St. Patrick Church

285 Church Street • Hartford, CT • Hartford County

Historical Significance

St. Patrick-St. Anthony parish has played a central role in the rich history of the Catholic Church in Connecticut since its very beginning. Located in the heart of Connecticut's capitol city, it traces its roots back to Holy Trinity parish, the first Catholic Church in Connecticut. Holy Trinity was founded in 1829 to welcome and serve the thousands of Irish immigrants who had begun to crowd into Hartford in the mid-19th century.

Photo: View south showing fa├žade. (Tod Bryant)

In 1830, the parish purchased, with the help of new converts from local Protestant churches, the former Christ Church (Episcopal) building and moved it to the corner of Talcott and Main streets. The first Catholic school and Sunday school were instituted that same year, and the first Catholic cemetery in the state was started in 1839. A short-lived Catholic newspaper was also published from parish facilities.

1849 St. Patrick's Church

By 1849, the little parish that had begun with 126 members, had over 1,000 and needed a larger facility. The cornerstone for the new church was laid in 1850 at the corner of Ann and Church streets, the site of our present day church. In recognition of the overwhelming Irish heritage of its members, this new church was named St. Patrick.

In 1852, the parish became the home of the first convent of the Sisters of Mercy in Connecticut, who quickly established an orphanage as well as both a day and a night school.

1853 Burned by Fire, Built by Faith

When fire destroyed the old Holy Trinity Church in 1853, numerous early church documents that had been housed there were lost. Unfortunately, fire would also visit St. Patrick's, destroying the entire structure in an 1875 blaze. While the parishioners soon rebuilt on the same site, the interior of the graceful building was gutted by still another fire in 1956. The church you see standing today was built within its walls.

While St. Patrick's grew, a new wave of Catholic immigrants from Italy arrived in Hartford following the Civil War. St. Patrick's reached out to the Italian community, just as it had to the Irish, and provided a base for the early ministry to Hartford's Italian population.

Sources

"Our History," St. Patrick - St Anthony Church
[ view source ]

Notable Features of Building or Site

The facade is dominated by a single central tower with buttresses at its corners. It is surmounted by a crenellated parapet with a cross. There is a main entrance surrounded by a Gothic arch in the base of the tower and similar entrances on each side of the facade. All have ornately carved and gilded doors.

Interrelationship of Building and Surroundings

The church is in a densely developed commercial area of central Hartford.


Additional Information

Common Name:  St. Patrick - St. Anthony Church
Date(s):  Built 1875
Style(s):  Gothic Revival
Historic Use:  Church
Present Use:  Church
Architect:  Patrick Charles Keely


Accessibility:
Exterior visible from public road.
Interior accessible (during services and at other times).


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