Founded in the mid 19th-century, Nook Farm was a tight-knit, inclusive community where residents resembled family. The community of Nook Farm was created within the streets of Woodland, Gillett, Forest and Farmington Ave. It was home to many highly privileged and intellectual individuals who ranged from lawyers, politicians to writers. These individuals had a unique view of life and aided in the transformation of society which was shaped by its stimulating dialogues among its inhabitants. The level of trust in the community was so prominent, one could find the door to your neighbor’s home unlocked as a hospitable invitation to enter and spark a debate or conversation regarding a range of topics including literature, politics, equal rights, and more. These conversations were integral to the identity of Nook Farm, that not only did they take place on a daily basis, but Harriet Beecher Stowe herself often hosted regular salons. These salons took place at least once a month to discuss the current issues and injustices of the 19th-century. The various skills, opinions and thoughts that each resident brought to the community enriched and enlivened the community as a whole. Photo Credit
Accessed via Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford, CT.
In 1874, Mark Twain built his dream home in Nook Farm directly next to Harriet Beecher Stowe, the most distinguished female American author in the world at the time. In a letter to the San Francisco, Alta California, on January 25, 1868, Twain wrote: Source
I am in Hartford, Connecticut, now, … I think this is the best built and the handsomest town I have ever seen. They call New England the land of steady habits, and I see the evidence about me that it was not named amiss...I saw no drinking saloons at all in the street -- but I was not looking for any. I hear no swearing here, I see no one chewing tobacco, I have found nobody drunk. What a singular country it is.1
It is evident that all the creative individuals within the Nook Farm community left a significant legacy on the area. Legacy is a gift from the past for the sake of change geared in a positive direction. In order to understand one’s destination, it is imperative to document the journey. This page is dedicated to providing the historical context of Nook Farms in the 19th-century in order to examine how its artistic and literary legacy can be preserved today. History is not only necessary to study to avoid repeating itself, but to learn how Nook Farms and Asylum Hill can improve as a better society than it was yesterday.
- Twain , Mark. “MARK TWAIN ON HIS TRAVELS.” Alta California, 3 Mar. 1868, p. 1, http://www.twainquotes.com/18680303.html.