Wilton Historic District No. 2

View of the Old Town Hall; Source- NRIS 92001003.
Historic/Common Name:
Old Town Hall Historic District
Town:
Wilton »
Year of Establishment:
1970
Historic Designation:
LHD, NR, SR
District Authority:
Wilton Historic District and Property Commission
Nature of Authority:
Regulatory
District Character:
Village Center
Eligible for Historic Home tax credits:
Yes
General description:

The Old Town Hall local historic district consists of nine major buildings in the south-central part of the Town of Wilton. The district includes the properties around Ridgefield Road-Lovers Lane-Belden Hill Road intersection, right in front of the Congregational Church which is the central building of the district. Overall the Wilton Center Historic District retains a high degree of historical integrity due to the limited construction in the last 100 years. As a result, the district provides a rare opportunity to grasp the diversity of land use in small village centers during the late Colonial and early national periods, with the church, the town hall, one of the town's largest water powered mills (not extant), and residences, all within a few score feet of each other. The only two 20th century houses have ample yards in keeping with the setting of the earlier structures, and both exhibit a picturesque Colonial Revival appearance that complements the older houses. Unsympathetic modifications to the Wilton Center Historic District's buildings are few, and major buildings such as the church, the parsonage, and the Nathan Comstock House retain virtually all of their exterior fabric. [NR]

Significance of the district:

Wilton Center Historic District is significant because it embodies the distinctive architectural and cultural landscape characteristics of a small village center from the early national period. The clustering of ecclesiastic and civic institutional uses, combined with a nearby water powered grist mill, recalls the concentration of public functions in the state's small agricultural communities of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The institutional buildings in the Wilton Center Historic District, the Congregational Church and the Townhouse, display the most common formal architectural styling of the same period; the 1790 church was modified into a Greek Revival building in 1844, and the 1832 Townhouse retains it original Federal style construction. The three examples of Federal style domestic architecture that are located in view of the church and the Townhouse contribute to the district's character as the formal center of what was otherwise largely an agricultural community. The mill dam, as well as the mill-related tenant house and barn, all located immediately downhill from the church, signify both the vernacular building techniques associated with rural enterprise and the lack of functional separation in community land use during the early national period. The historic significance of the Wilton Center Historic District derives from its role as the institutional center of Wilton during Wilton's first generation as an independently incorporated town (Wilton was incorporated in 1802). Originally an outlying community of the town of Norwalk, Wilton had located its meetinghouse in two different locations before this site atop a small hill was chosen as the place for the new church of 1790. The church only reinforced the area's functional centrality based on regular traffic to and from the mill, and made the area the obvious choice for locating the Townhouse. In the mid-19th century, the presence of Wilton Academy, a prestigious private school, further augmented the institutional character of the district. [NR]

District Boundary:

The district includes the following buildings and properties: the Old Town Hall Building together with the property on which it stands (Vol-5, Pg-139); the Wilton Congregational Church buildings together with the property upon which they stand (Vol-88, Pg-393 and Vol-92, Pg-541); the property together with the buildings and improvements thereon (Vol-134, Pg-187; Vol-135, Pg-186; Vol-77, Pg-211; Vol-55, Pg-477 and Vol-49, Pg-399). [2]

Features:

Buildings

Use:

Residential, Religious, Community

Architectural Style:

Colonial, Colonial Revival, Federal, Greek Revival

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

[1] District and Property information retrieved from the town website http://www.wiltonct.org/index.asp.
[2] Information booklet on Wilton's Historic Districts and Historic Properties, Wilton Historic District and Historic Property Commission, 2007, SHPO Library, Hartford.
[3] Assessors information and Parcel IDs retrieved from the website www.visionappraisal.com.
[NR] Clouette Bruce and Matthew Roth, Wilton Center Historic District, National Register Nomination Number- 92001003 NRIS, National Park Service, 1991 - http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/92001003.pdf; http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Photos/92001003.pdf.

Notes:

In 1961, the Connecticut State Legislature enabled local municipalities to establish historic districts, and, since October 1, 1984, historic properties by ordinance, and to establish commissions which review and approve or deny alterations, demolitions, or construction of buildings and other structures within their boundaries and are visible from a public street, way, or place.At a Wilton Town Meeting in 1963 an ordinance was adopted establishing Historic District #1. Since then additional buildings were moved to the site, referred to as Lambert Corners, and the Board of Selectmen updated the ordinance establishing HD #1 in June 2005.A Town Meeting in 1970 established Historic District #2: Wilton Congregational Church, Old Town Hall, and neighboring residences, #3: the Sloan-Raymond-Fitch House historic property, and #4: Hurlbutt Street Schoolhouse historic property. At a Board of Selectmen meeting in June 2005, Historic District #5: the Wilton Historical Society Museum Complex was created. Former Historic District #3, the Sloan-Raymond-Fitch House, was moved to this site and is now included in this district; therefore, #3 was removed. The members of the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously on April 4, 2007 to create Historic District #6: Georgetown Neighborhood of Church Street, West Church Street and Redding Road. The ordinance to officially establish Historic District #6 was approved by the Board of Selectmen on May 21, 2007. [ Town website]The local historic district, designated Wilton Historic District Number Two, encompasses all the buildings in Wilton Center National Register Historic District except for those on Lovers Lane. [NR]

Links:
Map:

Map of the single property district with its nine buildings; Source- Revised Historic District No. # 1, Study Committee Report, 2005, SHPO Library, Hartford.

View photo
Disclaimer:

The street address of the single property district and its description has been obtained from the Revised Historic District No. # 1, Study Committee Report prepared by Wilton Historic District Commission, 2005, SHPO Library, Hartford. For further information on the district, the user is urged to contact the respective district authority.

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