Glimpsing Hubbard Park’s past: Father-daughter team donates photos

MERIDEN — Century-old pictures of Hubbard Park have been discovered and donated to the Meriden Historical Society thanks to a father and daughter team researching the city.

Brian Tornberg was helping his daughter Madison, a third-grader at St. Joseph School, with a school project on the history of Meriden. They visited the historical society at the Andrews Homestead and Madison noticed a lack of Hubbard Park pictures. It dawned on Tornberg that about five years ago he found a picture frame with several old black and white photos of the park in the attic of a Wells Fargo bank in Ridgefield. On Thursday, Tornberg, a bank manager and vice president for Wells Fargo, gave the framed photographs to members of the historical society.

“Our mission is preserving Meriden history,” said Frank Pociadlo, society treasurer. “You can’t replicate those photos or the scenery.”

Historical society curator Allen Weathers, bank president Kent McClun, Tornberg and Pocialdo, were at the Wells Fargo bank on West Main Street Thursday morning. It was the first time Weathers and Pocialdo had seen the framed photos and they were pleased to have them.

“The photos are in good shape,” Pociadlo said. “Old photos get bubbled up in frames, but other than that, it’s great. There’s some pictures in here we don’t have.”

Madison’s school project involved researching five historical places in the city.

The father and daughter had visited Ted’s Restaurant, Hubbard Park, City Hall and Red Bridge in addition to the Andrews Homestead. Conversations at the homestead sparked something in Tornberg’s memory. He remembered finding the framed pictures while cleaning out the attic at the Ridgefield branch. Tornberg then reached out to McClun to arrange the donation to the historical society.

The photos in the large, heavy, wooden frame were taken by photographer A.F. Evarts and depict Hubbard Park’s Castle Craig, pavilion, a frozen fountain in winter and other scenic images. Evarts was a renowned city photographer who worked for the Bradley and Hubbard Manufacturing Co. and lived on Lincoln Street, Weathers said.

Both historical society members guessed the photos were probably taken in the early 1910s or 1920s. They said Evarts probably used a state-of-the-art the camera for the time, most likely a box type camera and then developed the photos in a dark room.

“We’ll find a place for it,” Pociadlo said. “We’re happy to have it and preserve it.”

Pociadlo will be at St. Joseph’s School today for a talk on city history, Tornberg said.

“She’s excited,” Tornberg said about his daughter. Madison made a poster board in the shape of her church and included her research, he said.

kprimicerio@record-journal.com (203) 317-2279 Twitter: @KPrimicerioRJ



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