St. Philip the Apostle Roman Catholic Church

74 Pompey Hollow Road • Ashford, CT • Windham County

Historical Significance

The small, but growing Catholic parish in Ashford decided to build a church for themselves in the early 1930s. Their energetic priest, Father William Dunn (son of Irish Immigrants), convinced summer resident Paul Chalfin to design the new building. Chalfin was not an architect, but he was an architectural designer whose best known building is the Villa Vizcaya in Miami, Florida, which is listed in National Register of Historic Places, He created a church with classical proportions and detail that is punctuated by a tower with an onion dome.

Photo: View east showing façade and tower. (Tod Bryant)

There were certainly several Irish immigrants and people of Irish descent in the congregation, but many parishioners came from small villages in Slovakia.The dome is a typical feature of churches in those villages and Chalfin included it in his design as a tribute to them. The church was built over a period of four years by Father Dunn and the parishioners themselves. They used native stone collected in the surrounding area. The church could not have been built without the tireless efforts and physical work of Father Dunn.


Braccidiferro, Gail. "At Church Built by Farmers in 1930s, Blessings Are Shared." The New York Times. February 10, 2008.
McAlester , Virginia and Lee. A Field Guide to American Houses, New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 2005.

"Paul Chalfin, the artistic director." Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. "Rural Ashford's first pastor was a jack of all trades." The Shanachie, v 23, no. 3, 2013.

Notable Features of Building or Site

This is a three bay building which faces west. Its south elevation faces Pompey Hollow Road. The three bays of the facade are divided by quoined pilasters surmounted by a triangular pediment. The main entrance is centered on the facade and it is flanked by pilasters with Doric capitals supporting a simple entablature surmounted by a segmental pediment.

Tall arched windows are set into the upper level of the north and south bays of the façade. A second triangular pediment rises above and behind the façade. A square two-story tower surmounted by a copper onion dome with a cross rises from the south elevation and an apse extends from the east elevation.

Interrelationship of Building and Surroundings

The church is near the center of a small hamlet along Pompey Hollow road, which includes single and multi-family residences, a gas station Ashford Town Offices, a library, another church and a school.

Additional Information

Date(s):  Built 1933-1937
Style(s):  Neoclassical
Historic Use:  Church
Present Use:  Church
Architect:  Paul Chalfin
Builder:  Parishioners

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

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