Historical Coltsville Reveals an Unexpected Past

In nineteenth-century, the now dilapidated and slightly ominous Coltsville served as Hartford’s own utopia. The star-covered Russian Orthodox dome towers over the Coltsville Historic District, jarringly out of place in contemporary Hartford. Samuel Colt developed Coltsville with his wife Elizabeth Jarvis Colt.

The village was designed as an attempted utopia, established to house Colt’s Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company factory workers. The standard nineteenth-century amenities, such as a social hall, churches, and housing, were accompanied by far more eccentric privileges. In effort to attract German-speaking workers, Colt built a model Germanic village, including a beer hall, ski chalets, and replica Alpine cottages.

The village has not been officially preserved, yet its relative anonymity has protected it for over 150 years. Coltsville will be the only national park in Connecticut, and its recognition indicates the lasting impact of the nineteenth-century tycoon. The village provides a fascinating glimpse into the industrial dynamic of the nineteenth-century.

By: Elizabeth Askren ’17

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