District Overview Inventory List District Map

Chaplin Historic District

LHD boundaries as described are approximate and subject to change. Consult the LHD Study Report on file with the relevant local district commission or municipal authority to verify district boundaries and whether a specific property, particularly one in proximity of a boundary line, is within the district. Also note that LHD boundaries may differ from those of State or National Register Districts.

Year of Establishment:
Notes on Establishment:
31 July 1974, by Town Ordinance
District Authority:
Historic District Commission
Link to Commission or Municipal Website:
District Character:
Rural Village

Buildings, Vacant Lots, Cemetery

Architectural Style:

Late Georgian, Early Greek Revival, Federal, Romanesque

19th century

The Chaplin Historic District is composed of 43 properties along both sides of Chaplin Street in the town of Chaplin in northeastern Connecticut. Most of the village was built soon after 1815 and the buildings, the street, and the general ambience remain largely unchanged. Chaplin Street runs in a curve. When the state highway, route 198, was put in, it was constructed in a straight line bypassing most of the district and thereby helping to ensure its continuity. The impetus for establishment of the 'Town of Chaplin' derived from the hardship entailed in regular Sunday travel to a distant church. To alleviate this problem, a wealthy local citizen, Deacon Benjamin Chaplin (died 1795), provided in his will for a portion of the money needed to erect a new church, providing it was built within one-half mile of his house, which later burned in 1928. Thus was the locale designated.

In the center of the district are a church and a tavern. Houses, town hall, library, post office, store, school, and cemetery are disposed along the street in both directions from the center. The chief architectural interest lies in the houses which are a uniform blend of late Georgian and early Greek Revival styles. [NR]

Architecture and Community planning: The Chaplin Historic District is an entire village built between 1815 and 1840, standing today in complete integrity, free of intrusions. The church, tavern, Town Hall, store and nineteen houses in late Federal and early Greek Revival styles provide a unique example of the architecture and ambience of a New England village, entirely constructed in a compressed period of time a century and a half ago, and unaltered since that time.

Architecturally, the three brick houses constructed from local clay and the sixteen late Federal and early Greek Revival frame houses give a good cross section of domestic building practices in rural New England at the time. The fanlights, side lights, and oval attic windows which are similar in all these houses are a chief decorative feature, and tend to tie together all the houses. The classic inspired trim in the form of pilasters and moldings around the doorways of both the Federal and Greek houses is a further unifying element. The quality and detail of these architectural features create considerable elegance, more so than might be expected from the work of country craftsmen, and testifies to the considerable talents of the anonymous joiners and builders responsible for the construction of the buildings which line the street. Such architectural cohesiveness is matched by the complete array of town functions furnished by the various structures. Chaplin provides a complete community both in terms of forms and functions and is a unique historical resource.

In the twentieth century a great boon to the preservation of Chaplin came in the form of a decision by state highway engineers to lay out state highway 198 in a straight line rather than to have it follow the meandering curve of Chaplin Street. Thus, the highway bypasses almost all of Chaplin District, permitting the street to remain free of heavy traffic and commercial exploitation.[NR]

[1] District information retrieved from the town website http://www.chaplinct.org/.
[2] GIS and Assessor information retrieved from the website http://www.wincog-gis.org/ags_map/.
[NR] Ransom David F., Chaplin National Register District, National Register Nomination Number- 78002856 NRIS, National Park Service, 1978 - http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/78002856.pdf; http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Photos/78002856.pdf.

The boundaries of the Chaplin National Register district were drawn in contiguous with those of the already existing local historic district established in accordance with Chapter 7-147 of the Connecticut General Statutes. [NR]

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