Glastonbury Historic District

View of Main Street, southwest; Source- NRIS 84001011.
Historic/Common Name:
Glastonbury National Register Historic District
Town:
Glastonbury »
Year of Establishment:
1984
Historic Designation:
LHD, NRHD, SR
District Authority:
Historic District Commission
Nature of Authority:
Regulatory
District Character:
Town Center
Eligible for Historic Home tax credits:
Yes
General description:

Glastonbury's Main Street initially was an Indian trail[2] running from East Hartford south along the east bank of the Connecticut River, eventually leading to the mouth of the Thames River on Long Island Sound. It was adopted as a town street in the last decade of the 17th century and has been maintained for three centuries. Its layout has not been compromised; the wide thoroughfare is flanked by grassy strips and sidewalks from which the houses are comfortably set back. Large shade trees between the street and the sidewalks continue their important presence.

Most of the early structures were built as farmhouses by settlers who were attracted to the town by the attractive prospects for farming. Inevitably, a community soon grew up. Sawmills and gristmills were essential on streams located outside the district. Shops and taverns were needed; conventional houses often were adapted to such uses. By the time of the Revolutionary War shipbuilding was important, saltpeter was produced for gunpowder, tobacco was being grown and shipped. The district became built up with homes of men who engaged in diverse activities, as contrasted to the initial vocation of farming. Land holdings along Main Street became smaller; house lots were split off from farms.

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, while farming continued to be important, manufacturing enterprises of modest size grew up in Glastonbury, outside the district, including textiles, silver plate, tanneries and toiletries. Such activities enhanced the residential value of houses along Main Street in the district. Today, Glastonbury is regarded as a suburb of Hartford and is primarily a residential community. [NR]

Significance of the district:

Architecture, Local History:The Glastonbury Historic District is significant for the large number of well-preserved 17th and 18th century houses that stand along its Main Street, and for the good examples of later architectural styles that also are represented. Many of the 17th-century founders of Glastonbury and town leaders of later years resided in the district. The houses have historic significance because of their association with these men. The panorama of American architectural styles displayed by the Glastonbury Historic District ranges over the three centuries of the towns history. An exceptionally large portion of the structures date from the 17th and 18th centuries. While individually of good quality, it is the presence of so many of these gambrel- and gable-roofed Colonial and Georgian houses, in the aggregate, that constitutes an unusually valuable resource in Connecticut's architectural heritage from the centuries when Connecticut was a British colony. Their continued location on original sites permits an appreciation of their relationship to one another and to the community as it existed at the time. The well-preserved physical condition of many of the houses enhances the value of the group.The significant features of 17th- and 18th-century domestic architecture that are displayed by the district's houses make them important artifacts because of their architectural merit alone. When consideration is added of associated documentation and events of community importance, the structures take on even more interest and significance. [NR]

District Boundary:

The district includes properties on both sides of the Main Street as as described in the district ordinance.

Features:

Buildings, Open Spaces, Cemetery

Use:

Residential, Religious, Commercial, Educational, Government, Museum, Park

Architectural Style:

Colonial, Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne, Neo- Classical Revival, American Four Square, Bungalow, Colonial Revival, Georgian Revival, Modern, Others (Cape and Ranch)

Era:
17th Century, 18th Century, 19th Century, 20th Century
Sources:

[1] District information retrieved from the town website http://www.glasct.org/.
[2] Glastonbury Historic District, Report of the Historic District Study Committee, 1983, SHPO Library, Hartford.
[3] GIS information and Parcel IDs retrieved from the website http://gis.glastonbury-ct.gov/ceo/.
[NR] Ransom David F., Glastonbury Historic District, National Register Nomination Number- 84001011 NRIS, National Park Service, 1984. - http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/84001011.pdf; http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Photos/84001011.pdf.

Notes:

The local historic district is smaller that the National Register Historic District.

Links:
Map:

Map of the historic district retrieved from the Study Committee report, 1983.

View PDF
Disclaimer:

The street addresses of the designated properties have been retrieved from the Historic District Study Committee report, 1983. For further information on the district, the user is urged to contact the respective Historic District Commission.

Date of Compilation:
12/15/11
Compiler:
Manjusha Patnaik, CT Trust for Historic Preservation