In September 2022, BeFoundation purchased the landmark church to prevent it from falling into further disrepair and ensure its rehabilitation. The reimagined Granite Church will be a community focal point, helping unify the historic village of Georgetown with a central gathering space for neighbors and visitors alike.
The history of Redding, the Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill, and the Granite Church are common threads of a shared fabric. The Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill, which operated in Redding for more than 140 years, from 1848 to 1989, was instrumental in establishing Redding as a “company town” for generations of immigrant workers and their families and played a key role in the economic development of the surrounding area.
Originally named the Gilbert Memorial Church, the Granite Church was one of five denominational churches built to support the growing number of mill workers and their families.
The Church was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Gilbert, but its construction was actually the product of the collaborative efforts of several local people including ex-postmaster James Corcoran who gave the land; Major David H. Miller who established a large trust for the church; and Miller’s wife, Catherine, who supplied the mortgage. The committee selected notable Bridgeport-based architect Joseph W. Northrop to design their new community church. Although a cornerstone was laid in October 1901, it was not until June 1902 that the church was dedicated as the Gilbert Memorial Church.
The Gilbert Memorial Church is completed in the Georgetown commercial district (5 N Main Street) using granite quarried in nearby Branchville. The Gothic Revival structure features stained glass windows, a bell tower, buttresses, pointed arch windows, a round turret with a conical roof, and a beautiful pipe organ, built circa 1900 by the Hutchings-Votey Co. of Boston, MA, and purchased by Edwin & Elizabeth Gilbert of Georgetown, Connecticut. Today, the rear of the property is home to a small cemetery containing the graves of Edwin and Elizabeth Gilbert.
The Gilbert Memorial Church becomes “independent of any denomination”.
The Gilbert Memorial Church becomes the Georgetown Bible Church.
The Georgetown Bible Church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing building in the Georgetown Historic District.
The Georgetown Bible Church is decommissioned for use as a church.
BeFoundation purchases the Georgetown Bible Church and begins planning for the rehabilitation of the newly renamed Granite Church in the Georgetown Historic District as a public gathering space to celebrate art, culture, and history.
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