At the end of the nineteenth century, much of the west part of Hartford was still farmland. Cows grazed in the meadows along the Park River, where small boys went swimming in the summertime. But the area was beginning to build up, primarily with great estates, but also with more modest homes in the neighborhood that would later be known as the West End. One of the grandest of the great estates lay must outside the West End at the corner of Woodland Street and Asylum Avenue. This property belonged to Francis and James J. Goodwin; James Goodwin’s huge mansion was locally known as Goodwin Castle. The Connecticut Historical Society has many photographs of the house and a plan showing the location of trees and shrubs on the extensive grounds. It must have been lovely in May, when the cherry trees and crabapple trees were in blossom. Other flowering trees such as tulip trees and sourwood bloomed later in the summer. The red foliage of the sourwood and maples would have stood out against the green of the arborvitae and pines in the fall. The original plan for the Goodwin estate and other garden plans and architectural drawings will be on view at the Connecticut Historical Society from 9:00 to 5:00 on Saturday June 28, in conjunction with Hartford Blooms, a nine-day showcase of Hartford’s gardens and historic architecture. Stop by and see what this part of Hartford was like one hundred years ago.
Hartford Blooms at CHS