Familiarize With Founders: Important Places To The People Who Built Connecticut

August 13, 2012 1:00 PM

(credit: Mark Twain House and Museum)

Connecticut, the fifth State in the United States of America and one of the first 13 colonies represented in the stripes on the American flag, was founded by Reverend Thomas Hooker. The early settlers renamed what the Algonquins had called “Saukiog” to be Hartford. According to the city’s website, Hartford, located at the end of the Connecticut River, quickly evolved from an agricultural economy to a trading center. It is because of the risks involved in ships sailing to far off lands that the insurance industry was born. Hartford is known as the “Insurance Capital of the World.” Check out these spots to get an all-encompassing dose of Connecticut’s founding.

Connecticut’s Old State House
800 Main St
Hartford, CT 06103
(860) 522-6766

Even though the Old State House is filled with history, it has something new going on all the time. Ever since 1635, the Old State House and State House Square have been a political center for ideas and debate regarding everything from governing to commerce. It has been reported that some of the legislators who served in this House Chamber included “P.T. Barnum, ‘American Dictionary’ author Noah Webster and President Lincoln’s wartime Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles.” The State House is an interactive site that makes history pertinent to today.                                                                   

The Governor’s House
990 Prospect Ave
Hartford, CT 06105
(860) 524-7355

The Governor’s Residence in Hartford, Connecticut was once a private home for a local physician. At another time, it was used as a convalescent center for Hartford Hospital. Built in 1909, the Governor’s Residence, now occupied by Governor Dannel P. Malloy, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The idea of having a Governor’s Residence was first suggested in 1943. Since then, the facility has been refurbished and renovated.

Related: Top Spots For Glass Art In Connecticut

The Mark Twain House & Museum
351 Farmington Ave
Hartford, CT 06105
(860) 247-0998

If you ask anyone who lives in Connecticut what important historic homes should a visitor see, the list will undoubtedly include the home of Samuel Clemens, best known by his pen name, Mark Twain. The celebrated author and his wife and family lived in this grand old house from 1874 until 1891. It was while living at this address that he wrote such classics as “Huckleberry Finn,” “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” “The Prince and The Pauper” and “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.”What is surprising about this house-turned-museum is that even though the 25-room Gothic structure had a grand library, Twain preferred to write his books in his billiard room. Visitation is by guided tours only. The house became the nation’s first LEED-certified museum and visitor center in 2003. Special events and exhibitions are held here throughout the year.

Harriet Beecher Stowe House
77 Forest St
Hartford, CT 06105
(860) 522-9258

Best known for her anti-slavery book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” Harriet Beecher Stowe lived in her Gothic-revival home in Hartford from 1871 until 1896. Her home featured many beautiful Victorian-style gardens. Described on the Stowe Center’s website as a house that combines a “steep hip-roof and graceful exterior trim with the balanced proportion of bay windows and porches on each side,” the 4,500-square-feet, 14-room  house was designed to look smaller than it was in actuality. 

Nathan Hale Homestead
2299 South St
Coventry, CT 06238
(860) 742-6917

Although located about 25 miles outside of Hartford, the Nathan Hale Homestead is an important historic Connecticut landmark. One of America’s heroes, Hale was born on the homestead and lived with his farming and patriotic family. At the age of 21, Nathan Hale was caught by the British in 1776 and hanged. His last words were: “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” The Homestead, though sold out of the family, has been saved and protected. It was deeded to Connecticut Landmarks in the 1940s and a lot of the land associated with the homestead is now known as the Nathan Hale State Forest.

Related: 5 Must-Read Books By Connecticut Authors


Joanne Greco Rochman is the arts editor of The Fairfield County Review, a columnist, critic, feature story writer and English professor. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Republican-American and Hersam-Acorn Publications. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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