After hearing and reading some conflicting accounts of what Horace Bushnell had in mind for Hartford’s future park, I searched for the editorial which appeared in the Hartford Courant after Bushnell made his proposal to the City Council, as mentioned by our tour guide today. I found comfort in discovering that perhaps Bushnell’s idea was founded on some noble causes and not just opportunistic business and political reasons. His proposal may not be my idea of a relaxing day at the park, but it appears that Bushnell might have had his heart in the right place.
I’ve attached a PDF of the editorial which spells out the proposal to the Common Council, which includes the following:
“We want an open ground…a ground as centrally located as possible where it will add an air of culture and ornament to the city…a place where children will play and the poor invalid will go breathe the freshness of nature…where and high and low, rich and poor will exchange looks and make acquaintance through the eyes; an outdoor parlor opened for cultivation and good manners and a right social feeling. It must be a place of life and motion that will make us completely conscious of being one people.”
By the way, it’s amazing what you can find by searching through the Hartford Courant files. I had some fun with it (I know, get a life).