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Bushnell Park

Bounded by Elm, Jewell, and Trinity Streets
Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut

The Footguard Oak
Photo: Msact License: CC BY-SA 3.0
Bushnell Park in Hartford, Connecticut is the oldest publicly funded park in the United States. It was conceived by the Reverend Horace Bushnell in the mid-1850s at a time when the need for open public spaces was just starting to be recognized.
Initial public reaction was skeptical. Hard-nosed business leaders were opposed to removing taxable property from the tax rolls. Furthermore, it was hard to imagine a less likely place for a green, peaceful park than Bushnell's proposed site, which was home to two leather tanneries, a soapworks, pigsties and other livestock–even a garbage dump. A railroad spur ran through it and the smelly Park River, polluted with the city's industrial waste, ran alongside it.

However, after hearing Dr. Bushnell's presentation in October 1853, the Hartford City Council voted unanimously in November to spend public funds to buy the land that was to become Bushnell Park.

The park has a carousel (presently closed).

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Other Bushnell Park Resources

Map of the Area Around
Bushnell Park

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