Barnum-Palliser Historic District

Street view of Barnum Palliser historic district, Austin Street; Source- NRIS 82000995.
Historic/Common Name:
Barnum/Palliser Development, Barnum Palliser National Register Historic District
Bridgeport »
Year of Establishment:
Historic Designation:
District Authority:
Historic District Commission No. 1
Nature of Authority:
District Character:
Urban neighborhood
Eligible for Historic Home tax credits:
General description:

The Barnum-Palliser Development Historic District is a collection of 33 frame residential structures and a brick school house that comprise a working-class Victorian community in the South End of Bridgeport. The majority of structures in the District (22) are of the double-house type, and of these all but one (the Keating House at 349-51 Gregory Street) were constructed as a planned development by the architectural firm of Palliser, Palliser & Company in the period 1882- 1885. There is also a 4-unit block of row houses (374-84 Atlantic Street) and two single family houses (276 Gregory Street and 341 Myrtle Avenue) that are also attributable to the firm. [NR]

Significance of the district:

Architecture and Community planning: The Barnum/Palliser Development is an urban-scaled neighborhood of innovatively-designed working-class housing. It is associated with the real estate development aspect of the life of the important 19th-century showman P.T. Barnum (Criterion B); is reflective of his relationship with and philanthropic attitude toward those of a less favored social class, an important late-19th-century trend (Criterion A), and is primarily the work of the nationally-known architectural firm of Palliser, Palliser & Company (Criterion C). Of the four moderate-income housing developments this Bridgeport-based firm is known to have been responsible for in that city, this represents the only instance where the principals were actually owners of some of the properties, as well as the only such development which consists mostly of double houses. The work of another major architect, Warren R. Briggs, is also represented in the District in both earlier and later portions of the Myrtle Avenue School (Criterion C). [NR]

District Boundary:

The District is situated approximately one-quarter mile southwest of the city's downtown area, one-and-one half blocks south of the Connecticut Turnpike and three blocks south of Seaside at its closest point. It spreads across the following streets: Atlantic Street, Austin Street, Gregory Street, Myrtle Avenue and one property on Park Avenue; as described in the district ordinance.


Buildings [33 framed residences and one brick school house]


Residential, Commercial

Architectural Style:

Three of the Palliser buildings–266-8 and 257-9 Gregory Street and 341 Myrtle Avenue, are built in the Italianate style with flat roofs, heavy moldings, and other characteristics of this type. The remainder are in a style perhaps best termed "Eastlake", a Victorian Gothic style mingled with early Queen Anne, which employed Queen Anne massing, geometric detail, a linear arrangement of structural members, and decorative panels as highlights with incised sunflower, fan or sunburst motif. The Palliser buildings are all characterized by uniform setbacks, complimentary cornice heights, and overall massing, fenestration, porch design etc that relates noticeably from house to house. The other 9 residential buildings are spread throughout District are included for purposes of continuity. They are of either Italianate style (all constructed or remodeled in the decade of the 1870s) or Queen Anne (dating from the later 1880s and 1890s). Without exception they enhance the development houses by contributing to the enclosure of the block fronts, and are compatible in terms of scale, architectural design, and degree of preservation of the original fabric. The streetscapes are fairly uniform in overall feeling but varied in individual architectural treatment. [NR]

19th century

[1] District information and maps obtained from the town website
[2]Assessors information retrieved from the website
[3]GIS information retrieved on from the website
[4] Historic buildings survey data base documentation, Bridgeport, Connecticut Historical Commission, 1997.
[NR] Brilvitch Charles W. , Barnum/Palliser Historic District, National Register Nomination Number- 82000995 NRIS, National Park Service, 1982 -;


The property addresses with the parcel numbers denote the owner as in 2011 while the addresses without the parcels numbers note the owners as per 1982 , 82000995 NRIS. Historic District Number 1 is geographically comprised of all areas of City except Stratfield Historic District.


Map of the local historic district obtained from the City Hall.

View photo

The list of the designated properties has been obtained from Historic buildings survey data base documentation, Bridgeport, Connecticut Historical Commission, 1997, City Hall, Bridgeport. In case of any discrepancies and/or omissions, the user is urged to contact the Historic District Commission for verification.

Date of Compilation:
Manjusha Patnaik, CT Trust for Historic Preservation