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Hartford Fun Facts

Charles Bulfinch (1763-1844), the first nationally recognized American architect, completed his first public building, the Old State House in 1796 The Old State House is the oldest state house in America
Hartford was the first city in the United States to erect a building designed for use as a YWCA-1867
The first permanent and triumphal memorial arch in America is the "Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch" in Bushnell Park in Hartford. Construction started in 1884
The Bulkeley Bridge is the largest stone arch bridge in the world – 1905
Hartford Public High School is the second oldest secondary school still in operation in the U.S.
Hartford's Commission on the City Plan was the first permanent public planning body in the United States – 1907
Connecticut's first black congregation was located at the Talcott Street Congregational Church in Hartford. The church was originally called the African Religious Society. The church was built in 1826. They housed fugitive slaves until the end of the Civil War. The church also operated a public school and at the time was the only place black children could learn to read or write
Laura Wheeler Waring, a black woman, born in Hartford in 1887 is world renown portrait artist and was a member of the Hartford Public high School Class of 1906
Aetna Life Insurance erected the world's largest colonial-style structure, 660 feet in length
Phoenix Mutual Insurance Company's headquarters is the worlds first two sided building
Gertrude O. Lewis, Hartford Public High School Class of 1881, founded the CT Humane Society in that same year

Jupiter Hammond, a Hartford resident and author of "The Kind Master and the Dutiful Servant" was the first published American Black poet - 1783
The Hartford Courant is the oldest continually published newspaper in America. First issue of "The Connecticut Courant" was issued October 29, 1764

The first children's magazine was published in Hartford under the title "The Children's Magazine" in 1789
In 1791 the first law book containing the federal laws of the country was published in Hartford
Cryptography is the art or process of writing in or deciphering secret codes. The first cryptography book was published in Hartford in 1805
In 1855 The Aetna Insurance Company initiated the work of educating the public in art by publishing the first chromo poster
The oldest industrial in-house magazine in the world is "Protection" which began as the "Travelers Record" in March of 1865
The first author to submit a typewritten manuscript to a publisher was Hartford resident "Mark Twain"

The Wadsworth Atheneum was founded in 1842 by Daniel Wadsworth and is America's oldest public art museum

The collection at Wadsworth Atheneum spans over 5000 years

Wadsworth Atheneum has the largest art library in Connecticut
The first photographs used for advertising purposes were group pictures of Civil War generals produced by the Travelers of Hartford in 1883
In 1647, Alse Young was hung in Hartford in the charge of being a witch. She was the first person in the colonies so charged, convicted and put to death
The first Home Missionary Society in America was organized in Hartford in 1798
The first church services where prayers were in sign language of the deaf was conducted in Hartford in 1817
In 1966 the first Ecumenical Easter Sunrise Service in America was held on Constitution Plaza
In 1819 Congress appropriated money for the first school for the deaf in America located in Hartford
Domestic science and dietetics were first taught in a school in America by Catherine Beecher, the founder of the Hartford Female Seminary in 1815
Trinity College was the first college in America to have open admissions, without regard to religious beliefs
The first Teacher's Institute ever established was in Hartford in 1839
Dr. Norman Morrison, who came to Hartford from Scotland, was the first man to separate the practice of medicine from pharmacy
Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) was discovered in 1844 by Horace Wells in Hartford for use as an anesthetic in dentistry
Alpheus and Truman Hanks made the first iron plow castings plow in America, in Hartford – 1820
In 1854 Bushnell Park was the first park in the world to be voted for and to purchased by a city
The first municipal rose garden in the United States is located in Hartford. The garden was laid out in 1903 in Elizabeth Park
The first steam powered road wagon ever constructed was made in Hartford by Dr. Apollos Kinsley about 1797
Professor Richtel of Hartford, flew the first dirigible in successful flight (2 hours) over Hartford on June 11, 1878
The first pneumatic tire for an automobile was manufactured in Hartford
The birth of the automobile industry in the United States took place in Hartford. The Pope Manufacturing Company using the best manufacturing methods then known, made Columbia Electric Automobiles. For many years Hartford was the center of the automobile industry

Acknowledgement to Wilson H. Faude & Joan W. Friedland, authors of "Connecticut Firsts" the primary source for this list and to the many others who have made contributions over the last several years, thank you. Last update 03/11/04

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