Floating Down the River

It is easy to overlook St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Hartford.  It sits up and off of Holcomb Hill, so none of the major routes go past it.

The church has an interesting history. It was originally built in Pleasant Valley, Barkhamsted. However, in 1862, the Baptist Church in New Hartford’s North Village purchased the building.  It was floated down the Farmington River in pieces and rebuilt in its current location.  This is perhaps less ridiculous than it sounds, because at that time the Greenwoods Pond Dam backed the Farmington River up nearly into Pleasant Valley.  Because of this, it was less a matter of floating it down a river and more a matter of floating it down a long narrow pond.  Nonetheless it must have been a remarkable sight.  It also is a clear indication of the value placed on a well constructed building and on pre-cut timber.

As mentioned, the building is somewhat off the beaten path.  However, at the time, it was thought that the East River road would be extended along that route.  Or at least might be extended along it.  Today, the section between Pleasant Valley is essentially an abandoned jeep track.  Route 44, the Greenwoods Turnpike, won out over the East River Road and its business factions.  The road was built on the west side of the river, and the church was not on that side.

Circa 1907, the Lutheran Church bought the building from the Baptists, and it has remained as a Lutheran Church to this day.

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