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.
Camp Bethel is a historic Christian camp meeting site in the Tylerville section of Haddam that is located on a high bluff overlooking the Connecticut River. It was established in 1878 by the Life and Advent Union. In the early years as many as 10,000 people would gather on the property for several weeks each summer. At first they stayed in tents but later began building small cottages on their camp sites. Over the years Camp Bethel grew to include a chapel, a memorial hall, two boarding houses and over forty cabins. Most of these structures were built between 1889 and 1920. The current Dining Hall was built in 1992, replacing an earlier building destroyed by fire. Camp Bethel continues to operate as a camp meeting site today, one of the few that survive in New England. It is owned by the Camp Bethel Association, a non-denominational, evangelical organization that holds camp meetings each August and also rents the facility to different religious and educational groups for retreats, conferences and workshops. [If you are interested in learning about another camp meeting site with Victorian cottages in Connecticut, see my post about the Plainville Campground]. Read on to learn more about some of the buildings and to see more images of Camp Bethel! Read the rest of this entry »
The Middletown chapter of the Alpha Delta Phi literary society, based at Wesleyan University, was formed in 1856. The fraternity’s first chapter house was built in 1884. It was demolished twenty years later and replaced on the same lot (185 High Street) by the current building (completed in 1906) designed by Charles Alonzo Rich (who also designed two dozen buildings at Dartmouth College between 1893 and 1914). An addition was built onto the rear in 1925. Alpha Delta Phi has been coed since 1972 and is one of the coed chapters that withdrew from the fraternity to form the separate Alpha Delta Phi Society in 1992.
The former Temple B’Nai Israel at 265 West Main Street in New Britain was built in 1927-1929 as a Masonic Temple. It was designed by architect Walter P. Crabtree. The Masons sold the building to the Jewish congregation Aheyu B’Nai Israel (Brethren Sons of Israel) in 1940. Aheyu B’Nai Israel was organized in 1889 as an Orthodox congregation, but reorganized as Conservative in 1924. Members who held to Orthodox views split off and built Tephereth Israel Synagogue. Temple B’Nai Israel closed in the summer of 2007. Its Torah scrolls were transferred to the Hillel organizations at Trinity College, the University of Hartford, and the University of Connecticut
In 1819, on Washington Green, a meeting house was constructed on the site where the Judea Parish House stands today. The building had a large upstairs space for town and church meetings and the walls were lined with shelves that held the town’s first library. The first floor had several rooms. These were used for a time by the Judea Female Seminary, run by Mary Brinsmade, sister-in-law of Frederick W. Gunn, founder of the Gunnery School. In the 1870s, Gunn moved the building to its current location (16 Kirby Road), attaching a former one-room district school house to the rear. After Gunn‘s death in 1881, the house was the residence of his widow, Abigail Irene Brinsmade Gunn, familiarly known to Gunnery students as Aunt Abbey. For several years the house was a dormitory for the Gunnery School known as The Abbey. In 1912 it again became a private residence. It was remodeled by its new owners, who added a north wing around 1919-1925.
The Knights of Columbus, a Roman Catholic fraternal service organization, have their headquarters in a 23-story modern building completed in 1969 at One Columbus Plaza in New Haven. Also known as the Knights of Columbus Tower, the building was designed by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates. The KOC was founded in New Haven in 1882 and held its early meetings at St. Mary’s Church. In 1906 the first building specifically built for the organization was dedicated on Chapel Street. From 1953 to 1969 the Knights of Columbus Supreme Office was located in the former headquarters of the New Haven Railroad.
The Loyal Order of Moose is a fraternal and service organization. The Moose Lodge in Norwalk built Moose Hall at 68 South Main Street in 1932. The Moose Lodge had already occupied an earlier building on the same site. The building was purchased by Corinthian Lodge No. 16, F&AM, in the summer of 1995. The Corinthian Lodge sold the building to the City of Norwalk in 2014. Plans are for Moose Hall and its neighbor, the former Independent Order of Odd Fellows Building at 70 South Main Street, to be resold for mixed-use development. This past August, the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency requested proposals to make Environmental Site Assessment reports on the two buildings to evaluate their condition and estimate costs of rehabilitation.