The West End is one of Hartford largest and most prominent residential neighborhoods. From modest Victorian homes (modest by Victorian standards) in its southern areas to stately mansions in its northern areas, this neighborhood offers housing of all styles for renters and homeowners. The neighborhood is home to some of Hartford’s greatest assets, Elizabeth Park, the University of Connecticut School of Law, and Hartford Seminary. Five sections of the West End neighborhood are listed on the National Register of Historic Districts, representing about 70 percent of the neighborhood.
Farmington Avenue is a main commercial area in the neighborhood and provides great access to downtown and West Hartford. Farmington Avenue is a thriving commercial district with shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars. The Avenue continues to improve with the hard work of a business association and dedicated residents. The West End is most known for its strong sense of community and active residents. If you seek to be a part of a strong and proud community, this is the neighborhood for you. The West End is most known for its strong sense of community and active residents involved in the West End Civic Association .
The West End represents one of the final frontiers in the development of Hartford. Much of the area was farmland throughout the 19th century. In 1870, real estate developer Eugene L. Kenyon laid out the beginnings of Kenyon, Whitney, Tremont, Oxford and North Beacon Streets on the farmland north of Farmington Avenue in the hope of attracting new residents to the western edge of the city. He lost many properties through foreclosure.
It wasn't until the turn of the 20th century when upper middle class residential development began to boom. During the 1910's, many two- and three-family homes were constructed. The area north of Fern Street developed between 1905 and 1930 in a more suburban pattern than had the earlier sections near Farmington Avenue.
In 1895, Charles N. Pond donated his large estate to the Hartford Parks Commission. Named in memory of Pond's wife, Elizabeth Park straddles the Hartford-West Hartford border. This is due to the long-standing border dispute between West Hartford and Hartford, which was resolved in the 1870's when Prospect Avenue was set as the dividing line. A playground, softball fields and other recreational facilities are provided on the Hartford side of the park. A sweeping vista of the park with a view downtown Hartford can be seen from an overlook off of Prospect Avenue near Asylum Street.
One of the most architecturally-interesting structures is the former residence of A. Everett "Chick" Austin, who served as the Director of the Wadsworth Atheneum from 1927 to 1944. Styled after a Palladian Villa, this odd, yet artistic structure is a reminder to Hartford of its innovation and culture.
Neighborhood description provided by Studio O'Maxfield.