Farmington Main Street Historic District

View of the house at 172 Main Street, showing east front and south end; Source- NRIS 72001331.
Historic/Common Name:
Farmington Historic District, Farmington Village
Town:
Farmington »
Year of Establishment:
1965
Notes on Establishment:
The boundaries of the historic district established in 1965 was later expanded in 2007 to include three more properties.
Historic Designation:
LHD, NRHD, SR
District Authority:
Farmington Historic District Commission
Nature of Authority:
Regulatory
District Character:
Town Center
Eligible for Historic Home tax credits:
Yes
General description:

Farmington was settled in 1640 and became a town five years later. In 1774 it was the tenth most populous town in the colonies after Boston, Newport, New York, Philadelphia, Charleston, Salem, Baltimore, New Haven and Norwich, Connecticut. In that year its grand list was nearly 50% greater than the grand list of Hartford. Farmington owed its eminence to the enterprise of its merchants whose ships came up the Connecticut River as far as Middletown, where their cargos of sugar, molasses, rum and indigo were carted to Farmington for distribution to the new settlements such as Litchfield to the west and Northampton to the north. Business flourished in Farmington Village with its tinsmiths and silversmiths, hat makers, linen makers, leather workers, and makers of muskets, buttons and carriages. A canal which is still partly in evidence was a vital part of this commerce. The Farmington Historic District is not a museum-type town, but rather a living community of fine homes and a nationally-known school for girls. The concentration of these buildings within a relatively small area is one of its distinguishing features. Another interesting feature that can be noted is that houses of four different centuries are harmoniously sited within short distances of one another, the oldest being the Stanley-Whitman House which is already included in the National Register of Historic Places. Many of the old houses are still occupied by descendants of the early settlers. It is interesting to note that in 1962 at the tercentenary celebration of the founding of Farmington, descendants of each of the seven original founders of the church were still living in the town.

Significance of the district:

Architecture, Education, Social/Humanitarian: Farmington Historic District has three century span of architecture which is of rare historic character epitomizing the old New England village in its grandest form. The area, first settled by white men from Hartford in 1640, is concentrated with some 115 houses dating prior to 1835. There are also many styles of architecture in addition to the Colonial and post- Revolution houses, such as Greek Revival, mid 19th century Victorian and 20th century buildings as late as 1962. The small business area in the district contains excellent examples of Colonial architecture and also illustrates how business men and professional men have respected the historic aspect of the village while adaptive historic buildings to modern usage or in building appropriately in an area where old houses abound. The historic district includes Farmington Museum, Hillstead Museum, The First Meeting House and the buildings of Miss Porter's School. [2] The Elm Tree Inn is one of the street properties included in the district in 2007. It is major element of the historic streetscape and has strong associations with Farmington history, as one of the first inns and stopping place for Washington, Rochambeau and the wealthy and famous of the 19th century. [3]

District Boundary:

The northerly boundary of the original historic district is the demarcation between the northerly residential and the business area of the village and the open land of the golf course. The easterly boundary includes the old house on the east corner of Mountain Spring Road and Farmington Avenue, then across the Avenue to include the two old houses on Hillstead property. The line then follows the rear lot lines of High Street to the top of the Ledge which forms the natural geological eastern boundary of the ledge. The boundary follows the top of the ledge and the closest property lines, southerly to Diamond Glen Road. The southerly boundary includes the lots that front on the south side of Hatters Lane. From the underpass at Routes 10 and 6, the line runs parallel to and 200' from Main Street, on the west side, to Tunxis Street. The boundary then follows the rear property lines on the north side of Tunxis Street to Farmington River, which forms the permanent natural westerly boundary having historic associations with the village. [2] The district boundary was later expanded in 2007 to include the following three properties- 792 Farmington Avenue, 2 and 10 Mountain Spring Road. [3]

Features:

Buildings, Open spaces

Use:

Residential, Educational, Museum, Religious

Architectural Style:

_

Era:
17th Century, 18th Century, 19th Century, 20th Century
Sources:

[1] District information retrieved from the town website http://www.farmington-ct.org/.
[2] Farmington Historic District, Report of the second Farmington Historic District Study Committee, 1964, SHPO Library, Hartford.
[3] Expansion of Farmington Historic District, Historic District Commission Study Committee's Recommendations, 2007, SHPO Library, Hartford.
[4] Assessors information and Parcel IDs of the district retrieved from the study committee reports [2 & 3].
[5] Street numbers and the GIS information retrieved from the website http://www.crcog.org/gissearch/Default.aspx.
[NR] Butterfield Richard D., Farmington Historic District Commission, Farmington Historic District, National Register Nomination Number- 72001331 NRIS, National Park Service, 1972 - http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/72001331.pdf; http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Photos/72001331.pdf.

Notes:

The National Register nomination of Farmington Historic District does not list the designated properties but refers to the local historic district as the following: On the basis of enabling Legislation by the State of Connecticut and by local ordinance, a historic district was formed six years ago to help preserve the center of Farmington Village.

Links:
Map:

Historic district map showing the original district as established in 1965 and the 2007 expansion, Historic District Commission Study Committee's Recommendations, 2007, SHPO Library, Hartford.

View PDF
Disclaimer:

The street addresses and the parcels IDs of the designated properties have been obtained by comparison of the assessor information given in the Historic District Study Committee report, 1964, and the online GIS map retrieved from the website- http://www.crcog.org/gissearch/Default.aspx. For further information on the district, the user is urged to contact the respective district authority.

Date of Compilation:
12/31/11
Compiler:
Manjusha Patnaik, CT Trust for Historic Preservation