Armsmear (1857)

July 3rd, 2007 Posted in Hartford, Houses, Italianate


Built in 1857 on Wethersfield Avenue in Hartford for Samuel Colt, Armsmear has been called “the grandest residence in the Hartford of its day.” Often attributed to the architect Octavius Jordan, it is an elaborate Italian Villa. It has been much altered from its original opulence, having lost such features as an ornate dome with an ogee shape, similar to that on the Colt Armory in Hartford. Also lost are the glass-domed conservatories, added in 1861-2 and inspired by London’s Crystal Palace. The mansion still features three towers, and Bill Hosley describes, in the Hog River Journal, convincing the director of the Wadsworth Atheneum to approve an exhibition on Colt’s Empire by showing him the view of Coltsville from the Armsmear’s main tower. Hosley describes the tower as “one of the most alluring historic spaces in Connecticut.”

After the death of Elizabeth Colt, the house was altered, according to her will, by Benjamin Wistar Morris to became a residence for the widows of Episcopalian ministers. 140 acres of the Colt estate were also given to the city of Hartford to create Colt Park. Today Armsmear is described as a “51 unit apartment complex for retired single women.”

  1. 3 Responses to “Armsmear (1857)”

  2. By Rev Gail Keeney-Mulligan on Jun 30, 2011

    I am a priest of the Diocese who served for seven years at St. John’s New milford, CT until the passing of my husband who too was a priest. I came to Seabury retirement in June 2009 and was fired by the CEO who felt my involvement in needs beyond Seabury in interfaith and inter racial work were out of line. So I and my 21 year old adopted son of Panama with learning disabilities are being kicked out of the Seabury home at the end of July and I need a short term place for us to live while I seek a new calling. Rev. Jeri Zimmerman told me that I should contact you to see if you can if necessary provide my son and me with a place to live from August for one to three or four months. I can be reached by phone at 860-243-3888

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