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I created the title for this post on Tuesday (so I would have the link to share) before I completed my research. If I had completed the research, I might have gone with ‘Former Churches of Hartford’s South End’ – all three church building in today’s gallery are no longer functioning as churches. The information has been copied from web pages. The black and white photos are from the National Registry of Historic Places nomination form.
The Charter Oak Cultural Center in Hartford began as a synagogue for Congregation Beth Israel (CBI), one of Connecticut’s earliest Jewish communities, which had previously conducted services in homes, workplaces, and a converted church. Built in 1876, the Charter Oak temple drew design inspiration from Berlin’s New Synagogue on Oranienburgerstrasse (built 1859-66). It is the oldest synagogue building in Connecticut. During the 1930s, CBI moved to the suburbs of West Hartford and built a new synagogue there, Temple Beth Israel. No longer in use as a synagogue, the Charter Oak building has now become a cultural center.
Charter Oak Cultural Center is a vibrant multi-cultural arts center committed to doing the work of social justice through the arts.
St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church. The oldest surviving Catholic church building in Hartford, the Portland brownstone Gothic Revival St. Peter’s Church, was completed in 1868. It was designed by James Murphy, who had once been an associate of Patrick Keely. The parish was established nine years earlier, in 1859, and served the city’s growing Irish-American population. The tower was added in the 1920s.
After a monthlong structural evaluation, it was determined that St. Peter, dedicated in 1859, required work totaling more than $1.05 million, including roof replacement, plaster repair, architectural decorations, priming and painting the interior of the church. The main level of the church was deemed unsafe for occupancy, said archdiocesan spokeswoman Maria Zone.
The estimated costs do not include “additional and critical repairs” to trusses in the attic that support the roof, Zone said. St. Peter does not have the money to pay for the repairs, she said.
The former South Park Methodist Episcopal Church, facing South Green in Hartford, was built in 1875. In 1886, the Boardman Chapel was added to the rear of the church, but has since been removed. In 1982, South Park Methodist Church merged with the United Methodist Church on Farmington Avenue. The 1875 South Green church was purchased by South Park Inn, Inc., which renovated the building and opened in in 1984 as an emergency homeless shelter.
I am pleased that two of these buildings have been maintained and are providing a valuable service to the Hartford community. The fate of St. Peter’s is unknown at this time.
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