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Bushnell Park Grand Entrance – an idyll speculation for a snowy day.

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Bushnell Park Grand Entrance – an idyll speculation for a snowy day.

 

No work today, so here’s a thought. The corner of Trumbull and Jewell is a major entryway to Bushnell Park. If the iquilt plan goes through and the carousel is moved near the pump house it will even more traveled. So why not greet visitors with something memorable?

 

The idea is simple. A grouping of statues of famous Hartfordites. Not quite the scale of the Birkenhead Gate, but larger than life and a nod to the city’s heritage.

 

Financially, it’s neither a big nor small number. Your basic six-foot bronze statue of a human runs south of $50,000.  The base, say four-foot tall (perhaps of concrete) might be another $10,000. That’s $60 grand per statue.  Minimum there should be six, three on each side of the entrance, that’s $300,000 bucks plus installation. You could do eight or ten. Or start with six and leave room to add more.

 

My original six are Thomas Hooker, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sam Colt, Horace Wells and Katherine Hepburn. The base below the statue would have a plaque explaining who they are and their accomplishments. Currently there is nowhere in the city that pays homage to the city’s famous sons and daughters. The grand entrance would remedy that omission.

 

This is a very rough idea for the lay out of the entrance. It’s pretty bad. (Did I mention I’m drinking wine on my snow day?) But it does you some idea of the scale.

 

12072543076_126750489f.jpg

 

 

 

Curious if you see this as a good or bad idea. Or perhaps you’re indifferent. I think this is the sort of thing a city should have. Not only does it tell visitors that we think this park is special. It also tells them we think this city and residents are special as well.

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I will play along!!

but I am at work

and there is no wine in my immediate future.

 

First,  The bushnell foundation and iQuilt had big plans to redesign the area, and part of that is creating a sense of place.

 

Interestingly the focus of Suissman architects is Gold street as the gateway to the park.

 

I agree in the importance of Trumbull Street as an entrance to the park.  ESPECIALLY after the intermodal triangle project is completed and i Quilt s plans for the Carrosel and rink as you mentioned.

 

I look at trumbull, Gold, and the soldiars arch are the three primary points of entry for the coming decade.

 

 

I like sculptures, but I have some concerns...

I know that the park plan is to add some bridges and to add the water feature, but I am not sure if there is room on the outer edge of the park at this location to accomodate the water and a sculpture garden.

 

I am going to have to pull up the plans that the bushnell park foundation floated.

 

EDIT:

cant find anything on bushnell parks site, but on the iquilt plan

http://theiquiltplan.org/storage/iQ2%20Overview%20Jan.27.pdf

I see that nice semi circle still exists.

Page 29 of the PDF shows that they call this Fox Gate, its the old school name of that entrance to the park.  there used to be a bridge there

with the planned narrowing of the road and the increased sidwalks and park size, there is certainly room here

 

 

So yeah lets add some statues

By the way I think concrete is a bad base material, especially in our winters and seasonal temp shift.

 

Also, J.P. Morgan might be an interesting stsatue to put up there

 

Also, do you go regional?  or stick strictly to Hartford?

Edited by The Voice of Reason

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I will play along!!

but I am at work

and there is no wine in my immediate future.

 

First,  The bushnell foundation and iQuilt had big plans to redesign the area, and part of that is creating a sense of place.

 

Interestingly the focus of Suissman architects is Gold street as the gateway to the park.

 

I agree in the importance of Trumbull Street as an entrance to the park.  ESPECIALLY after the intermodal triangle project is completed and i Quilt s plans for the Carrosel and rink as you mentioned.

 

I look at trumbull, Gold, and the soldiars arch are the three primary points of entry for the coming decade.

 

 

I like sculptures, but I have some concerns...

I know that the park plan is to add some bridges and to add the water feature, but I am not sure if there is room on the outer edge of the park at this location to accomodate the water and a sculpture garden.

 

I am going to have to pull up the plans that the bushnell park foundation floated.

 

I looked at the Suisman plans (check the Bushnell Park North project) and the Gold Street entrance didn't seem to have a place for this feature. The Gold entrance mostly happens on the other side of the street on the new Gold Street plaza. I believe the intent is to make Gold Street more of an extension of the park than an entry. On the park side, the entry is simply a bridge over the uncovered Park River.

 

You're right about there being three primary entries. Gold would actually be the fourth. There is a large entrance near the train station.  But the Corning Foundation is really the focus of that corner of the park.  The Soldiers and Sailors Arch is a grand entrance in its own right.

 

The Trumbull/Jewell corner funnels into a bridge behind the entrance.  The Suisman plans would add another 20 feet of sidewalk in from of the current entrance. There is plenty of room now and there will be more if the iquilt improvements are made. And as a practical matter, more foot traffic will probably come down Trumbull into the Park than will come down from Main Street on Gold - and even some of them will enter from Trumbull.

 

The Trumbull entrance will still be very prominent, in fact it is enhanced. Even with the uncovered river the Trumbull entrance is gaining ground. 

 

The are only a couple of places in the city such a row of honor might make sense, as part of the old State House grounds would be one.  But I prefer my pigeons in the park. And by putting the statues together, it makes an more impressive presentation. As you know, I'm a big fan of critical mass.

 

This idea is my stripped down version.  The grandiose plan would be a huge fountain on the corner with the statues worked into the water feature ala Trevi Fountain in Rome.

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I think it's a great plan. I'd also nominate Wallace Stevens as someone who is deserving of a statue.

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Trevi kinda loses the identity of the honored due to the scale and distance created by the water (from memory of like 5 years ago lol)

 

I like a walk of honor.

 

funny enough there is that the hold street walk towards the park could be just that walk.

 

I still think this location and general idea is good though.  If it is intended as a one of, pic 2,4,6, whatever honorees or a true walk of honor that is intended to expand over the years, the location might indeed be too small some day.

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So I just had a thought and one Im rather fond of....

 

With the plan for I-84 which includes moving train tracks and partially burying 84, there would be a few blocks of buildings and a round a bout on the western edge of the park.  This would mean there was a city street bordering, in fact incircling the park.

 

If this happens, how do you guys feel about closing Trinity street to cars?

 

I think the plan is to also revive the bridge that is burried here so the result in my view would be an arch over a cobblestone walking path which crosses the "ricer" on an old bridge.

This works because it would not interfeer with things like the marathon, and it would also not adversely affect traffic as there is almost NONE today and with an encircling road, the two sides of the park would be much better linked anyways.

 

 

This path would be essentially a pedestrian road with bike paths and it would act as the grand entrance to the park.  or even the main street of the park

 

This "road" could be lined with statues either down the center or on the sides.

 

The city could designate several spaces on either side of the "road" as food truck/cart pads which can be rented out for a small fee much like state house square does today.

 

another potential point of interest might be to put a moderately sized plaza in the center where the memorial wall for the middletown explosion is.   Nothing huge, but something big enough to hold small events like "dancing under the stars" and also possibly have a central statue/monument and again ring this area with vendor spaces. 

 

This is the place where I imagine there to be hucksters that might entertain people as they eat lunch or walk to/from an event at the bushnell/capitol

Edited by The Voice of Reason

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Morgan Buckeley probably should be added to the original six.

 

Founder of the Hartford Dark Blues baseball club, an original member of the National League. In 1876 he became the NL's first president and in 1937 he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Subsequently he became a Connecticut Governor, a US Senator and long time president of Aetna.

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hey, it is rainy, so it seems that this is where BB goes when the weather acts up :)

 

BB's first 6

Thomas Hooker, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sam Colt, Horace Wells and Katherine Hepburn 

 

HT added Wallace Stevens

 

BB's #7Morgan Buckeley

 

So, Buckeley is a good choice because the guy was a big deal.

 

I do however wonder how you limit things and balance things.

 

how much did Hepburn contribute to the city?  she is from here and because extremely famous and stuff, but it could easily be said that a Buckeley was a much bigger deal for Hartford and the region..

 

I thought about JP Morgan also

 

 

I think one of the cities most important sons in Frederick Law Olmsted

I mean he did design the park we are talking about and central park and well, lots of stuff

 

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hey, it is rainy, so it seems that this is where BB goes when the weather acts up :)

 

BB's first 6

Thomas Hooker, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sam Colt, Horace Wells and Katherine Hepburn 

 

HT added Wallace Stevens

 

BB's #7Morgan Buckeley

 

So, Buckeley is a good choice because the guy was a big deal.

 

I do however wonder how you limit things and balance things.

 

how much did Hepburn contribute to the city?  she is from here and because extremely famous and stuff, but it could easily be said that a Buckeley was a much bigger deal for Hartford and the region..

 

I thought about JP Morgan also

 

 

I think one of the cities most important sons in Frederick Law Olmsted

I mean he did design the park we are talking about and central park and well, lots of stuff

Hepburn grew up in the city and certainly loved Connecticut. She returned to the shoreline for her last years and is buried in Hartford. 

 

In fact Hepburn, Morgan and Buckeley were all born and buried in the city.

 

Olmsted was certainly the one of the favorite sons of the city but he did NOT design Bushnell Park.  He did recommend the guy who did.

 

Morgan was a titan.  And his ties to the city were certainly strong.

 

Yep, you can make a case for all three.  I would still rank Kate slightly ahead.

Edited by beerbeer

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I guess my point is just that in the short lists you guys gave, we are more celebrity focused than substance.  and while I value Mark Twain, Stowe, Hepburn and Stevens, the 4 of them worked in entertainment

 

I think when you talk about a walk of honor, there needs to be much more on the substansive side rather than celebrity or fame in a given field

 

again I am not arguing against those folks, just suggesting that the first say, 10, should be able to have say 6 Hookers and Olmsteads for every 4 Hepburns or Stevens

 

 

we could argue for a Jim Calhoon, Ron Francis

 

but Id think it wise to focus on people of greater substance like Sam colt who literally changed the city and I suppose the world.  a modern example might be Mayor mike but im not sure that legacy is appropriate yet.

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I guess my point is just that in the short lists you guys gave, we are more celebrity focused than substance.  and while I value Mark Twain, Stowe, Hepburn and Stevens, the 4 of them worked in entertainment

 

I think when you talk about a walk of honor, there needs to be much more on the substansive side rather than celebrity or fame in a given field

 

again I am not arguing against those folks, just suggesting that the first say, 10, should be able to have say 6 Hookers and Olmsteads for every 4 Hepburns or Stevens

 

 

we could argue for a Jim Calhoon, Ron Francis

 

but Id think it wise to focus on people of greater substance like Sam colt who literally changed the city and I suppose the world.  a modern example might be Mayor mike but im not sure that legacy is appropriate yet.

 

Twain, Hepburn and Stowe were more than celebrities, they were pioneers that changed the culture.

 

When Lincoln met Stowe he asked "Is this the little, lady that started all the trouble" (referring to the Civil War).

 

And Huck Finn was a seismic shift in thinking, perhaps the most important novel in American history.

 

Kate was more than an actress.  She was the embodiment of a new kind of woman, a trail blazer and role model.

 

To call them celebrities is really undervalues their lives and contributions. They weren't Kim Kardasian.

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BB, I actually dont disagree with twain and Stowe

 

But if we are talking about putting a figure of femenine importance, how about Ann uccello or B. Fox?

 

I honestly have no issue with a Hepburn on the list, my point is that entertainers should NOT make up the majority of the first 6

 

Certainly you should include those folks but there are more culturally relevent things that have happened in Hartford. 

Do I think it would be awesome to have her on there sandwiched between Captain Joseph Wadsworth (the guy who stole the charter) and say Ella T Grasso.  Heck yeah.  In fact its people like her who might be mist interesting to any tourist that might find their way to Hartford and actually look at the statues.  Heck she essentially is the woman that defined beauty in my mind because I grew up on old black and white movies on Public TV, so her role in African Queen is actually vivid in my mind (that movie was awesome at least in my mind circa 1983 as a 9 year old)

 

My point is just simply that Wadsworth did more and deserves higher accolade than Hepburn... as does Grasso, especially when considering her role as a pioneer among women.

 

 

If you start with say, 6 origonal inductees, Id think that this being CT and all, we would have 1 woman, one person of ethnicity like someone from the Amistad and 4 founding fathers.

choosing a top 6 is dang hard and thats why I decided id challenge your choices... because simply I am waiting day after day for more info on the rock cats stadium RFP :)

 

another great name for the mix...

Maria Miller Stewart

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BB, I actually dont disagree with twain and Stowe

 

But if we are talking about putting a figure of femenine importance, how about Ann uccello or B. Fox?

 

I honestly have no issue with a Hepburn on the list, my point is that entertainers should NOT make up the majority of the first 6

 

Certainly you should include those folks but there are more culturally relevent things that have happened in Hartford. 

Do I think it would be awesome to have her on there sandwiched between Captain Joseph Wadsworth (the guy who stole the charter) and say Ella T Grasso.  Heck yeah.  In fact its people like her who might be mist interesting to any tourist that might find their way to Hartford and actually look at the statues.  Heck she essentially is the woman that defined beauty in my mind because I grew up on old black and white movies on Public TV, so her role in African Queen is actually vivid in my mind (that movie was awesome at least in my mind circa 1983 as a 9 year old)

 

My point is just simply that Wadsworth did more and deserves higher accolade than Hepburn... as does Grasso, especially when considering her role as a pioneer among women.

 

 

If you start with say, 6 origonal inductees, Id think that this being CT and all, we would have 1 woman, one person of ethnicity like someone from the Amistad and 4 founding fathers.

choosing a top 6 is dang hard and thats why I decided id challenge your choices... because simply I am waiting day after day for more info on the rock cats stadium RFP :)

 

another great name for the mix...

Maria Miller Stewart

 

I think you made a much better point when you cited Olmsted and JP Morgan. Both had a huge influence on those who came after.

 

Ann Uccello was a politician without a single accomplishment of substance.  Historic, sure, in that she was the first female mayor, but her two x chromosomes were the only reason she is of note.  Grasso was born, lived and is buried in Windsor Locks. And she was not really a historic governor in any sense beyond her gender. Fox was a merchant that probably cause more harm to the city than good.

 

Wadsworth was certainly a hero but you can't put his contributions above Hepburn's

 

I think to some degree you are confusing celebrity with talent.  Hepburn and Twain were not merely famous. They became famous because of their great talent and both spent their lives improving their skill. Hepburn is certainly in the conversation of the greatest actress who ever lived. It is her talent, not her celebrity that makes puts her on my list.  And she was so much more than just an actress.

 

Katherine Hepburn brought the values she learned in Hartford from her mom to the nation and the world. Her strong willed characters and portrayal of independence "spinsters" -not to mention she wore pants off screen- made her one of the most important cultural icons for women worldwide. Few men or women have as much right to be a called a pioneer as Katherine Hepburn.  She was a feminist before the word was invented. And no question she is a true daughter of the city. To leave her off the list would be wrong.

 

Interesting about Steward. I don't know much about her and have rarely heard her associated with the city.

 

On the subject of talent, perhaps the best artist produced by the city is Frederic Church. He was born and raised in Hartford but eventually moved away. Many of his painting are masterpieces and he did paint the region. His painting "Hooker and the journey to Hartford" which hangs in the Atheneum is a city treasure.: http://connecticuthistory.org/hookers-journey-to-hartford/#sthash.tjNBNmB1.dpuf

 

Thanks for playing along. I find the conversation interesting and I'm learning a little as we go.

Edited by beerbeer

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