Faith Living Church, located at 20 Grove Street in the Plantsville section of Southington, was built in 1873-1874 as the Plantsville Baptist Church. As related in the Memorial History of Hartford County, Vol. II (1886):
The Baptist Church of Plantsville was a colony from the Baptist Church in Southington, and was organized Aug. 13, 1872. Its present house of worship was dedicated in 1874.
As related in Heman R. Timlow’s Ecclesiastical and Other Sketches of Southington, Conn. (1875):
The society was organized May 8, 1872, and steps were at once taken to build a house of worship. The land for the purpose was given by Dea. Plant. The building committee consisted of A. P. Plant, E. H. Plant, and R. W. Cowles. The corner-stone was laid with appropriate services, May 13, 1873, and the building was dedicated March 11, 1874, the sermon on the occasion having been preached by Dr. Rollin H. Neale, of Boston. The cost of the building was about $13,000.
By 1979, church membership had dwindled to 12 and the decision was made to sell the church and neighboring parsonage (built c. 1890). In 1985 the buildings were sold to Faith Living Church, which made some alterations to the facade and the entry.
St. Mary’s Catholic Parish in Branford traces its origins to 1855. The original church, located on Montowese Street, was built in 1854. The next church building, on Main Street across from the Blackstone Memorial Library, was completed in 1904 and burned later that same year. It was restored and rededicated on October 19, 1906. A Renaissance Revival structure, it had a 10-story bell tower. On June 18, 1972, the church was destroyed in a fire and replaced by the current church in 1974. For many years the church’s 1917 two-ton cast bronze bell, which survived the fire, sat on a concrete slab on the church grounds. In 2009 the bell was restored and placed in a new exterior bell tower. That same year the church dedicated a new 2,500 square-foot social hall.
The American-Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Manchester was organized in 1952. Nine years later, in 1961, the congregation purchased a church at the corner of Garden and Winter Streets from Concordia Evangelical Lutheran Church, a German Lutheran congregation, which had just relocated to a new building on Pitkin Street. The first German Lutheran church in Manchester was Zion Church, organized in 1890. In 1893, just months before the dedication of their new church on Cooper Street, the congregation split over the issue of church members also being members of secret fraternal organizations. Those who objected to denying church membership to members of these organizations formed the new Concordia Church. In 1896 the Concordia congregation built the church at 21 Garden Street that is now home to the American-Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Woodbury‘s North Congregational Church was built by the Strict Congregational Society, organized in 1816 by members who had left the First Congregational Church of Woodbury. Work on building the church had already begun in 1814, two years before the society was officially organized. It was completed around 1818 and was dedicated on January 7th of the following year. The sermon at the dedication was given by Rev. Lyman Beecher.
The building at 6 Hurlbutt Road in the Gales Ferry section of Ledyard was erected in 1857 as the Gales Ferry Methodist Church. The church was established in 1803 and their first church building was a structure that had been moved to the site in 1815. This was replaced by the 1857 church, to which an addition was built on the rear in 1954 that doubled the size of the building. The church moved to a new building in the mid-1960s and in 1969 the old church was purchased by Church & Allen Funeral Service. After being on the market for several years the building was converted to retail use in 2011. Next door is the former church parsonage built in 1928.
On the other side of the street from the City Mission building (yesterday’s post) is the former Ados Israel synagogue at 215 Pearl Street in Hartford. Designed by Milton E. Haymon, the Georgian Revival structure was erected in 1924 for the First Unitarian Church. Hartford’s First Unitarian Society was formed in 1844 and had two previous churches/meetinghouses: the Unitarian Church of the Saviour (1846), which stood on Trumbull Street, and Unity Hall (1881) on Pratt Street. In 1962 the Unitarians sold the building on Pearl Street and in 1964 dedicated the new Unitarian Meeting House on Bloomfield Avenue.
Congregation Ados Israel, Hartford’s oldest Orthodox Jewish congregation, was first organized by Eastern European Jews in 1872. In 1898 the Congregation built a synagogue on Market Street. This architecturally impressive building was demolished in 1963 to make way for Constitution Plaza. Ados Israel then moved to the former Unitarian building on Pearl Street. Ados Israel was Hartford’s last synagogue when it closed in 1986. Neighboring TheaterWorks acquired the building in 2002.
Camp Bethel is a historic Christian camp meeting site in the Tylerville section of Haddam that is located on a high bluff overlooking the Connecticut River. It was established in 1878 by the Life and Advent Union. In the early years as many as 10,000 people would gather on the property for several weeks each summer. At first they stayed in tents but later began building small cottages on their camp sites. Over the years Camp Bethel grew to include a chapel, a memorial hall, two boarding houses and over forty cabins. Most of these structures were built between 1889 and 1920. The current Dining Hall was built in 1992, replacing an earlier building destroyed by fire. Camp Bethel continues to operate as a camp meeting site today, one of the few that survive in New England. It is owned by the Camp Bethel Association, a non-denominational, evangelical organization that holds camp meetings each August and also rents the facility to different religious and educational groups for retreats, conferences and workshops. [If you are interested in learning about another camp meeting site with Victorian cottages in Connecticut, see my post about the Plainville Campground]. Read on to learn more about some of the buildings and to see more images of Camp Bethel! Read the rest of this entry »