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The Hartford Public High School Museum & Archive


Please Visit the History Page.  


Please go to the Alumni Page, scroll down and click on "Notable Alumni."

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1883 Desk & Bench

An extra set of these antique items from the Hopkins St. HPHS is available.  Suggested donation to the HPHS Archive Fund:  $75. 



1941 Catalog

Copies of the 300th Anniversary catalog are also available.  This catalog is a resource for HPHS history:  photographs, faculty, index of alumni from 1848 to 1941 (general and by graduating class), statistics, recipients of prizes, and much more.  650 pages.
Suggested donation to the HPHS Archive Fund:  $50.

Please email for the Desk & Bench and the Catalog:  <hphs55@sbcglobal.net>




The Stuart Munro-Lenox replica George Washington is on display in the school's 
Lewis Fox Memorial Library Media Center. Over the past few years, the portrait and frame were restored and were finally put on display on May 3, 2012.  A ceremony on May 10 was attended by 120 people who celebrated the restoration, the portrait, the Lewis Fox Library, and the HPHS Museum.




The HPHS Museum & Archive is managed by volunteers.  All restoration and conservation work is made possible through donations.  
If you would like to make a donation, please make the check out to "HPHS Alumni Association/Archive Fund" and mail to:

 HPHS Museum/Law & Government Academy, 55 Forest Street, Hartford, CT 06105.

The HPHS Alumni Association, incorporated by the Connecticut General Assembly (state legislature)  in 1889, is a tax-exempt 501(c) 3 account.




On the front lawn of the school’s campus there were several trees which harkened back to the days when Nook Farm was a unique neighborhood, home to Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Charles Dudley Warner.  Two European Copper Beeches (fagus sylvatica 'atropunicea') were prominent features of the landscape.

These two trees suffered greatly during the renovations to the school in 2006-2008.  The city did not take any steps to preserve these trees, and the one closest to the new main entrance had limbs and roots shorn off to make way for the entrance arcade.  Friends of HPHS raised $700 in 2007 to provide an initial treatment for the beeches.  Both trees were examined and documented by the Connecticut Botanical Society in September, 2008, but there were no follow-up treatments done by the city, and the beech closest to the arcade was deemed to be a danger to pedestrians.  The trunk had a girth of 14 feet, 9 inches, and it was 68 feet high.  It was the 52nd largest European Copper Beech in Connecticut and fell to the ax this past August.

The remaining European Copper Beech should be preserved, because it is representative of the city's landscape patrimony and historically linked to the Nook Farm neighborhood and to the school.  It is located on the north of the lawn, close to the Mark Twain facility and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center .  It is the 41st largest of its kind in the state.

The Connecticut Historical Society has an exhibit called “New Life for Connecticut Trees,” which runs from November 1, 2011 to March 17, 2012.  They have produced a flyer“Get Involved:  Connecticut Tree Projects and Organizations.”

For more information, please email hphs55@sbcglobal.net


The 1963 Commemorative Print of the Hopkins-Broad Street Buildings


Adrienne Gale, ’98, has produced beautiful copies of Helen Hazelton’s print which was originally created for the commemoration of the school’s 325th Anniversary in 1963. Ms. Gale is the owner of Hartford Prints, her studio at 56 Arbor Street, where she has an after-school program for HPHS students.

Prints are still available for purchase as a donation to the HPHS Archive Fund, the fund used to restore and conserve the collections in the HPHS Museum & Archive.

The prints are unframed and measure 14” x 14.” The color choices are as follows:           

                                    Blue ink on smooth off-white paper.             $25

                                    Blue ink on textured white paper.                 $25

                                    Silver ink on blue paper.                              $75

If you would like to reserve one, please email  hphs55@sbcglobal.net or call the Museum phone:  860 695-1405 to arrange details.  Unfortunately, we cannot do mailings.



Views of the Renovated Hartford Public High School





The school's original 1883 Owl, carved in the studio of Albert Entress in Hartford, was removed from the building during the renovations in April, 2006.
He was taken down by the firm of Beij, Williams & Zito, given a sealer, and stored in their Hartford facility.

The 1883 Owl is a rare piece.  Although many figures have been carved in brownstone, carvings of animals and birds are quite rare.  Because of its age and the porosity of the stone, our Owl is too fragile to be returned to the exterior of the building.  Thus, replicas have been provided for the gables.

Finally, on January 6, 2010, the Owl and his 1963 pedestal were placed high on the south wall of the new main lobby.  After 126 years, he has finally come inside. 



HPHS has Three Academies.  Each has its own office and faculty

Nursing Academy:  David Chambers, Principal

Engineering & Green Technology: Michael Maziarz, Principal

Law & Government:   Principal


The Main Number for the school:  695-1300

Webmaster of this Site:        hphsweb@yahoo.com 



The HPHS Museum & Archive

The HPHS Museum & Archive is a Unique Feature of the Renovated HPHS.  It is the Only One of Its Kind in a Public High School.  The Collections Include:  Antique School Furniture, Paintings, Photographs, Statuary, and Historical Documents.

There are a number of surplus classbooks available for some years.  

If you are interested in a classbook or would like to visit the Museum, please contact Mr. Williams by email or telephone.  There are no regular hours when the Museum is open, but generally a visit can be arranged on week-days.  Closed in July and August.


 Museum telephone:  695-1405

Looking into the Archive


Triumphant Entry of Alexander into Babylon .  Late 19th Century.  One of twenty-two panels by the neoclassical sculptor Bertel Thorwaldsen, 1770-1844.   61.5” x 24” x 1.5.”  Formerly in the Hopkins Street HPHS   Art Room , 1883-1963.  Acquired by Robert Saunders in 1966, and donated to the HPHS Museum on 9-27-07 


         The Joseph Hall Observatory and Charles W. Walker, Jr. Planetarium

Joseph Hall, Principal of the Hartford Public High School from 1874 to 1893, collaborated with architect George Keller in the design of the school building which replaced the 1869 building designed by George Gilbert after it was destroyed by fire in 1882.

The building which Keller designed stood at 39 Hopkins Street and was a “school which in architectural beauty and in completeness of equipment was far in advance of its time.  This was particularly true in regard to the facilities for teaching science.”  The school had a chemistry laboratory and a science lecture hall that surpassed those of most colleges and all public schools in that day.  It was during Hall’s principalship that the school became a leading high school for science in the United States .

The observatory housed the Alvan Clark telescope, a fine instrument produced by the firm of Alvan Clark and Sons in the 1880’s. Clark began creating telescopes in Ashfield , Massachusetts in the 1840’s, and the 26-inch lens at the United States Naval Observatory in Washington , D.C. is one of his larger works. Almost every large observatory in America and many throughout Europe housed Clark telescopes. The school’s telescope is one of the scientific treasures of the Hartford Public High School and it is part of a collection of late 19th and early 20th Century science equipment, particularly for Physics classes, which has been saved over the years. 

The observatory and telescope would have been lost if it had not been for the combined efforts of students and faculty who worked to have them preserved. In an effort which began in 1958, teachers Harold W. Gale, Charles W. Walker, and  students Ernest Mackinnich, ’65, William Domler, ’65, Tom Walsh, ’60, and Donald C. Johanson, ’61, succeeded in saving the observatory and telescope from the wrecking ball.  The observatory and telescope were placed atop the new Forest Street building in 1963.

“The Clark was saved when Mr. Walker told me there were plans to accommodate it in the new high school.  Tom Walsh (’60)…and I organized a campaign to save the telescope.  We attended board of education meetings and spoke out, solicited letters from astronomers at eastern universities and wrote letters to the editor at the Courant.” (Donald Johanson, '61, email, June 15, 2007).

In the mid-1960’s a planetarium was added to the school.  Charles W. Walker, a science teacher appointed to direct the planetarium, developed interesting programs which were presented to the school community for over twenty years.  In particular, the planetarium was popular with elementary school teachers who brought their classes to HPHS for planetarium shows.

Unfortunately, both the Joseph Hall Observatory and the Charles W. Walker Planetarium fell into disuse in the 1980s, victims of budget cuts at the Hartford Board of Education.  However, during the recent renovations the observatory dome was repaired. 

It would be to the school system’s benefit and a plus to the City of Hartford ’s future to return these renowned and valuable resources into the school curriculum.

Amit Chowdhury of 4Biz360.com in Plainville generously gives his time and assistance to help maintain this website.  We are very grateful to learn from his expertise and we highly recommend him for any website planning you may have.







Hartford Public High School, Hartford, CT 06105

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