The field is at the intersection of Curcombe Street and Hendricxsen Avenue across from Potsdam Village, built by Samuel Colt in 1858 to house the workers he convinced to move to Hartford from their native Germany to man his willow-ware factory.
As seen in the photo below (c1860), what we now call Colt Meadows was once a cow pasture on the Colt estate. The Potsdam Village homes can be seen in the background, along with Sam Colt's willow-ware factory.
It is also very near to where base ball was played in the 1860s and 70s on land owned by Elizabeth Colt, who graciously allowed a base ball stadium to be built adjacent to the Church of the Good Shepherd.
Hartford Base Ball Grounds, 1874-1877
Morgan Bulkeley formed the Hartford Base Ball Club in the American Association and leased the grounds adjacent to the Church of the Good Shepherd from Elizabeth Colt to build the Hartford Base Ball Grounds in 1874. The ball park was enclosed with an eight-foot-high wooden fence and measured about 400 feet by 500 feet. A pavilion with seating for 500 stockholders and season ticket holders was built behind home plate, which abutted Wyllys Street. Tiered bleachers for 500 more general admission spectators were built along the first base foul line with additional seating planned, if required. In May, 350 additional seats were added on the third-base side of the diamond and were reserved exclusively for ladies and the gentlemen accompanying them. Hendricxsen Avenue ran on the other side of the fence behind these stands. More seats may have subsequently been added as it was reported later in the season that seating capacity was 2,000 spectators.
For a full view, select the photo to the right.
Hartford Base Ball Grounds Today
As of April 2009, vintage base ball games have been played at the field, now dubbed the "Hartford Base Ball Grounds at Colt Meadows." Teams from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have met to play both 1860s and 1880s style games. Starting with the 2010 season, the Coltsville Vintage Base Ball League has been formed to play Civil War era games on a regular schedule. For directions to the field, click here.