St. Mary’s Catholic Parish in Branford traces its origins to 1855. The original church, located on Montowese Street, was built in 1854. The next church building, on Main Street across from the Blackstone Memorial Library, was completed in 1904 and burned later that same year. It was restored and rededicated on October 19, 1906. A Renaissance Revival structure, it had a 10-story bell tower. On June 18, 1972, the church was destroyed in a fire and replaced by the current church in 1974. For many years the church’s 1917 two-ton cast bronze bell, which survived the fire, sat on a concrete slab on the church grounds. In 2009 the bell was restored and placed in a new exterior bell tower. That same year the church dedicated a new 2,500 square-foot social hall.
Happy Easter! St. Gabriel Catholic Church is located at 379 Broad Street in Windsor. Before St. Gabriel parish was established in 1921, Catholics in that part of Windsor had been the responsibility of St. Mary parish, Windsor Locks (1852-1892) and then of St. Joseph parish, Poquonock (1892-1921). Father James Smyth purchased an Episcopal church named for St. Gabriel on November 1, 1865. A wood frame building, it had been built in 1843-1845. It served as St. Gabriel Catholic Mission Church until a new stone edifice was erected in front of it. The cornerstone of the current St. Gabriel Church was blessed on May 16, 1915 and the church was dedicated on May 14, 1916.
St. Francis of Assisi Parish in South Windsor was established on September 17, 1941. Early parish Masses were held at the town hall auditorium on Main Street before a new church was built on 2.2 acres on Ellington Road that werepurchased from Elizabeth A. Nevers. The new church was dedicated on November 29, 1942. The church was renovated in 2006.
The Knights of Columbus, a Roman Catholic fraternal service organization, have their headquarters in a 23-story modern building completed in 1969 at One Columbus Plaza in New Haven. Also known as the Knights of Columbus Tower, the building was designed by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates. The KOC was founded in New Haven in 1882 and held its early meetings at St. Mary’s Church. In 1906 the first building specifically built for the organization was dedicated on Chapel Street. From 1953 to 1969 the Knights of Columbus Supreme Office was located in the former headquarters of the New Haven Railroad.
Merry Chriatmas! According to a 1980 survey of historic buildings in Old Saybrook, St. John’s Roman Catholic Church, at 161 Main Street was built in the early twentieth century. The parish was founded in 1884. It began as mission of St. Jospeph’s Church in Chester. St. John’s became a separate parish in 1914, so I suspect the church was built around that date.
Private homes hosted Masses in Roxbury until a mission church dedicated to St. Patrick was built in 1885 at 25 Church Street. In the 1880s, Irish Catholics had been settling in Roxbury to work in the local quarries. In 1908 the mission was placed in the care of a new parish, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Washington Depot. In the early 1950s, St. Patrick Church’s bell tower had to be taken down due to storm damage and the entry was altered.
St. Joseph’s Parish in New Britain was established on April 9, 1896. Father Richard Moore held the parish’s first mass in the basement of St. Peter Church on Franklin Square in New Britain. Ground for St. Joseph Church was broken on November 1, 1896 and the church was dedicated by Bishop Michael A. Tierney on September 19, 1897. The church features elements of the Gothic Revival and Romanesque Revival styles.