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Goodwin, Francis

Francis Goodwin.

Francis Goodwin (September 25, 1839 - October 5, 1923 ) was a wealthy botanist and architect, known as the father of the Hartford Park System. He was also the namesake of Goodwin Park in the south end of Hartford.

Born in Hartford, Connecticut on September 25, 1839 to James Goodwin, he was educated at private schools and at the High School. At the age of 15, he was employed at Howe, Mather & Co., dry goods merchants, where he remained for two years. He was with Morton & Grinnell of New York until May 1857. He resumed study under private instructors and in October 1860, he entered the Berkeley Divinity School at Middletown, Connecticut. He completed the usual course, and on May 27, 1863, he was ordained Deacon in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Middletown, CT, by the Right Reverend John Williams, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese. The following month he was appointed Chaplain to the Bishop, and placed in charge of the mission stations at Durham, North Guilford, North Killingworth, and Ponset, with residence at Middletown.

In July 1863, he gained another degree from Trinity College and was ordained on December 19 Priest by Bishop Williams. He was elected Rector of Trinity Church in Hartford on May 14, 1865, and resigned November 1871. From April 1872 to December 1872, he was in charge of St. John's Church in Hartford and in charge of Trinity Church in Wethersfield from April 1874 to May 1875. He was also in charge of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Hartford from November 1876 to June 1877. He was elected the first Archdeacon of Hartford in 1878, which he resigned in February 1888. He gave much study and time to architecture, especially with his father's residence on Woodland Street in upper Hartford. After 1878, he managed the estate with his brother.

He became Commissioner of the Hartford Parks Commission as well, championing the cause of green spaces with the slogan, "More Parks for Hartford!" He envisioned Hartford being encircled by public parks and convinced several wealthy families, including Charles M. Pond and Henry Keney, to donate large estates to the cause, resulting in the establishment of Elizabeth and Keney Parks. South Park opened to the public around 1900 in Hartford's south end. The following year, the park commission renamed it Goodwin Park in recogntiion of the Reverend's service to the city. With no other sufficient sites available, Goodwin Park was the landing site for the first airmail planes in Hartford in 1908. In 1921, two young airmen were killed trying to land in the park. It was this incident that prompted Mayor Newton C. Brainard to build a proper landing field, now known as Brainard Airport.

Goodwin died on October 5, 1923.

Family Edit

Goodwin married Mary Alsop Jackson on June 3, 1863.

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