The City Mission Building (also known as the City Missionary Society Building) is located at 234 Pearl Street in Hartford. The Hartford City Mission (also called the City Missionary Society) was founded in 1851 by the city’s six Congregational Churches to provide for the welfare of Hartford’s poor through Sunday schools, cooking and sewing classes and charity work. Designed by architect William D. Johnson, the building on Pearl Street was constructed in 1890-1891. It is a three-story structure with a tower on the side adjacent to the Goodwin Building. An illustration of a different design for the building appeared in August of 1890 in the Hartford Times and the Hartford Weekly Times. A clipping of this article was placed in the scrapbook kept by the architectural firm of Cook, Hapgood & Co. I am not sure why this design was not used.
An article in the Hartford Courant on August 14, 1890 (“Some New Buildings; Pearl Street Will Become a Busy Thoroughfare”) described “the new and handsome building of the City Mission, which when completed will be not only one of the prettiest but one of the most substantial buildings on the street.” The article mentions that “The second floor will contain a hall capable of seating two hundred and fifty people and a large room for the meetings of the City Mission board, and the ladies of the City Mission Association.” City Mission Hall was a meeting place for various events, including the golden wedding celebration of lawyer John Hooker and his wife, Isabella Beecher Hooker, a women’s suffragist and sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe.
The City Missionary Society sold the building in 1910, relocating to another building they had erected six years earlier on Village Street. The old organization no longer exists, but a new Hartford City Mission began serving youth in Hartford’s North End in 1998. The building on Pearl Street was later used by the Italian-American Home and then served as the offices of a family of attorneys. The building has recently been on the market.
Happy Easter! St. Gabriel Catholic Church is located at 379 Broad Street in Windsor. Before St. Gabriel parish was established in 1921, Catholics in that part of Windsor had been the responsibility of St. Mary parish, Windsor Locks (1852-1892) and then of St. Joseph parish, Poquonock (1892-1921). Father James Smyth purchased an Episcopal church named for St. Gabriel on November 1, 1865. A wood frame building, it had been built in 1843-1845. It served as St. Gabriel Catholic Mission Church until a new stone edifice was erected in front of it. The cornerstone of the current St. Gabriel Church was blessed on May 16, 1915 and the church was dedicated on May 14, 1916.
The building at 489-493 Main Street in Middletown was built in 1905 for the F.L Caulkins Auto Company. Known as the Caulkins Garage, it had an automobile showroom on the first floor with residences above. It was constructed when the company was expanding its automotive business from its quarters across the street, in the 1890 Caulkins & Post Building. The garage building continued to serve its original purpose throughout much of the twentieth century. The building is now home to Luce Restaurant (98 Washington St #1).
The New Haven Water Company was incorporated in 1849 as a private water utility. In 1903, the company erected an office building at 100 Crown Street in New Haven. The brick and brownstone structure was designed by architect Leoni Robinson in the Romanesque Revival style. The interior of the building was renovated by wife-and-husband owners Alex and Alexander Heonis, who opened Capture Salon in 2012.
Settlers from Wethersfield established themselves in Branford in 1644 and built a log meeting house. This was enlarged to twice its original size in 1679. As related in the second volume of J.L. Rockey’s History of New Haven County (1892), from the church’s records:
November 30th, 1699. ‘Whereas it hath been agreed upon by the town to build a new meeting house, and there being different notions respecting the form— some being for a square house and others for a long brick house with lean-to— it is agreed by the town that a lott shall be drawn to decide the matter, and it is agreed that Benj. Harrington shall draw the lott.’ The lot being drawn fell for a square meeting house. The form of the tower and turret was left to the committee. The inhabitants agreed to work out their proportions of expense as near as they can in such work as the committee judge them capable. The committee were to deduct from wages of those who come late or are negligent. They sell the new part of the old house to help pay joiners for work on the new house. They sell the old part of the old house to Richard Wilford for teaching school. This new house stood on the common, about in front of the town hall.
Built in 1700, this meeting house was deemed inadequate by 1738, when the decision was made to erect a new one. It was completed in 1744. As described in A history of the First Church and Society of Branford, Connecticut, 1644-1919 (1919), by J. Rupert Simonds:
The steeple was not added until 1803, and the clock was placed therein in the summer of 1804. There is an interesting story concerning the erection of the steeple. It happened that, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the newly reorganized Episcopal Church purchased some fine lumber to be used for building a steeple for their new church, but their funds proved insufficient for the carrying out of their plans, and so they were compelled to sell the timbers, which they had prepared, to the Congregational Society, and they were used in the erection of the Congregational steeple. Inasmuch as the feeling between the two churches was not very cordial at that time, this was regarded, by the Episcopalians, as a cause for much chagrin, and, by the Congregationalists, as an occasion of considerable satisfaction. [. . .]
The new meeting house was situated nearly in front of the present edifice, but faced almost in the opposite direction. It was occupied by the church for practically a century, or until the erection of the present building, in its original form, in 1843.
Simonds describes the building of the 1843 meeting house in its original form:
It was decided to have a brick house, with a porch and large fluted pillars in front, a steeple in the center, and with two aisles in the audience room. The work went steadily, tho not rapidly, forward. The old Meeting House was in the way of the builders, so it was torn down and services were held, for a time, in the Academy. In January of 1844 the slips, which had been placed in the new building instead of the old square pews, were appraised and rented. It was also decided to have an organ in the church. The basement was not finished until January 1, 1845, for it had been necessary to sell part of the Indian Neck timber to obtain sufficient funds.
On January 19, 1845, the new Meeting House was finally dedicated.
After some little discussion, and the revision of the plans several times, it was decided to enlarge the church by removing the original facade and adding to the length of the roof sufficiently to enable the placing of thirty more pews, and replacing the old facade with a new one. This was accordingly done, and the result is the edifice in its present form. The addition at the rear of the building, comprising the chancel, was also made at this time and the walls of the auditorium were frescoed.
The building has been attributed to architect Sidney M. Stone.
St. Joseph’s Parish in New Britain was established on April 9, 1896. Father Richard Moore held the parish’s first mass in the basement of St. Peter Church on Franklin Square in New Britain. Ground for St. Joseph Church was broken on November 1, 1896 and the church was dedicated by Bishop Michael A. Tierney on September 19, 1897. The church features elements of the Gothic Revival and Romanesque Revival styles.
John F. Butler (1840-1905), who was born in County Kilkenny, Ireland, founded the long-lived Butler Paint Company in Meriden in 1876. The store opened on June 25, 1876, the same day Custer made his last stand at the Little Big Horn. In 1892 Butler organized a joint stock company, taking a number of his employees into the new corporation. The store was originally located in the Horace C. Wilcox Block on Colony Street. As related in An Historic Record and Pictorial Description of the Town of Meriden, Connecticut and Men who Have Made It: A Century of Meriden “The Silver City.” (1906):
With a progressive spirit always characteristic of him, Mr. Butler in connection with the Meriden Furniture Co., in 1894, built the handsome block on Colony street which the John F. Butler Company now occupy.
Located at 51-53 Colony Street, the building housed the Meriden Furniture Company on one side and Butler Paint on the other. The Meriden Furniture Company went out of business in 1965, replaced for a time by the Music Box. Butler Paint went out of the family in 2001 and finally closed in 2011.