Pages 138 to 139 of my new book, Vanished Downtown Hartford, describe the first two church buildings used by Hartford’s First Methodist Church. The first, at the corner of Chapel and Trumbull Streets, was built in 1821. After the church moved further west in 1860, the former church was used for businesses (including as the office of local architect John C. Mead from 1879 to 1889). The second building, on Asylum Street, was used by the church until 1905. Its tower and Romanesque Revival front facade were removed in 1911, when the building was converted to commercial purposes. The current church edifice was built in 1904 to 1905 on Farmington Avenue, near the West Hartford line. The church is now called the United Methodist Church of Hartford. It merged with St. Paul’s Methodist Church in 1974 and with the South Park Methodist Church in 1982.
The German Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Hartford was organized in 1880. The church acquired the former St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Market Street, which it occupied until 1898. In that year, the church sold the building, which became St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church. The German Lutheran Church then moved to a new building at 49 Charter Oak Avenue. Designed by Albert Fehmer, it was dedicated January 22, 1899. For a brief period, in 1906-1907, the church was used by St. Paul’s English Lutheran Church (as related in a Hartford Courant article from April 3, 1921, “St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Reaches Fifteenth Year”). That church moved its services to the Y.M.C.A. building, but later returned to Charter Oak Avenue, acquiring the German Lutheran Church’s property in 1909. Efforts to consolidate the two church did not work out, however, and the property was returned to the German Lutheran Church in 1911. St. Paul’s Church eventually moved to a building at the corner of Park Street and Park Terrace. The German Lutheran Church of the Reformation merged with the German Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Church, located at the corner of Babcock and Russ Streets, in 1916. This united church finally merged with St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in 1943 to form Grace Lutheran Church. The church on Charter Oak Avenue was sold. In the twentieth century it became Gospel Hall and is now Greater Joy Mission Church Of Deliverance. The church edifice has lost its original small steeple and entry porch with two side stairs. Its three memorial stained glass windows in the front gable have been covered up (and possibly removed).
It’s Hartford Church Week on this blog! The Church of the Immaculate Conception, at 560 Park Street in Hartford, was built in 1894 to serve the many Roman Catholic immigrant factory workers who were then moving to the Frog Hollow neighborhood. The Gothic Revival church was designed by Michael O’Donohue. In 1981, a priest discovered a homeless man frozen to death near the church steps. In response, the church’s basement was opened to homeless men. Church members volunteered to cook meals and donate clothing. The parish became a leader in public outreach in Hartford. In 1990, with the number of homeless people in Hartford increasing, the Immaculate Conception Shelter & Housing Corporation (ICSHC) was formed to confront the issue. When Immaculate Conception Parish merged with St. Anne Parish in 2000, ICSHC purchased the former church property
The First Baptist Church in Plainville was organized in 1851. The Greek Revival church was erected in December of that year at 18 East Main Street on land owned by businessman Adna Whiting. He had helped establish the church, which had its first meeting at his home. The church steeple seen today is not the original.
Built circa 1882 (or 1876?) and designed by Henry Austin & Son, the house at 612 Chapel Street in New Haven was the residence of Herrick Frost. As described in Volume 2 of A Modern History of New Haven and Eastern New Haven County (1918), Herrick Payne Frost
in 1856 made his home in New Haven, where after several experiments in various enterprises, in 1858 he formed a partnership with Julius Tyler, Jr., establishing the wholesale grocery house of Tyler & Frost, on State street. This business Mr. Frost prosecuted with great energy and varied success for nearly twenty years, the partnership being dissolved in 1876, at about the time the telephone was just coming into public notice.
Inspired by Alexander Graham Bell’s demonstration of his new invention–the telephone–at Skiff’s Opera House in New Haven on April 27, 1877, Civil War veteran and telegraph man George W. Coy created an experimental switchboard. He won a Bell telephone franchise for New Haven and Middlesex counties and received financial backing from Herrick Frost and Walter Lewis, superintendent of the New Haven Clock Company. Establishing the District Telephone Company of New Haven, the partners opened the world’s first telephone exchange in January 1878 with 21 subscribers.
Again according to A Modern History of New Haven and Eastern New Haven County:
The new enterprise attracted general attention, and in less than three months after its inauguration it had one hundred and fifty subscribers, and within a year over four hundred. Mr. Frost and his partner were thus instrumental in giving to New Haven the credit of leading the world in this important line. By 1880 capital had become interested in the further development of the system, and the New Haven Telephone Company was merged into the Connecticut Telephone Company, with the late Marshall Jewell, of Hartford, as president, and Hon. Charles L. Mitchell and Morris F. Tyler as directors. This company in 1884 underwent another change, becoming the Southern New England Telephone Company, with a capital of one and a half million dollars. Through the foresight, energy and ability of Mr. Frost, to whom was committed the general management of this great and growing corporation, the lines of the company were carried into nearly every town, hamlet and school district, within the territory in which they operated, and until a very few years ago there was no district in the world with so many telephones in use, in proportion to its population, as Connecticut.
The 1825 house of Bethel Tuttle, at 10 Academy Street in New Haven, was later expanded around 1860 into an Italianate-style house by William H. Sears, who worked at E. Arnold & Co. According to the History of the City of New Haven to the Present Time (1887):
The firm of E. Arnold & Co., 236 to 240 State street, dealers in stoves, furnaces, ranges, and galvanized cornices, was formed in 1846, and has been located on the same street ever since. They are also engaged in tin-roofing, plumbing, and gas-fitting. The individual members of the firm are E. and George J. Arnold.
Built circa 1860, the house at 51 Prospect Street in New Britain is notable for its stucco exterior. It was originally the home of George Swain, who ran a saloon on Main Street. The house was later home to Henry W. Felt and William F. Felt of Felt & Norton, dealers in dry goods and sewing machines. In the 1890s, it was the home and studio of Henry C. Foss, a music teacher.