God Created All Men, But Samuel Colt Made All Men Equal
I'm sure some of you who are students of more than just railroad history have heard that old quote. So why share it here? Because that large brick building at left was the Colt Patent Firearms Company's East Armory and the place where so many storied weapons of American History were produced from 1867 until 1994. The legendary Single Action Army of frontier days and the storied 1911 and 1911A1 automatic pistols of WWI and WWII among so many others.
The original armory built on this site in 1855 was destroyed in a disastrous fire in 1864 and this structure was rebuilt in its place beginning almost immediately on its predecessor's foundation, to designs by General William B. Franklin, the company's general manager and a former U.S. Army engineer, and completed in 1867. It is a 5-story brick structure with brownstone accents, 508 by 61 feet in dimensions, with its main entrance in the center of a five-bay pavilion projecting 10 feet from the main facade. The building is capped with a distinctive onion-shaped, sheet metal dome, painted deep blue with gold stars, and resembling that of the 1855 armory. A gilded ball sits atop the dome, above which is a gilded fiberglass replica of the original "Rampant Colt". (Its gilded wood original is now on display at the Museum of Connecticut History at Connecticut State Library.)
Look closely and you can see that famed logo atop the dome, the same one embossed on the grips of so many legendary handguns.
The modern day Colt's Manufacturing Company vacated this historic factory in 1994, but they still make firearms in Connecticut at their more modern West Hartford facility.
The rails in this photo are four years younger than that storied building with the first ceremonial train run over the 45 mile line between Hartford and Saybrook Point on July 29, 1871
The train itself is Connecticut Southern Railroad local freight CSO-3 heading back to Hartford Yard. This view looks north on the Valley Line at the NECR GP38AC bringing up the rear of the northward train.
This was one of THE shots I've always wanted in city of Hartford and I was just lucky to make it happen this day.