On Sunday morning, April 4, 1897, ten people interested in Christian Science met at a private house to hold the first Christian Science service in Bridgeport. At the testimony meeting the following Friday evening, April 9, fourteen were present. For two years the Sunday services and Wednesday evening meetings were held in residences. In 1899 the organization was strengthened by the coming of a teacher and practitioner.
In May, 1899, a Christian Science Society was formed and a room in the Court Exchange Building was engaged and suitably furnished to be used for church services and also for a reading room. The reading room was kept open every day and also Friday evenings. The first service held in the Court Exchange Building was a Wednesday evening testimony meeting, June 7, 1899; and the society was encouraged by an attendance of twenty-four at the service the following Sunday. In December of that year the society was dissolved, and First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Bridgeport, Connecticut, was organized and incorporated.
[. . .] As the church grew in numbers and in contributions, it was ready again to move to larger quarters, and the Froebel Kindergarten, at 871 Lafayette Street, cordially opened its doors. In 1902 the church rented the kindergarten rooms for the Sunday services, and in 1906, as the property was on the market, it was thought best to buy it. Reading rooms were furnished and finally a new auditorium was added to the rear of the building.
[. . .] In the spring of 1917 it seemed wise to take another forward step and remodel the church building in order to double the seating capacity. Architects from New York were engaged, and at an expense of approximately thirteen thousand dollars, the building has been strengthened and remodeled. The interior of the auditorium has been enlarged and beautified, pews added, and an organ installed. Various other changes have been wrought which make the building and its surroundings an appropriate place for Christian Science services. [. . .] The dedication service was held on September 15, 1918.
A new church, designed by Robert C. N. Monahan of Monahan, Meikle & Johnson, was built in 1958 at the corner of North and Clinton Avenues in Bridgeport. Because Christian Science churches can only be dedicated when freed of all mortgage indebtedness, the church was dedicated over five years later, on June 14, 1964. Today the building is home to a different church, the Holy Tabernacle Church Of God In Christ.
The two-story building (with a partially exposed basement) at 167 Boston Post Road in East Lyme was built in 1916 as the Flanders Elementary School. It was designed by architect James Sweeney of New London. It served as a school until a new Flanders Elementary School building, attached to the 1916 building, opened in 1964. The original school building then became the Central Office of the East Lyme Public Schools.
The first Congregational church building, or meetinghouse, in Newington was built in 1716. By 1784 the congregation needed a new building, but the bitter debate over where to erect it lasted thirteen years. Some members forcefully supported relocating the church from the center of the parish to the southern part. These members owned extensive tracts of land there and wanted to increase the vale of their property. The church society finally agreed to build the church in 1797 in the center of Newington. Those on the losing side separated from the congregation to build their own church, an Episcopal church called Christ Church, on what is now Church Street. The church only lasted for thirteen years and the building was then torn down. Newington’s Church of Christ Congregational, on the other hand, prospered. A parish house was added in 1893 and and a new two-story brick parish house in 1949. The 1797 church was torn down in 1960 to make way for the current church building, designed by architect Francis Newell of the firm of Jeter and Cook and built by Wadhams and May Construction Company. The cornerstone was laid on October 23, 1960 and the building was dedicated on March 5, 1961. A new three-story addition was dedicated in 1997. For more information see Barbara Lukens, “Facilities Often Shared By Newington Church” (Hartford Courant, February 12, 1956); Jean Weatherbee, “Dedication Set Sunday For Church Buildings” (Hartford Courant, March 1, 1961) & “Tombstones Mark Site Of Newington ‘Battle'” (Hartford Courant, April 30, 1961).
The house at 107 Cornwall Avenue in Cheshire was built in 1855. The house has been renovated a number of times over the years. The current doorway and front entry porch are thought to be the work of local architect Alice Washburn.
The house at 35 Rose Hill Road in Southport was not always a house. It was built in 1912 by the Southern New England Telephone Co. as its Southport Telephone Exchange. The business office was on the first floor and the telephone switchboard operations were on the second floor. The Telephone Exchange moved to reef road in 1947 and the 1,722-square-foot building was converted to residential use. For a time it was divided into two apartments until recent owners returned it to being a single-family home. The property also has a guest house that was once a four-bay garage used by SNET.
The Hockanum Methodist Episcopal Church, later the Hockanum United Methodist Church, was started in the early 1820s in the community of Hockanum in the south part of East Hartford. It was one of the first churches founded after the new Connecticut constitution of 1818 guaranteed the separation of church and state. Their original church building on South Main Street was built in 1838 and was remodeled in 1883-1884. A kitchen wing was added in 1911. Rev. Benjamin C. Phelps, who was a minister at the Hockanum Methodist Church, built the octagon house on Naubuc Avenue in East Hartford in 1852. After the neighborhood grew rapidly during World War II, plans were made to move the old church to a new site, just 50 feet to the south, where it would form part of a new and larger structure. Before being moved, in October 1951, the old building was raised to create room at the new site for a basement hall. Completed early the following year, the new church consisted of the old sanctuary, remodeled and lengthened, with a new front entrance and a new education wing at the rear. The facade of the new church was 20 feet further from Main Street than its predecessor, allowing space for a front lawn. In 2007 the church (address 178 Main Street) was sold to La Iglesia de Dios Evangelica El Refugio.
In 1949 the Town of East Hartford opened three new or expanded schools: Hockanum School and Sunset Ridge School, both built in a similar Colonial Revival style, and a new addition to the Woodland School (originally built in 1928). On August 28, 1949, the Hartford Courant (“New Schools to Open on September 7″) reported that contractors had been ordered to focus on completing the classrooms, leaving gymnasiums, auditoriums and cafeteria kitchens until last (and therefore not yet fully completed when the buildings were opened to students). At Sunset Ridge School, at the corner of Forbes Street and Silver Lane, work on the grounds was focused on at least finishing one walkway as a dry summer had raised a considerable amount of dust. On September 25, 1949, the Courant reported (“New Building Contains 10 Classrooms”) that Sunset Ridge School, erected in less than a year at a cost of $825,000, could accommodate 350 pupils. The school was situated on 10-acre plot that had required extensive grading. The excess dirt had been used to fill in the site of the Woodland School addition and what remained was given to any residents who were willing to haul it away. A lot of clay had been encountered during the digging, which brought to mind that there was once a brick manufacturer located across the street from the school. A 12-classroom addition was constructed in 1951.