The Adventist chapel, at the Center, which is a small but not unattractive frame building, affords a place of worship for members of that faith. It was built within the past six years. The meetings previous to that time were held in private houses, at “Rag Hollow” and other localities. Moses Chandler was one of the most active in the latter movement to give the denomination a permanent place in the town, and the meetings were for a time held at his house. Other members belong to the Tuttle, Tyler, Hotchkiss and Beecher families. In 1890 there were about a score of members, and Seth Woodruff was the minister.
About 1900 the Prospect congregation merged with an Adventist church in Waterbury. Their former chapel, located at 10 Center Street, became the Chapel school house and then the Prospect Senior Center.
Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Parish was established in Hartford in 1958 to serve the local community of immigrants from Portugal and the Azores. The founding pastor, Father José Dias Martins da Silva, purchased a vacant Danish Lutheran Church on Russ Street where the parish worshiped until the basement chapel of a new church was completed in 1986. Our Lady of Fatima Church, located at 50 Kane Street in Hartford, was dedicated on April 30, 1988. The parish also later erected a community center.
A Baptist church was established in Ashford in the village of Westford in 1780. In 1848 a new church was built in Warrenville section of town, as Richard M. Bayles describes in his History of Windham County, Connecticut (1889):
John Warren, Esq., manifested much anxiety to have a Baptist church organized in the western part of Ashford, in a village on the turnpike from Hartford to Boston and Providence. The First, or as it was often called, the Knowlton meeting house, was not considered so central, nor easy of access as many thought desirable. But the people in the vicinity of the old church were greatly opposed to giving up worship in their sanctuary, and continued for a time to worship there after another congregation was formed in “Pompey Hollow,” as the place was then called. Mr. Warren offered a fund to support worship in the Hollow, and the name of the village was changed to Warrenville. A church was organized January 22d, 1848[.]
The meeting house was completed that same year (1848). Later called the United Baptist Church, it is now known as Living Proof Church.
The only church of this village is an offshoot from the Congregational church of Windham. For twenty-five years, more or less, services have been conducted here on occasional Sabbaths or on week-day evenings. The old Fitch school house is used for religious services. This is a building once intended for a private school, and is rented of private owners for religious services. It stands near and is connected with the Warner House, a hotel of commodious size standing near the depot of the New London Northern railroad. It is now owned by Alfred Kinne. For a few years back religious services on Sunday have been omitted, but in March, 1888, a Society of Christian Endeavor was formed here, and in the following December a church was organized, which now numbers eighteen members. During the winter a revival occurred. Since December 7th, 1888, preaching services have been held every Sunday afternoon by the pastor of the old church at Windham Centre. A Sunday school is also maintained here.
Once this church, which was a branch of the Windham Congregational Church, was established in the village in 1888, a Ladies’ Missionary Society was also formed which began collecting for a fund to erect a church edifice in South Windham. As related in the Hartford Courant (“Church Dedication,” October 22, 1902):
President Guilford Smith of the Smith Winchester Company became interested in the project and it was very largely through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Smith that the branch society is now possessed of the beautiful church. The donations of Mr. and Mrs. Smith were supplemented by those of almost every one who resided in the village and by many who lived out of the place, but had it not been for the generous gifts of land and money by Mr. and Mrs. Smith it is not likely that the society would have realized its long cherish[ed] hope for many years.
The Courant article further concluded that “probably no manufacturing village of the size can boast of so finely appointed and convenient a church building.” The church, located at 361 South Windham Street, was dedicated on October 21, 1902.
The building at 870 Prospect Avenue in Hartford was built in 1915 as a single-family home to designs by architect Charles O. Whitmore. For many years the house was home to Grace Hall Wilson, widow of John C. Wilson, president of Colt Firearms. Today it is Grace Seventh Day Adventist Church.
In the center of Eastford is a Greek Revival building called the Ivy Glenn Memorial. It was built as a Methodist Church in 1847, the same year Eastford separated from Ashford to become a new town. In 1916, Eastford Methodists joined with Congregationalists to form a Federated Church and the former Methodist Church was sold to the town for $200. The building’s basement was repaired to serve as a place for town meetings. Restoration work was completed in 1934 with funds from the Civil Works Administration. The upstairs hall was now used for town meetings and the library and town offices were located in the basement. A new Town Hall was erected in 1969 and after town offices moved to the new building, the library was able to expand in the basement of the former church. This required a new renovation which was funded by a bequest in honor of Ivy Glenn made by her husband, Wilmer Glenn, a New York stockbroker who spent summers in the Phoenixville section of Eastford. The enlarged library opened in 1972. Another renovation was made after a fire in May 1979 damaged the front of the building.
Eastford is one of those towns in the state where the center of population nearly coincides with the geographical center of the township. Miss Ellen Larned, in her valuable History of Windham County, tells us that “the first inhabitant was John Perry from Marlborough, Mass.; who bought 350 acres of land on both sides of Still River and settled upon it near the site of the present Eastford Village.” The grave of this rude forefather of the hamlet may be seen, if I am not mistaken, in the old grave-yard back of the Congregational Church. From the beginning the chief settlement has gathered around this original spot. The village is favorably located, with a healthful environment, a fine outlook, and excellent water power. There are six roads which unite at the village green in front of the Methodist Church; and now that the state road is constructed the facilities for travel are all that can be desired. A fresh hope for the place can be confidently indulged in. The old-time saying of one of its people is fast coming more true than ever before: “Eastford is the biggest place of its size on earth.”
Carlyle F. Barnes (1852-1926) was a businessman, musician and prominent citizen of Bristol. A chapel donated to his memory by his wife and two sons is located at 49 Pound Street (at West Cemetery) in Bristol. It was designed in the Norman style by Earle K. Bishop (of the firm of Perry and Bishop of New Britain) with stained-glass windows by by Calvert, Herrick & Riedinger. The Carlyle F. Barnes Memorial Chapel was dedicated on November 9, 1930 and is managed by the West Cemetery Association.