FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 26, 2023

National Park Trust Helps Move the Project Forward

Washington, D.C. (December 26, 2023) – National Park Trust announced its successful partnership with the National Park Service, Congressman John B. Larson (CT, 1st District), Chevron Corporation, and other stakeholders in helping to pave the way to establish Coltsville National Historical Park in Hartford, CT.  

Legislation in 2014 authorized the Coltsville National Historical Park contingent on satisfaction of specified conditions relative to the land and structures that would comprise the park, including achieving formal written agreements between the National Park Service, the City of Hartford, and private landowner Colt Gateway, LLC and its investing partner, Chevron Corporation.  

Meeting the conditions of the agreement with the landowner for the donation of the property and an easement within the Colt Factory complex proved unexpectedly challenging, which led to complex and extensive discussions over a period of years.  

In recognition of the importance of establishing Coltsville National Historical Park, National Park Trust was asked in early 2023 to assist in elevating and reframing the talks between the  National Park Service and the landowner, which proved critical to reaching an agreement.  

National Park Trust brought important perspectives and expertise in land protection and in creating public, nonprofit, and private entity collaborations for positive outcomes for all involved and helped to facilitate more focused and direct dialogue. These efforts in combination with the good faith of all parties led to an agreement that marked the final step needed to pave the way to establish the new national park unit.  

The successful conclusion of the negotiations now opens the door for the National Park Service to acquire the historic 1850s Forge and Foundry brownstone buildings, which will preserve the legacy of the original Colt complex. Destined to become the heartbeat of the park, these time-honored structures will be transformed into the Park’s visitor center.

With the impending acquisition and transfer of these brownstones to the National Park Service, the last significant conditions required to establish Coltsville National Historical Park will be fulfilled. This pivotal moment heralds the realization of a vision and sets the stage for unfolding the narrative of Coltsville’s historical significance by the National Park Service.

On December 18, 2023, at a commemorative event at the site of the future park, Mike Reynolds, National Park Service Deputy Director of External Affairs, stated:

“We have cleared a huge hurdle here today…I asked the National Park Trust for their special non-profit expertise, and they really helped us save the day in the last few months.”

He added that the National Park Service will be here for life as the stewards of our nation’s heritage.

National Park Trust, Chevron, and National Park Service officials at the December 18, 2023 commemorative event

“Chevron is proud of our decades-long role in the historic preservation and development of the Colt Gateway campus in downtown Hartford. We are grateful for the leadership and dedication of Representative John Larson, as well as the partnership with the National Park Service, the National Park Trust, and other stakeholders who have been – and will continue to be – good stewards of Coltsville’s historic legacy.”  

Al Williams, Chevron’s VP of Corporate Affairs

“The effort to establish Coltsville as a National Historical Park has brought together countless community leaders, organizations, and businesses who have worked tirelessly to bring this dream to fruition over the last two decades. The Forge and Foundry brownstones have been an iconic landmark since Samuel Colt founded his company in 1855, cementing Hartford as one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution. The general agreement and path forward…is the last major milestone before the official establishment of the park, which will bolster the economic growth at the Colt Complex and ensure visitors can appreciate and learn about the legacy of Coltsville for decades to come.”

Congressman John B. Larson (CT-01)

“National Park Trust is pleased that we were able to respond to the urgent needs of the National Park Service to help establish Coltsville National Historical Park which will preserve the epochal story of Samuel and Elizabeth Colt and their important role in the American Industrial Revolution, as well as Elizabeth’s legacy as a trailblazing female entrepreneur. We also have great appreciation for the collaborative efforts of Congressman John Larson, NPS Deputy Director Mike Reynolds, NPS Superintendent Kelly Fellner, and Chevron.”  

Grace Lee, National Park Trust executive director

Samuel Colt established Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company on this site along the Connecticut River in Hartford in the early 1850s. It was his most successful business and became known as an iconic high-quality firearms company. Colt built the company based on his 1836 patent for a six-shot pistol. His improved design also spurred production by competitors. Colt produced over 400,000 firearms before his death in 1862, making the brand famous around the world.  

After he died, his wife Elizabeth assumed control of the company and rebuilt the Colt factory complex after a devastating1864 fire destroyed much of the factory. One of the most famous and popular firearms, the Colt “Peacemaker” was introduced in 1873, under her management. Although Elizabeth Colt sold her share of the company in 1901, the company she rebuilt remained successful as an icon of American manufacturing and is a legacy of one of the earliest female entrepreneurs.  

To learn more about this project and others that the Park Trust has completed, visit:


Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2023, National Park Trust’s mission is to preserve parks today and create park stewards for tomorrow. Since 1983, the Park Trust has acquired many of the missing pieces of our national parks, benefiting 55 national park sites across the country. Our national youth education and family initiatives, including our Buddy Bison, College Ambassador and Military Family Programs, and National Kids to Parks Day, serve tens of thousands of children annually and cultivate future park stewards. We believe that our public parks, lands, and waters should be cared for, enjoyed, and preserved by all for current and future generations. Find out more at  

Media Contact: Ivan Levin at 540.818.5818 or