1813 Steeple Still a Norfolk Icon in 2024

When the Reverend Ammi Robbins persuaded his congregation to look for an architect to build “as good a house as you can for Six Thousand Dollars,” they voted to build it with a steeple. This was unusual for a northwestern Connecticut church in the Early Republic, historian Ann Havemeyer said. A cupola would have been more traditional at the time. 

Speaking to the crowd gathered this past Saturday for the dedication of the Church of Christ Congregational’s newly renovated and replaced steeple, Havemeyer explained that a “steeple was more visible. It functioned almost like a billboard, albeit a beautiful billboard….In Norfolk, a tall spire rising in the Green Woods, which people in more populated areas might have considered the backwoods, would be a sign of civility and refinement,” she said.

That beautiful beacon, erected in 1813, braved 211 severe Norfolk winters before it nearly succumbed to the ravages of time. It has been extensively restored since it was removed from the clock tower three-and-a-half years ago. A multi-year fundraising campaign brought in more than $575,000 toward the project and the church received a $200,000 State Historic Preservation Office grant.

Marie Civco, chairman of the church’s Raise the Steeple Committee, thanked all the volunteers and professionals who helped organize and support the restoration. Looking toward the future, the church is continuing its fundraising efforts to establish an endowment for the steeple’s future preservation.

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