Thursday Doors – East Hartford Doors

East Hartford Town Hall

I recently discovered that the “back way” I was taking to avoid highway traffic jams was really an out-of-the-way-run-through-the-woods kind of shortcut. The editor wasn’t surprised to hear that. She has pointed out many times that I am inclined to go what “appears to be” the faster way, but that my routes are often much longer. My father used to say the same thing.

I could go on, but I’ll let the map explain. I could make a lame argument about congestion and spillover traffic, but my new back way also promises to offer many more doors than the old back way, so…

OK, so the new back way is shorter.

During my second trip home via this new route, I decided to make a quick stop and snag three doors I had noticed the first time I drove through. These doors are the usual suspects in a New England doorscursion: Town Hall, Town Library and The First Congregational Church.

East Hartford used to just be the big hunk of Hartford that was on the east side of the Connecticut River. You would have thought that in 1635, when Thomas Hooker and his band of settlers from Cambridge, MA established Hartford, that including land on the opposite shore of a substantial river would have been a problem. After all, the first bridge across that river wasn’t built until the late 1700s and that was in Vermont.

In 1783, the General Assembly agreed to let East Hartford incorporate as a separate town, but in 1701, they were granted the right to have their own minister. That brings us to our first set of doors. The first Meeting House in East Hartford was built in 1699. It was replaced in 1740. The current church was built in 1835 and extensively modified in 1876, after a fire.

A block down the road, East Hartford’s Town Hall, opened in 1937 and was expanded in 1950. The thing that caught my attention was the sign mentioning the Hockanum River Linear Park Town Hall Trail. Of course, I had to take a peek. I couldn’t get very far, as I was dressed for work, not hiking but I did get some nice pictures of the frozen river.

Sitting in between Town Hall and the church is my favorite find, The Raymond Library. As soon as I saw the building, I knew there had to be a story. If you look closely at the photo in the gallery that shows the library behind the bare branches and shadows, you will notice that the building was expanded in a big way. You might also notice the attention to detail to make that expansion look like the original building. It’s a good thing, but it almost didn’t happen.

Albert C. Raymond donated the land the library sits on in 1879. He died in 1880 and included money to build the library in his will. Library was founded in 1885, and the building was built between 1888 and 1889 at a cost of $6,500. Regarding the expansion, I found this excerpt from “Only more so: the history of East Hartford” by: Lee Paquette.

“In 1968 the Raymond Library opened a large addition, and remodeled the old structure inside. The new portion blended in with the original structure, to preserve and enhance the town’s oldest public building. Before the remodeling, several officials had talked about demolishing Raymond Library and replacing it with a modern building…”

I am so glad they decided not to do that.

Thomas Hooker was the founder of Hartford, Connecticut, but Norm Frampton is the founder of Thursday Doors (as we know it), as well as Chairman of the Grand Counsel of Door Folk. Norm has graciously granted us our independence to embark on doorscursions and share door photos at the Capitol Door Page in Montreal, CN. To visit the Capitol, follow the Doorframe Trail to Norm’s page. Look for the blue frog and click him to gain access to the official list of doors.


The gallery includes a few photos from the Congregational Church Nomination form for the Registry of Historic Buildings. More information is available in the captions. To fully reveal those, click on any photo to begin a slide show.

72 thoughts on “Thursday Doors – East Hartford Doors

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  1. I love that stained glass window! Congrats on finding a new “shorter” alternate route, albeit without intent. Hubby does the same thing. I don’t like being stuck in traffic either. Just keep me moving….amd the music going. Happy Thursday Dan!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m liking your new route.

    It looks like you picked a nice sunny day for a doorscurion with great shadows. The library surprises me because I wouldn’t have guessed that’s what it was. It looks more like a dormitory. Is it just me, or does the side entrance look much more impressive than the front entrance? I like that peaked facade and double green doors.

    I think you’re going to be getting a lot of new material from this revised route.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joanne. I agree with you, the side door to the library is much more inviting than the front door. I checked the historical buildings list, to find the old photos of the church, and there are lots of buildings and two historic districts in East Hartford. I should be able to make a few trips through this town.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Historic doors and a gorgeous stained glass window too – good ones. Since I am directionally challenged, I won’t even comment on the ability to have three different routes. I usually know one way to get someplace and that it is – traffic or no traffic. So, I applaud your creativity. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Judy. My wife is the master of back roads and alternate routes. She always likes to have alternatives. This one was a little confusing at first, because getting to the road isn’t as direct as it appears on the map. There are some twists and turns and one-way traffic issues to deal with. I found a way to avoid that, and it really makes this a sweet ride. I might add that my original back way takes me directly past a WoodCraft store – not that that’s important, but…

      At least I have a new source of doors to explore in the two years until retirement.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I have always found that my ‘short cuts’ fed my soul. It allowed me to raise my head out of the box and notice life. You can’t do that in a traffic jam. I like the creek pictures best!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Pam. I had to include the frozen water pictures. I don’t like sitting in traffic. Starting and stopping while people are trying to weave in and out…it’s very stressful and that’s not what I want on my way home. I’ll take the back roads any time.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dan, I think your theme song should be, “Take Me Home Country Roads”! I do take a few “short cuts” here and there, but basically I drive the route I am most familiar with no matter what it entails. Creature of habit I guess, not too adventuresome!

    Great doors. Great buildings. Great history lesson. Glad they had the sense to not tear down the library. A lot of thought went into the addition and it shows.

    Beautiful stained glass window.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ginger. I am so glad they didn’t tear down the library. I don’t imagine it was easy back in the 60s to convince the Town to spend more to preserve history than to knock it flat and build some steel/glass mess.

      I prefer a reliable commute to one that might be faster, but might be way more frustrating.

      Like

  6. We joke in my house cause my husband is a ‘Let’s jump on the Interstate’ kind of guy. He says it’s a shortcut. But I like to drive, meander, look around. We call that ‘the long cut.’ There are no doors on the Interstate, though! I do like that library.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lois. I have many examples of me wanting to jump on the highway and the Mrs. pointing out just how much farther I am driving when I do that. Sometimes, it is still faster, but sometimes she’s right. Shhhh, I wouldn’t want her to hear that ;-)

      I think the library is beautiful, but, as someone mentioned, I like the side door better.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha – Thanks Ruth. I will still find times when the old back way is easier to drive. The new way backs up when traffic spills off the highway after a large problem. I can usually tell that that’s the case before I leave the office.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Nice! I particularly like that library side entrance shot. As for shortcuts, whenever my husband drives us to the beach, I’m ready for a nap by arrival time — “I like the scenic route,” he says. *sigh..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I think the library side entrance is a leading favorite today. It does have a better feel than the other door. The scenic route does offer doors. I’m just looking for a reliable commute. The old back way was about 40 minutes. This new way is 30-35. The highway *can* be 20, or it can be forever.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hockanum River Linear Park Town Hall Trail now there is a mouthful. Do I need to go to the blackboard and write it ten times so it is a complete sentence ? Here is to finding new shortcuts and alternate routes ! One of my favorite short cuts is our local metropark. It mostly forms a horseshoe around the county and has a minimum of intersections to conflict with local traffic It is usually an excellent escape route. Thanks Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John. It is a mouthful. I’m guessing “town hall trail” would work in most cases. When they moved our office on the opposite side of the river from where I live, they made the commute a problem. There are only three bridges I can choose from. This new way lets me see the state of the traffic at each bridge, before committing. The highway bridge is often just a mess.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love the door to a library even if it’s not at all attractive. :-) This library looks as though there would still be card catalogs in it (silly me). I have ways I go if I need to get somewhere quickly and other ways when I don’t mind taking a bit more time and want it to be more scenic. My husband and I tend to take completely different routes to the same places for some reason.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Janet. I think the library gets the nod today. My wife and I take different routes to the mechanic who services our cars. We leave at the same time, and although my way is shorter and faster, she gets there first sometimes (traffic).

      Like

  10. Interesting that the new entrance to the East Hartford Town Hall looks very similar to the building that houses the main branch of the Cobb County Public Library, specifically the blue decoration at the top of the door. Of course, I haven’t seen the library in some time, so I could be wrong, but that’s what I thought of when I saw it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I think we’re all gonna enjoy your new route Dan :-D
    In my book anything that takes you past some beautiful old New England buildings, and of course their doors, is worth the shortcut or detour.
    I do love all of that deep green set against the red brick of the library.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Delightful doors, Dan. I like the town hall door and the east entrance as well.
    Long ago I had a “cut through”, a way around traffic. It was a little longer, and didn’t save so much as a minute. But I was moving the entire time. That just felt better than sitting in traffic. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh how I love that church! Is the one photo a balcony section? I’ve never seen a church with that type of seating inside, so I wonder if that’s the entire church or just a portion of it. They did a great job with the library expansion, would have never known they added on if you didn’t tell me.

    As for your new back way, it’s a plus for the Thursday door people, plus you can get to work a few minutes early to clean out the fridge…or relax with your first cup of java.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do not mention the fridge! This is on my way home. I beat the morning traffic by leaving for work much earlier than I need to.

      I had to go back to the PDF to consider your question about the seats.
      The photo says that’s the original gallery seating. But, there is a rail in front of those seats, they are at an angle and the windows behind them appear to be the ones above those three large doors. I think you’re right! Good job! I’ll give you 1,000 bonus points. I should deduct 50 for the fridge comment, but I’m a softy, and you did mention coffee.

      Like

  14. I will always take a longcut that moves rather than a shorter route that is stop-and-go. And, when you get new doors to stop and photograph in the bargain (making it an even longercut), all the better! So glad they didn’t tear that old library down and build a “modern” 1960s monstrosity (I wonder if 1960s architecture will ever be considered historically significant?).

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I just love that library, Dan. I wish I could just walk in and browse for a few hours. And congrats for finding a shorter route. I try to avoid heavy traffic roads and do my best to go the back roads via the woods too. Give me any excuse to be in woods and near woods and I’m there! Loved your gallery and the history lesson. Thank you for both!! ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Amy! I like the new route. It’s a little busier than the old back way, but shorter and much more interesting. I think that is the most important thing. I would like to visit the library. I was kind of sad to read that they did extensive renovations on older section’s interior.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If only man would learn to maintain the old and to refurbish as the original. If only we had the sense in this country to respect OLD. The amazing history one gets just by walking in streets in Europe … I was blown away. Why don’t they learn how to restore here? Always new? Please …..

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Good for you! When you drive a lot, shortcuts are important! And in Los Angeles, we kept up with news about traffic jams, which meant travelling off the freeway – slower, but not as slows as being 1-3 hrs. in a traffic jam! Hartford -I’ve heard several times about Hartford – 2 bloggers post weekly about it. Love the bright colored last building, and the shadows of the branches on the walls. The white church is pretty too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I would much rather keep moving, even if, in theory I could make better time on the highway. I’ve driven in LA. We have nothing like that around here. Traffic gets ugly near Boston, but I do the same as I do here, I try to time my travel to avoid the ugly periods.

      I am so glad they expanded the library rather than tear it down.

      Like

  17. Lovely doors! Thank goodness the library addition was kept in keeping with the original building. The glass fan above the Town Hall door is exquisite in detail. How did they do that? Thanks for the post, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I think I missed out plenty of your blog posts in the past few months, I’ll try and cover as many as I can. I’m always a huge fan of your Thursday Doors post so thought let me start with this. I enjoy the history like you do and the way you write it. In pictures, I loved that stained glass image and the last picture of the dark green door.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. That beautiful New England architecture, hits me every time! This is a lovely collection. The belltower and the last shot are my faves. I bet those side library doors are at their prettiest this time of year, no leaves on that tree, frames it well. And under that bright blue sky. It’s a great shot.
    I can go to work and come home in so many ways, I’d need to math it. Scratch that, I’d need someone like you to math it. Many variables. I love the location, near where I worked before, but better, cause even closer to home, very convenient. I can leave and go most anywhere I’d go anyway. Poor Mister, he’s got like, three possible routes, and not any of them are scenic or short. :/ I work 30-45 minutes later than him and he seldom beats me home. Sometimes I can pick up a kid and stop at a shop and still get home first.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t have a lot of options, but none of the routes are very bad. The worst is a very scenic long ride but probably still shorter than the Mister’s. I’ve harvested doors of that route many times.

      I think the side door to the library is the best. I do like the shadows from bare branches. I doubt you can see much of that door in the spring.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I like that they painted the doors on the church something other than white (although I can’t tell what color they are). I think the library got the most votes here. I am so glad they expanded what they had instead of a tear down. That wouldn’t have ended well.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Oh, how I liked your taking that Town Hall Trail, Dan! This was a little slippery in my studying the photos (maybe?)
    The first bright blue, cloudless sy photo of the First Congregational Church was beautiful! I liked the black and white picture, details and history.
    The Raymond Library was a grand building!
    p.s. I agreed with your title on the last post, Dan. I should have added the foggy pictures of the park were a little eerie and Twilight Zone material! 😮

    Liked by 1 person

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