Resolved: A Congregational Church needed on Asylum Hill

02/06/1864 |


A meeting was held to pass a formal resolution that a new church was needed in the western part of Hartford. The resolution passed unanimously.  There then followed considerable discussion about possible locations for the new church, and a committee was formed to recommend a site.

Neat little tidbit

In addition to the 17 men who were there on February 3, 1864, five more men attended this meeting.  They were Olcott Allen, Joseph Church, William Collins, Mark Howard, and Roland Mather.

The sites discussed for the new church were

  • Asylum Avenue between Spring and Garden Streets – roughly speaking, this would be the “block” east of the current Capital View Apartments. Both Spring and Garden entered Asylum Avenue, and in 1864 they did so separately.  The current configuration of these two streets owes itself to Interstate 84.
  • A lot on Farmington Avenue near Imlay Street – it wasn’t mentioned whether this was on the north or south side of Farmington, but it is notable that it was a specific lot. Farmington and Imlay were then pretty much the way they are now.

Not mentioned:  the actual future site.  Or the site the church nearly bought.

Trust but verify

On February 3, a committee was appointed to report on a site for the church.  Presumably, that committee delivered a report at this meeting, but their report hardly settled the matter, because “considerable discussion” followed.  Then, there was a committee to recommend a site – but was this the same committee appointed on February 3, or was it a new one?  Atwood Collins points out that the committee to recommend a site had representatives from different sections of the neighborhood, the implication being that these five men would consequently and by necessity evaluate suggested sites fairly.  It seems likely that the committee from February 3 made its report, and then following the discussion was asked to settle the debate with a stronger recommendation – but it’s much more fun to imagine that someone had their thumb on the scale for one location over the others!

Put into context

Aside from the debate over a future location for the church, Roland Mather attended this meeting, and his participation signaled the beginning of an important relationship with Asylum Hill Congregational Church.  He donated the money to finish the steepleL3 in 1875, and although no one mentions him in connection with the fundraising to build the church he more than likely contributed significantly to that effort.


Unattributed, “Fiftieth Anniversary of the Asylum Hill Congregational Church,” Hartford Courant, February 14, 1915, page X5

Unattributed, “History of the Hill Church – F. Irvin Davis Gives It in Brief,” Hartford Courant, March 2, 1908, page 4.

Unattributed, “Rev. Dr. Joseph H. Twichell Honored at Anniversary of His Church,” Hartford Courant, March 24, 1915, page 16.

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