Coltsville by Dean pagani

The Blue Onion dome of the main Colt Armory offers unique punctuation to the Hartford skyline.

It is the most recognizable memorial to Sam and Elizabeth Colt who made their fortune in Hartford in the late 1800's making and selling guns, modernizing the American manufacturing process and experimenting with the concept of the company town.

Coltsville consists of more than 250 acres which included the factory, worker housing, a Bavarian village Sam Colt built to lure German gun designers to Hartford, a pasture that is now a city park, the Colts' mansion on a hill overlooking it all, and eventually a church and parish house dedicated to the memory of the Colts' son, Caldwell.

Like many old New England factories, the main manufacturing facilities that once turned out precision made firearms using an assembly line process, are now a mixed use development. The south armory is an apartment building. The main armory is home to a variety of businesses.

In 2015, the entire area including the remaining factory buildings, administrative offices, church, park and the Armsmear mansion were designated a National Park. Soon, some of the remaining unused structures will be rehabilitated for use by the National Park Service and business tenants.

The use of large windows in the design of the armory buildings was a deliberate decision to take advantage of natural light.

The mix of decaying factory buildings and loft space reactivated through revitalization reflect the history of the Connecticut economy.

Built to last.

The Colt factory buildings were a major part of the regional economy and sustained thousands of families over more than 100 years. Peering through the dust coated windows gives you a sense of the lifestyle derived from the hard work that went on inside.

Sam Colt housed his workers near the factory promoting loyalty and punctuality.
The Church of the Good Shepherd built in memory of Caldwell Colt.
Coltsville from a high point in Colt Park.

The glass roof of the Sawtooth Building provided assembly workers strong light from directly overhead.

The shadows of Coltsville have been cast daily since 1848

These images and others coming to Open Studio Hartford in November. Details coming soon.

All photos Copyright 2016 by Dean C. Pagani.

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Dean Pagani
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Dean C. Pagani

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