District Overview Inventory List District Map

North Cove 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.

Old Saybrook
Year of Establishment:
District Authority:
Historic District Commission
Link to Commission or Municipal Website:
District Character:
Maritime Neighborhood

Buildings, Open spaces, Water front

Architectural Style:

Colonial/ Post medieval English; Early Republic/ Federal; Mid 19th Century/ Greek Revival; Late 19th and 20th Century Revivals/ Colonial Revival

18th Century, 19th Century, 20the Century (Period of significance: c. 1700 - 1927)

The North Cove Historic District is located on Saybrook Point in the Town of Old Saybrook. A narrow linear district bordered on the north by North Cove, a natural harbor, and on the east by the Connecticut River, the district extends the length of North Cove Road from plot number #55 North Cove Road towards the west to #64 Cromwell Place towards the east. Changes to the North Cove Historic District over time have been minimal. Although some of the names have been changed, the basic street pattern laid out in the mid-seventeenth century still remains. The spatial relationship between the buildings and their orientation to North Cove harbor, which is still apparent on nineteenth century maps, has been maintained. With few exceptions the houses are set close to the road and several are set off from the street by a variety of picket or rail fencing. The secondary structures consist of barns and carriage houses, as well as garages. Some of the latter were built in the early twentieth century. [NR]

The North Cove Historic District is an architecturally and historically significant illustration of the development of a small maritime landing at the mouth of the Connecticut River between 1645 and 1927. Of particular significance is its fine collection of well-preserved houses dating from c.1700 to 1855 that were built during its commercial heyday. They include exceptionally well-crafted examples of Colonial, Federal, and Greek Revival domestic architecture. Added significance is derived from the North Cove Historic District's important local historic association as the site of the first settlement of the Saybrook Colony. The historic character and setting of the North Cove Historic District is exceptional. Although it has continued to grow and develop as a residential neighborhood, historic sightlines have been maintained to the waterfront, thus preserving the original open interrelationship between the houses and the harbor. Few houses have been built along the North Cove shoreline since the nineteenth century. Later modern infill has conformed to the historic residential scale of the district and does not interrupt the visual continuity between the key historic resources. The houses of the colonial period are particularly significant for their age, state of preservation, and range of form. Few communities contain such a concentration of early eighteenth century houses. They not only demonstrate the possible variety of form and plan in this period, but they also demonstrate how some buildings from this period have evolved over time. [NR]

[1] District information retrieved from the town website http://www.oldsaybrookct.org/Pages/index.
[2] North Cove Historic District, Report of the Historic District Study Committee, 1984, SHPO Library, Hartford.
[3] GIS information and Parcel IDs retrieved from the website http://ceo.fando.com/oldsaybrook/find.aspx?service=OldSaybrook.
[NR] Cunningham Jan, North Cove Historic District, National Register Nomination Number- 94000766 NRIS, National Park Service, 1994 - http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/94000766.pdf; http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Photos/94000766.pdf

The National Register Historic District encompasses and expands upon the already established local historic district of the same name, including additional properties along Cromwell Place and North Cove Road.

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