87-89 Atwood Street

Status: Completed

What a project! It's nearly as famous as the Victorian Lady, and rightfully so. It may have started as a Perfect Six, but once upon a time it was a derelict 33-room boarding house -- but that was before NINA got its hands on it. Co-winner with the City of Hartford, 2011 Hartford Preservation Alliance Award for the facade restoration and in-fill construction.

Exterior Details

This Perfect Six has all of the hallmarks of a Perfect Six as it is found in Hartford: an offshoot of the Colonial Revival style, it has precast lintels, an ornamental front porch, a classical sheet-metal cornice, and, of course, its monumental size. But it also preserves some of the individual flair of its architect – Zunner was well-known for his use of yellow bricks in his designs.


Interior Details

The interior was more than a gut rehab: everything within the exterior walls is entirely new, but every detail recreates the look and feel of a traditional Victorian home as it can be found throughout Asylum Hill. In some cases, original material from the building could be used as a guide, but in most cases NINA relied on its knowledge of the historical and architectural character of the neighborhood to make its choices.


The Original Building

The building was a Perfect Six, and it served its original purpose until the late 1970s, when it was converted to a 33-unit rooming house. It quickly became notorious as the “Trumbull Hotel,” and it was a magnet for drugs and prostitution. The City of Hartford, responding to complaints about the problem it had become in the area, stepped in to shut the rooming house down in 1997, but the building’s problems were really only just beginning.
It took NINA close to two and one-half years to complete the foreclosure proceedings, finally taking ownership of the property in June 2009. By that time, the building had been vacant for nearly 12 years; the roof had developed leaks, water had entered the building, and the structural integrity of the building had been severely compromised. In early 2009, the roof gave way under the weight of a snowstorm, and it took part of the upper south wall of the building with it. The City, which had already declared the building unsafe in September 2006, determined that the building was now a hazard, and it was ready to demolish the building entirely.



Construction Highlights

NINA forged a unique partnership with the City, the State Historic Preservation Office, and the Hartford Preservation Alliance, and ServCorps to save the building; the interior was a total loss, but the partners were able to save the façade. Many of the bricks were recycled, and they now form the north and south exterior walls of the building. From the street, the building still looks almost exactly as it did 100 years ago.
This is just a quick overview -- if you're interested in a more complete description of how we did this project, look no farther than just below this section.



Presentation: How We Did It

This is a lengthy slide show that describes the building from the collapse of the roof to the start of our project and then all the way through to completion -- soup to nuts, as it were.

Running time is approximately 9m, 45s.

Enjoy!



Project History