PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNAL: According to the Connecticut Historical Society, on July 4, 1883, more than 8000 people came to the Birmingham Green from all around the region for the dedication of the completed Civil War Monument. Derby was a town on the move, and Birmingham was its center.
In 1891 the original, 1836 Methodist Church was replaced by a new building designed by George Washington Kramer in the popular style of H.H. Richardson and uniquely laid out to serve the litergy and practice of Methodism. The building is grandly commanding at the top of the green, bursting with self-confidence. It’s two arched windows seem to embrace the green and town laid out before it.
Just two years earlier the Sterling Opera House, including Derby City Hall, had opened across the Green, even though Derby was not yet a city, and in 1891 the fury over Derby’s underhanded politics was still raging in Ansonia and Shelton and Hartford. Even so, when John Philip Sousa brought his band to town, Stars and Stripes echoed off these walls. Even without further knowledge of the personalities involved, one can still feel the dynamics of the time working their way into the cityscape and endowing the Green with layers of meaning.
See Robert Novakx's authoritative explanation of the events that led to the creation of the three cities: http://derbyhistorical.org/Derby%20Division.htm