Birdcraft Sanctuary

Pond, Birdcraft Sanctuary, View Northeast; Source- NRIS 82004371.
Historic/Common Name:
Birdcraft Museum and Sanctuary
314 Unquowa Road
Fairfield »
Historic Designation:
Property Authority:
Fairfield Historic District Commission
Nature of Authority:
Eligible for Historic Home tax credits:
General description:

This wildlife sanctuary was established in 1914 through the driving interest of Mabel Osgood Wright, the first (1898) president of the Connecticut Audubon Society, and through the philanthropy of Annie Burr Jennings. The museum, bungalow and lake were all built at that time and all subsequently have been enlarged. The chimneys, for chimney swifts, was built after Mrs. Wright died in 1934. The original acreage has been reduced by government taking of 4.3 acres in 1957 for the Turnpike. In general, the appearance and atmosphere of the Sanctuary today are much the same as they were in 1914 when Birdcraft was opened. Birdcraft Sanctuary is approached from Unquowa Road up a driveway through a stone fence. There is a gateway consisting of two square stone piers and a two-leaf, wrought-iron gate. The right-hand pier is taller than the other and has nesting holes for birds near the top. Inside the gate, the first building, on the left, is the bungalow while the museum is a few feet further along on the right. The one-story, frame- bungalow with gable roof and shingled siding is inthe rustic style. [NR]

Significance of the property:

Conservation, Education: The Connecticut Audubon Society's Birdcraft Sanctuary is an early and successful example of wildlife conservation coupled from the start with an education and public awareness program that in recent years has burgeoned into the wide-spread conservation movement. (Criterion A.) The founder of the Sanctuary, Mabel Osgood Wright, and the Sanctuary's first and long-time curator, Frank J. Movak, were pioneers in the field whose work has had lasting influence in Audubon programs generally. (Criterion B)[NR]

Relationship with the Surroundings:

The Connecticut Audubon Society's Birdcraft Sanctuary, located two blocks north of the railroad station in Fairfield, is comprised of 6 1/2 acres of land with a museum, bungalow, free-standing chimney and lake. Birdcraft is bounded on the north and northeast by the Connecticut Turnpike, on the southeast by Tomlinson Junior High School, and on the west by Unquowa Road. Across Unquowa Road are a lodge hall and a low-rise apartment house. [NR]

Building, Sanctuary, Lake, Others- stone walls
Historic Use:
Present Use:
Museum, Wildlife Sanctuary
Architectural Style:
20th Century
Connecticut Audubon Society

[1] District information retrieved from the town website
[2] Fairfield Historic Properties Study Committee Report, 1999, SHPO Library, Hartford.
Assessors information retrieved from the website
[NR] Ramsom David F., Birdcraft Sanctuary, National Register Nomination Number- 82004371 NRIS, National Park Service, 1982.;
[NHL] Mesirow Jill S., Miller Dr. Page Putnam, Birdcraft Sanctuary, National Historic Landmark Nomination Number- 82004371 NRIS, National Park Service.;


Map of the historic property retrieved from the National Register Nomination Form, NRIS 82004371.

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