A Historical Overview through the Families of Westmoor Park
John Merrill is the first known owner of the Westmoor Parcel. Originally from Newbury, MA he came to Hartford as an apprentice tanner to George Wilterton. Between the years 1683-1700 he purchased several large tracts of land in the west division of Hartford; some of that land is now Westmoor Park.
In 1705 and 1709 the Westmoor parcel was transferred to John’s son Abel in two sections. In addition to the Westmoor parcel, Abel also owned ten acres of land near the intersection of North Main Street and Fern Street.
Thomas Merrill inherited the Westmoor Parcel as instructed in his father’s will, dated 1757. Thomas Merrill lived there until transferring the property to Abijah Flagg in 1801.
Abijah Flagg was married to Thomas Merrill’s sister Thankful Merrill. Abijah was the owner of the Westmoor Parcel until he transferred part of the property to his son George in 1805 and the rest in 1834. The property remained in the Flagg family and was used as a farm. Willis Flagg was a dairy farmer who sold milk in Hartford for 30 years. In 1922 Willis Flagg’s son Howard sold the property to Frank R. Scott.
On September 28, 1923 Mr. Scott sold the Westmoor property to A. Raymond Ellis. Lt. Ellis started the Westmoor Fox hunt in 1925 and formed the Westmoor Farms Polo Club. He was the first person to name the property “Westmoor”. When the Great Depression gripped the country, Lt. Ellis suffered financially and Hartford Connecticut Trust foreclosed upon his property in 1934.
Charles Hunter purchased Westmoor Farms through Foreclosure from the Hartford Connecticut Trust in 1939 for $27,250.00. It was some time in 1940 or 1941 that Charles and his wife Leila moved on to the property. They later bought six additional acres located close to Mountain road, which increased their property size to 52 acres Charles and his wife Leila Hunter used the farm for boarding horses for friends but not as public boarding stables. The Hunter's hired William Wouters, a renowned horse trainer to take care of the horses and the farm. Mrs. Hunter was an avid gardener; she developed a perennial garden behind the main house which is still maintained today.
When Mr. Hunter passed away in May of 1961 at the age of 87, he left the property to the Town of West Hartford, with the understanding it would not become the town's until Leila Hunter passed away. Leila Hunter lived twelve more years and upon her death in January of 1973 at the age of 94, the Town of West Hartford took over the property for use as a park in March of 1973. The following year the town council, in accordance with the Hunter's will bequeathing Westmoor to the town, recommended that Westmoor Park be used as a public education and recreation area to emphasize horticulture, natural science, and agriculture.
Through the Hunter's generous gift to West Hartford and because of their love for nature and children, we are now able to have this wonderful resource for all ages to love and enjoy.
Charles A. Hunter
Charles was born in Hartford on March 8, 1874 to John S. and Mary (Allen) Hunter. He lived at 15 Washington Street in Hartford with his parents and younger brother George until 1897. His father had made his fortune from the invention of the Terry Steam Turbine. Charles inherited half of the fortune upon his father’s death. He had a lot of drive and an entrepreneurial spirit. He invested often in real estate and began a 45 year financial career in 1901 with the Hartford-Connecticut Trust Company. In August 1916 he purchased lots 127 & 128 Reed Avenue where he lived until 1939 when he purchased the Westmoor Farm property through foreclosure. In July 1946 he purchased an additional 7 acres on the south side of Flagg Road near Mountain Road. Part of this parcel is now used as a community garden.
Awards & Recognition
- The Connecticut Bar Association's Environmental Law Section honored Westmoor Park with the presentation of the Clyde O. Fisher, Jr. Award in September 2018. Click here for the whole story.
- Hulafrog awarded Westmoor Park the Parent's Pick: Most Loved Place to go Award; in February 2018!
- West Hartford Magazine awarded Westmoor Park: Best Family Parks Award in 2016
- West Hartford Magazine awarded Westmoor Park: Best Farm and Nature Camp Award in 2015
- The Boston Globe recognized Westmoor Park as the: Top Toddler Destination in the region in 2010
- Singer/Song Writer Jack Johnson recognized Westmoor Park for our work in Environmental Education during his July 2010 TO THE SEA tour, and in his ALL AT ONCE community effort.