South Britain Historic District

View of the Pomperaug River Dam, View southeast; Source- NRIS 87000125
Historic/Common Name:
South Britain National Register Historic District
Town:
Southbury »
Year of Establishment:
1991
Historic Designation:
LHD, NRHD, SR
District Authority:
South Britain Historic District Commission.
Nature of Authority:
Regulatory
District Character:
Rural Village
Eligible for Historic Home tax credits:
Yes
General description:

The South Britain Historic District is located in the geographic center of the Town of Southbury on Route 172, which is South Britain Road. It encompasses dam and mill sites, 18th and 19th century homes, churches, library, town hall, schools, stores, post office, and the cemetery, which together make up the village center of South Britain. In addition to properties fronting on South Britain Road, the district includes adjacent properties on East Flat Hill Road, Hawkins Road, Library Road, and Middle Road. A community was established at South Britain because of the water power. Mills were located on both sides of the Pomperaug River. Remnants of a sawmill and shingle mill exist at 523 South Britain Road. More extensive stone foundations and stone walls of a former woolen mill are across the river on the parcel of 497 South Britain Road. The South Britain Water Power Company carried water from the river by trench or canal northerly to its 40-acre reservoir north of East Flat Hill Road. The canal, dry, is clearly visible to the west of 32 East Flat Hill Road. The Water Power Company sold the water privileges for establishment of the mill at 24 Hawkins Road, although the present 19th century building still in use as a factory is not the original.Families associated with the mills lived in houses along South Britain Road. The oldest house is probably 584-586 South Britain Road. Buildings for all community functions are included in the South Britain Historic District: factory, houses, schools, churches, town hall, and stores. Generally of frame construction, they portray the architectural styles in vogue during the years of South Britain's development from the time of settlement to the time of the Civil War. [NR]

Significance of the district:

The South Britain Historic District is composed of good examples of American architectural styles from the time of settlement to after the Civil War. While the individual buildings have been altered over time, most of them retain their essential stylistic characteristics and, equally important, continue in their original relationship to one another. There are few intrusions. The relative integrity of the South Britain Historic District as a whole is a chief factor in its significance. The 18th and 19th century structures of the South Britain Historic District are good examples of the architectural styles in vogue during the district's period of development. The comprehensive variety of building types gives an unusually complete sense of the district's historic integrity. The history of the water power-dependent community can be clearly read from its architecture. [NR]

District Boundary:

The southern boundary includes the historically significant structures and some of the open spaces of the last operating farm in the Village and follows the center of the Pomperaug River north to the bridge on South Britain Road. The western boundary, including two properties just south of the bridge, continues north along the center line of the Pomperaug River to a point 540 feet east of South Britain Road then in the line approximately parallel with that road north to the cemetery 400 feet west of South Britain Road. The northern boundary follows east to a natural sight line, the crest of the trap rock ridge, and includes two properties with 19th century structures- one a former stage coach house. The eastern boundary follows south along the crest of the trap rock ridge to meet the southern at Cass Road. [2]

Features:

South Britain historic district encompasses approximately 135 acres. Within this area there are 61 major buildings, a cemetery, the remains of a former woolen mill and a creamery, a bridge and a dam.

Use:

Residential, Religious, Commercial, Governmental, others (Dam)

Architectural Style:

Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival/Shingle style, vernacular, modular/mobile.

Era:
Majority of the buildings were built in 18th century and 19th century
Sources:

[1] District information retrieved from the town website http://www.southbury-ct.org/.
[2] South Britain Historic District, Report of South Britain Historic District Study Committee, 1989, SHPO Library, Hartford.
[3] Assessors information and Parcel IDs retrieved from the website http://www.equalitycama.com/Towns/Towns.htm.
[NR] Ransom David F., South Britain Historic District, National Register Nomination Number- 87000125 NRIS, National Park Service, 1986 - http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/87000125.pdf; http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Photos/87000125.pdf.

Notes:

The South Britain local historic district (135 acres) is much larger and includes the National Register historic district (70 acres).

Links:
Map:

Map of the local historic district obtained from the South Britain Historic District Study Committee Report, 1989, SHPO Library, Hartford.

View PDF
Disclaimer:

The street addresses of the designated properties have been obtained from the Report of South Britain Historic District Study Committee, 1989, SHPO Library, Hartford. For further information, the user is urged to contact the respective Historic District Commission.

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