Connecticut is known as “The Constitution State” based upon the claim that Connecticut had the first written constitution in history, the Fundamental Orders of 1638/39. In Connecticut we camped at Nelsons Family Campground in East Hampton. It was close to the very picturesque Lake Pocotopaug.
We went about 20 miles north to Hartford and visited the state capitol building. It is one of the most beautiful capitols we have seen so far. It was completed in 1878 and was designed with French and Gothic Revival elements. On the outside there are ornately decorated facades with niches for 24 statues, eight of which have not been filled. The statues are of politicians and other people important to the state’s history.
The dome originally had a statue on top of it named “The Genius of Connecticut”. The statue was cast in Munich, Germany from bronze, stood over 17 feet tall and weighed 7,000 pounds. In this context, “genius” refers to a protector. The statue was damaged during a hurricane and there was a concern that it could fall from its mounting. It was removed in 1938 and subsequently donated to the United States to be melted down as part of the war effort to produce munitions and machine parts. Recently it has been recast in bronze and now stands in the rotunda awaiting the funding needed to mount it in its original location.
In downtown Hartford you can see the Old State House which was designed in 1792. Prior to the Civil War the Connecticut legislature met alternatively in Hartford and New Haven. Construction of the new state house in Hartford began one year before the state held an election to determine the permanent home for the state government. Fortunately, the election went with Hartford.
Also, downtown Hartford has a very pleasant Riverfront Plaza that connect to a nice hiking/walking path along the Connecticut River.
Next stop: Miiddletown, NY