Goodwin Park was founded in 1895 and designed by Frederick Law Olmsted who was born in Hartford in 1822. Mr. Olmsted had also previously designed New York City’s Central Park and Bushnell and other parks in Hartford. The Park was named for the Reverend Francis Goodwin who was an early advocate for the Hartford Parks system. At 200 acres it is the second largest park in Hartford after Keney Park.
The large 90 acre central area in the park was originally left open and unmowed and was known as the Great Meadow. The meadow was first disturbed in the 1920’s when the central part was leveled off and used as an airstrip for early air mail planes. Later on the Great Meadow was replaced with the Goodwin Park Public Golf Course.
FOGP was formed as a community group to watch over the park’s maintenance and work on projects to improve the park. Click here for a brief history of the park.
Special note: The path through the woods that cuts off the corner at Ridge Road and Jordan Lane has finally been cleared of fallen trees from Hurricane Sandy and from a windstorm that brought down a large Pine across the path. The path has also been lined by branches from past fallen trees and has been raked clear of leaves from end to end. It is a great way to soak up a little nature in an urban area and it’s also a good place to walk your dog. The lower end has a connecter path to the golf course road so that the path can be used by folks who like to walk around the park.
Past projects include the installation of a flagpole at the park entrance and the installation of permanent benches around the park’s walkway. FOGP has also organized community events at the park such as this year’s October Fest, past years Easter Egg Hunts, and park cleanups which often are followed by picnics. Members also volunteered this year to help at the Holiday Light Fantasia. In the past we have had volunteer groups from “Heads Up Hartford,” Trinity College, and St. Joseph’s University come to the park and work with our members to help with flower beds, cutting trails, litter pick up and other projects. The Friends of Goodwin Park appreciates these volunteer efforts and is open to any group that would like to volunteer to help in our efforts to maintain and improve the park.
Coming up Maple Avenue towards Jordan Lane.
Walk past the golf course parking lots and park tennis courts. About 100 yards past the tennis courts there is an entrance from the road to the golf course maintenance garages. The entrance is blocked by a large steel gate. Turn left into the entrance and immediately on the right is the path entrance marked by a green and yellow sign.
Walking up Jordan Lane towards Ridge Road.
Walk past the gated entrance to the park on Jordan Lane. Walking up Jordan Lane you will pass Ridge Crest Circle on the opposite side of Jordan Lane. About 30 feet up from there is an opening into the woods marked by a small green and yellow sign.
To park and walk.
Park in the golf course parking lot next to the tennis courts. Walk by the courts on the inner road east of the courts. Walk through the paved area in front of the maintenance garages and around the big steel gate across the entrance from Ridge Road to the maintenance area. The path entrance will be on your left marked by a green and yellow sign.
To take loop walk.
Shortly before the path reaches Jordan Lane from the top of the park there is a cutoff path on your left that leads to the golf course road. Simply walk back up the road to the parking lot to complete the loop. Allow about 30 to 40 minutes for a leisurely walk.
Current projects include: 1. Pushing for the return of funds by the City for enclosing the park pool. 2. Having the road through the Park closed to thru traffic thus making it safer for children and adults to play, jog, walk or cycle in the park. There is increased traffic through the Park in the Summer months along with an increase in litter and illegal dumping. The “Friends” feel that the Park can be easily accessed and enjoyed by parking at one of the numerous lots in the park without using the park road as a thru street. 3. Getting the increasingly foul pond by the Pond House cleaned up. Click here for City e-mail addresses to contact. 4. Taking care of the poisonous vines that are strangling the trees in the southwest section of the park. 5. Trying to keep the park maintained.
Our motto is Neighbors helping Neighbors for a better neighborhood. Anyone interested in getting involved with FOGP is invited to attend our monthly meeting held at 7 p.m. every third Monday of the month at the Pond House located near the Hubbard Road entrance to the park. (See map below) Since the park straddles the Wethersfield/Hartford line we would like to see people from both communities get involved.