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Since the American Revolution, Connecticut has had three Capitols; built in 1878, this angelic-white structure is the state's third and last one. Designed by renowned American architect Richard M. Upjohn, the gold-domed building was erected in the Victorian Eastlake Movement-style and constructed using marble sourced from three different East Coast states. The iconic structure's stunning main facade is embellished with a series of carefully-crafted statues that bear likenesses to some of the most influential politicians and historic citizens to have come out of Connecticut. The capitol building is currently home to the state senate and the house of representatives, while also maintaining the offices of the governor, lieutenant governor and secretary of state.
This home on Farmington Avenue is where Mark Twain lived from 1874 until he moved to Europe (due to bankruptcy) in 1891. It is also the place where Twain wrote some of his most famous works, such as Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. The estate is in constant renovation and the curating team is always looking to restore it as it was when Twain lived here. Nonetheless, the adjacent Museum offers an exclusive documentary about the writer by director Ken Burns and the home was one of the first 100 architectural sites to be registered as a National Historic Landmark in the United States.
Built in 1752, the Joseph Webb House is a historic Georgian-style house in Wethersfield, Connecticut. Joseph Webb, a renowned and successful merchant built this home post his marriage to Mehitabel Nott in 1749. It was the venue of a vital five-day military conference that was held during the American Revolutionary War. The house has an enormous history. After Joseph sold it in 1790, it was purchased by a group of entrepreneurs to start off a library. Further, it underwent extensive refurbishment and Wallace Nutting installed painted murals to open it as a sales area and studio. A visit is a great deal of a historic experience.
Built in 1876 by William Goodspeed, the Goodspeed Opera House is a gem of American musical theater. Overlooking the Connecticut River, this majestic building is now owned by Goodspeed Musicals and is home to award-winning shows and performances. It is the cradle of world famous musicals like Man of La Mancha and Annie. After its founder's death it became decrepit and was almost at the brink of destruction, thankfully, Goodspeed Musicals was formed to save this historic structure in 1959. It has since been restored to its former glory and opened after four years of intensive restoration in 1963.
One of the nation's oldest state houses, Hartford's Old State House dates back to 1796. A Federal-style building designed by famed architect Charles Bulfinch, the Old State House has been restored on numerous occasions and has been on the list of National Historic Landmarks since 1966. The state house bears an assemblage of architectural influences, where a Federal Styled-facade gives way to a Victorian chamber and a courtroom awash in Colonial Revival style. Home to the Museum of Natural and Other Curiosities, this regal, brick-hued edifice overlooks a pristine lawn, and lords over the sleek cityscape of Hartford. Even though it has not served the Connecticut government since the construction of the new State Capitol building, the Old State House is a stirring canopy lending insights into the history of the state.
Hartford's Cedar Hill Cemetery is the final resting place of many of Connecticut's most notable residents. This 227-acre (92-hectare) cemetery has been open since 1864 and is one of the region's finest examples of cemetery architecture combined with the rustic Connecticut environment. Some of the most notable residents interred here are the infamous J.P. Morgan and lovely Katharine Hepburn. The Cedar Hill Cemetery Foundation provides tours and holds events throughout the year.
Lake Compounce Family Theme Park is the one of the oldest continuously operated theme parks in the United States. The amusement park and adjoining water park are two of the hottest summer attractions in the region, as well as the Wildcat, (a wooden roller coaster built in 1927 and reconstructed with new wood in 1985) and a carousel built in 1911. This is the perfect spot for some family fun or to just admire this historic and fun-filled attraction.
With a congregation founded in 1636, the Center Church is the fourth meeting house to reside on its current location with the present church built in 1807. The Center Church has always maintained itself as not just a religious icon of the city, but as a cultural one as well. Today, there are concerts and important city events, such as First Night, which are held on the grounds of the church. Also on the site of the church is Hartford's oldest cemetery, the Ancient Burial Ground, where its citizens were interred from 1640 to 1802. "Our Church is 375 years old; our thinking is not" is the motto of the 375 year-old house of worship and is one of the most progressive congregations in the state.
While this sight might look like something you would see on Ghost Hunters, the Old Newgate Prison is the ruins of the prison that once stood here back in the early 19th Century. A tour of the grounds informs guests of early American prison reform and models of prison architecture. A must-see for history buffs and those interested in local lore.