The First Baptist Church, at 93 Main Street in Middletown, is a brick edifice built in 1842. The First Baptist Church in Middletown was first organized in 1795, 47 years before it moved into its current building.
Several religious congregations have used the building at 540 East Washington Street in Bridgeport over the years. It was built in 1866-1867 as the Bethesda Mission Chapel and Sunday School. It was later home to the East Washington Avenue Baptist Church (formed in 1874) and then to Congregation Adath Israel, the first Orthodox synagogue in Bridgeport. The edifice’s current cornice dates to 1902. Today the building is owned by the Apostolic Worship Center. The AWC purchased it in 1997 and completed renovating the sanctuary in 2002.
The First Baptist Church of Bridgeport is a Richardsonian Romanesque structure located at 126 Washington Avenue. Built in 1893, it was the work of architect Joseph W. Northrop. According to Volume I of the History of Bridgeport and Vicinity (1917):
The first Baptist society was organized July 24, 1837, and was composed of six members, namely: Benjamin Wakeman, Raymond Whitney, Roswell Whitney, Bennett Whitney and two others not known. The church was constituted September 20, 1837, with thirty-nine members, eleven of whom were males and twenty-eight females. Rev. Joseph Eaton was the first regular pastor in 1838 and under him the membership increased to 136. Succeeding him the following have served as pastors of the First Baptist Church: Revs. Daniel Harwington, William Smith, William Reid, J. L. Hodge, A. McGregor Hopper, M. H. Pogson, W. V. Garner, C. C. Luther, G. W. Nicholson, and John Richard Brown.
Under Rev. J. L. Hodge a new church was constructed. In 1892 this structure was sold and a new location purchased at the corner of Washington and West avenues, where a stone church was erected and dedicated October 28, 1894. Rev. Dr. Samuel F. Smith, author of “America” participated in the ceremony. This church was incorporated in 1908.
The United Church of Stonington was formed in 1950 as a union of the Second Congregational Church and First Baptist Church. The church building on Main Street in Stonington Borough was built in 1834 as the Second Congregational Church of Stonington. Richard Anson Wheeler, in his History of Stonington (1900), describes the formation of the church:
The First Congregational Society of Stonington, after several unsuccessful attempts to divide itself into two societies by metes and bounds, called a meeting to assemble on the 28th day of September, 1833, and after mature deliberation took a new departure and adopted a plan for organizing a new church and society in Stonington, viz.: “That whenever forty members of the First Society should withdraw and organize a new Congregational Society at the Borough and elect society officers, and shall give notice to the old society of their doings within thirty days from the day of the meeting, the new society shall then be regarded as organized and receive $1,825 of the old society’s fund.” The conditions were immediately complied with at the meeting. Forty-five members of the society withdrew, formed a new society, and took their money and invested it in a new meeting-house. As soon as the new society was formed, ninety-three members of the First Church seceded and organized the Second Church in connection with said society Nov. 11th, 1833.
The church’s clock, in a recently restored steeple, is owned and regulated by the Borough government.
The Baptist church in Wallingford begun as a branch of the Waterford Baptist church in 1731 and was organized as the Third Baptist Church in Connecticut in 1735 and then the First Baptist Church of Wallingford in 1786. The church used a dwelling house in Meriden (then a part of Wallingford) as a house of worship starting in 1801. After Meriden became a separate town, the Wallingford members established their own church in Wallingford and built a meeting house in 1821. After the church burned down in 1869, the current church was constructed and dedicated in 1870. Located at 114 North Main Street, it is a brick building in the Romanesque Revival style.
The White Hills Baptist Church was built in 1839 on School Street in the White Hills section of Shelton. Ferris Drew of Carmel, NY, who had purchased part of a farm in White Hills in 1837, provided land for the church and later additional land for a cemetery. At first the church did not have its own pastor, so pastors from other towns served on alternate Sundays until 1852. The church closed for regular Sunday services in 1916. Today, it is maintained by the Upper White Hills Cemetery Asoociation and is used for community events.
In this post I’m trying something new: many of the links embedded below point to articles from the Hartford Courant from the 1920s, available at iconn.org (for those with a Connecticut Library Card).
There were once two Baptist Churches on Main Street in Hartford. The First Baptist Church, originally located (from 1798 to 1831) at the corner Market and Temple Streets, moved to a second building on Main Street and finally to a third, at Main and Talcott Streets. The South Baptist Church had two edifices, the first built in the 1830s and the second, at Main and Elm, dating to 1854. In the 1920s, the two Baptist churches united to form the Central Baptist Church. Worship services continued at the First Baptist Church, while the former South Baptist Church was demolished and a new church built on the site for the combined Central Baptist congregation. While many other churches at the time had been moving to neighborhoods to the west, the Baptist Church, after considering such a move for financial reasons, decided to remain on Main Street. Ground was broken in 1924, the cornerstone was laid the following year and the completed church was dedicated in 1926. Designed by Isaac A. Allen, the church would contain a large auditorium and gymnasium.