Preparing for the Future, or Hartford Gets a Hospital
Another major initiative following the explosion that was meant to help the city prepare for any further disasters was the founding of Hartford Hospital. In both the Schoolhouse explosion of 1766 and the factory explosion of 1854, the wounded healed at home, or in the homes of acquaintances that lived near the site of the blasts. This became increasingly difficult, however, with the changing scale of the population. Now with a population of 15,000, the city had grown much bigger than the initial community of families that populated Hartford in 1766. Immigrants and workers from other states made Hartford their home as they sought work in the city’s factories and businesses.
Who was responsible for caring for these “strangers?” Driven by a spirit of benevolence, the city’s leaders believed the hospital would care for the city’s residents. As Dr. George Hawley noted at the hospital’s dedication in 1859, the Hospital would serve as “an asylum for the disabled and destitute.” Those with enough resources to be treated at home continued to prefer private care, but for those without that option, the hospital now served as a refuge.