The building at 311 Main Street in Wethersfield was built in 1862 as the High Street School. A brick building, it replaced an earlier wooden school building, built in 1770, which stood just to the south-east. It was in this earlier building that Wethersfield’s first library, called the Union Society Library (established in 1783) was located until 1798. The former brick schoolhouse was converted into a residence in 1928 and wooden side dormers were added.
A reader who contacted me on Facebook a while back noted the similarities of the former Sacred Heart Church at 32 Garden Street in Wethersfield to another Catholic church, St. Augustine Church in Glastonbury. Perhaps they used the same plans? Sacred Heart Parish began as a mission of St. Mary, East Hartford in 1877 and later became a mission of St. Lawrence O’Toole, Hartford. The building on Garden Street, which was the first Catholic church in Wethersfield, was erected in 1880, on a lot purchased in 1876. The church was dedicated on May 29, 1881. Sacred Heart was made a parish on September 1, 1897 and in 1924 moved to a new building, the former Meggat Seed Warehouse on Hartford Avenue, which was converted into a church. A fire in 1938 forced the congregation to move back into the Garden Street church. By 1943 the former Meggat granary was again made a church and was used by the parish until the current Sacred Heart Church, at 56 Hartford Avenue, was dedicated on June 29, 1963. In the 1940s the former Sacred Heart Church on Garden Street became storage for John Oldham Art and Display (now Oldham Studios). The company was founded in 1931 by John W. Oldham, Sr., an illustrator who painted portraits of movie stars for film premiers in the Hartford area. Continued by his son and grandson, the company expanded into a trade show display design and fabrication company, based at 888 Wells Road in Wethersfield. The Queen Anne house next to the church was built in 1900 as the parish rectory. Read the rest of this entry »
The building at 130 Main Street in Wethersfield was built as a Methodist church and is today a synagogue. The first Methodist sermon in Wethersfield was preached in 1790 by Jesse Lee in the North Brick School House, now the site of Standish Park. Wethersfield was visited by itinerant Methodist preachers until a circuit preacher for Wethersfield, Newington, New Britain, and Kensington was appointed in 1821. Early services were held at Academy Hall until the Methodist Episcopal Church was built at 130 Main Street in 1824. The church was moved 26 feet onto a new stone foundation in 1882. A fire in 1941 destroyed the church’s original Sunday school addition of 1913 and damaged the sanctuary. The church was repaired and a new Sunday school addition, twice as large, was constructed. The church soon outgrew its 1824 building and in 1959 moved to a new church at 150 Prospect Street.
The Jewish Community Group of Wethersfield was formed in 1954. The group purchased the former Methodist Church on Main Street in 1960 and adopted the name Temple Beth Torah. The building was converted to become a synagogue and the new Temple’s Day of Dedication was celebrated on May 28, 1961. Work began in 1964 to give the Temple a new facade. The former church’s steeple was removed and a new entrance in the colonial revival style was added.
The Allyn Smith House, at 168 Broad Street in Wethersfield, was built in 1790 on what had been the homesite of Abraham Finch in 1634. Abraham Finch (d. 1638) was one of the ten adventurers who first settled Wethersfield.
Built around 1800-1802, the brick house at 200 Broad Street in Wethersfield is attributed to the local builder, James Francis. The Colonial Revival front porch is a later addition. The house was originally the residence of Dr. Abner Moseley (1766-1811). Born in Glastonbury, Dr. Moseley was a graduate of Yale. In 1814, his daughter, Eunice, married Winthrop Buck, the son of Daniel and Sarah Saltonstall Buck. Sarah’s sister Elizabeth was the second wife of Silas Deane.
According to Edward Sweetser Tillotson’s Wethersfield Inscriptions (1899), Dr. Moseley’s stone in Wethersfield’s Old Burying Ground reads as follows:
In Memory of Abner Moseley, | a Physician of skill & eminence, | who died Sept. 20-th A.D. 1811, | Aged Forty five. | His Wife Eunice who died Jan. 26 | 1811. Aged Forty three. | Their second daughter Hope, who | died Sept. 29-th 1806, Aged 11. | Their eldest son Robert, who | died Oct. 16-th 1811, Aged 17. | Their youngest Daughter Maria | who died Sept. 30-th 1818. Aged 11. | Their second Son Joseph died July 1 | 1838. Aged 40. Their third Son Walter | died July II, 1838, Aged 39. | Their eldest Daughter Eunice. Wife of | Winthrop Buck, died Aug. 24, 1862. Aged 69. | Their youngest Son William | died March 19, 1868. Aged 62. | Their third Daughter Harriet | died July 15. 1877, Aged 75. | Their fourth daughter Emily | died May 17, 1887. Aged 84.
William Morris, founder of Morris Farms, built the house at 188 Broad Street in Wethersfield. His vegetable farming business was passed on to his son, John E. Morris, and then to John’s son, Frank H. Morris, who died in 2011.
The first Catholic parish in Wethersfield was Sacred Heart parish, organized in 1876. In August of 1938, the parish’s church on Hartford Avenue was devastated by fire. Rev. George M. Grady, pastor of Sacred Heart, soon purchased an extensive tract of land on the Silas Deane Highway for the construction of a new church. Many parishioners assumed that the new church was to replace the one lost in the fire, but it was decided to make the new building a mission church of Sacred Heart. Named Corpus Christi, the new church was designed by architect John J. McMahon (1875-1958) in the Georgian Revival style to reflect Wethersfield’s colonial background. It is built of Harvard red brick with limestone trim. The church was dedicated on November 26, 1939 and Corpus Christi was officially established as a separate parish on September 27, 1941.
In July of that same year, the church’s pastor, Rev. Patrick T. Quinian, received a letter from Bishop Ambrose Pinger of Shantung (now Shandong), China. A photograph of the Wethersfield church in the Catholic Directory of 1941 had captured the bishop’s imagination and he asked to be sent plans for the church so that its design might be copied for the new cathedral in Chowtsun (now Zhoucun)!