St. John’s Episcopal Church, West Hartford (1909)

May 29th, 2016 Posted in Churches, Gothic, West Hartford

St. John's Episcopal Church

St. John’s Episcopal Church, located at 679 Farmington Avenue in West Hartford, was preceded by the parish’s original church, located on Main Street in downtown Hartford. Designed by noted New Haven architect Henry Austin during the period he had an office in Hartford, the first St. John’s Church was consecrated on April 30, 1842. The main body of the church and the lower section of its tower were constructed of Portland brownstone. The upper tower and spire were made of wood and had to be removed in 1875 due to structural decay. In 1905, the parish decided to sell its land on Main Street to the trustees of the Wadsworth Atheneum. The church was taken down in 1907 and the Atheneum’s Morgan Memorial Building was erected in its place. (You can read more about the original St. John’s Church on Main Street in my book Vanished Downtown Hartford, pp. 128-131).

Downtown Hartford had been developing rapidly as a business and commercial center at the time and many churches there were relocating to more residential areas to the west. The new St. John’s Church was built in 1907-1909 on Farmington Avenue, just across the Hartford line in West Hartford. The new church, designed by noted architect Bertram G. Goodhue, was consecrated on June 9, 1909. Due to budgetary limitations, Goodhue’s plans for an adjoining parish house were not completed until 1914-1915. The cornerstone for a new and larger parish house was laid in 1927 and at the same time the church built a cloister and outdoor pulpit. In 1928 the nave was lengthened to the north, toward Farmington Avenue, and a new entrance was built on that side (the previous entrance had faced west towards Highland Avenue). The church was extensively restored and altered inside after a fire in 1992.

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