Thursday Doors – Windsor Catholic

St. Joseph’s Church

A couple of years ago I was going to surprise none other than Norm Frampton with a quick doorscurrsion when he breezed through the Hartford area. Norm and I had been planning to meet and to have lunch at Tunxis Grill, as he and his wife traveled from New York north to Montreal. They were heading into Vermont that evening, and It didn’t seem like there would be time to go looking for doors, but as I said, I had a surprise. Less than a mile from the restaurant where we planned to meet is the stately St. Joseph’s Catholic church.

I was going to surprise Norm, but a bad bit of photographic luck brought a bigger surprise to me. Early in the week of Norm’s visit, scaffolding went up around the church. Oh well, the people were great, the food was great, and the beer was cold, so all was not lost.

St. Joseph’s fell back into my someday-when-you-need-an-easy-door bucket. Unfortunately, when that day came, the history of this church made the photography more complex than I planned – it now required pictures of three churches.

All within 5 miles of each other

St. Joseph’s is located in what is known as the Poquonock (po-qwan-uck) section of Windsor. Windsor is arguably Connecticut’s first town. Several of its neighboring towns used to be part of Windsor. The town split into sections, some sections became their own towns and we’re left with South Windsor being directly east of Windsor (across the CT River) and East Windsor being north of South Windsor. Windsor Locks is north of Windsor. To the west and northwest of the original settlement, Windsor retained control over large sections of farmland, much of which has been developed. Poquonock is in that general area, but neither remains agricultural, nor has it been commercially or industrially developed to excess. It is a pretty area, home to the bar I have been known to visit as well as Elm Grove Cemetery which was featured among my earliest door posts.

Falling between towns, Poquonock’s spiritual matters were originally assigned to the guidance of priests in Hartford, and then in 1852, to St. Mary’s Church in Windsor Locks. Downtown Windsor’s Catholics were also under the parish umbrella of St. Mary’s from 1852 until 1892 when St. Gabriel’s Church in Windsor was established. In 1892, St. Joseph’s was made an independent parish, and St. Gabriel’s began independent operation in an old Episcopal church in downtown Windsor. The current St. Gabriel’s was dedicated in 1916. In 2017, as Catholic parishes struggled to maintain sufficiently large independent congregations, Saint Joseph Parish and Saint Gabriel Parish were merged into Saint Damien of Molokai Parish

Although I failed in my attempt to share a few New England doors with Norm, I should not fail to point out that he remains the organizer and administrative head of the legions of door gatherers across the world. Each week, a large number of door aficionados find, photograph and organize images of doors. Then, we head north to Norm’s site, where the little blue frog grants us passage into the large gallery of doors. Check it out – take a look at Norm’s doors, click the blue tadpole and share your doors, or just take in the vast quantity of doors on display.

Today’s gallery includes St. Joseph’s (as it still is being called) and a few photos of the churches of St Gabriel and St. Mary.


    • Thanks Cheryl. It was great to meet Norm and his wife (and I think his sister-in-law), and that was way more than enough to make it a great day.

      It has been raining hard for over 24 hours, but it’s supposed to be nice and warm this weekend. I hope you’re having a good week.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Same here with rain but the sun is coming out now and promises to stay with us for the weekend. I am having a great week thanks. The big festival is this weekend so we are looking forward to that! Good friends always make any day special.


  1. The trio of doors on St Gabriel’s are my favourite. I have a soft spot for large crosses on church front doors.
    I don’t know how big of an area this is, but it must have been quite prosperous to support three great churches like this.

    The best photo though is of the 2 fine gentlemen 🙂 Sometimes things don’t go as planned, but I’m confident there will be another chance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Joanne. This area went through a period of everybody wanting their own church. I guess, at one point, they were all chock-a-block full, perhaps at the height of the baby boom, but none have been packed for many years. Still, they are beautiful buildings and they all have small but loyal congregations. None were happy with the mergers, or the new names, and I don’t see the new names on any signage.

      It was great to meet Norm and spend some time with him and his family. I am very happy he shared that photo with me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, that was a fun day. And that’s my “I don’t care how goofy I look, I’m on vacation” shirt :-D
    This is the first I’m hearing of your surprise plans. Too bad it didn’t work out. I mean geez, didn’t the construction crew know I was coming?
    I do love the simple elegant modesty of most New England architecture. Next time we’ll make a joint doorscursion a priority.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was a good day, Norm! I would have thought the crew could have held off for a week, in honor of your visit. I was going to mention the opportunity, as our plans firmed up, but by that time, the scaffolding was rising.

      Maybe there was a message in the scaffolding – focus on what’s important. If you come through again, I’m sure we can find some doors – or not, the beer will still be cold.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Scaffolding has made its aggravating way into many a vacation photo and caused many others not to be taken. But who cares about doors when we have the a-door-able photo of the two of you and not even via a reflection?!! It’s always fun to meet other bloggers in person.

    This is actually my favorite part of the entire post though:

    “South Windsor being directly east of Windsor (across the CT River) and East Windsor being north of South Windsor. Windsor Locks is north of Windsor.”

    Whaaaaat? :-)



  4. Even the scaffolding can’t detract from the beauty of that building. All the doors are great, but my favorite is the front entrance to St. Gabriel’s. Stunning.

    Great picture of you and Norm. He shoulda brought the frog along! 😃

    Interesting history lesson today.
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ginger – The scaffolding meant that the building was being maintained, and that’s always a welcome sign. I do like those doors at St. Gabriel’s/

      I think the little blue frog had the day off.


    • Thanks Lois. I stopped short of casting Norm in a church role today. I think I would have had to have gone with at least a Cardinal, perhaps the Pope of doors and I’m not sure I want to go there.

      I would have thought the church could have checked his schedule before putting up the scaffolding – it’s their loss, they could have had their doors on the Master Page.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m a weirdo who actually thinks scaffolding adds interest, maybe because it shows someone cares for the building. Just like someone cared enough to merge and oversee varying faiths as needed. People make a huge difference.
    Those windows at St Mary’s are unusually lovely. St Joseph’s has the steeple dream though, that steeple is downright godly. Clearly St Gabriel’s takes the cake on architecture, so much detail and craftsmanship. The doors on St Gabriel’s are divine. Really a nifty collection, worthy of saving for a rainy day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Joey. I do recognize that the upside of scaffolding lies in the fact that they are doing much needed maintenance. I just wish they had waited a week. The details on St. Gabriel’s are amazing, but you’re right about the steeple at St. Joseph’s. The unfortunate thing about St. Mary’s is that they gutted the inside and went with a more modern look. We already had a modern Catholic church in town, and it was a bit of a blow to the traditional folks.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. How nice that you had a meetup with Norm in CT, even if the doorscursion plans were foiled by scaffolding. Nice selection of churches! The Tunxis Grill looks inviting with an outdoor patio. I need to check it out next time in CT.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. It was really cool to meet Norm. I avoid the patio, as I’ve usually been working outside before heading over and I prefer air conditioned spaces at that point.


    • Thanks Christine. As I mentioned in reply to Joey, St. Mary’s gutted the inside and went with a more modern look. We already had a modern Catholic church in town, so it was a bit of a blow to the traditional folks. I haven’t been in the others, but photos I’ve seen on websites would support your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. How great is that! You and Norm look terrific and the weather looked to be perfect for a doorscurtion. Too bad about the scaffolding… perhaps you should have told them ahead of time to please put that off until you and Norm could get some pictures (I’m sure they would have been happy to comply 🙃). I’m sure there will be another time for both of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So much for your someday-when-you-need-an-easy-door-bucket! But I do love the first door, and even more the roof-frame above it (don’t know how you officially call that). Nice pic of you and Norm, of course that’s when you can make up all these stories about the latter:):)
    Hope I still make it to your Wednesday one-liner this week…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great to see the smiles on you both. Doors can wait. Good that Italians are not very hardworking and such surprises are not to be feared. You still have time to organise September in Italy, Dan, when Norm will come a-hopping. ;)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow, such rich history there! All 3 churches are gorgeous with their brick, and lovely doors, and windows.

    I think I like St. Gabriel’s the best though.

    How fun to Meet-Up with Norm and his wife! You two are looking good with your handsome smiles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Blogging penance? I’m not sure we dare go there, Judy. I stopped short of casting Norm in a fictional religious role today. On the other hand, these are houses of the Lord, built by people of faith. It’s amazing, especially considering when these magnificent buildings were constructed. Thanks for the comment!


  11. So many doors in your world! I like how you find them, and then have a way to photograph them. Name-changing Catholic churches fascinate me. Here a RC church picks a name and it sticks. Forever and ever. Amen.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It is quite an experience to read your post peacefully since I have a couple of days to myself before I am sucked into this vortex of new assignments. Your images plus the historical data makes it a pleasure to read. In fact, these images teleported me for a few seconds mentally and I was imagining myself there. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

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