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Dr. Manning & Mr. Riott, West End Advocates

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I fell in love with the West End 25 years ago when I first started coming to Hartford on weekends to see friends of mine who lived on this side of town.  I was a medical resident at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury at that time and found myself driving to Hartford most weekends for a variety of events.  Growing up just outside of New York City I believed that I’ve always had a city spirit but never wanted to live in the congested neighborhoods of New York.  I thought Hartford had that perfect mix of the conveniences of the city without the mayhem.

What really drew me into Hartford was a house, and oh, what a house.  I’ve always loved any architecture with a history and a story to tell, and I do believe that old homes have a spirit all their own.  So on a cold dreary January day in 1995, I walked into the house that would become my dream home.

100 years earlier it was the grand home of Charles Goodwin, grandson of the founder of the Hartford insurance company.  Scarborough Street was once part of the old Goodwin farm and Charles Goodwin dreamed of a new modern-day neighborhood with underground utilities and high pressure water from the newly developed MDC reservoir system that he was instrumental in creating.  Over the years talents and celebrities such as Ginger Rogers, Liberace, and Frank Sinatra entertained the guests of this five acre estate.

Some of the homes in the West End in general had sadly fallen to disrepair and many homes at that time remained on the market for a year or more until hopefully someone like me came in and rescued it from its slow decline.   After 14 years of extensive remodeling both inside and out I believe that Chuck and I have brought this house back to life as have so many other families that have moved here to the West End over the years.

The Gardens sing with the songs of so many different birds but are shared with our neighbors the coyote, wild turkey, red fox, red tail hawk, and of course bunnies galore.  I ask, in what other city does one have such interesting neighbors? When I leave every morning to drive to my office in Southington, where I practice rheumatology, I look forward to the end of the day when I can drive back to the home that I so love, and the community that continues to rejuvenate us.

As we celebrate 100 years since the house was built, we made the house work to raise money for the American Cancer Society.  We hosted a garden jazz festival featuring Tina Fabrique, who played the lead in the TheaterWorks smash hit “Ella.”  That night we are going lit up the West End as they did in by gone years and celebrate the spirit of this old house.