Driving into Connecticut’s Capitol City you will undoubtedly notice the bright blue and white, onion shaped dome on the side of I-91. This well-known local architecture marks an area known as Coltsville in Hartford, where Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company once thrived. Coltsville includes Colt Park, the former home of Samuel and Elizabeth Colt, housing used by factory workers, armories where firearms and other products were manufactured and more.
After its founding in 1855, Sam and Elizabeth Colt created a community around manufacturing in Hartford, widely recognized as one of the birthplaces of the industrial revolution. Following the death of her husband, Elizabeth Colt became the first woman to lead a top five manufacturing company, one of the first to implement firewalls and developed an apprenticeship program that spawned the typewriter, the automobile and ultimately the airplane engine.
In Washington, Congressman Larson led the effort to authorize the establishment of Coltsville as a National Historical Park. Congress passed legislation authorizing the establishment of Coltsville in December 2014. The law, which was signed by President Obama, calls for the transfer of two historic brownstone buildings from the land owner to the National Park Service to establish the park. These buildings will ultimately become the Coltsville visitor center. The establishment of Coltsville as a National Historical Park fulfills a long-term goal envisioned by Hartford Mayor Mike Peters and shared by the Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhood, the city, the state and countless community stakeholders.
Coltsville not only preserves a crucial piece of Connecticut history, it also benefits the local and regional economy through economic development, tourism and job creation. Recent studies by the National Park Service point to over $12 billion dollars spent annually with more than 177,000 jobs created in regions surrounding National Parks. The Connecticut Economic Resource Center estimates that development at Coltsville already accounts for more than 1,000 jobs and an economic impact of over $177 million with the potential for 2,500 jobs and an economic impact of over $350 million as a result of tourism and continued development bolstered by park establishment.