Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tour of Old State House in Hartford, Connecticut-A Journey into 375 years of History!

Hello there,
Yesterday, we took a guided tour of the Connecticut Old State House  in Hartford, Connecticut (the state capitol)! This building and the land it is on is a hallowed space of where much American, State and City history has taken place! For example, preliminary hearings on different aspects of the Amistad trials were begun in this building before the case traveled to New Haven, CT.  
The front of the Old State House

 Lego model of  Old State House in  Lobby of the Museum entrance
In the early 1600s the Rev. Thomas Hooker delivered a sermon, on the site, that inspired "The Fundamental Orders", Connecticut's first Constitution, which became an inspiration and model for the U.S. Constitution.  There is much more in the history here!  George Washington didn't sleep here, but he actually planned some important Revolutionary War business here!
Click on the photo to read about George Washington's Revolutionary War Plans he made here!

 Besides other interesting and important things that took place in this room, some of the preliminary hearings in the Amistad trial were held in this room as well as the court room which I will show you a bit later. Different aspects of the trial were decided in separate hearings in separate rooms, before heading to New Haven, CT.  This part was not included in the Steven Spielberg movie, although he originally wanted to film here also. Besides the movie being very long and including the Hartford stuff which would've made the film longer, they couldn't film here because the building and rooms which would have been used were under extensive restoration.

Below is a view of the Senate chambers, where the first Connecticut State Senate would meet. Seventy-five percent of the furniture in this room is authentic and goes back to the 1700s ! Citizens were not allowed to sit and watch in the beginning, but later were allowed in such as in our modern day. The portrait of George Washington on the wall is an original done in his memory after he passed away.

 The portrait of our first president was also the same artist who painted the original and better President George W. on the U.S. one dollar bill!

At this Judge's seat/"bench" with the gavel and tobacco spittoon on the floor beside it, some of the decisions that were made in the Hartford part of the Amistad trial were made. 

To the right is a bigger view of the courtroom where the judge's bench is seen in the distance. Most of the furnishings, light fixtures, paint and architectural detail are original.

Below are two pictures of the statue of Justice that used to be on top of the building. There are some interesting stories they will tell you about the statue during the tour they give. The statue was made of a type of pine wood, originally painted white and much later given a gilded look paint.

Statue of Justice
Statue of Justice that used to be on top of building   

Mark Twain lived Hartford, CT for many years where he raised his family in Victorian mansion he had built. It is still standing today and is run as a museum.  It is very well known.  Below is his own first bicycle, which is something I certainly wouldn't want to be the one I learned on or actually ever want to ride! He always was falling off of it himself and didn't really have much luck with it.

This sign explains about Mark Twain's bicycle on display
Mark Twain's bicycle

 The Museum of Curiosities was also in the attic of the Old State House and was one of the first museums in the United States.  It kind of reminds me of stuff in the "Ripley's Believe-It-Or-Not" museum. It is famous for it's two-headed calf (it's real and original from the museum!).  I think it's a place little boys would love!

There are many more things which I didn't touch on and many more pictures that I don't have the room to share! I highly recommend a visit there. The cost is extremely reasonable. The staff are extremely courteous,  knowledgeable and helpful. The guided tours are extremely informative and educational. There is something for everyone. They have many things and a room geared toward children as well as the adults. There are displays on not just the state and building's history, but also about city of Hartford.  I can't tell you enough. It is also very convenient to many other attractions in the area and within walking distance of many restaurants, hotels and other things you may need or be interested in.
The building stands out surrounded by the modern busy city that has grown up around it. The very modern skyscrapers and heavily trafficked streets, surround and tower above this wonderful historical storytelling building and it's plot of land.
Enjoy the time you spend there. If you have been there or have questions or comments, please feel free to comment in the comments section!

Here is the official link for the most up-to-date information:

Hope you enjoyed this visit!  Thanks for joining me!
Have a wonderful day!
Mary Ellen

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