CT History for Kids: Connecticut’s National Historical Parks


(c) Connecticut Explored Inc., Spring 2023

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This issue of Connecticut Explored is all about the power of place. Writers tell the stories of places that have shaped the history of our state. Connecticut is full of important places. It has hundreds of museums and historic sites. But it has only two places officially recognized as national historic sites: Coltsville National Historical Park and Weir Farm National Historical Park.

The U.S. Congress and the National Park Service name national historic sites. They want to preserve and honor places that are important in the history of the country. Coltsville National Historical Park, which isn’t open to the public yet, is near Samuel Colt’s former factory in Hartford. Colt was an important firearms manufacturer from 1836 to his death in 1862, and his factory continued to be significant into the 20th century. Weir Farm is in Ridgefield and Wilton. It was named for J. Alden Weir. He was an artist from the 1870s to 1919, when he died.

Weir was inspired by the Connecticut landscape. He often painted in the Impressionist style. Impressionists tried to show how a place looked at a single moment in time. They were interested in the natural world. They wanted to give an “impression” of how objects appeared when they were touched by light.

The Red Bridge was one of Weir’s most famous paintings. It shows an iron bridge built over the Shetucket River in Windham. You can see the reflection of the bridge in the water. Weir loved the rural landscape around his home. He also painted urban and industrial places. He became one of the most important American Impressionists. He opened his home to other artists. It became an important place in the history of American art.

Now it’s your turn: What other places in Connecticut should join Coltsville and Weir Farm as national historic sites? Visit our website at https://www.ctexplored.org/favorite-places/ and tell us about your favorite historic place in Connecticut. Why should it be preserved and honored by Congress and the National Park Service? We will publish some of our favorite entries on our blog!

Discover new places! Did you know that all fourth graders and their families can get a year of free admission to natural and historic sites across the country? Learn more at Every Kid Outdoors. http://everykidoutdoors.gov/

Visit Weir Farm and become a National Historic Park Junior Ranger! http://www.nps.gov/wefa/learn/kidsyouth/

Learn about more special places in Connecticut in our book, Where I Live: Connecticut. https://whereilivect.org/




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