Asylum Hill Congregational Society petitions for permission to build

08/08/1864 |


Hartford’s Common Council referred a petition of the Asylum Hill Congregational Society for leave to build a church on Asylum Avenue.

Neat Little Tidbit

This counts as the application for the building permit for the church.  During this period, Hartford had “two branches of government,” the Board of Aldermen and the Common Council.  Both had the power to receive petitions for leave (i.e., request for permission) to build, whether it be main buildings such as a church or a house or an outbuilding.  The two bodies additionally had the power to alter construction plans, for example insisting that something be built with brick instead of wood.

Trust but verify

I haven’t found the referral from the Board of Aldermen – yet.  Since we know the outcome of this effort, it’s either there to be found or wasn’t necessary in this instance.

The referral was probably to the building committee, even though the article didn’t specify that.  This committee would then review the request and report back to Common Council with their recommendation.

Put into context

Although I haven’t found an article describing the start of the work on the church building, this action helps to narrow the timeframe.  Patrick Keeley was working on the plans in July, and they would be finished by the end of September.  It makes sense then that the Asylum Hill Congregational Society sought permission to build now, in anticipation of the completion of the architectural plans and the likelihood of being able to break ground before winter.

Questions to pose

Did the Board of Aldermen review the petition to build the church?  And did the Courant cover the groundbreaking?

Speculating without facts

Of course, it’s entirely possible that the construction got underway before the municipal government granted permission.  In September 1865, Sam Coit, who would oversee construction of the church, would be accused of starting construction on the house on Congress Street prior to receiving permission from the Common Council!


Unattributed, “City Government – Last Evening,” Hartford Daily Courant, August 9, 1864, page 2

Unattributed, “City Government – Last Evening,” Hartford Daily Courant, September 26, 1865, page 2

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