Temple Beth David (1834)

Sunday, October 15th, 2017 Posted in Cheshire, Churches, Colonial Revival, Greek Revival, Synagogues | No Comments »

On April 22, 1834, Methodists in Cheshire formed a building committee to undertake the construction of a meeting house. Called the Wesley Chapel, it is one of the last examples in the country of a chapel designed by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. As related in Joseph Perkins Beach’s History of Cheshire, Connecticut (1912):

A lot of land centrally located was purchased of Jairus Bunnell, on which was built a brick structure at a cost of $3,000. This was dedicated Nov. 22, 1834, by Rev. Schuyler Seager. During the working of the bartyes mines, the congregation greatly increased and the church and finances were in a flourishing condition; the decrease in numbers caused by the removal of so many families has made the work of the (comparatively) few left much harder; but no diminution of ardor or enthusiasm has ever been noted.

A wooden belfry was added to the building in 1870, but it blew down during a storm in 1897. Church membership began to increase with the growth of Cheshire’s population after World War II. In 1959, the church acquired land at 205 Academy Road for future expansion and eventually decided to erect a new building at that location. The new Cheshire United Methodist Church was completed by February, 1970. The church had already sold its 1834 building to Temple Beth David, the town’s first Jewish synagogue, in 1968. The two congregations shared the old building until the new church was ready. In 1984, Temple Beth David completed phase one of an expansion. The building has a Colonial Revival style front entrance vestibule that was expanded southward to link with the new addition.

Yalesville United Methodist Church (1899)

Sunday, October 8th, 2017 Posted in Churches, Gothic, Wallingford | No Comments »

In 1866, members of several Protestant denominations in the Yalesville section of Wallingford erected a small frame church known as the Union Church. Methodists and Baptists predominated in this mixed congregation. The following year the Methodists decided to become independent and purchased the Baptists’ share in the church for $3,428.61, with the aid of a donation from Charles Parker, a wealthy factory owner. A new First Methodist Church, now the Yalesville United Methodist Church, was erected at 8 New Place Street in 1899. A Church School addition was built in 1957.

Noank Methodist Church (1902)

Sunday, August 20th, 2017 Posted in Churches, Folk Victorian, Gothic, Groton, Shingle Style | No Comments »

The building at 55 Sylvan Street in Noank, formerly used as a church, was built in 1902-1903. It combines elements of the Gothic and Shingle styles with distinctive Art Nouveau windows. As related in Historic Groton (1909):

The Methodist church was formed as a chapel, partially dependent on the conference for support, in the year 1878. After years of using what was known as the chapel, it became advisable to build a better and larger house, which was done in 1903. They have now an auditorium with a seating capacity of two hundred and fifty to three hundred, fitted with modern improvements. A well equipped kitchen and Sunday school rooms are below the main auditorium.

The Noank Methodist Church later merged with the Groton Methodist Church to form Christ United Methodist Church, which moved to a new building at 200 Hazelnut Hill Road in 1972. The former Noank Church was converted into a residence.

Nichols United Methodist Church (1981)

Sunday, July 16th, 2017 Posted in Churches, Colonial Revival, Trumbull | No Comments »

The Methodist Church in the historic village of Nichols in Trumbull began holding services in an old schoolhouse in 1828. A church building, facing Nichols Green, was dedicated on December 12, 1848. The building was enlarged and altered in 1905, 1960 and 1962. The current Nichols United Methodist Church, at 35 Shelton Road, replaced the earlier structure in 1981.

New Covenant United Methodist Church (1894)

Sunday, June 25th, 2017 Posted in Churches, East Hartford, Gothic | No Comments »

The following description of the Burnside Methodist Episcopal Society appears in East Hartford: Its History and Traditions (1879), by Joseph O. Goodwin:

The first meeting-house of the church society in Scotland [the original name for the area called Burnside in East Hartford] stood on the street just cast of the residence of the late William Hanmer. It was a plain brown house, built sometime before 1834, without cupola or steeple. It was moved back, and is now used on the Hanmer place for a horse barn. The site of the present meeting-house in Burnside was given to the society by Mr. George Goodwin. This church has now a fine organ, and a live and growing membership.

The church burned down on January 15, 1893. A new church was dedicated on March 14, 1894. The church, located at 16 Church Street, on the corner of Burnside Avenue, has been much expanded over the years, including an attached three-story brick education and fellowship building, completed in 1953. In 2006, the Burnside Methodist Church merged with the Hockanum Methodist Church to form New Covenant Methodist Church.

Wethersfield United Methodist Church (1959)

Sunday, June 11th, 2017 Posted in Churches, Colonial Revival, Wethersfield | No Comments »

Jesse Lee, a pioneering Methodist clergyman, preached the first Methodist sermon in Connecticut in Norwalk in June, 1789. He continued his journey through the state, preaching in various towns, and reached Wethersfield in March, 1790. There he preached the town’s first Methodist Sermon in the North Brick School House, now the site of Standish Park. Itinerant Methodist preachers continued to visit Wethersfield in the ensuing years. Starting in 1821, Wethersfield Methodists were served by a circuit preacher. As related in a Brief Historical Sketch of the Wethersfield M.E. Church (1882):

The early services were held in Academy hall, against the solemn protest of some of the leading men of the town, who no doubt thought they were doing God service by resisting what might have seemed to them as a pernicious innovation of the established creed of the State. So bitter was the feeling toward the Methodists that the place where the meeting was appointed was not only forbidden them, but the building was barricaded, and the means for lighting it were taken away. Great indignation was manifested among the people who had assembled, and an officer of the town was detailed to read the riot act and bid them disperse.

But those friends of the church in the early days were not men who were easily discouraged. Persevering in their purpose they gained access to the hall, and when Mr. Pease was about to open the meeting, an officer appeared at the door and ordered the people away under penalty of the law. Mr. Pease, holding the only candle in the hall, boldly replied, “We have not come here for any riot, but to serve the living God; let us pray.” The meeting then proceeded without further trouble, and proved productive of much good.

The town’s first Methodist Church building, now Temple Beth Torah, was erected on Main Street in 1824. The building, moved 26 feet onto a new stone foundation, was much enlarged and rebuilt in the Queen Anne style in 1882. The Wethersfield United Methodist Church erected a new church building, at 150 Prospect Street, in 1959. A 2005 addition serves as the church’s Family Life Center.

Ivy Glenn Memorial (1847)

Sunday, February 12th, 2017 Posted in Churches, Eastford, Greek Revival, Libraries, Public Buildings | No Comments »

In the center of Eastford is a Greek Revival building called the Ivy Glenn Memorial. It was built as a Methodist Church in 1847, the same year Eastford separated from Ashford to become a new town. In 1916, Eastford Methodists joined with Congregationalists to form a Federated Church and the former Methodist Church was sold to the town for $200. The building’s basement was repaired to serve as a place for town meetings. Restoration work was completed in 1934 with funds from the Civil Works Administration. The upstairs hall was now used for town meetings and the library and town offices were located in the basement. A new Town Hall was erected in 1969 and after town offices moved to the new building, the library was able to expand in the basement of the former church. This required a new renovation which was funded by a bequest in honor of Ivy Glenn made by her husband, Wilmer Glenn, a New York stockbroker who spent summers in the Phoenixville section of Eastford. The enlarged library opened in 1972. Another renovation was made after a fire in May 1979 damaged the front of the building.

The building is centrally located in the village of Eastford (179 Eastford Road), as described in Vol. I of A Modern History of Windham County, Connecticut (1920):

Eastford is one of those towns in the state where the center of population nearly coincides with the geographical center of the township. Miss Ellen Larned, in her valuable History of Windham County, tells us that “the first inhabitant was John Perry from Marlborough, Mass.; who bought 350 acres of land on both sides of Still River and settled upon it near the site of the present Eastford Village.” The grave of this rude forefather of the hamlet may be seen, if I am not mistaken, in the old grave-yard back of the Congregational Church. From the beginning the chief settlement has gathered around this original spot. The village is favorably located, with a healthful environment, a fine outlook, and excellent water power. There are six roads which unite at the village green in front of the Methodist Church; and now that the state road is constructed the facilities for travel are all that can be desired. A fresh hope for the place can be confidently indulged in. The old-time saying of one of its people is fast coming more true than ever before: “Eastford is the biggest place of its size on earth.”