Inside the CHS

One Man’s Love Affair With Trains

August 8, 2013 · Collections ·

I suppose we have all wished that we could have met a particular person while they were alive; you know, someone who shared an interest or a passion with us. For me, Richard Welling was one of those people. Welling, who died in 2009, is perhaps best known for his striking pen and ink drawings…
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Make Way for Concrete and Steel

September 3, 2013 · Collections ·

E. M. Loew’s Theater at 174 Asylum Street in Hartford was one of the city’s landmark movie theaters.  Formerly the Majestic, it was the first theater in Hartford to show “talkies,” motion pictures accompanied by a sound track.  This radical innovation took place in 1929.  But by the 1960s, the inner city had fallen on…
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Merry Memories

September 9, 2013 · CHS Buzz, Collections ·

Last year, for the holiday season, the CHS store featured a reproduction ornament based on an original in our collection: Winter Wonderland, Old G. Fox Building, Hartford, designed by Richard Welling, 1995, and G. Fox & Co. This product was so popular, by the end of the season, it sold out.

One Veteran Salutes Another

September 19, 2013 · Collections ·

Richard Welling, best known for his distinctive ink drawings that documented Hartford’s changing skyline from the 1960s into the new century, had a special fondness and appreciation for vehicles, be they trains (noted in a previous blog), automobiles, aircraft or, in this instance, vessels of all shapes and sizes. While we are currently busy preparing…
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Hartford Rises

October 2, 2013 · Collections ·

A couple of weeks ago I shared one of my favorite drawings by Richard Welling, a view of the old E. M. Loew’s Theater on Asylum Street just before it was torn down to make way for the Hartford Civic Center. This reproduction of an 1982 drawing by Welling shows what went up on the…
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On the Tarmac with Richard Welling

October 17, 2013 · Collections ·

I am continually amazed at the range of subjects that Richard Welling sketched in his long career. While best known for his drawings of Hartford’s changing skyline through the years, Richard also loved railroads and vessels of all types, as I have blogged about in the past. This of course now brings us to another…
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Richard Welling Pictures Hartford

October 21, 2013 · Collections ·

My most recent project here is to catalog photographs, prints and drawings by Hartford artist Richard Welling. I started on his Polaroids, of which there are hundreds. Welling loved photographing Hartford as it changed in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s, and as a result, I’ve been playing building detective for the past few weeks. My…
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Heartbreak Hotel

November 5, 2013 · Collections ·

Does anyone recognize the grand Victorian structure in this drawing? Richard Welling drew the Heublein Hotel in 1965 as it was in the process of being torn down to make way for Bushnell Towers. At the time, Welling was experimenting with drawing with magic markers on soft sketchpad paper. The colors bled through to the…
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Richard Welling and the SX-70

November 18, 2013 · Collections ·

The SX-70 was a camera manufactured by Polaroid between 1972 and 1981. The new Polaroid greatly improved on the early models, which required the user to manually pull the photograph out of the camera and peel apart the film pack, as it ejected the film automatically and developed automatically, as well. 

Monument to Progress

November 19, 2013 · Collections ·

Richard Welling had a way of coming up with perspectives that make us see familiar subjects in a new light. In this view of the construction of Interstate 84 in 1966, the piers that will support the highway loom like ancient monoliths, like the remains of a lost culture. What might future civilizations make of…
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New York City in the 1970s

December 16, 2013 · Collections ·

Despite not being alive in the 1970s and having only spent a limited amount of time in New York City, photographs of it in the ‘70s are some of my favorite things on earth. (Actually, really any photos from ‘70s do it for me; the Environmental Protection Agency’s 1972-1978 project, Documerica, is one of the…
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Inside the Artist’s Studio

December 18, 2013 · Collections ·

When the family of artist Richard Welling gave the contents of his studio to the Connecticut Historical Society in 2011 and 2012, they not only donated a vast collection of drawings, prints, and photographs, they also donated the brushes and pens and magic markers that Welling used to create his iconic images, the binoculars that…
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On the Road with Richard Welling

January 21, 2014 · Collections ·

I’m inclined to think of Richard Welling inassociation with two cities—New York City and Hartford, Connecticut, but in addition to his iconic drawings of New York and Hartford, Welling produced views of many of other buildings and landscapes throughout the Northeast. The Richard Welling Collection at the Connecticut Historical Society includes views of Washington, D.C.,…
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On the Road with Richard Welling in Stonington, Connecticut

February 4, 2014 · Collections ·

As you’ll know if you’ve been following our blogs about Richard Welling, Richard Welling liked planes and trains and automobiles—and he also liked boats and ships. Not surprisingly, he was drawn to Stonington, Connecticut and its famous fishing fleet. Two of his drawings of Stonington, “Stonington Docks” and a view of the Stonington Lighthouse, were…
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Nuclear Power Means Peace of Mind

February 7, 2014 · Exhibits ·

Last week I was working on a short article for the CHS’s weekly history series on Check out the article, “Connecticut Yankee and Millstone: 46 Years of Nuclear Power,” for a fact-based, measured, and brief history of Connecticut’s four nuclear reactors, two of which are still operating and generating nearly 50% of our state’s…
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Pave Paradise, Put Up a Parking Lot, or, You Don’t Know What You Got ‘Til It’s Gone

February 28, 2014 · Collections ·

Of the many buildings that Hartford has lost to development since the mid-twentieth century, the one that seems to sting a little bit more than most of the others is the Hartford-Aetna Bank Building. When it was built in 1912, the 11-story building was Hartford’s tallest. In 1990, the building was slated for demolition by…
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Men at Work

March 25, 2014 · Collections ·

Richard Welling was known as the “Artist in a Hard Hat” because he spent so much time at construction sites. He spent so much time drawing the World Trade Center when it was first going up in Manhattan that the Port Authority issued him a pass to the site—and his own hard hat. Welling was…
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On the Road with Richard Welling: Discovering Historic Connecticut Houses

April 8, 2014 · Collections ·

In 1976, in conjunction with the nation’s Bicentennial celebration, Richard Welling produced a slim volume featuring twenty of Connecticut’s most historic houses. From late 1975 through the early spring of 1976, Welling was on the road, crisscrossing the state, sketching buildings that ranged in date from Colonial times through the Victorian era. The book came…
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Thrall Hall

April 21, 2014 · Collections ·

On March 18, a few people from CHS had the opportunity to tour Thrall Hall, a square dance hall in East Windsor, Connecticut. Ed Thrall, described by the Hartford Courant as a “true Connecticut Yankee original,” visited demolition sites in and around Hartford in the 1960s and salvaged materials, which he then carted back to…
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On the Road with Richard Welling: Octagon Houses

May 6, 2014 · Collections ·

An “Octagon House” is just what it sounds like: an eight-sided dwelling. Octagon houses were something of a fad in 1850s America. They were promoted by a New York phrenologist names Orson Squire Fowler, who believed such houses were cheaper to build, easier to heat, and cooler in summer. Octagon houses are scattered all across…
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On the Road with Richard Welling: Along the Maine Coast

May 13, 2014 · Collections ·

When I was growing up, my family spent two weeks in Maine every summer, and those were probably the best two weeks of my entire year. Later on, when I was grown up and living in the Boston area, I went to Maine frequently, both on weekend day trips and for extended vacations, exploring parts…
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How Do You Know What You’re Looking At?

May 19, 2014 · Collections ·

Last Friday, I went to see Finding Vivian Maier at Real Art Ways in Hartford. Maier, a Chicago-area street photographer, made a living as a nanny in the mid-twentieth century. She took tens of thousands of photos of people she encountered while dragging the kids she cared for across the city, and then let those…
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Where in Connecticut?

June 3, 2014 · Collections ·

The gracious old house has a wide veranda and is surrounded by mature trees. In the photograph, it is autumn, and the ground is littered with leaves, but in spring, the gardens must have been a riot of color. There was a coach house, a barn with one of the first basketball hoops in the…
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Richard Welling’s Lino Blocks

June 20, 2014 · Collections ·

Linoleum blocks, either mounted onto particle board or left unmounted, are perfect for printmaking. The linoleum is soft enough that it can be carved into with a knife or special chisel-like tools. The areas that are carved out will not appear in the print; ink gets applied to the raised, uncut portions of the block,…
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Linocuts and an Apology

July 21, 2014 · Collections ·

Last time I wrote a blog post, I wrote it about Richard Welling’s linoleum blocks. I mistakenly wrote that we don’t have prints made from the blocks. I would like to formally apologize for that. We actually do have linocuts of most of the Welling linoleum blocks. I just got through cataloging them, and they…
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I Love New York

July 29, 2014 · Collections ·

Artist Richard Welling loved to drawing buildings, especially very large buildings. He was therefore drawn to cities, and his two favorite cities were Hartford, Connecticut and New York City. His drawings chronicling the construction of the World Trade Center are today at the New-York Historical Society, but some of his other New York drawings came…
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Chronicling Change: Richard Welling, Urban Renewal, and Historic Preservation in Hartford, 1960-1990.

Chronicling Change: Richard Welling, Urban Renewal, and Historic Preservation in Hartford, 1960-1990.

September 14, 2014 · ·

Nancy Finlay, Curator of Graphics, will discuss Welling’s drawings of demolition and construction during this critical period in Hartford’s history.

(Re)Building Bridgeport

September 30, 2014 · Collections ·

Bridgeport was originally a parish of Stratford and only became a separate town in 1821. An 1824 map shows its streets lined with houses—including several sea captains’ houses—and a few small businesses.

(Re) Envisioning Hartford: Join the Conversations

October 9, 2014 · CHS Buzz ·

We’re inviting CHS members, Hartford residents, and everyone from around Connecticut to join us thinking about Hartford from a variety of perspectives, from street level to neighborhood scope to bird’s eye view.

(Re)Building Hartford: A City Captured by Artist Richard Welling

October 13, 2014 · Collections ·

Last Thursday, October 2, was the opening of three awesome exhibitions here at the CHS, including the one that displays some of the work I’ve been cataloging for almost a year.

Highways in Hartford

October 21, 2014 · Exhibits ·

I-84 cut through downtown Hartford, demolishing historic neighborhoods. I-91 traveled along the riverfront, blocking downtown from the Connecticut River.

How Did He Do It?

October 28, 2014 · Collections ·

Richard Welling loved to draw and he loved to share his enthusiasm for art with others.

Public Guided Tour

November 1, 2014 · ·

Join a member of the CHS staff for a special guided tour of our current exhibits, (Re)Building Hartford: A City Captured by Artist Richard Welling and Hartford Seen: Photographs by Pablo Delano.

Public Guided Tour in Spanish

Join a member of the CHS staff for a special Spanish language guided tour of our current exhibits, (Re)Building Hartford: A City Captured by Artist Richard Welling and Hartford Seen: Photographs by Pablo Delano.

Constitution Plaza in Hartford – A History of its Development

November 4, 2014 · Collections ·

The plaza was considered a model for urban renewal in the 1960s, replacing the Front Street neighborhood, which consisted of 18th- and 19th-century buildings, housing mostly Italian immigrants.

Public Guided Tour

Join a member of the CHS staff for a special guided tour of our current exhibits, (Re)Building Hartford: A City Captured by Artist Richard Welling and Hartford Seen: Photographs by Pablo Delano.

firebox restaurant exhibit

New Exhibit at Firebox Restaurant

November 7, 2014 · Exhibits ·

Book your dinner reservations. We’ve just installed a new exhibit at Firebox Restaurant.

What is this?

November 18, 2014 · Collections ·

Hundreds of families and dozens of businesses were moved out to make way for urban renewal projects in Hartford.


What Have We Learned About Urban Renewal in Hartford?

December 2, 2014 · Collections ·

Urban renewal changed the face of Hartford by removing homes, movie theaters, restaurants, and shops in the downtown area and replacing them with large-scale office buildings and parking lots.

Public Guided Tour in Spanish

December 6, 2014 · ·

Join a member of the CHS staff for a special Spanish language guided tour of our current exhibits, (Re)Building Hartford: A City Captured by Artist Richard Welling and Hartford Seen: Photographs by Pablo Delano.

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