The former Methodist Episcopal Church of Thompsonville, in Enfield, is located at 25 High Street. As related in the second volume of the Memorial History of Hartford County (1886), “In 1840, chiefly through the labors of the Rev. John Howson, who had come from England for employment in the carpet-works, the Methodist Episcopal Church of Thompsonville was formed.” The church was officially organized in 1841 and a church edifice was later erected on High Street, east of Pearl Street. The building pictured above was built in 1884, west of Pearl Street. The church, later known as the Enfield United Methodist Church, moved to a modern building on Brainard Road in 1964. The old church was sold to Amvets. It is currently vacant and up for sale.
With its prominent location on Franklin Square, New Britain’s First Lutheran Church has been a notable landmark since it was built in 1906. The church began as the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church, Maria, as described in David Nelson Camp’s History of New Britain (1889):
The first regular mission of the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church was established in New Britain in the latter part of 1877. The meetings were held in the chapel of the Methodist Church, the preaching services being conducted by Rev. J. Medlander of Portland, Conn., Rev. T. O. Linell of Rhode Island, and Rev. A. P. Monten of Philadelphia. Students from the Lutheran Seminary of the latter place occasionally visited New Britain and assisted in the services. In March, 1881, the congregation or church was organized. There were different preachers for the first few months, but Rev. O. A. Landell was installed as pastor soon after the organization of the church. In 1883-85, a small but convenient church edifice was erected at the corner of Elm and Chestnut streets. The corner-stone of this edifice was laid in July, 1883, and the church was dedicated March 8, 1885. The building is of wood with a belfry and a basement, which is used for Sunday-school and for other meetings. The main audience room, including gallery, has seating capacity for about six hundred. Rev. O. A. Landell was dismissed in 1836, and Rev. O. W. Form was installed pastor September 27,1887.
Rev. Sven Gustaf Ohman, who served as pastor from 1895 to 1922, oversaw construction of the church’s current grand edifice at 77 Franklin Square. A Gothic building of light Vermont granite, it was designed by New Britain architect William Cadwell and was inspired by Uppsala Cathedral in Sweden. In 1924, the church became known as the First Lutheran Church of New Britain. In 1974, the church merged with Reformation Lutheran Church in New Britain, which had been established in 1906, to become the First Lutheran Church of the Reformation.
The church‘s two towers were originally topped by tall spires, but these were removed in 1938 because of structural weakness. By the twenty-first century, deferred maintenance over the years had led to the towers starting to become separated from the main body of the church. The prospect of an extensive restoration, requiring that the towers be dismantled and rebuilt, led the church to consider tearing down the building and starting over. An innovative and less expensive solution was found using the Cintec System, which uses stainless steel anchors instead of masonry for tower stabilization. The restored church continues to be an important part of New Britain’s architectural heritage.
Born in Plymouth in 1826, George Langdon graduated from Yale in 1848. After experiencing a financial reverse as an industrial entrepreneur in Colchester after the Panic of 1857, he returned to Plymouth, where he owned a farm. He became the wealthiest man in town. He served as state representative in 1859 and as first selectman from 1859 to 1865. His Gothic Revival house was built at 688 Main Street in Plymouth circa 1865.
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, at 28 Prospect Street in Thompsonville, Enfield, was built in 1859. According to the Memorial History of Hartford County, Vol. II (1886): “The Episcopal Church of Thompsonville was organized as a mission in 1851, and as St. Andrew’s Parish in 1855, and is gathering to itself an increasing number of adherents.”
The borough of Thompsonville in Enfield grew up around the carpet mill established by Orrin Thompson in 1829. His son Henry Graham Thompson later opened a stockingnet factory and lived in a Greek Revival house (now much altered) at 22 Prospect Street in Thompsonville. Around 1850, he built a new house at 34 Prospect Street. A Gothic cottage, it was designed by Alexander Jackson Davis in 1848. In 2002, residents responded to alterations that removed the house’s decorative features and installed vinyl siding. The siding was soon removed and the building restored with its “gingerbread trim” intact. Henry G. Thompson later built a large estate off Long Island Sound in Milford that he called Morningside.
A group of Fairfield Episcopalians met in 1853 to form what became St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. The church was built in 1855-1856 on what had been the previous site of two successive Fairfield County jails (the first was burnt by the British in 1779 and the second by a prisoner in 1852). The church expanded several times: in 1891 the parish built an addition for its Sunday school and Women’s Auxiliary and in 1928 started a project that produced a transept, expanded the chancel, added a chapel adjoining the chancel and built what is now the parish hall. A new wing, dedicated in 1959, was built on land where the Old Academy had stood (it was moved to its current location on the Green in 1958).
St. James’ Episcopal Church was established in North Glastonbury in 1857 and the church at 2584 Main Street was built in 1859. The interior was gutted by fire in 1904, but the church was able to reopen for services within one year. The building was enlarged in 1965 and in 1978 a parcel of town redevelopment land was purchased to become a parking lot and major repairs were made to the church and parish house (the latter built in 1956).