The Demise of Hartford’s First Skyscraper


2015 marks the 25th anniversary of a parking lot in the heart of downtown Hartford.  On April 1, 1990, the city’s first skyscraper was imploded to make way for shiny new high rise.  11 stories of history was making way for a glitzy 45 story tower.  It was never built and the site remains vacant, and has stymied the city’s past four mayors, all of whom were unable to get it developed.  Perhaps the incoming mayor Luke Bronin will have better luck.

In this Sunday’s Face the State flashback, we took you back to the spring of 1990, when preservationists had lost their fight to save the old Aetna building.  The Society for Savings won the battle, and chose to not only level the skyscraper, but ten other nearby buildings, all part of its plan to build a new headquarters in the sky.   A entire city block was wiped out.

There are two reports at the link below, one from Dan Kain a few days before the demolition and another from David Ushery on April Fools Day, when a piece of Connecticut history  came crashing down in front of a large crowd of spectators armed with their VHS cameras.


WATCH: http://www.wfsb.com/clip/12090078/implosion-of-hartfords-first-skyscraper

Do you remember?  What should be built there now?  My suggestion?  For the corner of Asylum and Main, a replica of the first meeting house, similar to the one that stood across the street in the 1600s, then put some housing and retail around it.


Categories: Uncategorized

3 replies »

  1. So disappointed that building was taken down. It was one of the best in Hartford. I like your idea for the existing location. It will work well with the Old State House across the street. A theme. By the way – replica of the 1st skyscraper itself should be an option too since there’s nothing there now!


  2. We like your idea and agree with Dean Pagani. Keep that area a “theme ” of the “old Hartford”. Hartford is NOT New York, Chicago, etc. It is a small city in New England and should keep it’s colonial atmosphere.


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