View Current Site of the Month

Previous Site of the Month: March 2012


Site of the Month Archer Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church
320 Hayden Station Road, Windsor, CT 06095

As early as the mid 1700’s there existed in Windsor’s Hayden Station area a small community of African Americans near  "the old pond" on the corner of Hayden Station and Pond Roads." After the Revolutionary War, the community grew a bit when they were joined by black families from other parts of Connecticut and Southern States.

Original Church BuildingIn the early 1800’s, Reverend Hatfield of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion denomination was sent to do missionary work in Windsor. Thou small in number the community’s quest for religious expression was strong. They began holding camp meetings in a large pine grove located north of the intersection of Hayden Station and Pond Roads. Reverend Payne and Reverend Jacob Johnson followed Rev. Hatfield as missionaries and the camp meeting continued. The first AME Zion Church in Windsor was formally organized in April, 1887 and the Rev. Dennis Scott White was sent as the first resident minister. The camp meetings continued into the early 1890’s. In late summer, the camp meetings were held for two to four weeks and would last all day and on into the evening. People would come from Granby, North Granby, Rockville, and as far away as Springfield and Torrington to participate.

 Sandy ArcherIn the late 1890’s, Rev. White and members of the community constructed a small church building near the old camp meeting site. This was made possible through monetary and land donations made by William O. Hayden and Frederick H. Thrall, respectively. In 1915, Rev. Byron Scott, the second resident minister, had the church moved from its original location in the pines to land on Hayden Station Road, which had been donated by long-time members, Sandy & Elizabeth Archer.

 Sandy Archer had escaped enslavement in Maryland via the Underground Railroad and settled in Windsor in the 1820’s. He and Elizabeth sold a plot of land to the church in 1892 which was used to build a parsonage. In 1908, they donated the property on Hayden Station Road to which the church building was moved in 1915. Elizabeth Archer died in 1908 and was the first person to be buried in the small church cemetery located near the original church site in "The Pines." In 1914, at age 108, Sandy Archer Cemetery Markerdied and was buried next to his wife. The church was named Archer Memorial AME Zion Church in memory of Mr. & Mrs. Sandy and Elizabeth Archer.The last burial took place in 1954 and brought the total number to 21.

The original church building burned in an attempt to remove bees. Following repairs, it deteriorated over the years and was torn down. The existing building was constructed in 1981.

 

 Sources:
Arhcer A.M.E. Zion Church

 

 

Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism
© 2017 Connecticut Freedom Trail | Site strategy & design by The Pita Group