Also known as Rainbow Park, Suburban Park was owned and operated by
the Farmington Street Railway Company, which charged fifteen cents for
the one hour and fifteen-minute ride from Hartford. At thirty-five acres,
the park extended well into today's Farmington Woods. Although
primarily an amusement park, it was also used for festivals, lectures,
dances, and other special events. Wooden stairs at this entrance led
uphill to the dance pavilion. Other park buildings include a pagoda,
photography gallery, ice cream parlor, and trolley offices. There were
acres of manicured lawns and water features, including canals and a
dam. Miles of shaded paths snaked through the woods, well-lit by
Japanese lanterns hung in the trees. Park goers played ball games and
studied trees and birds. They played tennis and enjoyed swings and
hammocks. The park was used by many organizations, such as the
Courant's Fresh Air Fund, Good Will Boys, Open Hearts Shelter, Sunday
school picnics, Sisters of Mercy, and Friday Eve Club. Local factories held
their company outings here. The park closed in 1905, after the trolley
company reduced the schedule and increased the fare.
After closing, the park's land and buildings changed hands many times.
During WW II, it was home to one of the town's two airplane observation
1999, a developer sold the land to the town after a grassroots
campaign by residents prevented him from mining the property for sand
and gravel, and building fifty houses. Now town-owned, the park is a
natural untouched open space for passive recreation, where the public
can enjoy history and natural beauty.