Canton Center Historic District

View of Cherry Brook Road showing Canton Center General Store; Source- NRIS 97000831.
Historic/Common Name:
Canton Center National Register Historic District
Canton »
Year of Establishment:
Historic Designation:
District Authority:
Canton Center Historic District Commission
Nature of Authority:
District Character:
Small Town Center
Eligible for Historic Home tax credits:
General description:

The formal history of Canton Center Historic District began in May 1750 when the Connecticut General Assembly established the First Ecclesiastical Society of West Simsbury, as it was initially named. After the Town of Canton was incorporated in 1806, the center for town government was in the district for over a century, until the village of Collinsville on the town's southern border became the seat of government in 1920.Early settlers came to farm the land, raising rye, Indian corn, cattle, sheep, swine, and apples. Existing Colonial-style houses were built starting toward the end of the 18th century when the farming community had become well established and prosperous. Cherry Brook also offered waterpower potential which was soon developed. There were several dam sites, three of which survive but not in anything like original condition. Over the years, water powered enterprises included eight distilleries to process alcoholic cider, three tanneries, three grain mills, four sawmills, two fulling mills, one powder mill, and one tin factory. In general, the mills serviced and supported the agrarian economy. [NR]

Significance of the district:

Architecture, Agriculture: Canton Center Historic District exhibits good examples of well-preserved buildings constructed in the Colonial, Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, and Queen Anne architectural styles which were erected to support the agricultural district's farming activities during the 18th and 19th centuries. The many open spaces, which to a significant degree are still used for farming, define the historic agrarian environment characteristic of the rural setting. Nine of the properties in the Canton Center Historic District are larger than 20 acres, the largest 163. The Canton Center Historic District also fulfilled multiple additional functions as the seat of town government and the center for social, religious, and mercantile activities essential to a 19th-century agrarian society. The total resource of farmland, associated buildings, and town-center cluster constitutes a good example of a well-preserved rural agricultural district in its entirety, unusual in Connecticut's Central Valley Historic Context Region. [NR]

District Boundary:

The southern boundary of the District on the westerly side of Route 179 is defined by the southerly boundary of the Lyle Crowley property, and on the east side of Route 179 by a linear extension of that line. The District extends northerly from this boundary along both sides of Route 179 to Meadow Road, then westerly along both sides of Meadow Road to West Road, then southerly along both sides of West Road and Barbourtown Road to Route 179. The northern boundary of the District on the east side of Route 179 is a line extending perpendicular to Route 179 on the north side of Samuel Richardson house. On the west side of West Road the northerly boundary is defined by the northerly boundary of the Rodney Pratt property. The District includes all property within 1000 feet of the centerline of the specified sections of the above roads, excepting otherwise noted. [3]


Buildings, Open space, Cemetery


Residential, Religious, Trade, Education

Architectural Style:

Colonial, Greek Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival

18th Century, 19th Century, 20th Century; Period of significance- 1785-1941

[1] District information retrieved from the town website
[2] Canton Center Historic District, Preliminary report of the Historic District Study Committee, 1974, SHPO Library, Hartford.
[3] Historic district ordinance accessed in the town website,
[4] GIS information and Parcel IDs retrieved from and
[NR] Ransom David F., Canton Center Historic District, National Register Nomination Number- 97000831 NRIS, National Park Service, 1997 -;


The local historic district, subject to setbacks does not share the boundary with the corresponding National Register historic district.


Map of the historic district retrieved from the Study Committee report, 1974.

View PDF

The street addresses of the designated properties have been obtained by comparison of the historic district map attached with the Historic District Study Committee report, 1974, and the online GIS map retrieved from the website- For further information on the district, the user is urged to contact the respective district authority.

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