Located just north of downtown, Clay Arsenal is one of Hartford's oldest neighborhoods, developed in the middle and late 19th century. It was mainly farmland prior to 1847, when the Hartford-Springfield Railroad, which now forms the neighborhood's eastern border, was constructed.
The section west of Main Street lies on a gentle rise above Downtown and is known as Clay Hill, so named for the type of soil there. The area east of Main Street has been known since 1812 as the Arsenal District, when a State Arsenal was constructed. The Arsenal was demolished in 1909.
Multi-family dwellings were the dominant development in the late 19th century as the neighborhood became home to Irish and Jewish working class families. The Irish had been emigrating to Hartford through a recruitment effort for work on the Enfield Canal in Windsor Locks. In 1895, Clay Hill was predominantly Irish and was served by Saint Patrick's church in downtown Hartford.
Today, the neighborhood is dominated by rental housing, but will emerging homeownership opportunities. The recent redevelopment of Belden Street has created a number of restored historic home for homeowners.
Neighborhood description provided by Studio O'Maxfield.