Founded in 1635 (!), Hartford is one of the oldest cities in the US. That may not seem old to our friends around the world, but it was about 150 years before the US became a country. The first photo is the state capitol building, while the second, the Wadsworth Atheneum, is the country’s oldest public art museum. The country’s oldest publicly funded park, Bushnell Park, is shown in the fifth photo. Walking around the downtown, there is a nice mix of old buildings with the new, statues, and artwork.
The last two photos are Mark Twain’s home in downtown Hartford. It was built by an architect who typically designed churches, and does have the feeling of a church, which is ironic as Twain was a notorious nonbeliever. It is one of the best-preserved homes we have visited. He and his family lived there for 17 years until he was forced to sell it due to poor investments….he was broke. Even though some accounts call him the most famous man in the world in the mid- and late 18th century, he invested in some speculative inventions that eventually bankrupted him. The house is filled with his children’s dolls and toys. With some, he invented bedtime stories for them every evening. The desk at which he wrote all of his most famous books is preserved in the Billiard Room. That room is decorated with cue sticks, billiard balls, cigars, and pipes, an original Man Cave. The children and his wife were not allowed in. He held drinking and billiard parties every weekend, and he himself smoked 30 cigars per day! He and his wife bought a very expensive bed with angels at the four corners and carved into the headboard. Told it was an antique, they later learned they had been swindled. Twain placed the bed pillows at the bottom of the bed, saying he wanted to look at what he bought for all that money! We felt a kinship with him, as he tried to recoup his fortune by doing talking tours around the world. He and his family stayed in hotels in the biggest world cities for several months at a time, for a few years, until they could afford to buy a house once more. We are “purposely homeless,” but we appreciate having a forebear who did what we are attempting.