St. John Church
Middletown Heritage Trail Site 6
19 St. John’s Square
Hm. A decent enough church (with secret free 2 hour parking on the side street!). The brochure states, “Irish Immigration; church & cemetery; North End neighborhoods; the old fire station.”
The church’s website states, “The History of Saint John Church – This page is still under construction. Please be patient. Saint John Church has a lot of history and this page will take some time. But the wait will be worth it.” I wonder if I’ll remember to ever go back to update this page? I doubt it.
Fortunately for us, there is a Heritage Trail sign out front… It tells the story of the Irish immigrants who fled their homeland during the Potato Famine in the 1840′s. A large group of them settled in Middletown’s North End and were treated like pariahs by the Protestant English who had settled the town.
The men labored across the river at the Portland quarries and the women were servants to the ruling class. Eventually, St. John was built with donated brownstone in 1852 (I’m guessing Middletown’s first Catholic church) with room for 1000 worshippers.
There is now a school and a cemetery here as well. And one of those wacky ET Buckle Up signs too!