Construction on the Asylum Hill Congregational Church underway

04/03/1865 |

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The Courant reported that 27 masons, 12 stone cutters, and 32 laborers were presently at work on the new building that would be the Asylum Hill Congregational Church.  The article said that the “erection of the walls will go ahead rapidly,” which gives a sense of where they were in the construction schedule.  The article gave the following details about the church building:

  • Spire would be 200 feet high and add to the church’s imposing appearance
  • Audience room would be 111 feet by 66 feet and seat over 800 people
  • There would be no wall seats, which would permit greater access to the pew

The article predicted that the church building would be completed by the end of 1866 and that it would be one of the handsomest churches in Connecticut.

Neat little tidbit

If the information the Courant reported was accurate as of the date of this article, then the church was completed almost six months aheadL1 of schedule.

It’s also kind of fun that Atwood Collins quoted this very same article in 1915.

Trust but verify

The details about the spire are interesting because the spire wouldn’t be built until 1875.L2  At some point between this article and the dedication of the church in June 1866 the decision would be made to stop short of completing the spire.  That decision may also have included delaying the purchase and installation of the bell,L3 which wouldn’t happen until 1871.

Put into context

The article gave the cost of the chapel as having been $14,000 and the estimated cost of the church as being $40,000.  The actual cost, including the land, ran over $100,000 – so the estimate here may not have included the interior work.  The article also included an update on construction at Saint Peter’s Catholic Church (which is still there, 160 Main Street) and estimated that it would cost at least $100,000 to finish.

Speculating without evidence

The article gave an update on the construction at the new North Congregational Church, at the corner of Asylum and High Streets.  Construction there was suspended while changes were made to the plans – and it isn’t hard to imagine that the progress being made on the Asylum Hill Congregational Church had prompted this review of the plans.  As noted previously, North Congregational was the lone dissenter in the vote to approve the formation of Asylum Hill Congregational, and there may have been some competition between the two churches.  It’s more likely, however, that this suspension in construction had something to do with the 900 piles they placed under the church.

Sources

Unattributed, “New Churches,” Hartford Daily Courant, April 3, 1865, page 2.

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

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