Park Street is looking good these days, and the Mi Casa Family
Service and Educational Center near the corner of Broad Street
is a highlight. Built in the 1930s and named for then-owner William
Solomon, this three-story limestone beauty at 590-596 Park is
one of Hartford's few remaining Art Deco-style structures.
Once home to an F.W. Woolworth's and a bowling alley, these days, the 11,000-square-foot
Solomon Building buzzes with energy from Mi Casa's staff and the neighborhood
people they serve. Happily, Mi Casa's renovation of the Solomon was as enlightened
as its mission, which is to provide health, employment, housing and social
services to Puerto Rican and Latino families in the South End and Frog Hollow
Mi Casa's leaders wisely chose to renovate, rather than gut, the
structure. They restored the limestone exterior as well as many interior
features, such as a magnificent pressed-tin ceiling and original Deco
Mi Casa Executive Director Jorge Rivera
said the Mi Casa board, working with strong input from neighborhood groups,
decided to make the building as "green" as possible. To this
end, Crosskey Architects of Hartford built a transom to allow light from
the south to flood the interior and cut down on electricity use. And in
the back, a large curvilinear window runs the full height of the building
to shed light on all three floors.
Deputy Director Luis-Philipe Agrelot
says, "Mi Casa needed to expand,
and I guess we just fell in love with the design of this building.
We're a hub for this community, and it seemed appropriate that we honor
and preserve one of its resources."
In May, The Hartford Preservation Alliance gave Mi Casa its prestigious
Jeffrey S. Czopor Preservation Award for its vision - a wise decision even
Solomon would admire.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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