The Somers Congregational Church began in 1827. The congregation’s first meeting house was located on the corner of Springfield and Stebbins Road, where the North Cemetery is today. After the first meeting house was destroyed by fire, a second one was built near the same location. By the time the third meeting house was built in 1840-1842, the center of town had shifted to the south, so the new building was constructed at what is now 599 Main Street. The Town of Somers agreed to contribute to the cost of the building, provided that space within could be used for town meetings. These meetings continued in the Foundation Room at the church until a separate town hall was built in 1950. Over the years the meeting house was expanded: Pilgrim Hall was moved from across the street and attached to the existing Meeting House in 1949 and a parish hall, the Bugbee Center, was built in 1960 as a separate building and later joined to the meeting house. On New Year’s Day, 2012 the 1840 meeting house section of the church was destroyed by fire. Plans were soon underway to rebuild the structure with a basically identical exterior appearance. Work began in September, 2012. In order to bring the building up to code, the congregation had to move the new building a few feet back from Main Street compared to its predecessor. The first service in the newly rebuilt sanctuary was held on Easter Sunday this year (2014). A new bell, designed to resemble the original made in 1850, was placed in the new building’s tower on May 1.
The manufacturing village of Taftville in Norwich was established in 1866 and centered on the Taftville Mill, which later became the Ponemah Mill, the largest textile mill in the world under one roof. The company gave land to the village’s Congregational Society, which built the Taftville Congregational Church in 1904. The asymmetrical building has a shingled exterior.
When Warren was settled in 1737 it was still part of the Town of Kent. A separate ecclesiastical society, called the Society of East Greenwich, was established in 1750 and Warren was incorporated as a town in 1786. Early church services were conducted in a log schoolhouse, located about a mile west of the present center of Warren. In December 1767, services moved to a still unfinished meeting house, which was completed in 1769. By 1815, the building was in such disrepair that the congregation voted to build a new one, sited slightly behind the earlier structure. The current Warren Congregational Church (4 Sackett Hill Road) was built between 1818 and 1820.
Covenant Congregational Church in West Hartford began as the Swedish Zion Congregational Church, established in Hartford’s Frog Hollow neighborhood in 1889. The congregation’s first church building was constructed on Hungerford Street in 1892. Its name was changed to Covenant Congregational Church in 1938. Covenant Congregational Church later moved to West Hartford, laying the cornerstone to its present church on April 24, 1960. Located at the intersection of Sedgwick Road and Westminster Drive, the church was designed by Painchaud and Ryder of Madison, Wisconsin and was built by Bartlett, Brainard & Eacott of West Hartford. The building was dedicated on October 16, 1960. The church, which is Lutheran in theology and Congregational in organization, is affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church.
The Congregational Church in Newent (Lisbon) began as The Meeting House Assembly in 1723. The congregation occupied two buildings before the current Newent Congregational Church was dedicated in 1858. It was designed and built by Ebenezer Tracey, a prominent cabinetmaker from Lisbon. Lisbon’s old “Town House” was moved in 1953 and attached to the southwest corner of the church.
The Ecclesiastical Society of Westbury, now Watertown, was established in 1739 and the first Congregational meeting house was built in 1741 on a corner of the Old Watertown Cemetery at French and Main Streets. The second meeting house was constructed in 1772 where the Town Hall of Watertown now stands. The third and current building of the First Congregational Church of Watertown was erected in 1839 on a hill overlooking the town’s Public Green. The building was designed and erected by master builder Steven Baldwin, whose contract called for a structure that would match the size and style of the Plymouth Congregational Church, built the year before. Read the rest of this entry »
The Ecclesiastical Society of the section of Waterbury called Northbury (now Plymouth) was organized in 1739. The Society originally met in a building on the parish’s west side (now Thomaston). When plans were soon made to construct a meeting house on the east side, a number of west side settlers broke from the Congregational Society to form an Episcopal Society. (Plymouth was incorporated as a town in 1795 and Thomaston in 1875). As related in Francis Atwater’s History of the town of Plymouth, Connecticut (1895):
The Congregational society had its first home on the hill, and there it has always been, nor would an Episcopal society have been formed in Thomaston then if the church had been built here. The conflict was primarily of locality and only secondarily of ecclesiastical order.
The first meeting house (built c. 1747) was replaced by a second, built in 1792. The current Plymouth Congregational Church, which faces Plymouth Green, was built in 1838. It has wooden clockworks built by Eli Terry and donated by him to the church. Read the rest of this entry »