Union Baptist Church, Hartford
Founded in 1871, this was the first African-American Church in Hartford, and one of the oldest in the state.
Its history began a few years after freedom was declared in the Emancipation Proclamation, when a group of people from Essex County, Virginia migrated to Hartford. The Christians among them met in each others’ homes for prayer, Bible study, worship and fellowship. By 1871 they had outgrown the homes where they met, and decided to find a public place of worship.
A railroad boxcar on Spruce Street in Hartford became their tabernacle for praise, worship, and fellowship. Members would walk to church, even at night, from as far away as Wethersfield, Connecticut.
In 1889 ideological differences split the church into two congregations, Union Baptist Church and Shiloh Baptist Church. A former pastor led a ministry of reconciliation between the two congregations and in time, Union and Shiloh became sister churches, initially sharing Deacons and since then continuing to meet together for worship and fellowship twice yearly.
Through the years the congregation has had several homes, including sites at: Albany Avenue and East Street; Wooster Street; and the 1908 construction of a handsome brick structure at 31 Mather Street. In 1925 the congregation purchased its present home at 1921 Main Street, shown here.