Quinnipiac River Historic District

Street view of Quinnipiac River historic district, Quinnipiac Avenue.
Historic/Common Name:
New Haven »
Year of Establishment:
Notes on Establishment:
Ordinance passed on 8/7/78
Historic Designation:
District Authority:
Historic District Commission
Nature of Authority:
District Character:
Urban neighborhood
Eligible for Historic Home tax credits:
General description:

The Quinnipiac River Historic District is located in New Haven, Connecticut, a large industrial city approximately one hundred miles northeast of New York City on Long Island Sound. The district includes a large part of the former village of Fair Haven, a small maritime community which grew up on both the east and west banks of the Quinnipiac River in the late eighteenth century. Most of the buildings in the district were constructed between 1780 and 1920. Although the Quinnipiac River Historic District is largely residential, it also contains representative examples of the early commercial buildings, churches, and private schools as well as some of the buildings associated with the oystering industry which was the village's major focus from the 1780s until the turn of the century. Physically the district is grouped tightly on both sides of the river around the central point of the Grand Avenue Bridge. The river is not only geographically the central feature of the district, but it is the dominant feature because of the terrain of the district and the orientation of the buildings.The present appearance of the district is largely a product of construction between 1830 and 1925. The years 1970-1982 have seen a change in revitalization efforts in the neighborhood, aided by the creation of a local historic district in 1978 covering both sides of the Quinnipiac River. Although houses were demolished along South Front Street in the mid-1970s for the proposed water front park, those on North Front and East Pearl Streets have been undergoing renovation with efforts to revitalize housing in the original oyster village. [NR]

Significance of the district:

Architecture, Commerce, Education and Maritime history: The Quinnipiac River Historic District is a rare surviving example of an intact and cohesive nineteenth-century maritime community. It gained prominence in the mid-nineteenth century as a major oyster port, with ancillary industries of ship building and shipping. It had its own economic and political institutions until the late nineteenth century when it was annexed to the City of New Haven. Remaining today are a great many early and mid-nineteenth century structures built by local oyster dealers, mariners, and traders. Represented in the district are significant examples of domestic architecture spanning a 100 year period (1785-1885). These include some of the city's best vernacular examples of Colonial, Greek Revival, Italianate, and Italian Villa styles. [NR]

District Boundary:

The historic district includes properties along the following major streets: Quinnipiac Avenue, East Grand Avenue, East Pearl Street, Exchange Street and River Street; as described in the district ordinance.


Buildings, Waterfront


Residential, Commercial, Educational, Religious

Architectural Style:

Architectural styles are represented in the district include Colonial, Federal, Greek Revival, Italian Villa, Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne, High Victorian Gothic, Gothic Revival, Romanesque, Colonial Revival and Jacobethan Revival.

18th Century, 19th Century

[1] Assessor information retrieved from the website www.visionappraisal.com.
[2] District information and maps retrieved from the town website http://www.cityofnewhaven.com/.
[3] Additional information retrieved from http://www.nhpt.org/.
[NR] Ohno Kate , Quinnipiac River Historic District, National Register Nomination Number- 84001139 NRIS, National Park Service, 1984 - http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/84001139.pdf; http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Photos/84001139.pdf


The local historic district is partly contained in the national register district, extending further southwards along the river.


Map of the local historic district obtained from the City Hall, New Haven.

View PDF

The list of the designated properties has been obtained from the City Plan Department, City Hall, New Haven. In case of any discrepancies and/or omissions, the user is urged to contact City Hall, New Haven, and the Historic District Commission for verification.

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