A visit to Spring Grove Cemetery

10/17/2015 | David


As we've been reading up on the history of Asylum Hill, we've come across several important people, some of whom will be known to a larger audience but most of whom will not.  Today, we decided to take a ride up to Spring Grove Cemetery, in Hartford's North End, to see if we could find some of them:


  • Lydia Sigourney:  the "Sweet Singer of Hartford" was the first woman to make a living as a published poet in the United States.  She empurpled many of her poems, so much so that they don't hold up so well today, but they were all the rage in Hartford in the mid- to late 19th century.  We consider her the namesake for both Sigourney Street and Sigourney Square Park, but we're finding indications that Sigourney Street may have existed before Lydia's poetry did -- stay tuned -- but she was a resident of the Hill and contributed to the neighborhood's identity.
  • Frederick Mahl:  a prolific builder in the second half of the 19th century, he built close to a dozen houses on Ashley Street including at least two NINA homes, 47 and 51 Ashley Street.  He may also have built 30 Ashley Street, but we haven't quite confirmed that yet.
  • Henry Green:  a recent discovery of ours, Henry was a glassblower turned "roetgenologist" who made significant contributions to the history of medicine.  Unlike Horace Wells, the oft celebrated Hartforder who may or may not have maybe sort of kind of discovered the anesthetic properties of nitrous oxide, Henry created glass vacuum tubes that focused X-rays and turned them into the practical diagnostic tool that they are today.  He also invented a coin-operated public X-ray machine, but we'll leave that one aside for now!


Hartford truly has a rich and amazing history that matches its richly diverse and amazing present.  We'll be running our summer walking tours again in 2016, and you should definitely consider coming out on one or all of them!  And we're also going to start looking for ways to promote some more of this history we're learning.  As we said above:  stay tuned!

Share this: