The Asylum Hill Congregational Church was dedicated during a service that began at 11:00.
That evening, the “sittings” in the church were sold. The Courant reported that the sale was “quite animated” and that the seats “brought a good price.” James Clark bought the first seat. The highest price paid was $215, and the total amount received was approximately $6,000.
Neat Little Tidbit
The Courant described the audience room as “not gaudy, but exceedingly neat and modest,” and it called the windows the only flashy adornments that caught the eye. The seats and woodwork were chestnut, but the wood work was trimmed with black walnut, including the numbers of the doors. The nave was lit by gas jets that projected just over the pillars, and the room was entirely carpeted. The seating capacity was about 900 people.
The Courant article listed the program for the service, but otherwise it confined itself to a description of the church’s interior.
It’s also kind of fun that Atwood Collins quoted this very same article in 1915.
Trust but verify
An impressive list of local ministers participated in the dedication service, including Nathaniel Burton, Horace Bushnell, and Joel Hawes, all of whom were locally prominent. Also participating were Reverends Gould and Jenkins, neither of whom I’ve encountered otherwise. Gould appears to be G. H. Gould, who was minister at the Center Church, but Jenkins so far eludes me. And then there was Professor Park – the closest candidate I’ve found was Edwards Amasa Park, who seems to fit the bill except that he spent the majority of his career in Massachusetts.
Put into context
Two names not listed in the Courant article were Joseph Twichell or Calvin Stowe. It isn’t entirely a surprise that neither would be involved in the dedication service itself – it might not have been seemly for Twichell to dedicate his own church, and Stowe was more generally considered a professor, even if he did lead services in the chapel before Twichell was installed as pastor.
The total amount realized by the sale of seats would be approximately $101,583 today. The person who paid the highest amount would have paid $3,640 today.
Speculating without facts
And Nathaniel Burton: it seems in 10 years or so he’d have something to say about the church’s bell and clock.
Swartz, Melva J., “Hill Church Will Observe Anniversary,” Hartford Courant, March 18, 1940, page 1.
Unattributed, “Asylum Hill Church – Its Dedication,” Hartford Daily Courant, June 16, 1866, page 2.
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.
Unattributed, “Sale of Seats at the Hill Church,” Hartford Daily Courant, June 16, 1866, page 2.
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