Her words changed the world.

Stowe's Hartford Neighborhood,
Nook Farm

Home of Reformers, Politicians, Writers and Friends

By the 1870s, Stowe's neighborhood on the western edge of Hartford, CT was a celebrated center of New England literary life, and the words "Nook Farm" were as evocative as "the Hamptons" or "the Islands" are today. Who were the people of Nook Farm? And what were their talents?

The vibrant neighborhood that would become Nook Farm began in 1853, when brothers-in-law John Hooker and Francis Gillette purchased 140 acres of pasture and woodland from William Imlay. Bordered on the east by Sigourney Street, the north by Farmington Avenue and on the west and south by the Park River where it made a large curve, or nook, the Imlay property was appropriately called Nook Farm. Hooker and Gillette kept the name for their developing community.

Over the years, as Hooker and Gillette sold parcels of land to relatives and friends, a community of reformers and activists grew. Some were politicians; others were journalists, feminists, spiritualists, painters, or writers. All of them worked in their own ways to make a positive difference in their worlds. Their accomplishments, activities, and easy hospitality fascinated the public and brought the neighborhood renown.

Two residents, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mark Twain, were international celebrities. Isabella Beecher Hooker, Joseph Hawley, Charles Dudley Warner and William Gillette acquired national fame. Others may be less familiar today, but they were prominent Connecticut citizens.

"I do not mean to live in vain."

The buildings of Nook Farm generated as much interest as the residents. Nationally celebrated architects designed many of the houses in styles that ranged from merely modern to radically unconventional.

Notable Nook Farm Families: