District Overview Inventory List District Map

South Britain 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:
South Britain Historic District Commission.
Link to Commission or Municipal Website:
District Character:
Rural Village

South Britain historic district encompasses approximately 135 acres. Within this area there are 61 major buildings, a cemetery, the remains of a former woolen mill and a creamery, a bridge and a dam.

Architectural Style:

Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival/Shingle style, vernacular, modular/mobile.

Majority of the buildings were built in 18th century and 19th century

The South Britain Historic District is located in the geographic center of the Town of Southbury on Route 172, which is South Britain Road. It encompasses dam and mill sites, 18th and 19th century homes, churches, library, town hall, schools, stores, post office, and the cemetery, which together make up the village center of South Britain. In addition to properties fronting on South Britain Road, the district includes adjacent properties on East Flat Hill Road, Hawkins Road, Library Road, and Middle Road. A community was established at South Britain because of the water power. Mills were located on both sides of the Pomperaug River. Remnants of a sawmill and shingle mill exist at 523 South Britain Road. More extensive stone foundations and stone walls of a former woolen mill are across the river on the parcel of 497 South Britain Road. The South Britain Water Power Company carried water from the river by trench or canal northerly to its 40-acre reservoir north of East Flat Hill Road. The canal, dry, is clearly visible to the west of 32 East Flat Hill Road. The Water Power Company sold the water privileges for establishment of the mill at 24 Hawkins Road, although the present 19th century building still in use as a factory is not the original.Families associated with the mills lived in houses along South Britain Road. The oldest house is probably 584-586 South Britain Road. Buildings for all community functions are included in the South Britain Historic District: factory, houses, schools, churches, town hall, and stores. Generally of frame construction, they portray the architectural styles in vogue during the years of South Britain's development from the time of settlement to the time of the Civil War. [NR]

The South Britain Historic District is composed of good examples of American architectural styles from the time of settlement to after the Civil War. While the individual buildings have been altered over time, most of them retain their essential stylistic characteristics and, equally important, continue in their original relationship to one another. There are few intrusions. The relative integrity of the South Britain Historic District as a whole is a chief factor in its significance. The 18th and 19th century structures of the South Britain Historic District are good examples of the architectural styles in vogue during the district's period of development. The comprehensive variety of building types gives an unusually complete sense of the district's historic integrity. The history of the water power-dependent community can be clearly read from its architecture. [NR]

[1] District information retrieved from the town website http://www.southbury-ct.org/.
[2] South Britain Historic District, Report of South Britain Historic District Study Committee, 1989, SHPO Library, Hartford.
[3] Assessors information and Parcel IDs retrieved from the website http://www.equalitycama.com/Towns/Towns.htm.
[NR] Ransom David F., South Britain Historic District, National Register Nomination Number- 87000125 NRIS, National Park Service, 1986 - http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/87000125.pdf; http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Photos/87000125.pdf.

The South Britain local historic district (135 acres) is much larger and includes the National Register historic district (70 acres).

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