First Congregational Church, New Haven (1814)

April 2nd, 2008 Posted in Churches, Federal Style, New Haven


Now that April Fools Day is over, the rest of April will be New Haven Month at Historic Buildings of CT. First up is New Haven’s First Congregational Church, also called Center Church on-the-Green, due to its central location, between two other churches, on New Haven Green. The city’s congregation goes back to the founding of the New Haven colony in 1838. The new town was carefully planned out by the settlers in what is known as the “Nine Square Plan,” with New Haven Green at the center. Four successive Meeting Houses were constructed on the Green: the first in 1640, the second in 1669 and the third in 1757. The fourth and current church was built, in the Federal style, between 1812-1814. Designed by Asher Benjamin, who sent the plans from Boston, the church was built by the then unknown Ithiel Town, who may have added some of his own elements to the design. The building was one of many in America modeled on St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London. The interior was remodeled by Henry Austin in 1842. Center Church is also famous for having been partly constructed over the town’s old Colonial burying ground, remains of which can be found in the church’s Crypt.

  1. 4 Responses to “First Congregational Church, New Haven (1814)”

  2. By CTwordsmith on Jun 18, 2008

    The Center Church Crypt, which is built over a small portion of the town’s burial ground, includes the remains of Theophilus Eaton, one of the founders of New Haven and the church. Eaton was the governor of the New Haven Colony for 19 years. Margaret Arnold, the first wife of Benedict Arnold, as well as Sarah Rutherford Trowbridge, who has the oldest dated stone in the Crypt, are also buried in the Crypt. President Rutherford B. Hayes visited Center Church in 1880 and viewed the burial site of his grandmother and aunt, who are buried in The Crypt. The Crypt contains the identified remains of about 137 people, and the likely remains of over 1,000 that are unidentified. Crypt tours are given from April to October every Thursday, 11 am – 1 pm as well as Saturdays, 11 am – 1 pm.

  3. By The cryptkeeper on May 27, 2014

    See for an ongoing project to photo catalog every stone (and story) in the crypt.


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  2. Apr 3, 2008: Historic Buildings of Connecticut » Blog Archive » United Church on the Green (1815)
  3. Apr 4, 2008: Historic Buildings of Connecticut » Blog Archive » Trinity Episcopal Church, New Haven (1814)

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