Nook Farm (Connecticut)

Nook Farm is a historical neighborhood in the Asylum Hill section on the western edge of Hartford, Connecticut, USA.

Nook Farm and Woodland Street District
Mark Twain House Hartford Connecticut 2009.jpg
LocationWoodland, Gillett, and Forest Sts., and Farmington Ave., Hartford, Connecticut
Area41 acres (17 ha)
ArchitectBrocklesby, William C.; Multiple
Architectural styleLate 19th And 20th Century Revivals, Gothic, Queen Anne
MPSAsylum Hill MRA
NRHP reference #79002674[1]
Added to NRHPNovember 29, 1979

In the early 1800s, the area was dominated by the Imlay farm, which occupied most of the land from present-day Imlay Street west to the north branch of the Park River, and from Farmington Avenue south to the Park River. John Hooker and his brother-in-law Francis Gillette purchased the pasture and woodland from William Imlay in 1853 for the purpose of developing the real estate. They built their own homes and sold parcels of land to relatives and friends to do likewise. As a result, an art colony took hold that included Hooker and his wife Isabella Beecher Hooker, the Gillettes, Charles Dudley Warner, Joseph Roswell Hawley, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mark Twain, the Rev. Nathaniel Judson Burton and his wife Rachel Pine Chase Burton, as well as other journalists, feminists, spiritualists, painters, writers, reformers and activists. The area became known as Nook Farm, taking its name from the bend‚ or "nook‚" in the Park River‚ which bordered the area on the west and south.[2][3][4]

Nook Farm "developed into a tight-knit community through a web of family and business connections. It was an oasis apart from the bustling city and a place that bubbled over with ideas about politics and reform during a time of great tumult in the nation."[2] Mark Twain described the openness of the neighborhood, "Among the colonists of our neighborhood the doors always stood open in pleasant weather."[5]

The homes were designed by leading architects of the day, including Edward Tuckerman Potter, Francis Hatch Kimball and Richard Upjohn.[6] Although many of them were demolished over the years, including eleven to make room for the Hartford Public High School,[7] some still survive. Currently, the Mark Twain House, the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, and the Katherine Day House are museums open to the public.[8][9][10] The John and Isabella Hooker House is now an apartment building,[11] as is the House at 36 Forest Street, built later in 1895.[12]

Historic districtEdit

A large portion of the Nook Farm area was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.[1] The district is anchored at the center by the complex of museum properties that make up the Twain and Stowe houses. It extends south along Forest Street north along Woodland and Gillett Streets roughly to Niles Street. In addition to the surviving mansion houses, there are several architecturally stylish early 20th-century apartment blocks.[13]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Normen, Elizabeth. "Where Mr. Twain and Mrs. Stowe Built Their Dream Houses". Connecticut
  3. ^ "The Beginnings of Nook Farm". Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  4. ^ Frank, Jenifer. "Hartford's Nook Farm". Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  5. ^ Smith, Harriet Elinor, ed. (2010). Autobiography of Mark Twain: Volume 1. University of California Press. pp. 438–439. ISBN 978-0-520-26719-0.
  6. ^ "The Architects". Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  7. ^ Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, "Harriet Beecher Stowe's Nook Farm Neighborhood: A Self-Guided Tour" (PDF).
  8. ^ "Stowe's Hartford Neighborhood, Nook Farm". Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. Archived from the original on July 4, 2017.
  9. ^ Floyd, Rebecca. "Nook Farm: Notable Neighbors". The Mark Twain House and Museum. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  10. ^ "Katharine Seymour Day House". Harriet Beecher Stowe House. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  11. ^ "The John and Isabella Hooker House". Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  12. ^ "36 Forest Street, Hartford (1895)". Historic Buildings of Connecticut. August 31, 2010. Retrieved May 1, 2011.
  13. ^ "NRHP nomination for Nook Farm and Woodland Street Historic District". National Park Service. Retrieved October 29, 2017.

External linksEdit