On Friday, December 5, the House of Representatives approved the Coltsville National Historical Park Act as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA.) The bill was introduced by Rep. John Larson, whose district includes Hartford, and co-sponsored by Connecticut’s other four congressional representatives. It would allow for the creation of a new national historic park centered around the former Colt Firearms Manufacturing Company in Hartford’s Coltsville Historic District.
In a statement, Congressman Larson said, “Today’s vote in the U.S. House of Representatives marks a step forward for Coltsville becoming a national park…I am proud of the efforts of the community I represent. For more than a decade, community, historic, cultural, and literary organizations along with not-for-profits and for-profits have persisted in assuring the legacy of Samuel and Elizabeth Colt would become a national historic destination here in Hartford, Connecticut on the banks of a national historic river.”
Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, who introduced and co-sponsored the bill in the Senate, also released a statement, saying “Today’s vote is a huge win for Coltsville, Hartford and the state of Connecticut, and we look forward to leading this measure to a victory in the Senate next week. Coltsville is a historic gem, enshrining Colt’s powerful role in advancing the industrial revolution and manufacturing in Connecticut and nationwide. Designation as a national park will help ensure that generations to come have the opportunity to visit and learn about this important part of our state’s history.”
The Coltsville National Historical Park Act is the most recent attempt to have Coltville recognized as a national park, an effort which began over a decade ago. The NDAA, which Larson described as “the first major park service and lands bill since 2009,” will now move to the Senate.
Currently, Connecticut’s only national park is the Weir Farm National Historic Site on the border of Wilton and Ridgefield.