Over 70 years ago Hartford, Connecticut buried its central park river. In eastern cultures water = wealth and Hartford as a city has struggled economically for nearly as long. The burying of the Park River was, at the time, the most expensive public works project in the New England Army Corps of Engineers history.
Now, nearly a century later, we are looking at the very real possibility of bringing water back to Hartford’s Bushnell Park, the first public park in US history through initiatives tied to Hartford’s iQuilt plan. Water in Bushnell Park may yet be 5-10 years off, but it is a game-changer for Hartford as a city: restoring a sleeper of a park to its potential as the urban oasis that it was designed to be.
When you see the historic images of the Park River you cannot help but stand in awe. Images that are hard to find, largely locked up in historic archives, to see only in person and with special permission. Historic images of the lost Park River single-handedly catalyzed my own love for this city years ago. And if we reach this point where water again flows into Bushnell Park, we will undoubtedly once-again inspire countless others to fall in love with a city called Hartford again.
History has a funny way of repeating itself. Sometimes that is very good thing indeed. Bring it on iQuilt!