Hartford's 5 villages: Feuding siblings or the town's greatest strength?
New York has its buroughs, Paris has its arrondisements, New Orleans has its quarters. And Hartford? Well, you already know the answer. Hartford is a town of villages. Five of them, every one as feisty and proud as the next.
White River Junction
Hipster White River, touristy Quechee, neighborhoody Wilder, rural West Hartford and historic Hartford Village. Ask most of the town's 10,000 residents where they live and they won't say "Hartford," plain and simple. They'll say the name of their village — and shame on you if you don't agree it's the best one in this 40-square-mile town.
Those siblings have had their rivalries over the years, from feuding town libraries to bragging rights about which one is the sweetest place to live and work. As town manager for the last two years, Leo Pullar has gotten an earful from people in each, and a healthy appreciation for the delicate act of balancing their individual and shared interests.
You guessed it ... Wilder
"All of the folks who live in the villages bring their own perspective," he tells me. "As town manager, you have to serve all those people and all the microcultures."
Pullar will be leaving the job in November to move with his wife to Florida, due to his ongoing treatment for cancer. HIs replacement will need to get into the villages and learn how to put the sometimes tense relationship between those microcultures to work.
"You've got to figure out how to leverage that. How do you make that tension a good tension," he says. "You have to preserve those identities, because that's what makes this a place."
Which town do you live in and what makes it special? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Hartford Town Manager Leo Pullar