What is in a name?

New Hartford is, of course, named after Hartford; probably for the very simple reason that the first settlers of the new township in 1733 were all from Hartford families. Yet, there is always a tendency to consider other relationships. Hartford sits on the Connecticut River just below the last point of navigation, Windsor Locks; it is, therefore, a sort of gateway into the upper reaches of the Connecticut. A point of transition. New Hartford occupies another point of transition.
As one travels west from Hartford on Route 44, also known as the Albany Turnpike, the Old North Road, or the Great North Road, the first twenty miles are relatively flat (leaving aside Avon Mountain!). But as you cross into New Hartford you hit the first ridge of hills that reach clost to or above a thousand feet. Looking at a map you will see that Ratlum, Satan’s Kingdom, Jones Mountain, Yellow Mountain form the first line of the Berkshires; from here on the road will become a winding road between steadily rising hills. It no longer seems so clear with today’s modern roads, cars and multitude of other state highways; but in the 1700’s New Hartford was a gateway on the main road, just as Hartford was a gateway on the main river.

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