Milton Historic District

View of the bridge at the northwest corner of the Common, view northwest; Source NRIS 86003754.
Historic/Common Name:
Milton Center Historic District
Town:
Litchfield »
Year of Establishment:
1974
Historic Designation:
LHD, NRHD, SR
District Authority:
Milton Historic District Commission
Nature of Authority:
Regulatory
District Character:
Rural Village
Eligible for Historic Home tax credits:
Yes
General description:

The Milton Center Historic District is located in the Town of Litchfield about four miles northwest of the center of town. The district is oriented in an east-west direction encompassing churches, schools, former water power site, and houses in the center of the village of Milton. The focus of the district is the Common, a triangular piece of unimproved land at the intersection of Milton Road with Headquarters and Shearshop roads. The Common retains its 18th- and 19th-century appearance, without plantings of trees and shrubs. At the northwest corner of the Common the Shepaug River flows under Milton Road in a southerly direction before taking a turn to the west, where it entered Milton Pond, now drained. Waterpower provided by the Shepaug River brought the first settlers to the village. The stone lining of the river where it crosses the corner of the Common, the 19th-century iron bridge, and the Congregational Church beyond provide a view of basic components of the district. [NR]

Significance of the district:

Architecture, History, Archeology, Exploration/ Settlement, Industry (Criteria C, A, & D)The Milton Center Historic District contains several excellent examples of pre-Revolutionary War architecture and later 19th-century structures. These buildings, which continue to exist in their original relationship to one another, together form an entity of quality and integrity that is architecturally significant. The buildings and sites depict the 18th- and 19th-century origin and development of the district, based on the waterpower potential of the Shepaug River. There have been few intrusions. The presence of early industrial sites offers the potential for developing useful information through their examination. The Milton Center Historic District enjoys a rural setting and is surrounded by farmland and woodland. Nevertheless, the significance of the district does not relate to its rural setting but derives from its industrial development. The waterpower potential of the Shepaug River was the attraction that drew the early settlers to Milton Center and the development of the waterpower was the driving force in the history of the village. While the mills and factories that used the waterpower have now disappeared, the stream itself runs through the district as it always has, and foundations, stone walls, and remnants of the waterpower system clearly indicate the industrial past. The community of houses, churches, schools, and village hall that was built as a necessary complement to the industry is substantially intact, giving an excellent understanding of the appearance and function of the Milton Center Historic District at the time of its 19th-century industrial eminence. [NR]

District Boundary:

The local historic district is composed of the following: The central portion of the village encircled by Milton, Sawmill and Headquarters Roads, extending to include the surrounding properties on the said roads, on radiating segments of Milton and Headquarters, on Blue Swamp, Shearshop and Potash Roads and an Maple Street in as small part; as described in the district ordinance. (The boundaries in the local historic district report are defined by reference to parcels number of properties and by roads and the Shepaug River, old usage). [2]

Features:

Among the significant assets remaining within the historic district there are twenty-five 18th century dwelling houses, twelve of which date from the pre-revolutionary war period. There are two churches, two school houses, many early outbuildings, nineteen historic sites including two 18th century burying ground, The Common or the Green, at least four 18th century dirt roads and venerable stone fences and foundations. There is also priceless blessing of clean air and water, great unspoiled natural beauty and a quite atmosphere. [2]

Use:

Residential, Religious, Town Green, Government, Educational, Burial Ground, Bridge

Architectural Style:

The historic houses and buildings within the district offer a diversity of architectural designs which include: Early 18th century Colonial, Later Georgian, Greek Revival, Victorian and Modern Styles.

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

[1] District information retrieved from the town website http://www.townoflitchfield.org/pages/index.
[2] Milton Historic District, Final Report of the Milton Historic District Study Committee, 1975, SHPO Library, Hartford.
[3] Assessors information and Parcel IDs retrieved from the Town assessor's office, Litchfield.
[NR] Ransom David F., Milton Center National Register District, National Register Nomination Number- 86003754 NRIS, National Park Service, 1986 - http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/86003754.pdf; http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Photos/86003754.pdf

Notes:

The local Milton Historic District of more than 150 properties includes a larger portion of the village than the National Register District. [NR]Since there are no street numbers in Milton, properties are listed in sequence of geographic location both in the local historic district study committee report and the national register nomination. [2 & NR]

Links:
Map:

Local historic district map obtained from the Milton Historic District Study Committee, 1975, SHPO library, Hartford.

View photo
Disclaimer:

The list of the designated properties in the district has been compiled by comparing the unique indexing of the district map attached with the Milton Historic District Study Committee Report, 1975, and the assessors map and list of properties available at the Litchfield town assessors office, Litchfield. There may have been few omissions in either the street number or parcel IDs. For the complete list of addresses and further information on the district, the user is urged to contact the respective district authority.

Date of Compilation:
10/15/11
Compiler:
Manjusha Patnaik, CT Trust for Historic Preservation