St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Willimantic (1913)

Sunday, January 29th, 2017 Posted in Churches, Gothic, Windham | No Comments »

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 220 Valley Street in Willimantic began as a mission of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Windham in 1865. Services were held in a rented hall until 1883. The history of the church can be found in A Modern History of Windham County, Connecticut, Vol. I (1920), edited by Allen B. Lincoln, from which the following details are excerpted:

In the year 1884, however, a small frame church building in Central Village was moved to the site. of the present edifice, on the corner of Walnut and Valley streets. [. . .] With the building came also the altar, the old communion set, and vestments. And thus after thirty years St. Paul’s, Willimantic, became a corporate parish, the first resident rector of which was the Rev. Isaac W. Hallam. From that time on the positions of the little mother church in Windham and her sturdy offspring in Willimantic were partially reversed; Willimantic becoming the residence of their mutual rector and absorbing the greater part of his time. [. . .] Meantime, a fund known as the Isabella Tracy Eaton Fund, was left to the parish, and from this the Missionary Society purchased a plot of ground adjoining the church property and erected a rectory thereon. [. . .]

A movement was started during Mr. Hatch’s incumbency to build a new church. A legacy of $20,000 had been left the parish by Mrs. Boardman of New Haven toward the erection of a new edifice for St. Paul’s parish, Willimantic, with the proviso that the parish should raise the needed balance. Pledges were secured for the amount, but the actual cash had not been turned in and Trinity College, Hartford, another beneficiary under the will, raised the legal technicality that the letter of the proviso had not been met, and the courts allowed only $10,000 of Mrs. Boardman’s estate to be applied to St. Paul’s legacy. This proceeding was regarded by many as a new proof that law and justice are not as close as hand and glove. As a local paper stated warmly, “Pledges as good as the Bank of England were secured,” but the law took its bland course and Trinity College was as triumphant as the cat that swallowed the canary.

However, the Missionary Society of the Diocese, deeming that the spirit of the will had been kept by the parish, added $9,500 to the $10,000 and the balance of $22,000 was raised by the people, with the consequence that the new church was built, and on September 24, 1913, was duly consecrated by Bishop Brewster.

The new structure is of gray stone, the interior finished in quartered oak. The old building was turned into a parish house, while the old chancel with its altar was enclosed and is used as a sacristy. [. . .]

Seven years after the new church building was completed, it was found necessary to partly rebuild the same as grave fundamental faults of construction had grown more and more evident. During the year 1919-1920 the work was done at an outlay of some $15,000. At the same time the parish house was enlarged and renovated. A new kitchen was built, a G.F.S. room added and furnished by the members of that society, who for the most part have shown themselves enthusiastic and conscientious church workers. The rectory was also thoroughly repaired. On Easter Day, 1920, the church was re-dedicated by Bishop E. C. Acheson.

Grace Episcopal Church, Hartford (1868)

Sunday, September 11th, 2016 Posted in Churches, Gothic, Hartford | No Comments »

Grace Episcopal Church

Grace Episcopal Church in Hartford was first established in 1863 as a mission chapel of Trinity Church on Sigourney Street and became an independent parish in 1912. Part of the original church, consecrated on November 11, 1868, survives as the central section of the current church building. That building’s entrance and belfry faced New Park Avenue. A ten-foot addition was added to the front of the original 50’x 22′ chapel in 1908-1909. The building, located at 55 New Park Avenue, was further enlarged in 1966-1967, when the nave was lengthened to include the present choir loft and the sanctuary was also expanded. The entrance was moved to the south side, which also included a new bell tower, and the Chapel of Our Lady of Walsingham was added on the north side. The chapel was rededicated in 2006 with the installation of a new icon, to St. Martin, Grace Church’s patron saint. The church has a connected parish house designed by George Keller. Read the rest of this entry »

Christ Church Quaker Farms (1812)

Sunday, September 4th, 2016 Posted in Churches, Federal Style, Gothic, Oxford | No Comments »

Christ Church Quaker Farms

Christ Church, an Episcopal church at 470 Quaker Farms Road in Oxford, was built in 1812 and was consecrated on September 3, 1817. It was designed by George Boult of Southford. Begun as a mission of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Oxford center, Christ Church became a separate parish in 1826. The church has a crystal chandelier that it received in 1881 as a gift from Trinity Church, Seymour, which itself had received it as a gift from St. Ann’s Church in Brooklyn, New York, where it originally hung. The steeple of Christ Church was rebuilt in 1968.

Christ Episcopal Church, Bethany (1810)

Sunday, July 17th, 2016 Posted in Bethany, Churches, Federal Style | No Comments »

Christ Church, Bethany

The Episcopal church in Bethany began in 1785 as a mission of Trinity Church in New Haven. Organized as a legal society in 1799, the new Christ Church parish erected the church building at 526 Amity Road in 1809. Designed by David Hoadley, Christ Church was consecrated in 1810. Read the rest of this entry »

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Oxford (1835)

Sunday, July 10th, 2016 Posted in Churches, Gothic, Oxford | No Comments »

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St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Oxford was founded in 1764. The parish’s first church was erected in 1767 on land on Governor’s Hill Road purchased from Joseph Davis. The church was not consecrated until 1816. In 1834 the parish decided to erect a new church, which was presumably completed the following year. The church was enlarged and redecorated in 1878. A new parish hall, connected to the church, was built in 1963. Read the rest of this entry »

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Norwalk (1930)

Sunday, June 26th, 2016 Posted in Churches, Gothic, Norwalk | No Comments »

St Paul's Episcopal Church

The Episcopal parish of St. Paul’s in Norwalk was founded in 1737. As described in Norwalk After Two Hundred & Fifty Years (1901):

This is the second oldest ecclesiastical organization in Norwalk. As early as 1729 there appears to have been desultory Episcopal services holden in Norwalk. Rev. Henry Caner of Fairfield, was probably the first clergyman known to have here officiated. His incumbency dates from 1737, at which period the worship of the Episcopal church seems to have been celebrated in a small and temporary frame structure which stood on the extreme northeasterly portion of the present St. Paul’s grounds on Newtown avenue. This structure seems to have served the parish purpose until 1742, when the building, afterward destroyed by Tryon, was erected. [. . .]

A new church edifice rose over the ashes of the temple burned in 1779, which building stood until 1840

That third church building was replaced by a frame Carpenter Gothic structure that stood until it was torn down and replaced by the current church on Norwalk Green. The cornerstone was laid on November 12, 1927 and the church was consecrated on June 9, 1930. Visitors reach the church through its ancient burial ground (see photo) from St. Paul’s Place, a short street along the northern boundary of the Green. Read the rest of this entry »

St. John’s Episcopal Church, West Hartford (1909)

Sunday, May 29th, 2016 Posted in Churches, Gothic, West Hartford | No Comments »

St. John's Episcopal Church

St. John’s Episcopal Church, located at 679 Farmington Avenue in West Hartford, was preceded by the parish’s original church, located on Main Street in downtown Hartford. Designed by noted New Haven architect Henry Austin during the period he had an office in Hartford, the first St. John’s Church was consecrated on April 30, 1842. The main body of the church and the lower section of its tower were constructed of Portland brownstone. The upper tower and spire were made of wood and had to be removed in 1875 due to structural decay. In 1905, the parish decided to sell its land on Main Street to the trustees of the Wadsworth Atheneum. The church was taken down in 1907 and the Atheneum’s Morgan Memorial Building was erected in its place. (You can read more about the original St. John’s Church on Main Street in my book Vanished Downtown Hartford, pp. 128-131).

Downtown Hartford had been developing rapidly as a business and commercial center at the time and many churches there were relocating to more residential areas to the west. The new St. John’s Church was built in 1907-1909 on Farmington Avenue, just across the Hartford line in West Hartford. The new church, designed by noted architect Bertram G. Goodhue, was consecrated on June 9, 1909. Due to budgetary limitations, Goodhue’s plans for an adjoining parish house were not completed until 1914-1915. The cornerstone for a new and larger parish house was laid in 1927 and at the same time the church built a cloister and outdoor pulpit. In 1928 the nave was lengthened to the north, toward Farmington Avenue, and a new entrance was built on that side (the previous entrance had faced west towards Highland Avenue). The church was extensively restored and altered inside after a fire in 1992.