Category: Hartford

Base Ball in the Gilded Age

By , September 18, 2014 11:26 am

It’s not uncommon to hear people reminisce about the time during which Mark Twain lived, seemingly ignorant that part of this era was considered the Gilded Age, a term coined by the writer himself. While some profited richly from industry, others were dirt poor. Corruption was in abundance. Jim Crow laws were enacted.

It seems fitting that this week the Mark Twain House and Museum hosted a discussion about base ball in Twain’s time. Today, as Hartford grapples with violence and widespread poverty, for which no substantive solutions are being offered, the other Hartford remains oblivious to the nature of these issues.

At the same time as a special hearing was held about plans for a minor league baseball stadium, historians gathered in Asylum Hill to speak about 19th century base ball as an industry.

Then, methods of compensation for players fluctuated, both across time and from club-to-club. Some earned salary, others’ earnings were based on “gate money,” or ticket sales. The latter created issues for teams in smaller cities which had trouble drawing large audiences. The Middletown Mansfields, one of Connecticut’s three major league teams in the 1870s, was one of those that struggled to draw a crowd and struggled with the sport itself. That team ended up disbanding quickly.

John Thorn, the official historian of Major League Baseball, explained that some teams would refuse to take their final road trips of the season because they just did not want to travel. Continue reading 'Base Ball in the Gilded Age'»

What is Allowed in Downtown North?

By , September 17, 2014 12:50 pm

With another hearing on the Downtown North Redevelopment Plan tonight, residents might want to know how this fits in with One City, One Plan — Hartford’s plan of conservation and development which underwent a long process involving many public meetings of its own. Links to that document have been disappeared from the City of Hartford website in recent days, making that task impossible to those who did not have the foresight to download or obtain personal copies of the document meant to guide City development over the next ten years.

Here is the document for readers to peruse:

Downtown Development OCOP

There was also a document created in 2009 by the Perez administration. In this, the vision for the Trumbull-Main area is spelled out: residential, small offices, small-scale retail, and small service businesses. Continue reading 'What is Allowed in Downtown North?'»

Random Facts from Hartford Open Data: Accidents

Columbus Boulevard/I-84 ramp

If you live near a fire station, chances are you hear sirens so often that you begin to have auditory hallucinations and are sometimes not entirely sure when the sirens are real or imagined. Some neighborhoods seem to experience a higher frequency of structure fires than others, but only a couple of those sirens we hear each day are for actual structure fires.

Other calls they respond to: false alarms, medical assists, gas leaks, lock outs, rescues from stalled elevators, matters requiring police, malfunctioning sprinkler systems, oil and gas spills, and motor vehicle accidents.

For the period of September 1, 2012 through September 1, 2014, there were 12,525 accident cases on file with the Hartford Police Department. A few of these were designated as “other,” but the majority were described in Open Data as involving motor vehicles. Approximately 17% of these involved injuries, though the database does not indicate severity of those injuries. There were twelve fatal accidents, one of which was labeled manslaughter. A glance at the map shows that the fatal accidents in recent years did not occur at locations with the greatest number of accidents in all, though in previous years, that had sometimes been the case. Continue reading 'Random Facts from Hartford Open Data: Accidents'»

Random Facts from Open Data: Animal Problems

By , September 15, 2014 4:54 pm

Animal complaints, 9/1/12-9/1/14

From September 1, 2012 through September 1, 2014 there were 3651 cases of animal complaints. In that same period, there were 168 reports of animal bites in Hartford.  In a place where only 498 dog licenses were issued in 2012-2013 — Chester, Middlefield, and Brooklyn, Connecticut had a similar number issues in that time — the numbers look curious.

What the data tells us: people, across all neighborhoods and demographics, complain non-stop about animals. Continue reading 'Random Facts from Open Data: Animal Problems'»

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Hartford Demonstrates Against Use of Force

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By , September 13, 2014 9:42 am

Photo by Christopher Brown

At 6:00 sharp on Wednesday, August 27, a crowd of about 60 filled the sidewalk at the corner of Albany Avenue and Main Street as organizers waited for a few more expected people to arrive for a protest against the the recent tasing and arrest of Hartford teen Luis Anglero, Jr. Within the next few minutes, the demonstrators grew to about 75 and some Hartford Police personnel had joined them. Chief James C. Rovella, flanked by uniformed officers, approached the group and spoke with organizers, indicating that they intended to walk with the group. When organizers replied that they would prefer not to have the chief and the officers in their midst, he acknowledged hearing their wishes, but stated that he was going to walk along with the group anyway.

The demonstrators walked north along the Main Street sidewalk, chanting in call-and-response style, “He posed no threat-” “-they tased him!” “Drop the charges-” “-now! now!” They crossed main street near the Clay Arsenal fire station and walked south across Albany Avenue as HPD officers held up traffic for them. They continued south on High Street to the Public Safety Complex and filed into the lobby. Continue reading 'Hartford Demonstrates Against Use of Force'»

Heaven, Two Months In

By , September 12, 2014 4:53 pm

If anyone worried this park would get no use, those concerns can be put to rest. Morning, noon, or night, any day of the week, Heaven is getting use. Continue reading 'Heaven, Two Months In'»

Special Public Hearing on Stadium Scheduled

By , September 11, 2014 6:52 am

There will be a special public hearing held at the Parker Memorial Community Center, 2621 Main Street, on September 17 at 6:30p.m.

Special Public Hearing Notice September 17, 2014


Questions Remain on Downtown North Revelopment

By , September 9, 2014 12:17 pm

Downtown North Redevelopment is back on the agenda for tonight’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. This document has been prepared for the meeting:

Downtown North Redevelopment PZ 090914 V2 FINAL

Since City officials announced plans to build a stadium last June, more questions have been raised than answered. Among those questions:

  • Do all parcels hold considerable market, retail, residential, and mixed-use development potential?
  • Have all of these parcels been completely surveyed and do topographical maps exist for all parcels? How are developers able to do a proper feasibility study without designs overlaying the topo?  Can that be done without site or land surveys?
  • Did the City have a recent market appraisal done for all of the parcels?
  • Are there environmental reports on all of these parcels? Are there any underground storage tanks/sewer lines at these parcels that will need to be moved? How much will it cost for asbestos remediation at 150 Windsor Street? What is the magnitude of these potential environmental issues? Who pays for environmental remediation costs?
  • How much will it cost for the street realignment of Trumbull and Pleasant, along with the abandonment of Windsor? Who pays? How will this impact the flow of traffic with several nearby schools and colleges?
  • Are there unpaid taxes on any of these properties? What is the City doing to collect?
  • Is there a reason that the commercial developer is able to have these properties gifted? Isn’t the norm for the commercial developer to purchase the parcels they plan to develop? Is there a reason that the developers are not being asked to pay full fair market value for this land? Continue reading 'Questions Remain on Downtown North Revelopment'»

Salvation Army Shelter Saved…This Season

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In August it came to light that the budget for the Salvation Army’s Marshall House had been cut. Conversations on restoring that funding appeared to be going nowhere in City Hall, but once the issue was given local media attention, there was a rush to find ways to move money around. What kind of city would Hartford be if it cut the funding for one of the few shelters that serves women and families, and acts as a no-freeze shelter on especially cold days?

The promise to restore funding was made official at Monday’s City Council meeting when the transfer of $100,000 from the Sundry Account to the Department of Health & Human Services was passed.

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