Giving Story: Betty Knox

"I want to do something for the city of Hartford"

When it comes to carousels, we’re all kids, and downtown Hartford has one of these symbols of youth and merriment because Betty Knox, a former member of the City Council, walked into her lawyer’s office one day and said, “I want to do something for the city of Hartford.”

With the help of her attorney, she set up a foundation in July 1966, just months before her untimely death. The purpose was to beautify Greater Hartford, and how this was to happen she left to a board of creative advisors. Through her bequest, playgrounds and gardens blossomed in the city; magicians and clowns strolled downtown streets; and the Peace Train concerts entertained summer crowds. Today, her legacy includes a harvest of trees and plants, and financial support for young people who learn to love beauty by helping it grow.

But the carousel is her most visible single bequest. It fills one corner of Bushnell Park, an essential piece of the urban scene. It would not be there were it not for the generosity of one committed and generous woman.