St. Thomas Seminary and Archdiocesan Center is located 467 Bloomfield Avenue in Bloomfield, just across the town line from West Hartford. A Catholic seminary, it was founded in 1897 by Bishop Michael Tierney. The original Seminary was located at 352 Collins Street in Hartford. Increasing enrollment led to a need for a larger space. Bishop John J. Nilan had the cornerstone laid for the current building on Sunday, September 29 1928. Designed by Louis A. Walsh of Waterbury and built by William F. O’Neil, it was opened on September 29, 1930.
In 1852 four Sisters of Mercy came to Hartford and opened a school in the basement of St. Patrick’s Church in Hartford. The Sisters of Mercy is a religious order founded in Ireland in 1831 by Catherine McAuley to teach and care for the sick and needy. In 1880, the Sisters purchased the Toohey Farm, formerly the Terry Farm, located between Steele Road, Albany Avenue and Asylum Avenue in West Hartford. The old farmhouse became a home for aged people and the produce of he farm supported the home and the nearby Mount Saint Joseph Convent. The house had earlier been the home of Rose Terry Cooke, a writer and poet known for her humorous fiction dealing primarily with New England village life. Additional facilities were built on the farm over the years, which would develop into the Mercy Community, which is devoted to the health and comfort of its members, focusing especially on the elderly poor. The Community offers adult day care, long-term care, rehab and assisted living.
The Mercy Community campus is dominated by a large building with two towers. Work on this four-story brick structure with brownstone trim, designed by John J. Dwyer in 1893, was begun in 1894-1895 (it opened in 1896). At that time, the central administration building was completed, as well as the chapel and the northern of two planned dormitory wings. A decade later (in 1905), the increasing demand for rooms in the facility prompted the construction of the south wing, which more than doubled the number of residents the Home could accommodate. Additional modern wings have been added to the structure over the years.
At the corner of Church and Hart Streets in Farmington is the old Farmington Academy building, also called Union Hall. It was constructed in 1816 by builder Samuel Dickinson and served as a community assembly hall (Union Hall), a chapel for the Congregational Church and the Farmington Academy, a school operated by the church until the 1840s. In the years before the Civil War, the building’s second floor hall was rented out to both abolitionist and anti-abolitionist groups. Women who were church members gathered here in 1841 to sew clothing for the Africans of the Amistad. Later in the nineteenth century, the building was used as town hall, library and meeting place. The Academy building originally stood next to the church, where the Sarah Porter Memorial Building stands today. It was moved a short distance in 1900 to make way for the Porter Memorial and again in 1917 to its present site to make way for the Barney Library. From 1900 to 1917 it was used to house a school for girls run by Theodate Pope. More recently, the building has been home to the Farmington Art Guild.
Social Society Frohsinn, a German heritage club, was founded in the first decade of the twentieth century by German weavers employed by the Rossie Velvet Mill in Mystic. Frohsinn Hall, at 54 Greenmanville Avenue, was built in 1906, just a few years after the mill. It has a bar upstairs and a hall on the first floor. Over a century later, the building is still used for its original purpose, with some current members being the descendants of the first mill employees.
Camp meetings, religious revival meetings where parishioners would set up their carts and tents around a central preaching platform, were once a vital feature of frontier American Protestant Evangelicalism in the nineteenth century. Participants, freed from their daily routines, could attend the almost continuous services that often lasted several days. While Presbyterians and Baptists sponsored camp meetings, these religious gatherings came to be particularly associated with the Methodist denomination. Methodists soon introduced the camp meeting, originally a western phenomenon that flourished before the Civil War, to the east.
The New Haven District of the Methodist Church founded a campground for summer revival meetings in the west end of Plainville (320 Camp Street) in 1865. Methodist camp meetings would continue to be held there every summer until 1957. Initially tents were pitched around a central platform. Soon the Association Building was constructed, where equipment could be stored. Individual churches then began constructing 2-story cottages facing the center of the Campground, along what is known as The Circle. Nineteen of these central cottages survive today. Individual families also began to build their own cottages on the narrow avenues radiating from The Circle, replacing the tents of the campground‘s early years. Most of the cottages date from the 1880s to 1910, although a few were constructed as late as 1925. The present Auditorium building was built around 1905 in place of the original preaching platform. At one time a screened pavilion, the Auditorium is now open to the outside. The Plainville Campground Association purchased the property from the Methodists in 1957. 87 of the cottages are now private residences, the other 39 being owned by various churches. A few of the cottages have been modified for year-round use, while the rest are occupied in the summer. I have additional photos of the Campground: Read the rest of this entry »
The home of Manchester’s Masonic Lodge No. 73 AF & AM is at 25 East Center Street. Lodge #73 was chartered in 1826 and met in various places over the years before the Masonic Temple was built. These included the the upper floor of a two room school-house at Manchester Green (until 1855, except for a period of anti-Masonic sentiment, when the Lodge met at the home of John Mather, the first elected Worshipful Master of Manchester, from 1827 to 1844), the Center Academy building (1855-1875 and 1886-1913), the Spencer Block (1875-1885), Cheney Hall (1886) and lastly the Odd Fellows Building. The corner stone of the current temple was laid on October 2, 1926 at a ceremony which was combined with the observance of the 100th Anniversary of the establishment of the lodge. The Temple was dedicated on October 8, 1927. The Temple is also the home of Friendship Tuscan Lodge No. 145 A.F. & A.M.
Facing Plymouth Green and adjacent to the Plymouth Congregational Church is the Stoughton Building. I don’t know what its original purpose was, but it was built circa 1840 and once stood on the east side of North Street, about where St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (now the First Baptist Church) was later built. It is said that the building was moved to its current location in the 1890s under cover of darkness to avoid trouble with those who had opposed moving it. The Stoughton building’s bell tower, gable fanlight, and south wing are later additions. The building is used as an annex to the Plymouth Congregational Church.