Colebrook North Historic District

Phelps Farm, view northwest, showing Edward A. Phelps house (left) and Arah Phelps Inn; Source - NRIS 83001249.
Historic/Common Name:
Phelps Farm Historic District, Colebrook Historic District No. 2
Colebrook »
Year of Establishment:
Historic Designation:
District Authority:
Historic District Commission, Colebrook
Nature of Authority:
District Character:
Eligible for Historic Home tax credits:
General description:

Phelps Farms Historic District is a late 18th arid early 19th-century farmstead comprised of three dwellings and eight outbuildings. These structures stand in a cluster around the intersection of Route 183 and Prock Hill Road a few miles north of Colebrook center in Connecticut. The approximately 35-acre tract is situated in an alluvial valley that extends northwest and sou-Breast. The farm's buildings stand toward the northwestern side of the valley, commanding a long view of the flat fields that stretch to the south along both sides of Route 183. The boundaries of the district were drawn to include that complex of landscape and buildings which retains its historic appearance and physical integrity. These boundaries are largely defined by natural and topographical features, such as forest edges and a stream. The Phelps farmstead reflects the functional evolution of the property from its establishment as a farm and tavern/inn during the 1780s through its development as a prosperous 19th-century dairy farm and its use as a working farm and home at present. Ownership of the –arm, which began with Josiah Phelps II's purchase in the third quarter of the 18th century, has since remained in the Phelps family. [NR]

Significance of the district:

Architecture, Agriculture, Transportation : Phelps Farms Historic District is important historically for its outstanding physical integrity as a 19th-century Connecticut farmstead (Criterion A). The nominated property is unusually intact in both its structural fabric and setting, and retains nearly all the residential and utilitarian buildings present during the farm's most intensive period of activity, or during the second and third quarters of the 19th century. The cluster of three dwellings and eight outbuildings stand in a rural landscape which has changed in its historic appearance only in the re-growth of formerly cleared nearby uplands. Phelps Farms is equally remarkable for the outstanding architecture of its three principal buildings (Criterion C). The three dwellings of the farmstead are, respectively, virtually pristine, archetypical vernacular Federal, Greek Revival, and Gothic Revival structures. Such a concentration and variety of well-preserved and architecturally exemplary buildings remaining in their historic setting is extremely rare. Each of the three buildings exemplifies the domestic vernacular architecture of its period and region and retains nearly all of its original exterior and interior fabric. [NR]

District Boundary:

The district includes the immediate vicinity of the area known as Phelps Corners (or Phelps Farms), known as North Colebrook Historic District. The includes the following buildings and their adjacent property lines as described in the district ordinance: The Phelps Tavern, the Coach House, the Yellow House, the Blum House, the General Phelps House, the Chimney House and the North Colebrook Baptist Church. [2]


Buildings, Open space


Residential, Educational, Museum

Architectural Style:

Federal, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Vernacular

18th Century, 19th Century

[1] District information retrieved from the town website
[2] Colebrook Historic Study Committee Report, 1962, SHPO Library, Hartford.
[NR] Gilchrist Alison, Phelps Farm Historic District, National Register Nomination Number- 83001249 NRIS, National Park Service, 1983-;


The farmstead, Phelps Farm National Register Historic District, comprises of the locally-designated Colebrook Historic District #2. The main dwelling, or the Arah Phelps Inn, is listed individually on the National Register of Historic Places.


Map of Phelps farm homestead retrieved from the National Register nominations, NRIS 83001249.

View photo

The list of the designated properties has been retrieved from the Study Committee Report, SHPO library, Hartford. For the complete list of street addresses and further information on the district, the user is urged to contact the respective Historic District Commission.

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