The church at 1 East High Street in East Hampton was built in 1855-1856 by residents on the north side of town who wanted to separate from the East Hampton Congregational Church. As described in the History of Middlesex County (1884):
The members of the ecclesiastical society, living in the vicinity of the lake, becoming dissatisfied with the location of the meeting house, in 1855 erected an edifice of stucco work, 56 feet in length. 35 feet in width. with a spire 120 feet in height, about three-fourths of a mile north of the old meeting house. It was finished in the summer of 1856, and in September of that year 25 persons who had been dismissed from the First Church for the purpose of organizing a new church, called a council of pastors and delegates from the neighboring churches. They were constituted a Christian church under the name and title of the Union Congregational Church of East Hampton.
The new church flourished during the religious revival of the 1860s, but attendance later declined and the church closed its doors in 1880. In the 1880s, the building was used by various town groups for meetings and entertainments. Around 1890, Swedish immigrants, who had been working at the Portland brownstone quarries, began settling in East Hampton. In 1898 they purchased the former Union Congregational Church, which was rededicated as the Bethlehem Lutheran Church. The church is mentioned in an article entitled “The Town of Chatham,” (Chatham was renamed East Hampton in 1915) that appeared in The Connecticut Magazine, Vol. V, No. 6, June, 1899:
The Lutherans of Swedish descent having become quite numerous in this place have for some time held services in private houses. The service is conducted by Rev. L. P. Ahlquist of Portland, one of the foremost of the Swedish Lutheran ministers in the United States. The Lutheran communicants of East Hampton have recently purchased the edifice which was once used by the Union Congregational Church, at the corner of Main and High Streets, renovated it, and dedicated it as the place of their worship, Sunday, May 14, 1899, with impressive services. These recent comers from the northern part of Europe are like the last preceding mentioned [Irish Catholics], giving the native-born citizens good examples in the neat appearance of their church and its surroundings.
The Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church‘s appearance has been altered over the years. The rear parish hall was built in 1957. The church’s exterior fieldstone walls were refinished in 1978 to resemble sandstone blocks. The original steeple was removed in 1888 and replaced. The current steeple was erected within the last 30 years.
Henry Skinner was a wheelwright who owned a sawmill and gristmill on Pocotopaug Stream in East Hampton. In the 1850s, he built a Greek Revival house at 66 Skinner Street, across the street from his mills. He sold the house in 1867, the same year he completed a new and larger house, built in the Italianate style at 70 Skinner Street. His new house remained in his family until 1919, when it was divided into apartments.
At 17 Shipyard Road in Middle Haddam is the former Parker and Judson Factory. Built in 1865, the factory produced hardware, toys and silk ribbons. In 1909 it was converted into a residence. Next to the former factory is the old Parker and Judson stone dam, constructed before 1830.
Abel Shepard was a shipbuilder who had a shipyard near the landing in Middle Haddam. He had three sons, Abel, Jr., Bartlett and Harry, who followed him in the shipbuilding trade and constructed Federal-style homes for themselves on their father’s property. Bartlett‘s House, at 112 Moodus Road, was built around 1800 and has a Colonial Revival front portico, which was added later.
At 58 Moodus Road in Middle Haddam, East Hampton is a house built between 1780 and 1786 for a sea captain named Elijah Johnson. The house is built into the side of a slope and has original foundation walls on two sides.
The Joshua and Sarah Cook House, at 21 Knowles Road in Middle Haddam, was built in 1770 by Reuben Clark and sold to Joshua and Sarah Clark. John Stewart, a merchant, bought the house in 1831 and it was used as a store until 1862. The center-chimney house has barrel vault ceilings in the attic. The side sun porch is a much later addition.
The building which now houses the Middle Haddam Public Library was originally built as a store by Cyrus Bill and Daniel Tracy. Tracy was a master carpenter who also owned a shipyard. He soon left the partnership and was replaced by Seth Overton. The gambrel-roofed structure continued as a commercial establishment until 1825 and then became a residence. In 1908, it was donated by Delia Rounds to the library committee.
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