Sunday, October 25, 2015

Finding an Architechtural Treasure at the Crossroads

At The Crossroads

Well, it has been awhile since the last post, my apologies for the delay! Although I have been photographing many churches in my travels over the summer months, finding the time to sit down and write about them eludes me!  I work as an interior designer, so I am out on the road frequently visiting clients in their homes and on job sites.  Today my work took me out to a part of CT I'm not familiar with.  Driving past old tobacco barns and farm land, I passed through Scantic, one of the five villages of East Windsor.  Connecticut, like many of out great states, has many small boroughs tucked away in amongst larger villages. I always find it a treat to find these rural hideaways, as I usually come upon an old church, as I did today!

At the center of a five road triangular intersection stands The First Congregational Church of East Windsor, in Scantic. I couldn't help but see the large rectangular clock tower standing tall among the trees as I maneuvered the crazy intersection!  I was running a tad late, with no time to stop and investigate, so I made a mental note to come back through the area when I was finished with the appointment.  I'm so glad I did because when I stopped to get a closer look at the building, I felt like I was stepping back in time!  I could tell immediately that the church was old, but well kept which told me that it must have a thriving congregation.  The crossroads where it sits is very rural and dotted with open fields, barns and homes, no busy convenience stores or gas stations, like in some areas.  It was peaceful and serene and I imagined all the people that worshiped, married and had funerals here over the years. That, along with the many pot luck suppers and celebrations that most likely took place here, gave me a sense of simpler times, before e-mails, cell phones and video games, when people came together, in good times and bad, to talk, support and help one another in the community.  This is why the early churches were called, "Meeting Houses".

First Congregational Church of East Windsor

The original church was organized in 1752 and the first meeting house was built in 1754, however, it burnt down in 1802.  The present building was erected shortly after. The symmetrical details, along with the center and corner pilasters, double hung windows, clapboard siding and louvered shutters suggests the building to be in the Federal style. The fact that there is little elaborate details, as found in some federal styles, is most likely due to lack of building funds.  The facade hasn't changed much in all these years, judging from the old photo below that I found on the churches website.

 The clock tower was built in 1810 and underwent some renovations in 2001 and is still functioning today. I like the pillar details of the three tiered tower. And, yes the clock reads the correct time!

The large stone slab steps make a fabulous entrance detail, with their clay color and massive size. There is no indication, in the research I did, to say whether they are original to the site or quarried locally.  I believe they are due to the aged appearance.  The iron railings however are definitely not original and added after safety and building codes were developed.

Unique details surround the entry doors.

Although they are not original,  I do love the lamp posts flanking the front steps of the church.  An early photo of the congregation on the front steps of the church shows the lamp posts are in the original location.

Even though it was an overcast fall day, the ride out to this quiet part of the state was an enjoyable one indeed!  I hope you liked the photos and my commentary about this hidden gem!  Please stop by again as I write about the churches I find in my travels.  If you know of any additional information about this church, or live in the community, I'd love to hear from you!  You can also visit the "Churces Across The Miles"facebook page to share photos of churches you've found in your travels.

Along with this blog, I also write a design blog where I share insights and information about interior design, gardening and all things beautiful!  Please visit!

Thanks for stopping by today!


Friday, June 12, 2015

Off  The Beaten Path….

It was a very long winter here, but as spring leads into summer, I hope to capture many more photos of historic and beautiful churches!

I did just that on a recent impromptu trip up north to Vermont.  A last minute get away was just what the hubs and I needed after a year of doctor appointments, cancer treatments, surgery and procedures!  I thank God he is in, what I hope to be, a very long remission.

When I see a lovely church building it makes me stop and think.  It's not just a beautiful building, it's a place where people come together to worship our creator and pray for one another, comfort and encourage each other.  It's what communities have tremendously relied on for hundreds of years!  This is why in my travels I love to explore, photograph and learn as much history as I can about these vital and historic buildings.

Taking a back road road, instead of staying on the main route, prooved to be pleasant adventure as we came upon this little country church!  Although neglected and decaying, this building stands proud against the backdrop of the majestic mountains of this rural Vermont town of Sunderland.  The hillside cemetery accross the street confirms the many people that worshipped here in days gone by.  Many of these graves flying the american flag in memeory of their service to this country.  I find it interesting, as I look back, how I was drawn to this place on this day, as it was Memeorial Day!

Sunderland Union Church
This wooden structure has many interesting details like the fish scale shingle siding, fan over the windows and the dentil pediment over the door.

Although weathered from the harsh Vermont winters the subtle architectural details show a craftsmanship from days gone by.  The main entrance is my favorite! The faded color of the door and the missing light bulb evoke a ghostly feeling.

I am glad to have found this little church.  The peace and tranquility of the location is just perfect for reflecting and imagining life as it was here in this little town years ago.
I haven't been able to get much info on this little church, so if anyone reading this knows any of it's history please comment.  I'd love to learn more!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Church Door Red!

What is it about a red door on a stone church? This one sure captured my attention. This is St Pauls Church-Brookfield, CT.  Built in 1939 after a fire destoyed the original building on Valentines Day in 1937.  I think the red door is verry fitting!  
I found the story archived here:…/ho…/the-fire-1937.html

Here's another great example of how a red door catches your eye. This beautiful stone church is St. Johns Episcopal in New Milford!  Sitting on the town green, the church beckons you to come in!

And I can't say enough about the beauty of this next church.  St Michaels Church Naugatuck, CT
Well there's much detail going on here in this great church! 
It was built in 1875 and designed by David R. Brown. The style of architecture is High Victorian Gothic.

And who doesn't like a white church with a red door?  This is perhaps my most favorite combination!  I'm sure in my travels I'll come across many more red door churches.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Inner City Gem!

In sharp contrast to the last church post, this inner city church may not have the same outward beauty and picturesque setting, but is rich in subtle detail!  I found this gem tucked away on a small neighborhood street in the citys North End. Flanked by three family houses towering above, the structure stood out like a sore thumb! 

 I'm not quite sure what style the building falls into because the details suggest both Federal and Gothic Revival. The brick material along with the pointed pediment over the door and pilasters are detais of the Federal style and give the entrance an understated detail.  The arched stained glass windows give this building a gothic feel, and the cross at the peak appears to be copper, due to the aged green color.  Although the building could use some repair, it looks like a place that would welcome all who seek refuge.
I am still looking into the history of this building now being used by The Victory Tabernacle Church - Waterbury, CT. The corner stone reads 1903-1928. 


Monday, March 2, 2015

Over the Bridge and Through the Woods…

Today work took me on scenic drive out over the Arrigoni bridge in Portland and then down the coast of the CT river to Haddam Neck.
What a beautiful drive on this snow covered morning! In the little town of Middle Haddam is this gem of a church built in 1877 in the High Victorian Gothic style, designed by Henty Austin. Such detail…From the stained glass windows to the quatrefoil motifs…just amazing!

I happened upon this spectacular church quite unexpectedly today. The Greenfield Hill Church sits in the center of a very historic area of Fairfield, CT. Founded in 1725 the building is the typical New Englad style. The details are just beautiful..from the turquoise front door to the bell tower! To bad the sky was so grey today.