airport. A short connector known as the Conlin–Whitehead Highway also provides direct access from I-91 to the Capitol Area of downtown Hartford. The Main St. Bridge is a historic bridge on the highway.
Hartford experiences heavy traffic as a result of its substantial suburban population (nearly 10 times that of the actual city). As a result, thousands of people travel on area highways at the start and end of each workday. I-84 experiences traffic from Farmington through Hartford and into East Hartford and Manchester during the rush hour.
Several major surface arteries also run through the city. Albany Avenue (Route 44) runs westward through the northern part of West Hartford to the Farmington Valley and the hills of northern Litchfield County and into New York, and eastward towards Putnam and into Rhode Island. Blue Hills Avenue (Route 187) runs north from Albany Avenue toward Bloomfield and East Granby. Main Street (Route 159) heads north through Windsor towards the western suburbs of Springfield, Massachusetts. Wethersfield Avenue (Route 99) heads south through Wethersfield towards Middletown. Maple Avenue heads south-southwest, becoming the Berlin Turnpike in Wethersfield and Newington. Farmington Avenue heads west through West Hartford Center and Farmington towards Torrington.
A large-scale project is being built, rebuilding I-84.
Amtrak provides service from Hartford to Vermont via Springfield and southward to New Haven, with connections to New York, Boston, Providence, Rhode Island, and Washington DC. The station also serves numerous bus companies because of Hartford's mid-way location on the New York to Boston route.
Commuter rail service called the Hartford Line, connecting New Haven to Springfield via Hartford; stops at stations in communities along Interstate 91. It uses the rail line currently used by Amtrak, which was formerly part of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad system.
Bradley International Airport (BDL), in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, is about halfway between Hartford and Springfield, Massachusetts. It features over 150 daily departures to over 30 destinations on nine airlines. Connecticut Transit's 30-Bradley Flyer route provides semi-express bus service between Bradley International Airport and downtown Hartford for a low local bus fare (the one-way fare is $1.50). The Bradley Flyer provides direct service to the Connecticut Convention Center, Union Station, and other downtown Hartford points of interest. Other airports serving the Hartford area include:
Connecticut Transit (CTtransit) is owned by the Connecticut Department of Transportation. The Hartford Division of CTtransit operates local and commuter bus service within the city and the surrounding area. Hartford's Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH) bus route is a free downtown circulator. All city buses are equipped with bike racks.
In March 2015, CTfastrak, Connecticut's first bus rapid transit system, opened, providing a separated right-of-way between Hartford and New Britain. In addition, express bus services travel from downtown Hartford and Waterbury, servicing intermediate suburban communities like Southington and Cheshire, providing reliable public transportation between these communities for the first time. CTfastrak consists of 10 stations along the dedicated New Britain to Hartford busway, as well as a downtown loop serving Union Station and other downtown landmarks. Amenities include high-level station platforms, on-board wi-fi, ticket machines for pre-boarding fare collection, and real-time arrival information at stations.
Interstate bus service is provided by Peter Pan Bus, Greyhound Bus and Megabus. Chinatown bus lines provide low-cost bus service between Hartford and their New York and Boston hubs. In addition, there are buses for connections to smaller cities in the state. The main bus station is located on the ground floor of the transport center at Hartford Union Station at One Union Place, serving Peter Pan Bus and Greyhound Bus customers. All Megabus arrivals and departures are at the corner of Columbus Boulevard and Talcott Street on the opposite side of downtown.
A bicycle route runs through the center of Hartford. This route is a small piece of the large eastern bicycle route – the East Coast Greenway (ECG). The 3,000-mile (4,800 km) ECG runs from Calais, Maine to the Florida Keys. The route is intended to be off-road, but some sections are currently on-road. The section through Hartford is right through the middle of Bushnell Park.
There are designated bicycle lanes on several roads including Capitol Avenue, Zion Street, Scarborough Lane, Whitney, and South Whitney.
A bike share program from LimeBike that allows riders to find a GPS-tracked bike, unlock it and pay $1 per half hour of ride time is coming to Hartford in April 2018. The bike share program enabled more than five thousand rides in the first week of the program. 
The first American Cookbook was American Cookery, The Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry, and Vegetables by Amelia Simons, published in Hartford by Hudson & Goodwin in 1796. It was also the first cookbook to include recipes for squash and cornmeal, and it contained the first published recipe for pumpkin pie. It influenced a generation of American baking with a recipe for leavening bread with pearl ash. The full text of the book is available online.
Hartford's cuisine was shaped by its early settlers, who brought Dutch and English influence which combined with that of the Saukiog Indians in the area. The first half of the 20th century brought significant Polish immigration and a number of Polish restaurants, some of which still operate today. On the other hand, Italian food wasn’t always accepted; a long-time Hartford restaurant owner recollected that, "in 1938, you wouldn't put an Italian name on a restaurant sign because everyone would think you were associated with the Mafia." But the New York Times remarked on the diversity of food available in Hartford in 1979, noting that "Hartford has undergone a culinary revolution in recent years."
Hartford earned praise from Food and Wine as "a foodie destination". Food trucks are restricted to designated areas in the city, mostly along Bushnell Park in Downtown Hartford and at farmers' markets. Food can today be found throughout the city from a very wide variety of ethnic influence.
Hartford hosts a number of seasonal farmers' markets.  The Hartford Regional Market is the largest market between New York City and Boston. In 2018, the Connecticut State Assembly voted to transfer ownership of the Regional Market to the Capital Region Development Authority, leaving its future somewhat uncertain.
The seashore is less than 35 miles away and has played a large role in Hartford’s food habits. recently there has been an aquaculture boom in Long Island Sound and as a result local kelp has started to appear on plates. The Connecticut River Valley is the most agriculturally productive region in New England and neighboring Wethersfield is renowned for its red onions, whose smell was said to waft into Hartford when production was at its historical height in the early 1800s.
Hartford and the surrounding area have a vibrant craft beer, cider, and spirit industry, and there were more than two dozen breweries and distilleries in the Hartford area in 2017. The Connecticut Spirits Trail has a number of stops in Hartford and surrounding towns. These businesses all feed the city's collection of bars and nightclubs.
|Hartford Yard Goats||EL, Baseball||Dunkin' Donuts Park||1983||2|
|Hartford Wolf Pack||AHL, Ice hockey||XL Center||1926||1|
|Hartford City FC||NPSL, Soccer||CCSU Soccer Field||2016||0|
|Hartford USL||USL, Soccer||Dillon Stadium||2019||0|
The Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League plays ice hockey at the XL Center in downtown Hartford. The XL Center also hosts larger-profile games for both the men's and women's basketball teams of the UConn Huskies. Other UConn home games are played at Gampel Pavilion located on the university's campus in Storrs.
The Hartford Yard Goats, the Double-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, moved to Hartford in 2017, moving from New Britain. The team currently play at Dunkin' Donuts Park. The move was made in an effort to keep the team from leaving the state for nearby Springfield, Massachusetts.
|New England/Hartford Whalers||WHA, NHL, Hockey||Harford Civic Center||1975||1997 (Moved to North Carolina)||0|
|Hartford Dark Blues||NL, Baseball||Hartford Ball Club Grounds||1874||1876||0|
|Hartford Chiefs||EL, Baseball||Bulkeley Stadium||1938||1952||0|
|Boston Celtics||NBA, Basketball||Hartford Civic Center||1975||1995 (Part-time)||17|
|Hatford Hellcats/Connecticut Pride||CBA, Basketball||Hartford Civic Center||1993||2000||1|
|New England Blizzard||ABL, Basketball||Hartford Civic Center||1996||1998||0|
|Hartford Blues||NFL, Football||East Hartford Velodrome||1925||1927||0|
|Hartford Colonials||UFL, Football||Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field||2010||2010||0|
|Connecticut Coyotes||AFL, Football||Hartford Civic Center||1995||1996||0|
|New England Sea Wolves||AFL, Football||Hartford Civic Center||1999||2000||0|
|Hartford Bicentennials||NASL, Soccer||Dillon Stadium||1975||1976||0|
|Hartford Hellions||MISL, Soccer||Hartford Civic Center||1979||1981||0|
Hartford became the home of the WHA's New England Whalers in 1975 after the club moved from Boston, one of four WHA teams that joined the NHL in 1979. The city was home to the NHL's Hartford Whalers from 1979 to 1997, before the team relocated to Raleigh, North Carolina and became the Carolina Hurricanes.
Hartford was also home to the Hartford Hellions of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL).
Hartford has been home to many historically significant people, such as dictionary author Noah Webster (1758–1843), inventor Sam Colt (1814–62), and American financier and industrialist J.P. Morgan (1837–1913).
Some of America's most famous authors lived in Hartford, including Mark Twain (1835–1910), who moved to the city in 1874. Twain's next-door neighbor at Nook Farm was Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–96). Poet Wallace Stevens (1879–1955) was an insurance executive in the city, and World War II correspondent Lyn Crost (1915–97) lived there. More recently, Dominick Dunne (1925–2009), John Gregory Dunne (1932–2003), and Suzanne Collins (born 1962) have resided in Hartford.
Actors and others in the entertainment business from Hartford include Academy Award–winning film icon Katharine Hepburn, actors Gary Merrill, Linda Evans, Eriq La Salle, Diane Venora, William Gillette, and Charles Nelson Reilly, and TV producer and writer Norman Lear. Marvel Comics artist George Tuska grew up in Hartford.
Barbara McClintock (1902-1992), pioneering cytogeneticist was born in Hartford, CT. She was awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the breakthrough discovery of genetic transposition. She is the only woman to receive an unshared Nobel Prize in the Medicine category.
Frederick Law Olmsted (1822 - 1903), considered the father of the profession of Landscape Architecture, was born in Hartford. Among his designs are New York's Central Park, 1893 Chicago World's Fair, and Asheville's Biltmore Estate. Other projects that Olmsted was involved in include the country's first and oldest coordinated system of public parks and parkways in Buffalo, New York; the country's oldest state park, the Niagara Reservation in Niagara Falls, New York; one of the first planned communities in the United States, Riverside, Illinois; Mount Royal Park in Montreal, Quebec; the Emerald Necklace in Boston, Massachusetts; Highland Park in Rochester, New York; Belle Isle Park, in the Detroit River for Detroit, Michigan; the Grand Necklace of Parks in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Cherokee Park and entire parks and parkway system in Louisville, Kentucky.
In the field of music, natives include singer Sophie Tucker (1884–1966), "last of the red-hot mamas." Others include:
Former Cleveland Browns head coach Eric Mangini is from Hartford. Former NHL player Craig Janney and current player Nick Bonino were born in Hartford. Other sports stars include NBA players Marcus Camby, Rick Mahorn, Johnny Egan, and Michael Adams, as well as NFL kicker John Carney, Dwight Freeney, Tebucky Jones, and Eugene Robinson.