The holiday season brings back memories of shopping in downtown Hartford for many Greater Hartford residents of a certain age. And the most prominent retail venue on Main Street was G. Fox & Company Department Store that now houses Capital Community College (CCC).
It has been more than 12 years since CCC moved downtown to a renovated G. Fox building – a more than $50 million transformation that consolidated campuses and led to a decade of double-digit enrollment growth for the college formerly named Greater Hartford Community College.
During this holiday season G. Fox memories are stirring again for campus visitors who remember the grand Christmas displays and storefront marquee at G. Fox.
The College’s Conrad L. Mallett Gallery is featuring some of the original displays from G. Fox’ past. The Gallery exhibit has been made possible through The iQuilt Partnership which works with nearly 50 cultural, historic and community organizations, including the College.
The iQuilt Partnership’s G. Fox display complements the Hartford Heritage Program, a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) supported project at the College that uses themes that explore Hartford’s culture and history for courses, learning communities and development of “place-based” learning.
The iQuilt Plan links downtown assets with a vibrant and innovative pedestrian network. Its centerpiece is a proposed GreenWalk, a one-mile chain of parks and plazas connecting the gold-domed Capitol in Bushnell Park to the waterfront of the Connecticut River.
The goals of iQuilt are a “more walkable, sustainable” downtown with “an improved cultural network” that enhances the center of Hartford as a place for work, culture and economic growth. The City of Hartford, using $11 million in federal funds and matching city funds, has launched the Intermodal Triangle Project designed to implement significant roadway, pedestrian, transit, landscaping and traffic signal improvements. Elements of the iQuilt Plan are included in project along with upgrades to Union Station, State House Square, the Asylum Street, Pearl Street and Bushnell Park North.
A College Committee is also planning to establish a permanent, rotating display on G. Fox’ history in the main lobby of the College. The College Foundation is planning a March 19, 2015 “Remembering G. Fox” luncheon at the College’s 11th floor auditorium. The auditorium, known by its original name “Centinel Hill Hall”, has been restored in its art-deco design as a lecture and concert hall and community gathering place.
— John McNamara