Hartford is the capital of the state of Connecticut, in Hartford County. It is located on the Connecticut River, near the center of the state. As of the 2000 census, the population of the city was 121,578. It is the second largest city in the state, after Bridgeport.
Note: a 2003 Census Department estimate showed that New Haven (pop. 124,512) has 125 more residents than Hartford (pop. 124,387). This would make Hartford the third largest city in Connecticut and the 184th largest in the United States (New Haven is #183). The increase of nearly 3,000 people over three years is mostly due to some University of Hartford students being counted in Hartford instead of West Hartford.
Hartford is a city of contrasts. On the one hand, it is a major center of finance, government, law and education. It stands at the junction of two busy highways and its skyline is full of modern high-rise towers housing large corporations. But Hartford is also the second poorest city in the U.S. with population over 100,000 (only Brownsville, Texas is poorer). Many residents are stuck in a cycle of poverty. In the year 2000, the city's unemployment rate was 16% (Connecticut's rate was 5.7%). Hartford's workforce lives primarily in the suburbs. Despite some of the crime/poverty issues that are greatly magnified by the media, Hartford is a melting pot with many cultural institutions such as the Charter Oak Cultural Center, The Wadsworth Atheneum (the oldest public art museum in the U.S.), and the highly-renowned Artists Collective.
Its main newspapers are the daily Hartford Courant and the weekly Hartford Advocate.
It is the home of Trinity College, Capital Community College, Hartford Seminary, the University of Hartford (entrance in West Hartford), the University of Connecticut Law School & the University of Connecticut Business School in Downtown. The Institute of Living at Hartford Hospital was one of the first psychiatric hospitals in the nation.
Hartford is also a center of the insurance industry, and home to Colt Firearms and large corporations like United Technologies (which owns Pratt & Whitney, Otis Elevator, Sikorsky Aircraft), AETNA, The Hartford and others.
Harriet Beecher Stowe was originally from the Litchfield, Connecticut area, but settled in Hartford during the 1870s. Her house on Forest Street is now open to the public, right next to her famous neighbor's old mansion, Mark Twain.
Mark Twain moved to Hartford in 1874 and lived in Hartford for many years. The Mark Twain House is a national historic site. Twain, whose real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens, wrote many of his most famous works in Hartford, including The Gilded Age, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Roughing It, and his most read and controversial, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Wallace Stevens, the poet, was an insurance executive in Hartford and
Katharine Hepburn, Dwight Freeney and Stephen Cole Kleene were born there.
Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut(20 minute drive) serves both Hartford and Springfield, Mass., located only 20 minutes apart.(Springfield and Hartford are twin cities)
The Connecticut State Capitol in downtown Hartford
Dutch fur traders from New Netherland colony set up trade in the site as early as 1623, after Adriaen Block explored it in 1614. The Dutch named their post the 'Hope House' (Huys de Hoop). Prior to the Dutch arrival, the Indians who inhabited the area had called it Suckiaug.
By 1633 Jacob van Curler had added a block house and palisade to the post while New Amsterdam sent a small garrison and a pair of cannons. The fort was abandoned by 1654, but its neighborhood in Hartford is still known as Dutch Point.
The first English settlers arrived in 1636. Thomas Hooker led 100 settlers with 130 head of cattle in a trek from Newtown (now Cambridge) in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and started their settlement just north of the Dutch fort. The settlement was originally called Newtown, but was changed to Hartford in 1637 to honor the English city of Hertford.
On December 15, 1814, the Hartford Convention was called to order in Hartford. Delegations from the five New England states, (Maine was still part of Massachusetts at that time) were sent to Hartford to discuss New England's possible secession from the United States.
During the early 1800s, the Hartford area was a center of abolitionist activity. The most famous abolitionist family was the Beechers. Rev. Lyman Beecher was an important Congregational minister known for his anti-slavery sermons. His daughter, Harriet Beecher Stowe, wrote the famous Uncle Tom's Cabin, while her brother, Henry Ward Beecher, was a noted clergymen who vehemently opposed slavery and supported the temperance movement and woman's suffrage. Beecher Stowe's 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-1800s campaigning.
In July 6, 1944, Hartford was the scene of one of the worst fire disasters in the history of the United States. The fire, which occurred at a performance of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus circus, became known as the Hartford Circus Fire.
After World War II, many residents of Puerto Rico moved to Hartford and even today Puerto Rican flags can be found on cars and buildings all over the city. Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Hartford in 1969, when he was 12 years old.
Lately, Hartford has been having problems as the population shrunk 11 percent during the 1990's. Only Flint, Michigan; Gary, Indiana; Saint Louis and Baltimore experienced larger population losses during the decade.
According to Census estimates, Hartford's population has stabilized somewhat. Massive redevelopment projects are now under construction in the city. The largest is Adriaen's Landing along the Connecticut River. It will feature a 400,000 square footconvention center, a 22-story Marriott Hotel (almost complete as of 2004) and a shopping center along Front Street. Another project, Hartford 21, will result in the state's tallest residential building at 36 stories - it is scheduled to be completed in 2006. Also in the works is a major renovation of the Hartford Public Library and Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.
Hartford has different kinds of housing and incomes for a city of its small size. While the West End near Elizabeth Park and the University of Hartford has mansions and well-off homes, some portions of the city are decayed, notably parts of the North End, such as Albany Avenue east of Scarborough Street, and a good chunk of the Northeast neighborhood around Main Street. Violent crime is more prevalent in that part of Hartford but police and local activists have made huge strides to curb its spreading. The southwestern part of the city is more suburban-like. Many property crimes take place in the southern part (around Trinity College) and the Frog Hollow area (just north of Trinity College). Parts of Park Street, and the Asylum Hill area (east of St. Francis Hospital and west of the Hartford Insurance) have also been known for high crime. There have been many measures taken by the Hartford Police Department and local community organizations to keep the crime down in the neighborhoods.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 46.5 km˛ (18.0 mi˛). 44.8 km˛ (17.3 mi˛) of it is land and 1.7 km˛ (0.7 mi˛) of it is water. The total area is 3.67% water.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 121,578 people, 44,986 households, and 27,171 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,711.8/km˛ (7,025.5/mi˛). There are 50,644 housing units at an average density of 1,129.6/km˛ (2,926.5/mi˛). The racial makeup of the city is 27.72% White, 38.05% Black or African American, 0.54% Native American, 1.62% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 26.51% from other races, and 5.44% from two or more races. 40.52% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 44,986 households out of which 34.4% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 25.2% are married couples living together, 29.6% have a female householder with no husband present, and 39.6% are non-families. 33.2% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.6% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.58 and the average family size is 3.33.
In the city the population is spread out with 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 are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 30 years. For every 100 females there are 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 86.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $24,820, and the median income for a family is $27,051. Males have a median income of $28,444 versus $26,131 for females. The per capita income for the city is $13,428. 30.6% of the population and 28.2% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 41.0% of those under the age of 18 and 23.2% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
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