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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

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Colt's armory complex - Old office building

Office Building

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1980s

1982

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

1980

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

1970s

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 

1970s

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

1964

Company becomes Colt Industries

1957

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

1955

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.

1942

Art modern building replaces the Italianate office building

1900 through 1930s

1938

Hurricane of 1938

1936

Flood of 1936

June 1936

Construction of storehouse and recreation center

March 13, 1935

Start of thirteen week strike

1929

Armory House demolished

1916

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.

1911

Army adopts Colt .45 as standard sidearm.

1905

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.

1901

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

1800s

1894

Eldest son, Caldwell Colt, died.

1869

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.

1867

First machine fun, the Gatling, produced

Construction completed on rebuilt armory

1866

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

1865

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.

1860

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. 

1857

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

August 1855

Armory factory completed.

1855

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.

1851

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).

1847

Began construction of his first factory in Hartford in 1847

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

1836

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