Inventory of Local Historic Districts and Local Historic Properties, Connecticut:
Local Historic Districts and Local Historic Properties have proved to be among the most effective tools for preservation. These designations offer the maximum protection to historic building fabric and ensure that any exterior alterations are consistent with and appropriate for the existing character of the district or property. But sometimes it can be difficult to know whether a property is actually in a Local Historic District. This can pose a challenge, both to the regulatory authority and to homeowners, prospective owners, real estate agents, and others. This ambiguity may lead to inappropriate alterations, resulting in the loss of a building’s historic significance and integrity, or may deprive a property of the preservation opportunities offered to historic buildings in the larger development process.
To address this problem, the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, with support from the State Historic Preservation Office, Department of Economic and Community Development (SHPO), has created a web-based comprehensive inventory of all the Local Historic Districts and Properties in the State of Connecticut. The inventory is intended to serve as a guide to the Local Historic Districts and the Local Historic Properties in the State of Connecticut and does not have any official regulatory status. It includes more than 8,000 historic properties listed in 135 Local Historic Districts and the 93 Local Historic Properties across the state. Information for most districts has been retrieved from the respective study committee reports or district ordinances filed with the SHPO. For others, information has been collated from town offices, district commissions, or GIS maps available online.
This comprehensive inventory of the Local Historic Districts and the Local Historic Properties is a valuable resource not only for this historic district/properties commissions and certified local government officials, but also for owners of historic houses, prospective owners, real estate agents and others interested in historic properties and building and landscape preservation.
For each Local Historic District or Property, an overview page offers a general description of the resource, its significance, architectural style, era, present use, and notes on its establishment. It also includes links to the respective district/property authority, town website, district maps, GIS information, and other online resources like district ordinances or historic district handbooks.
The interactive statewide map indicates the approximate boundaries of Local Historic Districts and Properties, supported by an inventory of the designated properties or parcels. For easy navigation within the website, the user has the choice of browsing the interactive statewide map or using the town-by-town index. The maps of the districts include the point locations of listed properties noting the street address, historic names, the Assessors’ parcel IDs and providing a link to an aerial view which allows the user to have a virtual tour of the district. The website also includes a property-wise search engine to determine whether a particular street address is included in any LHD or is a LHP.
Local Historic Districts established under the state enabling act are often confused with National Register historic districts, which do not have the same preservation regulations but may or may not share the same boundaries. To make clear the distinction between the two designations, each district overview page also discusses the boundary of the LHD with respect to the corresponding National Register historic district.
Special thanks to Manjusha Patnaik, Project Manager for the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, for the research and writing and to John Harmon, website consultant, for the technical expertise. Also thank you to Helen Higgins, Executive Director of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation and to Gregory Farmer, Connecticut Circuit Rider for the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Thank you to Mary Donohue, Survey & Planning Grants Coordinator, and Mary Dunne, Certified Local Government & Historic Tax Credits Coordinator, State Historic Preservation Office, for their valuable time and expertise.
Last but not the least, thank you to all the Historic Districts and Properties Commissions, Town Clearks, Town Assessors, Town Libraries and others for their help and cooperation without which this project could not have been complete.