HARTFORD – Plans for Hartford’s revitalization have included everything from construction of affordable apartments and retail stores to the iQuilt plan, which creates a walkable and welcoming downtown region. But Connecticut Landmarks is capitalizing on a singular opportunity to strengthen Hartford by completing its multi-year renovation of the historic Amos Bull House located at 59 South Prospect Street. The remodeled building will serve as a dynamic community center and exciting educational hub for the south downtown neighborhood.
The Bull House’s renewed vibrancy will significantly enhance the east side of Hartford’s Main Street by providing cultural connections to Connecticut icons, including the Old State House, Travelers, the Wadsworth Atheneum, the Hartford Public Library, the Butler-McCook House & Garden and the Charter Oak Cultural Center.
Built in 1788, the Amos Bull House is the oldest brick building in Hartford, dating from the Revolutionary War era. The 18th-century Amos Bull House was built as a dry goods store and a residence and later used as a hardware store, auto dealership, insurance offices and a restaurant. Threatened with demolition in the 1960s, it was saved through a community campaign by becoming the first building in Connecticut to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It has since been moved twice, enabling it to survive into the 21st century.
The Bull House is at the back of the historic Butler-McCook House & Garden property on Main Street. The historic 1865 Jacob Weidenmann-designed garden links the two buildings.
The Butler-McCook property and Amos Bull House make important and unique contributions to the history of Hartford’s urban environment. They evoke a neighborhood of engaged residents and small businesses, providing a link from the past to the present in this continually occupied residential and commercial neighborhood. Additional community benefits include:
• Return to productive use of an irreplaceable Hartford landmark.
• Creation of a more substantial anchor in the South Prospect Street neighborhood.
• Increased potential of downtown Hartford for tourism.
• Enhanced educational opportunities for adult and youth programming including education programs that support the teaching of Connecticut history, thus building historic and civic literacy.
• Enhanced green space in downtown Hartford by preserving a historically-significant garden for the enjoyment of pedestrians, landscape historians, scholars and CT residents.
The Bull House is also key to Connecticut Landmarks as it becomes a central, climate-controlled archival repository for extensive archival and photographic collections, as well as the organization’s administrative headquarters. CT Landmarksis a pioneer of environmentally sustainable preservation by undertaking one of the first “green” historicpreservation projects in the region. Extensive mechanical upgrades include a closed-loop geothermal HVAC system designed to support the needs of the entire Hartford campus. The $2.45 million dollar project is the largest undertaking by CT Landmarks to date.
Connecticut Landmarks commemorates the completion of the multi-year renovation with a Grand Opening Celebration from June 5-7th. On Thursday, June 5th, an advance press conference and media tour begins at 3 p.m., followed by a VIP invitation-only reception from 4-5 p.m. The public portion of the event- the Ribbon Cutting and Garden Gala- runs from 5:30 – 9 p.m. and includes live music, refreshments and tours on a starry, early summer night. Special activities will continue on Saturday, June 6th and Sunday, June 7th.
Connecticut Landmarksis in the forefront of Connecticut’s heritage organizations in reexamining its role in and relevance to contemporary society to better connect with current and future audiences. The Amos Bull House Project is the embodiment of this goal.
Connecticut Landmarks’ mission is to inspire interest and encourage learning about the American past by preserving selected historic properties, collections and stories and presenting programs that meaningfully engage the public and our communities. For more information, please visit www.ctlandmarks.org.