It’s so easy to forget that there were actual people and events that happened before you stepped foot on the earth.
This post is quite photo heavy, so be patient letting everything load. Clicking the images will enlarge them. Also, I’m doing all of the history part of this from memory, so if I’ve made errors, please point them out and I will correct them.
In our area of NorthEast Connecticut (the National Shetucket Corridor), a non-profit organization called The Last Green Valley hosts all kinds of walking or biking activities, tied up neatly under the name of Walktober. It is held every weekend of each October and there is, quite literally, something for everyone, especially if your thing is conservation, archeology or history.
Our something for us today was a tour of the Old Trinity Church in Brooklyn, CT.
We assembled at Putnam Elms, which was the homestead of Col. Daniel Putnam and is now a museum under the ownership of the non-profit Col. Putnam Association. A neat side note — all of the officers are descendants of Israel Putnam, Daniel’s father. Not a requirement to be an officer, it’s just turned out that way.
The story of Daniel Putnam, if you’re interested in learning more, can be seen here in an article taken from The Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
The house is so very New Englandy looking — there are 3 distinct parts to the house, and the six over six windows (or eight over twelve, depending on which window you’re looking at) and doors are just not quite square. We took a quick peek inside (bathroom break) but weren’t able to see much because the house was closed. It is open during the summer; (no heat to speak of, so the days to visit are limited)tours are available and hours are here. The original land parcel was some 3200 acres — it’s hard to imagine all of the trees and brush gone, as it was back then — the views must have been gorgeous, with a straight shot from the house over the hill to Old Trinity Church.
Old Trinity Church is just a short walk down the street. It’s a very impressive Anglican Church, built in 1771. It is still very much original, as evidenced by the extremely wide boards used in it. The lumber used to build it, according to the historian that was speaking today, was local wood — the trees must have been immense, as some of the boards looked to be at least 18″ wide.
The upstairs is the area reserved for the slaves that were owned by Godfrey Malbone, the original owner of the 3200 acre parcel that would be eventually whittled down to Putnam Elms. The original deed apparently incorporated all the names of his 26 slaves.
BTW — if you Google Old Trinity Church Brooklyn, CT, you won’t believe the hits that you will get regarding paranormal activity in this church. The “orb” in the picture above is what all the paranormal hoopla is about. People with too much imagination believe that the orbs are spirts — I’m more inclined to believe that dust and digital cameras are the culprits. The maid service for the church looks like it was suspended at least 100 years ago.
For all of my pooh-poohing the paranormal, this was kind of creepy. The next two pictures below were taken just milliseconds apart — I took one, looked at it and decided to snap another. Note the extremely bright orb in the second one that’s not there in the first!!!
Walking through the cemetery and reading the headstones was interesting — so many Putnams, Days, Spaldings (my son-in-law’s family name) Foggs, Malbones — if you are interested, this link will take you to the names of the people buried in the cemetery. The cemetery surrounds the church on three sides.
The historian talked about something that piqued my curiosity — inside the church, between each window, there is a crack in the plaster in the exact form of a window — apparently there were windows between the windows that are still there and for some reason they were filled in. There doesn’t seem to be any explanation for it. Keeping the heat in wouldn’t be a good suggestion, because there was no heat until at least the late 19th century. Personally, I think that they were trying to keep the cold out, because the windows that I looked at had all kinds of cracks around the wood casings.
I found this postcard showing an image of the church, dated from sometime around the turn of the century. It’s interesting that the shutters are shut, except for the very top of the windows in the front. Perhaps the church was shuttered up until there was a service to be held there. But from what I understand from the historian, there were no regular services after the Civil War and the card is from 1900 or so. Also, the large window above the door seems to be missing from this postcard. I guess I’ll be mulling this over for awhile.
Update — after thinking about it, maybe the reason the windows were removed was that the shutters would have overlapped each other when they were open — wouldn’t be very aesthetically pleasing with so many windows.