West Hill Drive Historic District

View of 43, 41, 40 West Hill Drive; Source- NRIS 96001366.
Historic/Common Name:
West Hill National Register Historic District, Vanderbilt Estate
Town:
West Hartford »
Year of Establishment:
1988
Historic Designation:
LHD, SR, NR
District Authority:
Historic District Commission
Nature of Authority:
Regulatory
District Character:
Suburban Neighborhood
Eligible for Historic Home tax credits:
Yes
General description:

The West Hill Historic District is a 1920s real estate development containing 25 large architect-designed Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival homes. The 11-acre West Hill Historic District is located in West Hartford, Connecticut, four blocks west of the City of Hartford line on a site formerly occupied by the Cornelius Vanderbilt Estate.

All houses in the West Hill Historic District are compatible in height (about two stories) and mass (10/12 rooms). All face West Hill Drive, set back about 15 feet from the building line on approximately half-acre lots. West Hill Drive is a circular roadway accessed from Farmington Avenue at the south end of the circle. In the subdivision layout lots are sited on both sides of the roadway; consequently, the houses face one another. West Hill Drive is appropriately named because the West Hill Historic District is on a low hill with higher elevations generally on the northwest falling off to the east and southeast. The West Hill Historic District's visual identity is established by the rugged brownstone ashlar retaining wall which runs for 421 feet along Farmington and Hamilton Avenues. [NR]

Significance of the district:

Architecture, Community Development:West Hill Historic District is significant historically because it is an excellent example of a planned real estate development of the early 1920s that proceeded under specific design restrictions to achieve outstanding success as a well-crafted and prestigious neighborhood. The West Hill Historic District has maintained its highly regarded appearance and standing for three-quarters of a century. The social and economic context which made possible the development of the district marked the final phase of prosperity associated with Hartford's great period of industrial ingenuity and growth.

West Hill Historic District is significant architecturally as a cohesive group of buildings of compatible scale unified according to a controlled plan. The houses were designed well by architects selected from the best-known practitioners active in the Hartford area at the time. Their work displays skill and careful attention both to overall effect and to details derived from the Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival styles popular in the period. The houses are in a fine state of preservation, having been maintained unusually well for three-quarters of a century. The district, free of intrusions, continues to exhibit the setting of spaces between houses, arrangement of buildings and voids, prevalence of trees and walks, and general exterior features without change from time of construction. [NR]

District Boundary:

The boundary of the district is the same as the boundary originally established for the West Hill subdivision in 1919.

Features:

Buildings, Stone Wall, Open Spaces

Use:

Residential

Architectural Style:

20th Century Revivals- Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival

Era:
20th Century [Period of significance- Architecture 1920-46; Community development- 1919-28]
Sources:

[1] District information retrieved from the town website http://www.west-hartford.com/.
[2] West Hill Historic District, Report of the Historic District Study Committee, 1988, SHPO library, Hartford.
[3] West Hill Drive Historic District Brochure, West Hartford Historic District Commission, SHPO Library, Hartford.
[4] Assessors information and Parcel IDs retrieved from http://host.appgeo.com/westhartfordct/Map.aspx and the website www.visionappraisal.com.
[NR] Ransom David, West Hill Historic District, National Register Nomination Number- 96001366 NRIS, National Park Service, 1996 - http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/96001366.pdf; http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Photos/96001366.pdf.

Notes:

The local historic district and the National Register historic district are co-terminus.

Links:
Map:

Map of the historic district retrieved from the Study Committee Report, SHPO Library, Hartford.

View photo
Disclaimer:

The street addresses of the designated properties have been retrieved from the historic district Study Committee Report, 1988, SHPO Library, Hartford. For further information on the district, 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