Temple Beth David (1834)

October 15th, 2017 Posted in Cheshire, Churches, Colonial Revival, Greek Revival, Synagogues

On April 22, 1834, Methodists in Cheshire formed a building committee to undertake the construction of a meeting house. Called the Wesley Chapel, it is one of the last examples in the country of a chapel designed by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. As related in Joseph Perkins Beach’s History of Cheshire, Connecticut (1912):

A lot of land centrally located was purchased of Jairus Bunnell, on which was built a brick structure at a cost of $3,000. This was dedicated Nov. 22, 1834, by Rev. Schuyler Seager. During the working of the bartyes mines, the congregation greatly increased and the church and finances were in a flourishing condition; the decrease in numbers caused by the removal of so many families has made the work of the (comparatively) few left much harder; but no diminution of ardor or enthusiasm has ever been noted.

A wooden belfry was added to the building in 1870, but it blew down during a storm in 1897. Church membership began to increase with the growth of Cheshire’s population after World War II. In 1959, the church acquired land at 205 Academy Road for future expansion and eventually decided to erect a new building at that location. The new Cheshire United Methodist Church was completed by February, 1970. The church had already sold its 1834 building to Temple Beth David, the town’s first Jewish synagogue, in 1968. The two congregations shared the old building until the new church was ready. In 1984, Temple Beth David completed phase one of an expansion. The building has a Colonial Revival style front entrance vestibule that was expanded southward to link with the new addition.

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