Before & After Hartford

How do you photograph a building that does not exist from the upper floors of a building that also does not exist? It’s not easy. I was given a handful of old postcards taken in the early 1900′s of downtown Hartford and asked to duplicate the exact angles showing what the scene looks like today. Reporter Ken Gosselin and I set out on foot and spent two hours lining up the shots using reference points in the old post cards as our guide. In one post card, I noticed a tiny piece of the turret on the Wadsworth Atheneum and was able to line up the correct angle of a spot where the former Heublein Hotel was located. What we actually saw was the Bushnell Tower condos. One post card showed Main Street looking south with the former G. Fox & Co. building on the left. Unfortunately the photo was taken from the upper floor of a Main Street building that was located where I-84 in now. I was able to climb a short wall to get a slight elevated angle and make the shot. Please check out the interactive photo gallery by clicking here.

 A view south down Main Street in Hartford in the 1930s. Credit: Hartford History Center, Hartford Public Library

BEFORE: A view south down Main Street in Hartford in the 1930s. Credit: Hartford History Center, Hartford Public Library

Main Street, looking south with the former G. Fox & Co. building at left and the "Stilts" building at right.

AFTER: Main Street, looking south with the former G. Fox & Co. building at left and the “Stilts” building at right.

A postcard of Allyn House at the corner of Trumbull and Asylum Sts, likely from the late 1910s. Credit: Courtesy of Tomas J. Nenortas Collection

BEFORE: A postcard of Allyn House at the corner of Trumbull and Asylum Sts, likely from the late 1910s. Credit: Courtesy of Tomas J. Nenortas Collection

The corner of Trumbull and Asylum is now the home of the Hartford 21 apartment building and the XL Center.

AFTER: The corner of Trumbull and Asylum is now the home of the Hartford 21 apartment building and the XL Center.

A postcard of the Hartford National Bank Building, known more recently as the Hartford-Aetna Building, mailed in 1913. The building was the first skyscraper in the city. Credit: Courtesy of Tomas J. Nenortas Collection

BEFORE: A postcard of the Hartford National Bank Building, known more recently as the Hartford-Aetna Building, mailed in 1913. The building was the first skyscraper in the city. Credit: Courtesy of Tomas J. Nenortas Collection

The site of the former Hartford National Bank building, the city's first skyscraper, on Main and Asylum Sts. The building was torn down along with ten others and nothing was ever built on the sites.

AFTER: The site of the former Hartford National Bank building, the city’s first skyscraper, on Main and Asylum Sts. The building was torn down along with ten others and nothing was ever built on the sites.

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One Response to Before & After Hartford

  1. Cinthia Cotto says:

    There’s a small, free, local newspaper in Hartford – can’t think of the name right now… (Hartford News?) I pick it up only to see the old images of Hartford always featured on the front cover of the news paper. Are there any photos of the river flowing where the Bushnell Park is now…? I’d like to see that.