Methodism first came to Norwalk in the 1780s. The first Methodist church building in town was constructed in South Norwalk in 1816. A new church was built in 1843 and enlarged thirteen years later. Two years later, the congregation divided with the formation of a new Methodist Church in Central Norwalk. In 1898 the congregation of Norwalk’s First United Methodist Church moved into another new church at 39 West Avenue. The cornerstone of the yellow brick and white marble building, designed by architect M. H. Hubbard of Utica, New York, was laid 11 June 1897. It was completed the following year. The church was deconsecrated on Sunday, May 25, 2008 due to declining attendance and for a time the building was on and off the commercial real estate market. Macedonia Church recently purchased the building. Read the rest of this entry »
The borough of Pine Orchard in Branford is a small community of 300 households that started as a summer colony in the late nineteenth century. Landowners Frank and Henry Wallace provided land on Chapel Drive for the construction of a non-denominational chapel to be used for summer services. Between 1872 and 1892, the Wallace brothers and their father, Robert Wallace of Meriden and later Wallingford, had developed what is now Island View Avenue in Pine Orchard as a waterfront residential enclave. Plans for the Pine Orchard Union Chapel were approved on July 4, 1896 and the building, designed by the New Haven architectural firm of Brown and Berger, was completed a year later. The Chapel had no resident minister, so ministers came from neighboring communities to lead services. The Chapel was originally painted in a darker color, but in the early twentieth century it was painted white. The chapel was closed for regular services in 1963. Community residents worked to preserve the building, which is now regularly rented out for weddings. Read the rest of this entry »
In 1848 Lucius Lyon constructed a seminary building on the site now occupied by Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Essex. It was constructed to house students at the neighboring Hills Academy. In 1869 the building was converted into a hotel called the Pettipaug House. Operating under several other names over the years, the building was sold to Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic parish in 1926. The parish‘s previous church had been the former St. John’s Episcopal Church, acquired by the parish in 1897 and destroyed by fire in 1925. Extensive work was undertaken on the former hotel to convert it into a church, such that it was considered to be essentially a new building, although remaining on the earlier building’s foundation. The original east-facing entrance was replaced by the new church’s south-facing entrance. The church was again completely renovated in 1997, giving it a much altered appearance.
St. John’s Episcopal Church in New Hartford is located on Church Street across from Pine Meadow Green (also known as Chapin Park). The Carpenter Gothic edifice was built in 1861 on land donated by the Chapin family. The Chapins were tool manufacturers who developed Pine Meadow as a rural industrial village in the nineteenth century. The church replaced an earlier St. John’s, which was built in 1850 at the south end of Church Street. The church had held its first services in 1849 in Chapin Hall and Hermon Chapin, Sr. had donated the land for the building. The first St. John’s Church burned down in a fire sparked by a Christmas tree, that started late on the 23rd of December, 1859.
A Methodist group in East Norwalk began to hold prayer meetings and Sunday school classes in individual homes in the winter of 1870-1871. The basement of the home of James L’Hommedieu was soon set up as a regular place of worship. The growing congregation soon adapted an old railroad workmen’s shanty, which was being used by the L’Hommedieu brothers as a carpenter shop, as a new house of worship. Eventually a new church building was completed in 1872 on the corner of Rowan Street and East Avenue. The church was Norwalk’s fourth Methodist church, following those in South Norwalk, Central Norwalk and Rowayton. Planning for a new and larger church began in 1889. The old church was moved across the street and on its former site the cornerstone for the present East Avenue United Methodist Church was lain in 1890. The new church was dedicated on March 1, 1891.
Jesse Lee, the minister who established Methodism in New England, preached his first sermon in New England in June of 1789 in the center of Norwalk. The town’s first Methodist church was built in South Norwalk in 1816. By 1858, the congregation had grown so large that it divided. Planning for a new church, which is now called the Norwalk United Methodist Church, began at a meeting on April 25, 1858 at “Phoenix Hall,” which was then located at the Norwalk River Bridge on Wall Street. Work on the church edifice at 724 West Avenue started in 1859 and the building was dedicated on December 6, 1860. An Italianate structure, it was designed by architect Tappan Reeve of Brooklyn, New York. Ornamentation, removed from the church’s towers in the wake of storm damage in the 1920s, has more recently been replicated and the church repainted in its original colors.
The Congregational Church in the village of Stony Creek in Branford was gathered in 1877 and soon purchased a building known as Union Chapel for its services. Union Chapel had been constructed in 1866 by the Union Religious Society, formed in 1865 by Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, and Congregationalists in Branford as a missionary outreach to Stony Creek. The old wood structure was destroyed by fire in 1900. It was replaced by the current Stony Creek Church of Christ Congregational, a Norman Gothic edifice constructed between 1901 and 1903 of Stony Creek red granite. A basement kitchen and meeting room were added in 1907.