The area which is now known as Elizabeth Park was once owned by Charles H. Pond. Mr. Pond was a wealthy industrialist and statesman whose career included the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, Hartford National Bank, and Treasurer of the State of Connecticut.
When Mr. Pond passed away, he willed his estate to the City of Hartford with the stipulations that it be used as a horticultural park and that it be named for his wife, Elizabeth, who had died a few years earlier.
In Mr. Pond's time, the Hartford/West Hartford border was located about a quarter mile west of where it is today. When the boundary was moved to its present location, it resulted in the unusual situation of one of Hartford's larger parks being situated mostly within the Town of West Hartford.
The City hired the landscape firm of Olmsted and Son to design the park and the park shows the trademark Olmsted vistas of overlooks above expanses of meadows, fields and water. The City hired Theodore Wirth as its first park superintendent to design the garden areas. Mr. Wirth's first project was to create a rose garden because, in his words, "it would please the people." This first planting grew from 100 bushes to the two and a half acre garden of some 15,000 bushes that is the center piece of Elizabeth Park and is known throughout the world.
Today the park encompasses 102 acres and boasts many garden areas, pathways, greenhouses, lawns, a picnic grove, a pond and recreation areas.
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