Hartford’s “Rain of Parks”

Rev. Francis Goodwin (1839-1923), laid to rest in Section 10 of Cedar Hill, was widely recognized for his work as an advocate for Hartford parks.

Goodwin served as a member of the Hartford Park Board from 1880 to 1910. He was considered the “moving spirit” of the Board. During his 30-year tenure, he helped make Hartford’s park system one of the best in the nation.

In the 1890s, the Board noted the need for more parks to reduce the use of Bushnell Park. In response, the Board sought to create a ring of parks around the capital city.

During the “Rain of Parks,” Goodwin convinced wealthy citizens to support the development of city parks. Through his influence, Hartford added several parks through strategic donations and purchases.

Charles M. Pond donated his large West End estate, which became Elizabeth Park named in honor of his wife. Wealthy industrialist Albert Pope gave land near his factories in the southwest section of the city for what would become Pope Park.

Similarly, Elizabeth Colt bequeathed land in Hartford’s south end for Colt Park. Henry Keney, a wealthy grocer, donated land and money for future land acquisition. This resulted in Keney Park, which consists of over 600 acres in the north end.

Goodwin also convinced the Park Board to purchase land for Riverside Park in the north meadows, as well as land in the south end, across from Cedar Hill. Originally called South Park, in 1901 it was renamed Goodwin Park in honor of the dedicated advocate.

Goodwin Park