Flanders Historic District

View of Mills House, Main (north) facade, view southeast; Source - NRIS 79002618.
Historic/Common Name:
Kent »
Year of Establishment:
Historic Designation:
District Authority:
Historic District Commission
Nature of Authority:
District Character:
Village Center
Eligible for Historic Home tax credits:
General description:

Flanders is a small group of 18th- and early 19th-century houses in a rural area about a mile north of the present town center of Kent. The terrain in the district is mostly flat, with a rise in elevation at the southwestern end. The houses are spaced well apart, though none is visually isolated, and the land is about equally divided between woods and meadow. Much of the latter is still used for agriculture, particularly the raising of beef cattle and horses. Flanders was the original settlement center in Kent, a town formed when Connecticut's General Assembly decided to auction off the remainder of the colony's "western lands" in Litchfield county. Lots in the first division of the new settlement were sold at Windham courthouse in 1738; and the first residents arrived to take up their holdings shortly thereafter. Until the 1840's, Flanders remained the town's administrative and religious center; but, after a railroad and an accompanying station were constructed to the south, Kent's focal point gradually shifted to encompass this bearer of economic progress and prosperity, leaving Flanders to mellow in its antique beauty, free, until now, from pressures for change. [NR]

Significance of the district:

Architecture, Conservation, Education, Social/Humanitarian: Within its bounds, the Flanders area of Kent, Connecticut, contains an important collection of architecturally significant houses. These ten houses, built between 1740 and 1840, are country adaptations and interpretations of the dominant styles of the period: Colonial, Federal and Greek Revival. The five large Federal houses are undoubtedly the district's centerpiece; yet the others, the three Colonial structures and the two which exhibit elements of the Greek Revival style, are not only of interest on their own merits, but form a pleasing architectural counterpoint to their outstanding Federal neighbors. The ten houses, thanks to their setting along tree-shaded roads surrounded by open fields other out-buildings, form a unified, aesthetically pleasing composition. The houses are architecturally significant, providing a visual catalogue of some of the ways in which the dominant styles of the period between 1740 and 1840 were adapted and interpreted in a provincial atmosphere. As such, they also reflect the wealth and intellectual outlook of their owners, and are tangible evidence which contributes to an understanding of the social history of this community. In addition to the architectural significance of the district, Flanders is important because it includes the possible birthplace of Birdsey Grant Northrop (1817-1898). [NR]

District Boundary:

The Flanders Historic District is an area which includes a series of contiguous properties located north of the current village of Kent in the area known as Flanders, together with the sections of public roads between those properties. The designs and architectural features of the buildings and structures on these properties are representative of the first settlement of the Town of Kent in 1739 until the village center was moved to the 'Great Plaine'. The boundaries of the historic district are as delineated in section 7-2.2 of the Town of Kent Ordinance establishing the Historic District, adopted at a town meeting on March 5, 1976 and taking effect on March 26, 1976. [District Regulations]


Building, Fields, Open spaces


Residential, Agricultural

Architectural Style:

Colonial, Federal, Greek Revival

18th Century, 19th Century

[1] District information retrieved from the town website http://www.townofkentct.org/.
[2] Historic District regulations accessed from the town website [http://www.townofkentct.org/dokument.php?id=1271].
[NR] Clouette Bruce and Keiner Hal, Flanders National Register District, National Register Nomination Number- 79002618 NRIS, National Park Service, 1979 - http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/79002618.pdf; http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Photos/79002618.pdf.


The local historic district and the National Register Historic District of the same name are similar in extent but not co-terminus. The preservation of the National Register Historic district, at least in part, is encouraged by the existence of the local historic district. The boundaries of the local district and the National Register Historic District are generally similar, except that the Mills House (#1, NR), House (#11 NR), and the barns along Cobble Road were excluded from the local study. [NR]


The street addresses and the parcels IDs of the designated properties were not available at the time this information was compiled. For the complete list of the designated properties 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