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Coltsville Timeline: Earlier Years

About the Coltsville Timeline

This guide is a timeline for the process of Coltsville petitioning to become part of the National Park Service. The major focus is on the federal legislation driving this process. Public Law 113-291 includes a series of "Conditions for Establishment" that must be met before the park may be formally established. The National Park Service (NPS) is in the process of meeting the criteria.

As of January 10, 2018, the additional federal legislation passed - needed to authorize the planned visitor's center and administrative offices to be located in the selected buildings within the armory complex.

Defense Rally at Colt's, 1941

Defense Rally 1941

Flood of 1936 - Aerial view of factory

Flood of 1936 - Aerial view of factory

Armory fire - Armory and equipment

Armory Fire

Connecticut State Library, State Archives, PG 460, Colt Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company, Box 3, Folder 5, Item 4

Some rights reserved

Colt's armory complex - Old office building

Office Building

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Riverfront Recapture releases original plan, which includes a public park on banks of Connecticut River. The uncompleted section is opposite Coltsville, and is incorporated into the Coltsville plan. Riverfront Plan by Riverfront Recapture, Inc, 1982


Hartford Architecture Conservancy identifies Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhood to be preserved in their survey.


June 8, 1976

The Colt Industrial District placed on the National Register of Historic Places and recognized as the Colt Industrial National Register District. The district includes Armsmear, the Colt Fire Arms factory complex, Colt Park, three manager houses, and worker housing. Federal Register September 2, 2004, p.53733 


In the 1970's the NPS started the process of making it a National Historic Landmark. [22] 

1940s through 1960s

November 11, 1966

Formerly Known As Samuel Colt Home, Armsmear was designated a National Historic Landmark (NHL) by the Secretary of the Interior


Company becomes Colt Industries


Colt Fire Arms Collection give to the Museum of Connecticut History (from The Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company Factory Collection).


Company bought by Penn-Texas, main plant moved to West Hartford. Company struggled and was bought out by the conglomerate Penn-Texas in 1955. The main plant moved to West Hartford, but production of the Colt AR-15 and M-16 automatic rifles, introduced in 1960 and used by the American military since the Vietnam War.


Art modern building replaces the Italianate office building

1900 through 1930s


Hurricane of 1938


Flood of 1936

June 1936

Construction of storehouse and recreation center

March 13, 1935

Start of thirteen week strike


Armory House demolished


To fill the extraordinary demands of the war, the Colt plant underwent a major expansion in 1916, adding the South and North Armories, the Machine Shop, and several smaller structures. This expansion effectively doubled the capacity of the plant.


Army adopts Colt .45 as standard sidearm.


Elizabeth Colt dies, leaving the Elizabeth Hart Jarvis Colt Collection to the Wadsworth Atheneum, along with $50,000 to build the Colt Memorial Wing. 105 acres of Armsmear grounds was left to City of Hartford for a public park.


Company sold to Armstrong & Schirmer and a holding company was formed.



Eldest son, Caldwell Colt, died.


Church of the Good Shepherd parish house commissioned. Elizabeth Colt commissioned Edward Potter to design parish in Caldwell Colt's memory. 

Church of the Good Shepherd completed at 155 Wyllys in Samuel Colt's memory.


First machine fun, the Gatling, produced

Construction completed on rebuilt armory


Mrs. Colt chooses Edward Tuckerman Potter as her architect for the Church of the Good Shepherd.


Elizabeth Colt began to organize a new parish in the South Meadow and was planning to erect a memorial church in memory of her husband, Sam Colt.

February 4, 1864

Fire at the Armory.

January 1862

Samuel Colt dies in Hartford.


Around this time Colt had skilled workers from Potsdam, Germany emigrate to Hartford in order to work in the willowware factory. The Swiss chalet-style Potsdam houses were built for these workers. 


Armsmear was built as Colt family residence. Style of Armsmear described as an Italianate villa.

August 1855

Armory factory completed.


Model factory built in Hartford that employed the most advanced manufacturing technology In 1855, Samuel Colt built a model factory in Hartford that employed the most advanced manufacturing technology. He also created an industrial community surrounding the factory that included housing, a beer garden, social hall and library, and a church.


Crystal Palace Exhibitionin London: Colt revolvers displayed at this 1851 exhibition. System of interchangeability demonstrated as a highlight of the ''American System of Manufacturing."

Samuel Colt buys property in south Meadows section of Hartford to build armory (completed in 1855).


Began construction of his first factory in Hartford in 1847

Colt opens factory in leased building on Pearl Street in Hartford.


Samuel Colt opened first firearms factory in Patterson, NJ. It closed in September, 1842.

Samuel Colt received first U.S. Patent No. 138 for the first revolving cylinder pistol.

September 19, 1814

Samuel Colt born in Hartford in 1814