West Hartford History: Where Is This?

Test your knowledge of West Hartford history with this photo from the archives of the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society.

If you think you know the answer or have a special memory related to the photo, respond in the "Leave a comment" box below this article. We'll run the answer next Monday, along with a new historical photo. The image has been provided by the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society. For more information on the museum's collection and programs, visit www.noahwebsterhouse.org.

Last week we asked "Where Was This Church Located?" and the first reader to comment, Jeff Murray, certainly seemed happy to see this image on West Hartford Patch. His comment was so great, and so detailed, that we had to reprint it in its entirety:

"YES. I've been waiting for this to be on here for almost a year and a half! This is at the corner of New Britain Avenue and Grove Street/South Quaker Lane, right at Elmwood Center. Note how rural the atmosphere seemed. The church began in 1876 and built itself up until the early 1920s, when membership exceeded the building. As a result, in the mid-1920s, its replacement, which stands today, was erected on Newington Road. The church in the picture was torn down. On that site was a pharmacy and today it's a computer repair place. Always incredible to think a church once stood at that corner since the 1870s."

Jeff later went on to say that the photograph was taken in 1921. Robin Lindemann added even a few more details in her comment: "This is the Elmwood Community Church when it was situated at the corner of Grove Street and New Britain Avenue.. How nice to see this shot of it taken years ago. The church now is located on Newington Road, just behind the CVS on the corner of New Britain Avenue and Newington Road. The Elmwood Community Church began in 1873 as we are celebrating our 140th anniversary this year. Come and celebrate with us, the Little Church with the Big Heart."

He added, "Pleasantly surprised to see 1873 instead of 1876, as I had thought. Thanks for the wonderful information. In a Celebrate West Hartford illustrated history book, there is an extra photograph of it from a more southerly angle, with the New Britain Avenue trolley passing through, and it's misinterpreted as being a view of Farmington Avenue/North Main Street. Interesting stuff."

And Susan Wiley added, "This was the Elmwood Chapel. The building was completed in June, 1876, and was the home of the Elmwood Sunday School, a congregation that began on June 15, 1873. The "superintendent" of the school was Miss Julia Faxon, for whom Elmwood's library is named. When the congregation outgrew this building, and had become the Elmwood Community Church, the current church building was built on Newington Rd. in 1926. This coming June 15, at 4:00pm, we will ring our church bell to celebrate 140 years of service to our community. We have lots of activities planned for our anniversary year, and we love to make new friends, so please visit us in the heart of Elmwood."

The comments from our readers are extremely detailed, and no one doubts what church this is, but here is the official answer from the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society: "Built in1876 the Elmwood Community Chapel was at corner of New Britain Avenue and Grove Street. In 1907, it became a branch of the First Congregational Church in the Center, but in 1921 it was reorganized as a separate and independent church and named the Elmwood Community Church."

Dorothy Stone February 04, 2013 at 12:49 PM
American School for the Deaf on North Main Street
Dianne Rechel February 04, 2013 at 01:11 PM
I seem to remember this as Saint Joseph College.
Mike Hickey February 04, 2013 at 02:57 PM
This is St. Joseph's College on Fern Street. It was then a girls school with many graduates from Mount Saint Josephs attending.
Thomas Cote February 04, 2013 at 03:45 PM
This is easily recognizable as the American School for the Deaf, sometime before the driveway was paved.
Elizabeth G. Basil February 04, 2013 at 04:15 PM
This is definitely St. Joseph College.
R.C. Pond February 04, 2013 at 04:31 PM
That is St Joe"s or now the university of S.J. That is the original and first buildings on property still there of course.
brenda kestenbaum February 05, 2013 at 03:47 PM
The two buildings are very similar, but the pediment, the architectural triangle above the columns, matches Saint Joseph College. It is above the roofline, whereas the pediment at ASD is below the roofline.


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