A Methodist church in the Forestville section of Bristol was established in 1855. The Forestville Methodist Church purchased a former Episcopal church building on Maple Street in 1864 and moved it to Forestville. This building was later enlarged to make room for an organ. On May 3, 1900, the church was struck by lightning during a severe thunderstorm and destroyed in the ensuing fire. The corner stone for a new church was laid on September 12, 1900 and it was dedicated on December 27, 1900. The church, designed by George W. Kramer of New York, is a brick edifice with a brownstone foundation. The name of the church, which is located at 90 Church Avenue in Forestville, was later changed to Asbury United Methodist Church.
Two students of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, began conducting Sunday services in homes in Hartford in 1890 and a year later secured a hall for services. A Christian Science Society was formed in 1896 and was incorporated in 1898 as the First Church of Christ, Scientist, Hartford. A church home was built on Farmington Avenue in 1908. Services began in the current church, a Colonial Revival building at 235 Scarborough Street, in 1956. Hartford also has a Second Church of Christ Scientist, which for several years used the former Park Congregational Church on Asylum Street, then had a church home on Lafayette Street, and is today based at the Christian Science Reading Room at 24 Central Row in downtown Hartford. Former Hartford resident Mark Twain was a critic of Christian Science and his view of Mary Baker Eddy was very hostile. In 1907 he published a book, Christian Science, which collected his essays on the subject.
Our Lady of Sorrows Roman Catholic Parish in the Parkville neighborhood of Hartford began as a mission chapel, built on Grace Street in 1887. Before that time, the area’s German, French, and Irish Catholic immigrants had been attending mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph. Our Lady of Sorrows was made a parish in 1895. Ground was broken for the current church, designed by O’Connell and Shaw of Boston, in 1922. Located at 79 New Park Avenue, the church, which has a seating capacity of 1200, was dedicated on July 26, 1925. The church suffered damage in the 1938 hurricane, which caused the removal of the upper portions of the two towers on either side of the front entrance.
Hartford’s North Methodist Church was started in 1869 as a mission of the city’s First Methodist Church. A chapel was built on Windsor Avenue (now Main Street) in 1871, followed by the remainder of the church in 1873-1874. This original church building was later sold (it is now the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church). The current North United Methodist Church, at 1205 Albany Avenue, was built in 1919 and was designed by Floyd Paisnes.
Shiloh Baptist Church in Hartford is the city’s fourth oldest black church. It began in 1889 after a split in the membership of Union Baptist Church. The church began in the home of Lucy Roy and then used various halls temporarily, until occupying a church on Mather Street, built in 1902. The current church building, at 350 Albany Avenue, was built in stages. As the Hartford Courant reported on December 7, 1914:
It was decided to build upon the pay-as-you-go plan, and the vestry of the edifice was built, the cornerstone being laid December 4, 1911. The new vestry was dedicated in February, 1912. Since this dedication, this part of the church has been the meeting place of the parish members. Last winter, the temporary roof over the vestry was troublesome because of its leaking. To repair it would have involved the expenditure of some $1,500, and it was decided to make one piece of work of raising the structure to completion.
Pages 138 to 139 of my new book, Vanished Downtown Hartford, describe the first two church buildings used by Hartford’s First Methodist Church. The first, at the corner of Chapel and Trumbull Streets, was built in 1821. After the church moved further west in 1860, the former church was used for businesses (including as the office of local architect John C. Mead from 1879 to 1889). The second building, on Asylum Street, was used by the church until 1905. Its tower and Romanesque Revival front facade were removed in 1911, when the building was converted to commercial purposes. The current church edifice was built in 1904 to 1905 on Farmington Avenue, near the West Hartford line. The church is now called the United Methodist Church of Hartford. It merged with St. Paul’s Methodist Church in 1974 and with the South Park Methodist Church in 1982.
The German Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Hartford was organized in 1880. The church acquired the former St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Market Street, which it occupied until 1898. In that year, the church sold the building, which became St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church. The German Lutheran Church then moved to a new building at 49 Charter Oak Avenue. Designed by Albert Fehmer, it was dedicated January 22, 1899. For a brief period, in 1906-1907, the church was used by St. Paul’s English Lutheran Church (as related in a Hartford Courant article from April 3, 1921, “St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Reaches Fifteenth Year”). That church moved its services to the Y.M.C.A. building, but later returned to Charter Oak Avenue, acquiring the German Lutheran Church’s property in 1909. Efforts to consolidate the two church did not work out, however, and the property was returned to the German Lutheran Church in 1911. St. Paul’s Church eventually moved to a building at the corner of Park Street and Park Terrace. The German Lutheran Church of the Reformation merged with the German Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Church, located at the corner of Babcock and Russ Streets, in 1916. This united church finally merged with St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in 1943 to form Grace Lutheran Church. The church on Charter Oak Avenue was sold. In the twentieth century it became Gospel Hall and is now Greater Joy Mission Church Of Deliverance. The church edifice has lost its original small steeple and entry porch with two side stairs. Its three memorial stained glass windows in the front gable have been covered up (and possibly removed).