Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).
In one of my doorscursions around the Asylum Hill neighborhood in Hartford, CT, I turned down Sigourney St. and discovered Trinity Episcopal Church. The magnificent building, brilliant red doors and large wrought iron hinges caught my attention instantly. In looking for information about the history of this church, I checked their website and found a message that I think is particularly important today.
“Trinity Parish was founded in 1859 by twelve families living in the Asylum Hill neighborhood of Hartford. At that time, the common practice of churches was to raise funds for their operation by the rental of pews. Trinity was a pioneer in Hartford in making the decision to be a ‘free’ church where, there being no pew rents, any person ‘no matter what his or her wealth or poverty’ might find spiritual nourishment. This commitment was reaffirmed at the cornerstone-laying of the present building in 1894 by Colonel Jacob L. Greene, who said:
“Here no one is to be higher in right or privilege than another, this common and equal right being based on the common and equal need which each one has of divine help.”
The next thing that I discovered on the church’s website was very interesting to me (a guy who delights in building things).
“Trinity’s first building, a former Unitarian Meeting House, was moved stone-by-stone to the present site. Construction on a rectory (now the Parish House) began in 1881. Between 1892 and 1898, … Goodwin Hall was built and the original church building replaced by the present one. The education wing was completed in 1961 to mark the parish’s 100th anniversary.”
Trinity Church has a few stately neighbors, including The Aetna. When I moved to Hartford in 1981, Aetna was a large comprehensive insurance company (life, health, liability, personal lines and property). As a consultant for Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co. I spent hundreds of hours every year in the early 1980s reviewing complex computer systems in order to certify to our auditors that the results those systems produced were reliable. Recently, Aetna merged with CVS and formed one of the largest health insurance companies in the United States. Since this is Thursday Doors, it is also noteworthy that at the time of its construction in 1930, Aetna’s main office was the largest colonial-style building in the world and the largest office building in Connecticut. From the company’s website,
“The move to this ‘suburban campus’ was extraordinary in that it was considered an inconvenience for employees in an era when most did not own automobiles. To compensate for this, the building originally provided many amenities, including a state-of-the-art cafeteria, a store stocked with the same merchandise carried by downtown merchants, bowling alleys, squash and handball courts, tennis courts, a basketball court and a library.”
The building was built with brownstone and four and one-half million locally made bricks. The main corridor is 1/8 of a mile long (0.2 km).
Directly across from The Aetna is Saint Joseph Cathedral. The original cathedral was consecrated on May 8, 1892. Unfortunately, during morning Mass on December 31, 1956, “worshipers complained of smelling a fire. Firefighters were summoned but they could not discover its source until late morning when flames shot up into the wooden ceiling. Windows shattered as by an explosion; the roof fell, and everything within the cathedral suffered from the uncontrolled flames. Before late afternoon all that remained was a charred, smoldering, ice-encrusted ruin.” Almost immediately, plans were drawn up for a new cathedral. From the cathedral website,
“Archbishop O’Brien presided over the formal ground breaking on September 8, 1958. During the 1957-1959 period of construction cathedral parishioners attended Sunday Mass in the auditorium of the Aetna Life Insurance Company building, directly opposite the cathedral site. Daily Masses were celebrated in the school auditorium. The lower church was blessed by Auxiliary Bishop John F. Hackett on December 24, 1960, and at midnight Archbishop O’Brien offered the first Pontifical Mass there.
Meanwhile the work on the main cathedral, which was to seat 1,750 proceeded steadily. On May 15, 1962, the Bishop consecrated the new cathedral.”
Hopefully today’s gallery will function as it should. Clicking on any image will bring up a slideshow. The Happiness Engineers assured me that yesterday’s problem has been solved.
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