downtown nb


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NEW BRITAIN

 
Nowhere is it more evident that New Britain is going through a time of transformation than in the downtown area, where Streetscape and Complete Streets improvements are being implemented.  
  These improvements are being made to help make the downtown more walkable, livable, and attractive, and involve everything from installing brick sidewalks, to reducing road widths at intersections, installing way-finding signage, artwork, benches, street trees and other amenities like WiFi access.

In 2013, the city completed a Complete Streets Master Plan for Downtown New Britain, and since that time, this plan has not only led to the city receiving many awards and recognition, it has also led to over $20 million in grant funding. As of the spring of 2017, three phases of the multi-phased Complete Streets projects are complete, and four more phases are either in design or construction. The transformation of Central Park across from City Hall, provides a great example of what’s in store for the rest of the downtown.

The Beehive Bridge, which is scheduled to begin construction in 2017, involves the stretch of Main Street over Route 72. This will undoubtedly create a nationally recognized Connecticut landmark in the center of the downtown.

Additionally, New Britain was one of the first cities in Connecticut to establish its downtown as a Business Improvement District (BID). The New Britain Downtown District serves the 142 distinct downtown New Britain properties to help develop New Britain’s Downtown financially, aesthetically, socially and culturally. The Downtown District opened New Britain’s first Visitors’ Center, which is a great resource for all information relating to downtown New Britain retailers, real estate, arts organizations, cultural institutions, and civic groups.


The Visitors’ Center is located at 66 West Main Street and is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., some Saturdays, or by appointment. More information can be obtained by calling or by visiting them on the web at www.newbritaindd.com.
 
 

5

THINGS TO SEE AND DO

 

in a Walkable

Downtown New Britain

 
City Hall

7 West Main Street

www.historicnb.org

www.newbritainct.gov

 

Everything New Britain can be found at the historic City Hall. Originally built in 1885 as the Russwin Hotel, mainly to serve travelers who were visiting the Russel and Erwin manufacturing facility, the building became City Hall in 1909. City Hall, along with several other connecting corridors, are listed on the National Historic Register. City Hall is open to the public and contains three, free rotating art galleries featuring local artists. The City’s Historic Walking Tour downtown loop also begins at City Hall.

 
 

The City is known and recognized for its historic architecture, including churches. An 80-acre district in the downtown area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

Significant historic structures in the district date between the 1860s and 1960s, featuring architectural styles such as Italiante (74 Whiting St.), Beaux Arts (191 Arch St.), Queen Anne (94 Glen St.), and Art Deco (24 Washington St.)

 

The Visitor’s Center offers a self-guided tour of these styles and more. Other destinations in the City that are listed on the National Historic Register include the West End, Walnut Hill Park, and Central Park. These remnants of the City’s rich industrial past are protected under preservation regulations, ensuring they are preserved for future generations.

 
 
TRINITY-on-MAIN

69 Main Street

www.trinityonmain.org

 

Trinity-on-Main, formerly the Trinity United Methodist Church was built over the course of three years between 1889-1892. It was designed by Amos P. Cutting, recognized as one of New England’s most prestigious architects of the late 19th century.

A 108-foot tower, rising from a large arched entrance to a pyramidal roof and four small turrets, dominates the façade. The walls are made of rough-cut gray granite, with accents provided by lighter-colored granite, often employed in a checkerboard pattern. The rounded arches over the entrance and many of the windows, a design motif that is repeated on the interior, and is characteristic of the Romanesque style.

Today, the building serves as a performance arts and events venue. The theater is a spectacular performance space with unparalleled acoustics. Recent improvements include the installation of plush theater seating, refinished floors and new carpeting. Beautiful stained glass windows line the room with a magnificent wooden ceiling.

There is also the Stockman Gallery that hosts the works of local artists. Regional theater productions, comedy shows, jazz bands, wine tastings and more are just some of the events that can be experienced at Trinity-on-Main.

 

 

 

 
   
Soldiers and Sailors Monument
Dedicated on September 19, 1900, this large limestone memorial crowned with a bronze Winged Victory, was designed by Ernest Flagg in the tradition of  Beaux-Arts classicism. It is the object of major interest in Central Park in the heart of downtown New Britain. It is unique among Connecticut Civil War monuments for its large size, comprehensive design, and many classical details.

 

 
New Britain Museum of American Art

56 Lexington Street

www.NBMAA.org

 

The New Britain Museum of American Art (NBMAA) originated in 1935 in a house bequeathed by Grace Landers. In 2006, the new museum building was opened and connected to the Landers House, with an addition that debuted in the fall of 2015.  Overlooking scenic Walnut Hill Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the Chase Family Building was designed by award-winning Ann Beha Architects of Boston.  Its collection dates from 1739 to the present and has grown to over 10,000 works of art including oil paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, photographs and illustrations.  The NBMAA is the oldest museum in the country to concentrate on the collection of only American art.

 

 
Walnut Hill Park

West Main Street

 Walnut Hill Park is New Britain’s oldest and most celebrated park. 

 

In 1857, some of New Britain’s industrial philanthropists formed the Walnut Hill Co. to buy the land and hired renowned park architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvin Vaux, who also helped design New York City’s Central Park.

 

The park is divided into two sections, the hilltop, which has a World War I monument, and the lower southwest area that has numerous sports and recreation features.  A mile-long loop draws people to this beautiful park that has a landmark band shell where summer concerts are held, as well as its celebrated rose gardens.

 

A video history and virtual walk through the park can be viewed HERE.

 

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