This is the second oldest ecclesiastical organization in Norwalk. As early as 1729 there appears to have been desultory Episcopal services holden in Norwalk. Rev. Henry Caner of Fairfield, was probably the first clergyman known to have here officiated. His incumbency dates from 1737, at which period the worship of the Episcopal church seems to have been celebrated in a small and temporary frame structure which stood on the extreme northeasterly portion of the present St. Paul’s grounds on Newtown avenue. This structure seems to have served the parish purpose until 1742, when the building, afterward destroyed by Tryon, was erected. [. . .]
A new church edifice rose over the ashes of the temple burned in 1779, which building stood until 1840
That third church building was replaced by a frame Carpenter Gothic structure that stood until it was torn down and replaced by the current church on Norwalk Green. The cornerstone was laid on November 12, 1927 and the church was consecrated on June 9, 1930. Visitors reach the church through its ancient burial ground (see photo) from St. Paul’s Place, a short street along the northern boundary of the Green. Read the rest of this entry »
The John Wesley Pentecostal Church was founded in Manchester in 1897. In the fall of 1907 (“Holiness Meeting in Manchester; In Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene,” Hartford Courant, April 10, 1908) the church became part of the Church of the Nazarene, a national evangelical denomination that formed in 1907-1908 through a series of mergers between various holiness churches and denominations, with the western-based Church of the Nazarene merging with the eastern-based Association of Pentecostal Churches of America. In 1958, the Manchester Church of the Nazarene moved from their original 1898 church at 466 Main Street to a new church at 236 Main Street. It was the culmination of a five-year building plan that included construction of a youth center (1954) and a parsonage (1957). The church’s pastor, Clarence E. Winslow, designed the buildings and prepared landscaping plans, personally clearing the land with the help of volunteers. Groundbreaking for the church occurred in the summer of 1957 and the following April (“Steeplejack Chore Planned by Pastor,” Hartford Courant, April 21, 1958) Rev. Winslow was lifted 90 feet by a giant crane to place a cross on the newly raised steeple. Rev. Winslow later moved to Florida where, in the 1970s, he led supporters of Creationism against the teaching of Evolution in Florida schools.
The Church of the Nazarene opened the Cornerstone Christian School in 1981. A new church building was erected at 218 Main Street in 1989, with Rev. Phillip Chatto this time attaching the cross at the top of the steeple (“Crowning touch installed at Manchester church,” by Randy Burgess, Hartford Courant, March 29, 1989). The previous church, now called the McLain Building, became part of the Cornerstone Christian School, housing the junior and senior high schools, and the former sanctuary was converted into a fellowship hall and gymnasium.
The first Catholic parish in Union City in Naugatuck began as mission of St. Francis of Assisi Church in Naugatuck, becoming St. Mary Parish in 1907. A chapel was erected the following year and the finished St. Mary Church, located at 338 North Main Street, was dedicated on May 27, 1923. St. Hedwig Parish, Union City’s other Catholic parish, was founded by Polish immigrants in 1906. The current St. Hedwig Church and school complex on Golden Hill Street was dedicated in 1968.
Ukrainian Catholics first settled in Terryville in Plymouth in 1895. They did come directly from Eastern Europe but initially settled in central Pennsylvania before relocating to Connecticut. They established a voluntary association called the Rus Ruthenian Brotherhood of St. Michael the Archangel in 1902. Having worshiped in New Britain from 1896 to 1904, the Archangel St. Michael Ruthenian Greek Catholic Congregation then began holding services in a school on Main Street in Terryville. The congregation acquired land on Allen Street in March 1905 on which to build their own church. The cornerstone for the new church was blessed on July 4, 1910 and St. Michael Ukrainian Catholic Church at 35 Allen Street was soon completed. A sacristy was added to the north side of the church in 1944.
St. John’s Episcopal Church, located at 679 Farmington Avenue in West Hartford, was preceded by the parish’s original church, located on Main Street in downtown Hartford. Designed by noted New Haven architect Henry Austin during the period he had an office in Hartford, the first St. John’s Church was consecrated on April 30, 1842. The main body of the church and the lower section of its tower were constructed of Portland brownstone. The upper tower and spire were made of wood and had to be removed in 1875 due to structural decay. In 1905, the parish decided to sell its land on Main Street to the trustees of the Wadsworth Atheneum. The church was taken down in 1907 and the Atheneum’s Morgan Memorial Building was erected in its place. (You can read more about the original St. John’s Church on Main Street in my book Vanished Downtown Hartford, pp. 128-131).
Downtown Hartford had been developing rapidly as a business and commercial center at the time and many churches there were relocating to more residential areas to the west. The new St. John’s Church was built in 1907-1909 on Farmington Avenue, just across the Hartford line in West Hartford. The new church, designed by noted architect Bertram G. Goodhue, was consecrated on June 9, 1909. Due to budgetary limitations, Goodhue’s plans for an adjoining parish house were not completed until 1914-1915. The cornerstone for a new and larger parish house was laid in 1927 and at the same time the church built a cloister and outdoor pulpit. In 1928 the nave was lengthened to the north, toward Farmington Avenue, and a new entrance was built on that side (the previous entrance had faced west towards Highland Avenue). The church was extensively restored and altered inside after a fire in 1992.
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.