In 1864, America was a country divided, gripped in the throes of a Civil War. But in the minds and hearts of a small group of Hartford residents, the spirit of hope burned brightly – hope for survival and for the future, grounded in a faith in God. In the midst of bitter strife between the states, they built a house of faith that would offer healing and asylum in a harried and troubled world. And though only 114 in number, they built a sanctuary to seat almost 1000, which would be a beacon and a haven for future generations.
The first worship service was held on March 12, 1865, and on March 23, just two and a half weeks after General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, Asylum Hill Congregational Church became the seventh Congregational church to be formed in Hartford. The cornerstone was laid on May 5, 1865, and the completed church, costing just over $116,000 including the land, was dedicated on June 15, 1866.