masthead for printed page
Articles & Images

Postcards from Hartford

The state Capitol and the statue of Lafayette

The state Capitol and the statue of the Marquis de Lafayette, viewed from Washington Street. Judging by the cars lining the driveway, the postcard dates from the 1930s. The scene looks similar today, with one big difference: the statue of Lafayette now faces the Capitol. A state Department of Transportation plan to replace the traffic circle shown here with a traffic divider along Washington Street required temporarily removing the statue in 1979. When city engineers returned the Marquis, they decided to turn him, believing it would give more motorists a chance to view his face. Unfortunately, that greatly offended some of Hartford's Italian-Americans, because the hindquarters of Lafayette's horse now faced the statue of Christopher Columbus, located a short distance down Washington Street. There was even a petition drive to have Columbus moved to the South End, where he might feel more at home amid that neighborhood's Italian-American businesses. But the uproar eventually died down.