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Become a ‘Tourist’ on a Walking Tour of West Hartford

Historic image of Washington Circle, the focus of one of the walking tours. Submitted photo

Award-winning architectural historian Mary Donohue will lead a walking tour series in West Hartford during May.

Sidewalk history tour-goers in 2016. Submitted photo


Celebrate Historic Preservation Month this May with a trio of walking tours on Saturdays May 5, 19, and 26 led by award-winning architectural historian Mary Donohue.

Submitted image

West Hartford has a treasure trove of American building styles from the early 20th century featuring a wealth of architectural details – all best appreciated on foot. Get out in the great weather and explore West Hartford’s streetcar suburbs up close.

On Saturday, May 5, 2018, tour-goers will explore Park Road – one of West Hartford’s most charming and quirky commercial areas. Park Road includes landmarks like the Art Deco-style A.C. Petersen Farms Restaurant, the vintage Quaker Diner, and the duplex neighborhood of Washington Circle. Take a look at some of West Hartford’s signature triple-deckers and learn  the fascinating backstory of the Playhouse on Park building.

This tour will depart from the eastern corner of Park Road and Washington Circle. Street parking is available on Washington Circle and Park Road. Please do not park in the A.C. Petersen’s restaurant lot.

On Saturday, May 19, 2018, stroll through Arnoldale and Beverly Roads. In the 1920s, wealthy businessmen built handsome new homes in West Hartford neighborhoods that lined the eastern end of Farmington Avenue. This visit to two of these outstanding side streets will reveal the Colonial Revival, Bungalow, Spanish Revival, and Shingle style homes that were built to impress.

The tour will depart from the front of the Packard Apartment Building at 745 Farmington Avenue, which stands at the corner of Farmington and Arnoldale Roads. Street parking is available on side streets.

Trek through Elmwood on Saturday, May 26, 2018, and learn about Elmwood’s distinctive architectural history. The section of town was named for the elm trees planted in memory of the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. Once West Hartford’s premiere industrial district, the area is now home to landmark churches, reused schools, and charming bungalows.

The tour departs from the front of the West Hartford Elmwood Community Center. Although Elmwood Community Center’s address is 1106 New Britain Ave., you must gain entrance via South Quaker Lane and then to Burgoyne Street. There is no entrance on New Britain Avenue. Parking is available in the Elmwood Community Center parking lot.

Each walking tour begins at 10 a.m. and will be approximately one hour. Registration is limited to 30 registrants. Registration is available online at noahwebster.yapsody.com. General admission is $15 per person; $12 for museum members. Tickets may be available each tour day for walk-ins, but are not guaranteed.

The museum would like to thank the Greater Hartford Arts Council and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving for their continued support.

The Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society is a cultural destination where citizens can learn to understand and appreciate the past. The museum preserves the birthplace of Noah Webster, the founding father, educator, author, and lexicographer who taught generations of Americans what it means to be American. This National Historic Landmark is also a repository for the history of West Hartford, the community that molded Noah Webster’s future and is still thriving over 250 years later. The historichouse and exhibit spaces are open daily 1 until 4 p.m. For information on the museum’s extensive school and public programs, please visit  www.noahwebsterhouse.org or call (860) 521-5362.

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