Cornwall Avenue Town Center Historic District

View of the Town Hall at 84 South Main Street, 1867, Greek Revival; Source: Town Website.
Historic/Common Name:
Cheshire National Register Historic District
Cheshire »
Year of Establishment:
Historic Designation:
District Authority:
Cheshire Historic District Commission
Nature of Authority:
District Character:
Town center
Eligible for Historic Home tax credits:
General description:

The Cornwall Avenue- Town Center Historic District reflects the original composition associated with the earliest community settled in the town of Cheshire. The district includes residential, commercial and institutional buildings, which makes it a unique area in the town and the contributes to the spirit and neighborhood character. The in-town residential neighborhood with stores, schools, churches, the Town Hall and Library, all within easy walking distance, defines this sense of spirit. This spirit is characterized by tree-lined sidewalks, hilltop vistas and large front porches for visiting with neighbors, make a stroll through the center of the town easy and inviting. Along Cornwall Avenue, front lawns flow freely between charming homes in a variety of styles. Doorway gardens, white fences and friendly greetings offer surprises at every turn. There are treasured old trees, a beautiful view to the west ridge and sounds of church bells ringing from the Green. Each building in this historic district has a story to tell about the history of the neighborhood and should be recognized and valued in its own right. As part of the neighborhood, each district has come to play a significant role in the development of the spirit of the district which helps the 21st century to remain connected with the bygone era. [2]

Significance of the district:

Architecture, Community:The Cheshire Historic District, located in the town center, is a well-preserved, distinguishable entity which contains a high concentration (95%) of historic residential, commercial, and institutional buildings dating from 1720-1936. An exceptional cross section of type and style constructed in several distinct time frames presents a tangible microcosm of Cheshire's history: the colonial period, the stage and turnpike era, the industrial period, and the early twentieth century. Representative examples of historic architecture from the colonial period to the twentieth century are contained in the Cheshire Historic District. Historic growth and development have not erased its eighteenth-century origins; nineteenth- and early twentieth-century construction has generally interspersed and overlaid the colonial base. Although historic buildings have been lost through demolition in the last ten years and been replaced by modern construction, there is a minimal amount of modern intrusion. For the most part the houses and other buildings in the Cheshire Historic District are well-preserved. Most of the alteration has been historical in nature, having taken place in the nineteenth century. A limited amount of inappropriate modern siding has been used and in very few cases does this siding obscure or cover significant architectural details. The eighteenth-century collection of buildings is particularly notable because it contains a high proportion of two representative types, the Cape Cod style and the gambrel-roofed colonial form. Cheshire's small town character persists into the 21st century with the historic district. The dwellings, churches, schools, stores and institutional buildings retain their aesthetic, architectural and historical integrity and is one of the most significant assets of the community in this century. [NR & 2]

District Boundary:

The local historic district includes the town center of Cheshire encompassing properties along the following major roads - Cornwall Avenue, South Main Street, Main Street and Church Drive; as described in the district ordinance. It also includes the following structures from the Cheshire Academy- Bowden Hall, Bronson Hall, Gideon Welles Commons, Hurley Hall, Horton Hall, Von Der Porten Dormitory, Beardsley Hall, Harwood Student Center, Middle School, Richmond Science Center Student Infirmary, Technology Building, John W. Leahy Maintenance Building, Skilton House, Walters House and Borden House.


Buildings, Open Spaces, Others (side walks, hilltop vistas, etc)


Residential, Commercial, Institutional, Religious

Architectural Style:

Cape-style, Georgian Style, Federal Style, Gothic Revival, Colonial Revival, Second Empire, Queen Anne

18th Century, 19th Century and early 20th Century

[1] District information retrieved from the town website
[2] Final Report of the Historic District Study Committee, Cornwall Avenue Town Center and South Brooksvale Historic Districts, 2004, SHPO Library, Hartford.
[3] Assessors information and Parcel IDs retrieved from [2] and GIS website
[NR] Jan Cunningham, consultant, Cunningham Associates and John Herzan, Connecticut Historical Commission, Cheshire Historic District, Cheshire, Connecticut, nomination document, 1986, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C. (Source:


The local historic district and the National Register Historic District share the same core but have different district boundaries.


The local historic district map retrieved from the Historic District Study Committee Report, 2004.

View photo

The list of the designated properties has been obtained from the Final Report of the Historic District Study Committee, Cornwall Avenue Town Center and South Brooksvale Historic Districts, 2004, SHPO Library, Hartford. 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