An excerpt from Sarah Jones’ ‘Sketches of the People and Places of New Hartford, Past and Present’ originally published in 1883, republished by the New Hartford Historical Society in 1993:
“With the development of the water power along the Tunxis* in the North Village, and the consequent increase in population and enterprise, the inhabitants of that portion of the town began to feel the need of a place of worship nearer home than the old meeting house on Town Hill. The new comers in town were entirely without interest in the old place of worship, and feeling no attachment for the time honored locality, looked at the matter of a new church without any consideration of sentiment, but purely as a public and private convenience in religious accommodations. It was not strange that this enterprise should have been viewed with disfavour by the pastor and members of the church resident on Town Hill, nor that public feeling, pro and con, for a time ran high, and the good people of the town were divided into factions in church matters.”
*The Farmington River
This short paragraph, which discusses the establishment of the North Congregational Church, founded in 1828, in the (now) center of New Hartord captures one of the great shifts in southern New England history. Town Hill, the old center, was the center of a small agricultural, hill town; the North Village, however, was a mill town. The church or meeting house was far more than a building, it was the town center both symbolically and physically. The old Town Hill church would be abandoned a few decades later, today only the foundations and the bell remain.