South Congregational Church
Academy and Library
248 Salmon Brook Street
The Academy/library building in this picture was built in 1870 on the location of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. The Library Association was incorporated in 1869 and they built this grand two-story building with a basement. The Rev. Thomas D. Murphy conducted a select school there. Later, a room in the basement was fitted out for Town Meetings. It was first known as the Library Building. From 1872 until it burned down in 1917 it also housed what is now known as South Congregational Church.
The Early Years:
In the early years of Granby, there was but one church – the Salmon Brook Ecclesiastical Society. The earliest meetings were in the home of Daniel Hayes at the south end of Salmon Brook Street, near the fire station. By 1741 the first dedicated church building was erected just south of the present cemetery, at the north end of the Town Green. In 1775, because much of Granby’s population had moved westward, the building was moved to the corner of Creamery Hill Road and North Church Road, near the tiny cemetery. After a great deal of acrimony, a new more substantial church was built in 1834 on Route 189. This church building included a chimney and steeple with a bell. In 1856 the name was changed from the First Ecclesiastical Society of Salmon Brook to First Congregational Church of Granby.
The Rev. Mr. T.D. Murphy was hired in 1868 but by 1872 he began serving as pastor of both First Congregational Church and the newly formed South Congregational Church which then began to meet in the Library Building. The building was officially sold to South Congregational Church in 1886.
A Bit More:
Early pastors at South Congregational Church were: Rev. C.C. Campbell, Rev. Dighton Moses, Rev. Spencer E. Evans Rev. F. Barrows Makepeace, and the Rev. Frank H. Condet.
On January 7, 1917, the building burned to the ground. Since the building was also the town library, the site of the burned building was deeded to the Granby Library Association for another library which was to be a gift from the Bunce family. That building served as the town library until the current library was built in 1982. The little white building was then sold to the Farmington Valley Visiting Nurses Association.
The new church building next door was accompanied by the Community House, now the Parish House. The church and community hall were dedicated on, June 26, 1918. The longest-serving minister was Dr. Arthur E. Teale who served the congregation for 37 years, from 1923 until 1960.
The much-loved, long-time minister, the Rev. Dr. Arthur Teale was born in England near the Welsh border and was 12 when his father died. He went to Newfoundland in 1910 and served Methodist churches as a lay preacher. He then got a B.D. in Montreal and married Lillian Johnson in 1918. He came to Hartford Seminary in 1923 to study for his Ph.D. and took a temporary post at South Church. He stayed for 37 years. “I loved Salmon Brook Street when we first came here, there were many more trees and so thick. They made a huge arch over the street almost like a cathedral.” Dr. Teale’s fame as a walker was well-known and he often walked with James Lee Loomis – “my best friend, people called us the bums!”
In June of 1956, the church got $462,000 from the will of Alfred E. Holcombe, and the building was enlarged, rooms were added for the pastor’s study, office, and church school. An Austin pipe organ was installed.
A sign inviting folks to join them at worship.