District Overview Inventory List District Map

Southport 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:
The district was first established in 1966. The east boundary expansion of the district was approved on 03/03/94 and Spurce Street extention on 08/01/2007.
Overlapping Historic Designation(s):
District Authority:
Fairfield Historic District Commission
Link to Commission or Municipal Website:
District Character:
Urban neighborhood incorporating earlier village

Buildings, Waterfront

Architectural Style:

Greek Revival, Federal Style, Victorian.

18th century, 19th century.

For many years after its founding in 1639, Fairfield was the center of political and commercial activity, and Southport (or Mill River) was simply the western end of Fairfield and had no separate identity. Settlement in the area was slow and in 1779, even 120 years later, there could not have been many houses or stores along the harbor or river. It is recorded that in July of 1779, the day after British troops had virtually destroyed Fairfield, the British landed at Mill River and burned "8 houses and outbuildings, destroying furniture and whatever they could lay their hands on". It appeared that that those who lived at Hill Hiver were primarily farmers, cultivating the land that was acquired from the town, and that the center of commercial acitivity was in Fairfield. There was a wharf in Hill River as early as 1769 and at least one "market boat" sailed from there in 1775, but it was not until after 1783 that the possibilities of the harbor were further developed. In 1831 the area between the Harbor and Mill River and Sasco Creek was officially designated as a separate Borough and was named "Southport". Until the advent of the railroad in 1848-49, the prosperity of this community was based on the harbor, and Southport became the residence of men of substantial wealth whose interests were in shipping here and elsewhere. [NR]

Architecture, Commerce, Shipping: The historic district of Southport is significant because it has been the center of trade and commerces in Fairfield. Its history is typical of the development of commercial life in many New England ports in the fifty years following the revolutionary war. The architecture of the district consists primarily of buildings constructed after 1779 when the British visrtually destroyed Fairfield. It is a valuable concentration of Greek Revival and Vitorian structures which were for the most part the homes of substatial men whose wealth came from their involvement in commere, banking and shipping. [NR]

[1] District information retrived from the town website http://www.fairfieldct.org/.
[2] Final report of the Fairfield Historic District Commission, 1966, with respectto to the establishment of Historic districts in Greenfield Hill and Southport, SHPO Library, Hartford.
[3] Historic District Study Report, Proposal to expand the Southport Historic District, 1994, SHPO Library, Hartford.
[4] Amended final report, Proposal to expand the Southport Historic District to add the Spruce Street extension, Fairfield Historic District Study Committee, 2007, SHPO Library, Hartford.
[5] Assessors information retrieved from the website www.visionappraisal.com.
[NR] Constance Luyster, Southport Historic District, National Register Nomination Number- 71000898 NRIS, National Park Service, 1971 - http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/71000898.pdf;http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Photos/71000898.pdf.

The combined list of the properties enlisted in the main district and its extentions has been obtained from the reports [2], [3] and [4], as indicated in the sources. The district also includes at least twenty other properties for which only the owner name and contact adddress has been provided in the reports, without the street address nor the parcel IDs.

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