A rendering of the proposed Bulkeley Historical Center at Bulkeley High… (Handout )
HARTFORD — — Morgan Gardner Bulkeley was the city’s mayor, the state’s governor, a U.S. senator and president of Aetna before his death in 1922.
Bulkeley High School opened four years later in Hartford’s South End.
These days, students “don’t know who he is,” said 1988 graduate Lou Frasca, dean of students for Bulkeley’s Upper School. He hopes that will change.
A committee of Bulkeley staff and alumni plans to raise $60,000 this year to establish the Morgan Gardner Bulkeley Historical Center on the school’s second floor, which will feature a portrait and history of the man, a wall of display cases for trophies and memorabilia, a conference table for meetings and the school crest printed on the hardwood floor.
The space, a former book room, is currently vacant except for a few filing cabinets, stacks of boxes and cabinets packed with decades-old trophies. The area will connect to the school’s college and career center, which is being moved from the first floor.
“This will be a place where students and staff will be proud to walk through,” said Bulkeley’s Upper School Principal Gayle Allen-Greene, who wants to complete the historical center by this fall. “It will look like they’re in a college.”
Allen-Greene has written a letter to alumni asking them to support “a living museum that tells our Bulkeley story.” The committee is looking for relics of Bulkeley’s past, such as school banners, and financial donations, Frasca said.
Allen-Greene said she and Maria Mascaro, a tutor and retired English teacher at Bulkeley who graduated from the school in 1967, began discussing plans for a center about a year ago — not only as a place for students to learn about Bulkeley’s history, but as a gathering spot to welcome alumni.
Bartholomew Contract Interiors in Hartford created design renderings with seed money from the Bulkeley alumni association.
One of the committee’s ideas, Allen-Greene said, is to digitally preserve the school’s yearbooks and have an electronic kiosk where visitors can search pages dating back to 1926, when the school opened on Maple Avenue. Bulkeley High moved to Wethersfield Avenue in the mid-1970s.
Portraits of former Bulkeley principals, now kept in the school library, will also be featured in the center, Allen-Greene said.
And there will be a spotlight on Bulkeley, himself: Among the man’s accomplishments is posthumous induction in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., for his role as the first president of the National League when it was formed in 1876.
People may send contributions to the Bulkeley High School Historical Center, in care of Lou Frasca, at 300 Wethersfield Ave., Hartford, CT 06114. Alumni may also sign up for email updates at http://www.bulkeleyalumni.org.