Lithuanians in Ansonia sought to establish an ethnic parish when they incorporated a lodge of the Lithuanian Society of St. Anthony in 1907. Bishop John J. Nilan of the Diocese of Hartford rebuffed their request, insisting that the Lithuanians remain within Assumption parish. The Lithuanians began to build a church in 1912 without episcopal approval, hoping that the bishop would reverse his decision, but he maintained his previous position. In 1915, an appeal directly to Rome succeeded and St. Anthony parish was given sanction by the Pope to operate as an independent parish. St. Anthony’s Church was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day 1915 by Father Matthew Pankus of Bridgeport.
In 1897, Immigrants in Ansonia from what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire established one of the first parishes of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in the United States. The first St. Peter and St. Paul Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was constructed in 1897-1898 on May Street. In 1910, the congregation purchased land at 105 Clifton Avenue, where the current church was built in 1915-1916. Plans for the church were sent by an architect from Lviv, Halychyna and the architectural firm of Johnson and Burns of Hartford was selected to complete the blueprints. The church’s roof is covered in red tiles and the domes are clad in copper. A major restoration of the building took place in 1987-1989.
Built at 100 Main Street in Ansonia in 1869-1870, the Ansonia Opera House served as the lower Naugatuck Velley’s premier theater and public hall until the Sterling Opera House was built in Derby in 1889. The Ansonia Opera House’s hall is on the third floor of the the building, while stores are located on the first floor. Until 1910, the hall was run by a corporation called the Ansonia Hall Company, in which Jeremiah Bartholomew and his descendants held a controlling interest. Connecticut’s oldest opera house, for sixty years it was the center of Ansonia’s civic and social activity and entertainment, including graduations, dances, recitals, basketball games and boxing matches. Sometime after 1896, additional windows were added to the building‘s second floor. In 1971, the state fire marshal’s office closed the hall to public assemblies. It was later rented out as a gym and then as storage space and is currently in need of restoration.
The Ansonia National Guard Armory, at the corner of State and North Cliff Streets, was built between 1919 and 1921. Designed by Major Morris B. Payne, it contained barracks, officers’ quarters, a 75 X 150 foot drill hall and a rifle range. In 2003, the Armory was closed by the state and given to the City of Ansonia. It is now used for various events.
The Savings Bank of Ansonia was chartered in 1862 and initially shared a building with the Ansonia National Bank. A new building was constructed at 117 Main Street in 1900. The Neoclassical structure, which displays the dates 1862 and 1900, has been restored by Beacon Preservation, Inc. and now houses offices and Obsidium Antiques.
The building witnessed a dramatic scene on the night of September 16, 1915. The bank’s Treasurer, former Ansonia mayor, Franklin Burton, had been arrested for embezzling $38,000 and the bank’s affairs had been taken over by the State Bank Commissioner. A crowd of 5,000 people, fearing for their deposits, gathered and threatened to break in the doors of the closed bank. Threats were made of lynching Burton, who was still inside the building. The entire police force was called out but were unable to quell the developing riot. Firemen were ordered to turn their hoses on the mob, but this was prevented because hundreds of people seized the hose and took it away from them. Officials feared for Burton’s safety and he was taken from the building through a back window. Police clubs and fists were used freely and after two hours the police regained control and the crowed melted away. The next day, disorder was avoided and depositors were admitted to the bank one-by-one, where they were paid in full by William A. Nelson, one of the bank’s directors. According to the Bank Commissioner’s Report for 1915, “Rumors of trouble at the bank started a run which would have been quite serious but for the energy of Mr. William A. Nelson,” to whom great credit was due for “acting so promptly and effectively thus putting the affairs of this institution in its present good condition.”
Ansonia‘s First Congregational Church was founded in 1850 and a wood church was built in 1852. This burned in 1865, when a group of women were cleaning the church and a fire started in the flue of the furnace. It was replaced by the current Gothic church building on South Cliff Street, built of stone quarried in Seymour. Anson G. Phelps, who founded Ansonia, donated the land and funds to build the church, which has stained glass windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany.