Coltsville National Historical Site in Hartford

Samuel Colt stands guard at the entrance to Colt Park, where the tour begins.

The newest National Historical Site in Connecticut is found right in Hartford, and we couldn’t resist taking the tour, led by a well-informed National Park ranger, Bert Barnett. The tour begins at the hard-to-miss statue of Samuel Colt, just inside the Wethersfield Avenue entrance to Colt Park. The ranger shared a great deal of infornation about Sam and his wife Elizabeth, and about the sprawling property that they owned, stretching from Wethersfield Avenue all the way down to the Colt Factory building topped with the landmark blue star-covered dome.

Some of the sites on the tour include the massive home of Sam and Elizabeth, still called Armsmear, which means Arms in the Meadow. The house was left to the Episcopal Church, and has been converted to apartments. Many of the original buildings are still on the grounds surrounding the mansion, and new housing units have been built behind it.

Armsmear, home to Samuel Colt

Plant-lined entry to Armsmear, home of Sam and Elizabeth Colt, built in the 1850s.

The tour continued through the ball fields that now spread throughout the park, and along the streets towards the factory with the blue dome. Colt believed that it was to his benefit to provide for his workers, and built several buildings to house them, adjacent to the factory. The buildings, which date to the mid-19th century, still stand tall and pristine, like soldiers all dressed in white.

Colt Park, Coltsville National Historic Site

Colt Park vista, filled with ball fields, track, and recreation areas.

Now known as Colt Estates they provide housing to this day.

Originally home to Colt factory workers, these units have been restored and continue to offer housing.

Just across the street is the factory, with it’s landmark blue dome. Some of the buildings are in very poor condition, waiting for renovations to begin. One entire section has been restored and now provides housing units and space for CREC, which houses various schools. Another section will be renovated and updated, and will be used for mixed use – according to Ranger Bert, they ‘will see who comes’. The lower building, which is original to the factory built in the 1850s, will be eventually renovated and used for the National Park staff.

View of the Colt Factory from Colt Estates.

I highly recommend taking the guided tour, which runs each weekend throughout the summer. Saturday and Sunday at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. For more information: Click here

The blue star-covered dome topped with the iconic colt figure

The old section built in the 1850s contrasts with the newly renovated building that is home to CREC schools and apartments.

The old factory with its Colt smoke stack stands against the city buildings.

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