Hartford is a city of many traits harboring both the homes of literary artists and the offices of insurance companies. However, one of its most prized possessions is the Elizabeth Park Conservancy, which is the oldest municipal rose garden in the country, and a reason for great pride for the local community.
If you are passing through Hartford, even for just a few hours, you need to stop and admire the beauty of one of the most precious collections of rose bushes nestled in a state of the art landscape facility.
A brief history of the Elizabeth Park Conservancy
The city park that now covers 102 acres was once the property of Charles M. Pond who was the treasurer of Connecticut between 1870 and 1871. When his wife died in 1894, he bequeathed this property to the City of Hartford under the condition that it will become a city park and carry his late wife’s name, Elizabeth.
The Hartford City administration began arranging the park in 1897 and employed the landscape firm of Olmsted and Son for the job. Seven years later, the park’s superintendent, Theodore Wirth, developed the Rose Garden, which is now the oldest in the United States, and house roses from more than 800 different species.
In the late 1970s, the Hartford council declared that it will plow the park because they ran out of funds to take care of it. Fortunately, the local community banded together and raised enough money to pay for the maintenance costs and sustain the horticultural gardens in it.
Today, the Elizabeth Park Conservancy is home to several gardens, greenhouses, lawns and picnic areas. Walking promenades and pathways for sporting activities complete its role as a city park with something to offer for everyone.
The maintenance of the Elizabeth Park Conservancy is still supported by an alliance between the Hartford administration and non-governmental groups as well as private donors.
What to do at the Elizabeth Park Conservancy
When you visit Hartford, CT, you can stop at the Elizabeth Park Conservancy for a delightful picnic meal in a natural setting.
Here, you can admire impressive arrangements of roses, maple trees and white oaks that create a stunning landscape.
Walking, jogging and even playing tennis are all allowed in the peaceful atmosphere of the Elizabeth Park Conservancy.
The best time to visit the Elizabeth Park Conservancy
You can visit Elizabeth Park Conservancy every day of the year from dawn to dusk. There are no entrance fees, and you can bring your pet too as long as you clean after it. The best time to visit the Rose Garden is during the months of spring and autumn when the flowers are in full bloom.
Events at the Elizabeth Park Conservancy
To support its maintenance costs, the Elizabeth Park Conservancy also hosts special events like music concerts, garden lectures, open-air move projections, and ballet shows. You can attend these events for small, conventional fees and you may even book a historical tour of the park to make your contribution to its long-lasting preservation.