History of Hayden Homestead Park


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"Maplewild", the family homestead of Hiram W. Hayden, industrialist and inventor of the mid 1800's. "Maplewild" was located in the center of what is today "Hayden Homestead Park" in Waterbury, Connecticut.       Image © 1998 J. A. Reynolds

Hiram Hayden, Industrialist and Inventor of the mid 1800's in Waterbury, Connecticut constructed this unusual family homestead atop a shady knoll, commanding an unparalleled view of the township below.

This family home was built in the first half of the 1800's and continued to be expanded and be redesigned until the ultimate "magnificence"  (as envisioned by Mr. Hayden) was attained in the late 1870's.

In 1921, The surviving granddaughters of Hiram Hayden, Margery Hayden and Rose Fulton, transferred the property to the City of Waterbury, via a quit claim deed, requiring the park area to be used  as a "Passive Park".

The sisters hired renowned park designer Frederick Law Olmsted to create a gracious inner city space as a lasting tribute to their family, and to guarantee the lasting of the memories, required the park always be called, "Hayden Homestead Park".  (Olmsted was the designer for Central Park in New York City and also designed the 90 acre Fulton Park in Waterbury, CT.)


H.W. Hayden

Hiram Washington Hayden
(1820-1904)

H.W. Hayden was the son of Joseph Shepard and Ruhamah (Guilford) Hayden, and came to Waterbury with his parents when he was an infant. His schooling was at the old Waterbury Academy. 

Mr. Hayden was a lover of art and an avid inventor. While working at Scovills & Co. (later Scovill Manufacturing) he made the first chased buttons, believed to be the first made in the United States. 

He patented a design for brass kettles which completely evolutionized the manufacturing of these pots, and in 1851 sold the patent to Waterbury Brass Company. 

In 1853, Mr Hayden joined Israel Holmes and John C. Booth in the formation of Holmes, Booth and Haydens.
H.W. Hayden has taken out numerous patents, assigning many to Holmes, Booth and Haydens. 

Among his patented inventions are a breech-loading rifle, a magazine rifle, and a machine for making solid metal tubing, which he sold to manufacturing concerns in Pittsburgh.  

One of his greatest endeavors was the enhancement of the daguerreotype, an early photographic process. This lead to his development of a process of taking a picture on paper. He holds the honor of being the independent discoverer of the photographic process, having produced three paper photographs of landscapes and delivering them to the Waterbury American Newspaper in 1851. His future work in the photographic area led him closer than anyone else of the era to producing a colored photograph. 

He was the President of the Waterbury Photographic Society. His other artistic endeavors included oil painting, copper etching, sculpturing in wax, as well as pencil and charcoal sketching.

He married Pauline Migeon (native of France) on July 13, 1844 and had three children: Edward Simeon; Lena Migeon and Florentine Harriet. Mrs.  Hayden passed away April 20, 1873.H.W. 

 

 

Frederick Law Olmsted


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