District Overview Inventory List District Map

Little Haddam 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.

East Haddam
Year of Establishment:
District Authority:
Historic District Commission
Link to Commission or Municipal Website:
District Character:
Village Center

Buildings, Open spaces, Cemetery

Architectural Style:

Colonial, Federal, Greek Revival

c. 1700 - 1905; 18th Century, 19th Century, 20th Century

The Little Haddam Historic District is a small group of 18th and early-19th century buildings surrounding a rural crossroads in the town of East Haddam, Connecticut. Although Little Haddam lacks a village green, the broad right-of-way for Town Street, which runs in a north-south direction, provides a spacious lawn area in front of the buildings, especially for the meetinghouse, which is sited on a slight knoll. Most of the Little Haddam Historic District's houses retain their historic appearance substantially intact, with only minor additions and alterations. Today the buildings within the Little Haddam Historic District continue to recall the village's role in the town's history. The village's origins in the early 18th century are made obvious by the several well-preserved colonial houses associated with the Spencer, Emmons, and other early families. Little Haddam's importance as a center for religious activity is underscored by the meetinghouse and the Reverend Isaac Parsons House, which served as the Congregational parsonage until 1964. The meetinghouse also recalls the political life of the village, as does the 1857 town hall. Finally, the social activities that occurred in the village are memorialized by the Grange Hall. [NR]

Architecture, Art, Politics/Government, Religion-The Little Haddam Historic District has historical significance because the area it embraces served as a religious, political, and social focus for the town of East Haddam for many years. Little Haddam is the site of the first of the town's Congregational meetinghouses, along with one of the town's earliest burying grounds. The meetinghouse formed the nucleus around which a small cluster of buildings coalesced, with a district school, stores, the shops of artisans, doctors' offices, and taverns. Because the village was located on a relatively busy road, early enterprises could expect the patronage of both travelers and the farmers who gathered there for weekly religious services. The current meetinghouse and its predecessors also served secular purposes, accommodating town meetings until 1796. The town meetings returned to Little Haddam beginning in 1857, in a town hall built expressly for that purpose. Social activities for which Little Haddam provided a venue included militia companies, which in the 18th and early 19th centuries held their training musters in a broad expanse of land surrounding Town Street, and later the Grange, which held an annual fair in Little Haddam and met in the town hall prior to building its own social hall in 1905.

The Little Haddam Historic District also has significance because of the artistic and architectural qualities of its components. Many of the buildings in the Little Haddam Historic District embody the distinguishing characteristics of particular periods and styles of architecture. Gravestone carving in the 18th and early 19th centuries represented one of that culture's major mediums for artistic expression. With almost 40 examples, Little Haddam's burying ground is particularly well-endowed with this characteristic New England art form. [NR]

[1] District information retrieved from the town website http://www.easthaddam.org/.
[2] Little Haddam Historic District, Report of the Historic District Study Committee, 1976, SHPO Library, Hartford.
[3] Parcel IDs retrieved from the study committee report with the corresponding street addresses obtained from the Assessors office, Town of East Haddam.
[NR] Clouette Bruce and Cronin Maura, edited by John Herzan, Little Haddam Historic District, National Register Nomination Number- 96000783 NRIS, National Park Service, 1996 - http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/96000783.pdf; http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/96000783.pdf.

For the most part, the boundary of the National Register historic district coincides with that of the Little Haddam local historic district. However, the boundary of the National Register historic district continues eastward so as to include a parcel with open land and a small pond at the northwest corner of the intersection of Town Street and Orchard Road, part of the district's rural setting. [NR]

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