District Overview Inventory List District Map

Stepney 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:
CCT approved the district in 2003 with the ordinance passed in 2006
District Authority:
Historic District Commission
Link to Commission or Municipal Website:
District Character:
Town Green

Buildings, Green, Cemetery, Open Space

Architectural Style:

The architecture of Upper Stepney is a mixture of styles. This represents the changes in architecture that took place during its development to present. Primarily, today, there is a combination of Federal, Greek Revival, Victorian-Italianate and modern structures. All signs of early colonial structures no longer exist.

18th Century, 19th Century, 20th Century

Upper Stepney/Birdsey's Plain Historic District is located in the western section of the Town of Monroe. It includes the Stepney Green and homes and businesses near and by the Green on Route 25 as well as other surrounding roads. A history of Upper Stepney or Birdsey's Plain and its Green, as the Town of Monroe itself, has its genesis in the 'mother town' of Stratford founded in 1639. For years, men fished, hunted, trapped and drew upon the areas resources, but actual settlement did not come until the about the first decade of the 18th century. The 19th century development of the Stepney and Birdsey's Plain (Upper Stepney) area of this western segment of Monroe was largely brought about by the construction of the Housatonic Railroad which opened in 1840. The origin of the name Stepney is uncertain but it appears in land records by the 1730's. Birdsey's Plain was named after Joseph Birdsey, an early settler, c. 1780. [2]

Birdsey's Plain has been an important crossroads since colonial times. In the early 19th century, two turnpikes intersected there. The convergence of transportation routes was a catalyst for the growth here of one of Monroe's major commercial and population centers. A 'Place of Parade had been set aside for Public Use' in 1817, now known as Stepney Green. This became the town's second green established just before Monroe's incorporation in 1823. In Birdsey's Plain (Upper Stepney), there were cobbler shops, a livery stable, a smithy, at least two general stores and an inn. This area hummed with trade during the Civil War era. The 19th and the early 20th Century shopping center for Western Monroe and the hub of Birdsey's Plain was the Burritt/Burr Hawley's store. Built about 1870, it was the grandest store in all Monroe. [2]

[1] District information retrieved from the town website http://www.monroect.org/.
[2] Monroe Center Historic District, Report of Stepney Historic District Study Committee, 2003, SHPO Library, Hartford.
[3] Assessors information and Parcel IDs retrieved from the Report of Stepney Historic District Study Committee, 2003, SHPO Library, Hartford.[2]


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