Norfolk Historic District

View of Battell Memorial Fountain, view northwest; NRIS 79003749.
Historic/Common Name:
None
Town:
Norfolk »
Year of Establishment:
1962
Historic Designation:
LHD, NRHD, SR
District Authority:
Historic District Commission
Nature of Authority:
Regulatory
District Character:
Village Center, Green
Eligible for Historic Home tax credits:
Yes
General description:

Norfolk, located in the scenic hills of northwestern Connecticut, was incorporated in 1758. It is not an old town by Connecticut standards, but because 20th century development and construction have passed it by, Norfolk today displays the architectural charm and country town ambience that were created during the 19th century years when the descendants of Joseph Battell helped establish the community's present character. The traffic center and the visual center of the village is the green, which is a narrow, triangular park running 500 feet in the north-south direction. Just north of the green is the business and shopping center. Highways from north, south, and east converge at the green which is pleasantly planted with trees and shrubs. It is the site of three monuments. In the center is a tall stone obelisk commemorating local citizens who fought in the Civil War. At the northern edge of the green is a flag pole and bronze tablet mounted on stone in which are incised the names of those who offered their lives in World War II. At the southern tip of the triangle is a fountain, designed by Stanford White in 1889, honoring the second Joseph Battell. The fountain is executed in pink stone in the conventional arrangement of round column topped by a sphere with trough for animals on one side and fountain for humans on the other. Three fish are positioned over the sphere, from whose mouths issue streams of water that fall into the trough. The structures surrounding the green are institutions and private homes. [NR]

Significance of the district:

Architecture, Education, Music, Politic/ Government, Social/ Humanitarian: The amount of good architecture in Norfolk, Connecticut is quite surprising for a sleepy, country town. In addition to late colonial buildings of interest for their antiquity, the work of seven 19th and early 20th century architects of national standing is present in the Norfolk Historic District, a representation hard to match elsewhere in the state in towns of similar size. Moreover, the spacing and arrangement of the buildings around the village green and in the adjacent business district provide a charm and ambience of great merit. The history of the town and its architecture is so intimately entwined with people related to Joseph Battell, that it is valuable to have in mind the basics of the Battell-Eldridge-Stoeckel family tree. The Reverend Ammi Ruhama Robbins (1740-1813) arrived in Norfolk in 1761 and served as minister for 52 years until 1813, the year the present church edifice was raised. [NR]

District Boundary:

The boundaries surround the green, including the buildings but not the full depth of the properties facing the green, and several houses south of the green, as described in the ordinance.

Features:

Buildings, Open Spaces

Use:

Residential, Religious, Commercial, Government, Museum, Park

Architectural Style:

Queen Anne, Second Empire, Greek Revival, Colonial Revival

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

[1] District information retrieved from the town website http://www.norfolkct.org/.
[2] Norfolk Historic District, Report of the Historic District Study Committee, SHPO Library, Hartford.
[NR] Ransom David F., Norfolk Historic District, National Register Nomination Number- 79003749 NRIS, National Park Service, 1979 - http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/79003749.pdf; http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Photos/79003749.pdf.

Notes:

The National Register Norfolk Historic District encompasses all the structures in the local district and all of the land of these properties, plus the commercial district north of the green, and the Eldridge Gymnasium. The local district memorialized the white, primarily colonial-appearing structures around the green. [NR]

Links:
Disclaimer:

For further information on the district and the list of designated properties, the user is urged to contact the respective Historic District Commission.

Date of Compilation:
12/31/11
Compiler:
Manjusha Patnaik, CT Trust for Historic Preservation