Eastern Point Historic District

View of general area from the south to north, 1979. Long Island Sound is in foreground at the bottom of photo and Thames River is in background at the top of the photo. [NR]
Historic/Common Name:
Eastern Point Historic District
Town:
Groton »
Year of Establishment:
1990
Historic Designation:
LHD, NRHD, SR
District Authority:
Eastern Point Historic District Commission
Nature of Authority:
Regulatory
District Character:
Suburban neighborhood
Eligible for Historic Home tax credits:
Yes
General description:

The Eastern Point Historic, located opposite New London in Groton, consists of some late 19th-century and early 20th-century domestic buildings. These buildings range from imposing Shingle Style mansions to quaint vernacular cottages. In the 19th-century, Eastern Point was a popular watering place, reaching its zenith at the turn of the century when many wealthy people built summer houses there. During the 1930s, the area began to decline as a resort community. Today, Eastern Point is primarily a year-round residential community dominated to the north by the Pfizer, Inc. pharmaceuticals factory.The district runs north and south along the banks of the Thames River, west of Eastern Point Road. It terminates at Shennecossett Beach, a public facility of the City of Groton. The district's primary focus is, and always has been, the waters of New London harbor and Long Island Sound. Consequently, the finest examples of late 19th -and early 20th-century architecture on Eastern Point command sites along the shore. Less grand summer residences are found behind these impressive structures. At the center of the district stands a large vacant lot; this is the site of the districts's major landmark, the Grisworld Hotel, demolished in 1969. [NR]

Significance of the district:

Architecture, Social/ Humanitarian (Criteria A, C): The Eastern Point National historic district comprises of a significant grouping of late 19th and early 20th-century summer residences, including examples of the Queen Anne, Colonial Revival and Shingle Styles. At the turn of the century, Eastern Point was a fashionable watering place for the middle to upper classes, most of them Connecticut residents, though some residents of other states, including Pennsylvania and Maryland, also summered there. Many of the houses, particularly those located right along the banks of the Thames River, are built on a grand scale, reflecting the increasing importance of leisure as an element of status and also indicating the wealth of the summer crowd. Since the 1940s, the district has declined as a summer resort and is now primarily a year-round residential community. In 1781, Eastern Point witnessed the landing of British troops who went on to engage the defenders of Fort Griswold. At this point, the area was farmland. Later, in 1837, Albert L. Avery, whose family had long been prominent in Groton's history (and who was himself a representative to the General Assembly in 1865), had the idea of "making a watering-place and summer resort of the pleasant point." He acquired 600 acres of land from his father and his brother, thus becoming the Point's first developer. At this stage, l837 to 1875, Eastern Point was most likely attracting visitors whose interests were primarily with the healthful aspects of a vacation by the sea, with its invigorating breezes. There was at the time an increasing awareness of such environmental influences on health and many summer colonies sprung up in response to this concern. Eastern Point's heyday occurred just after the turn of the century. At this point, the most influential force acting on Eastern Point's development was Morton F. Plant, a railroad magnate and yachtsman, who lived on a palatial estate nearby at Avery Point. The majority of the grand houses in the district date from this period just at the turn of the century and are built in the Shingle Style held so proper for beach houses. The grouping of houses at Eastern Point is substantially intact inspite of numerous changes and the hurricane of 1938 and the scale and appearance of this turn-of-the-century resort is preserved.[NR]

District Boundary:

The district inludes properties and vacant plots along the following major streets: Central Avenue, Cottage Place, Hillside Avenue, Island Avenue, Meech Avenue, North Prospect Street (East & West), Shore Avenue (East & West), South Prospect Street and few properties along Avery Street and Tyler Avenue, as described in the district ordinance.

Features:

Buildings, Island, Waterfront

Use:

Residential, Others- Public Beach

Architectural Style:

Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Shingle Styles

Era:
19th century, 20th century
Sources:

[1] District information retrieved from the town website http://www.groton-ct.gov/.
[2]Groton Historic District Study Committee Report, 1974, SHPO Library, Hartford.
[3] Assessors and GIS information retrieved from the website http://maps.groton-ct.gov/GrotonViewer/.
[NR] Zimerman Sarah J., Eastern Point National Register District, National Register Nomination Number- 08000499 NRIS, National Park Service, 1979 - http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/08000499.pdf; http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Photos/08000499.pdf

Notes:

The western boundary of the Eastern Point local historic district is similar to that of the Eastern Point National Register district whereas a lot of variations can be seen along the eastern boundaries of the two districts.

Links:
Map:

Town map of groton showing all the local historic districts retrieved from the town website.

View PDF
Disclaimer:

The list of the designated address has been obtained from the Groton Historic District Study Committee Report, 1974, SHPO Library, Hartford. For further information on the district, the user is urged to contact the respective district authority.

Date of Compilation:
9/30/11
Compiler:
Manjusha Patnaik, CT Trust for Historic Preservation