District Overview Inventory List District Map

Colebrook North 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:
District Authority:
Historic District Commission, Colebrook
Link to Commission or Municipal Website:
District Character:

Buildings, Open space

Architectural Style:

Federal, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Vernacular

18th Century, 19th Century

Phelps Farms Historic District is a late 18th arid early 19th-century farmstead comprised of three dwellings and eight outbuildings. These structures stand in a cluster around the intersection of Route 183 and Prock Hill Road a few miles north of Colebrook center in Connecticut. The approximately 35-acre tract is situated in an alluvial valley that extends northwest and sou-Breast. The farm's buildings stand toward the northwestern side of the valley, commanding a long view of the flat fields that stretch to the south along both sides of Route 183. The boundaries of the district were drawn to include that complex of landscape and buildings which retains its historic appearance and physical integrity. These boundaries are largely defined by natural and topographical features, such as forest edges and a stream. The Phelps farmstead reflects the functional evolution of the property from its establishment as a farm and tavern/inn during the 1780s through its development as a prosperous 19th-century dairy farm and its use as a working farm and home at present. Ownership of the –arm, which began with Josiah Phelps II's purchase in the third quarter of the 18th century, has since remained in the Phelps family. [NR]

Architecture, Agriculture, Transportation : Phelps Farms Historic District is important historically for its outstanding physical integrity as a 19th-century Connecticut farmstead (Criterion A). The nominated property is unusually intact in both its structural fabric and setting, and retains nearly all the residential and utilitarian buildings present during the farm's most intensive period of activity, or during the second and third quarters of the 19th century. The cluster of three dwellings and eight outbuildings stand in a rural landscape which has changed in its historic appearance only in the re-growth of formerly cleared nearby uplands. Phelps Farms is equally remarkable for the outstanding architecture of its three principal buildings (Criterion C). The three dwellings of the farmstead are, respectively, virtually pristine, archetypical vernacular Federal, Greek Revival, and Gothic Revival structures. Such a concentration and variety of well-preserved and architecturally exemplary buildings remaining in their historic setting is extremely rare. Each of the three buildings exemplifies the domestic vernacular architecture of its period and region and retains nearly all of its original exterior and interior fabric. [NR]

[1] District information retrieved from the town website http://www.townofcolebrook.org/.
[2] Colebrook Historic Study Committee Report, 1962, SHPO Library, Hartford.
[NR] Gilchrist Alison, Phelps Farm Historic District, National Register Nomination Number- 83001249 NRIS, National Park Service, 1983- http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/83001249.pdf; http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Photos/83001249.pdf.

The farmstead, Phelps Farm National Register Historic District, comprises of the locally-designated Colebrook Historic District #2. The main dwelling, or the Arah Phelps Inn, is listed individually on the National Register of Historic Places.

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