St. Mary's Church

42 Spring Street • Windsor Locks, CT • Hartford County

Historical Significance

The church was built to serve the congregation of Irishmen working on the Windsor Locks Canal who had been ministered to since 1827, primarily by priests traveling from the Hartford area. In 1852 Father James Smyth purchased land on which to build a church for the sum of $1.

Photo: View north of facade. (Tod Bryant)

On September, 14 1852, Bishop Bernard O'Reilly blessed the cornerstone of the new church building, and Patrick Quirk became the first infant baptized in the new parish on January 2, 1853.

On Easter Sunday, March 27, 1853, the first Mass was celebrated in St. Mary Church, which was officially dedicated later that same year. By the turn of the century Windsor Locks was a prospering mill town and St. Mary Parish had grown to about 1,900 people, including about 300 Italians and French along with 1,600 Irish parishioners.


"History of Our Parishes," St. Mary Church / St. Robert Bellarmine Church
[ view source ]

Notable Features of Building or Site

The church faces north toward Spring Street. A single gable roof covers the full width of the church, and there is a large square tower centered on the facade. A decorative white vergeboard hangs beneath the tower's cornice, and on top of the tower rests a steeple with an octagonal base. There are diagonal buttresses at the corners of the facade and of the tower.

The first major renovations started in 1884. In 1886 a large bell was installed in the previously empty bell tower. In 1937 lightning destroyed the steeple. It would not be rebuilt for almost 65 years.

There are three doors recessed into pointed arches, the larger central door leading into the nave, and two flanking smaller doors leading into each aisle. Above each door is a stained glass window in a pointed arch. The transept meets the nave in a shorter cross gable, and the altar is at the flat, southern gable end.

Interrelationship of Building and Surroundings

The church is located in a mixed residential and commercial area one block west of the Connecticut River. The Windsor Locks Town Hall is just south of the church's parking lot across Church Street.

Additional Information

Date(s):  Built 1852
Style(s):  Gothic revival
Historic Use:  Church
Present Use:  Church

Exterior visible from public road.
Interior accessible (during services ).

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