October 22, 2017

Litchfield Courthouse to Close, GLPT Moves to Acquire, Preserve

Litchfield County Courthouse in the news – Here are links to newspaper stories

New York Times:

The Register-Citizen:

Hartford Courant:


The Register-Citizen:


Litchfield, CT Courthouse Closing

War on Terror Monument on Litchfield Green


American Legion Post 27 recently unveiled its new war on terror monument on the Litchfield Green.  This monument is dedicated to veterans of the war on terror and currently lists 33 names of Litchfield residents who have served in the military since Aug. 2, 1990, the official start of the war on terror.  There is lots of room for names to be added.

A contribution from the Greater Litchfield Preservation Trust insured Post 27 would meet their fund raising goal for the monument’s cost.

East Litchfield Chapel Window Project

Over the course of 3 days in June 2016, the 6 tombstone windows with colored glass from the vestibule of the East Litchfield Chapel were removed. They are currently being repaired and restored. When those six are completed and returned, the 6 original 1868 sanctuary windows will be removed for repairs and restoration. The East Litchfield Village Improvement Society is grateful to the Greater Litchfield Preservation Trust for their financial assistance with this project.





Forman School Receives Award of Distinction

Forman School Award
Forman School is the recipient of the 2015 “Award of Distinction” from the GLPT. Forman Head of School Adam Man accepted the award at the Trust’s Annual Meeting held at the Historical Society on December 7. Full story here: http://www.litchfield.bz/news/preservation-trust-award-goes-to-the-forman-school/

East Litchfield Architectural Survey Presentation, Wisdom House, Sept 15

History of Properties and Buildings in the East Litchfield Area to be Presented by an Architectural Historian on September 15, 7:00 PM at Wisdom House.

Rachel Carley, local Architectural Historian, will present a talk with images from the architectural survey of the northeast quadrant of Litchfield that she recently completed for the Greater Litchfield Preservation Trust. One of the completed survey forms is posted on the Trust’s website: www.litchfieldpreservation-ct.org.     See it here:  79 East Chestnut Hill Road

As with the previous surveys of Milton, Northfield, Bantam and the Borough of Litchfield; copies of the completed survey will be available for viewing at the Litchfield Town Hall, the Oliver Wolcott Library, and the Litchfield History Museum. A copy will also be presented to the East Litchfield Village Improvement Society.

The program will be in the auditorium, which is a large air-conditioned, handicap accessible room on ground level. Light refreshments will follow the one-hour presentation. Wisdom House is at 229 East Litchfield Road; there is a link to directions on the top of the website: wisdomhouse.org. The history of Wisd om House and its buildings are included in the survey.

Funding for the project was provided by the Community Investment Act; administered by Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).


To RSVP please email your name to : east.litchfield@gmail.com


Award of Distinction to Masons


At The Greater Litchfield Preservation Trust’s annual meeting on December 1st an “Award of Distinction” was presented to St. Paul’s Masonic Lodge for the restoration work they have undertaken to preserve this historic local landmark.

“The building was originally built in 1835 by the Litchfield Methodist Episcopal Church.  In 1885 the building was sold to the Masons when the congregation moved into their new church – the present day Methodist church on West Street.”

In the 1990s the lodge was condemned by the town and plans were underway to demolish it as it was considered structurally unsound by the building inspector. The Masons refused to consider demolition and hired a firm that specialized in historic structure repair to re-support the framing, thus saving the building. Many other improvements have been undertaken and and more continue today.

The Trust’s mission is to help preserve the physical and cultural gems of the Greater Litchfield area.


Historical Building Survey

The Trust has received an award of a Survey Grant from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) for the purpose of documenting 200 historic buildings, 50 years old or more, in the northeast quadrant of the Town of Litchfield.  The survey area encompasses all structures beginning with the Chestnut Hills and Fern Avenue north to the Torrington line, then east to Naugatuck River, with the documentation of East Litchfield’s village history a major focus.  The project will document this last, but important, area of town and its historic buildings.  The Trust, with grants from the SHPO surveyed Northfield, Bantam/Milton and Litchfield in the mid-1980’s.  This long overdue project will complete a resource that has been widely used by residents in the rest of the town for the last 30 years.

Rachel Carley is the Architectural Historian selected to undertake the project.  Rachel is well known to the Litchfield community, not only as a resident but by her work on many projects related to the town’s historic and cultural past.

As with the Trust’s previous surveys, we are asking for information from anyone with photos, family records related to the history of buildings located east of the Bantam River between Northfield and the Torrington line to contact Eileen Schmidt at  east.litchfield@gmail.com or 860-482-7227.

This project is funded by grant funds from the Community Investment Act of the State of Connecticut as administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development, State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).

Former Litchfield Jail Sold

The former Litchfield County Jail has been acquired by Russell Barton.  The Jail has long been of interest to the Trust since it holds a key position in the center of town as it has since 1812.  The Trust funded a Jail Renovation – Uses Study to help potential purchasers understand the possibilities for the building.  The study was completed in 2011 and was made available to the general public. 

Barton recently met with the Litchfield Economic Development Commission and said his love for Litchfield was the driving force behind his purchase.  He is considering mixed use for the building, possibly including retail, dining and residential uses and is in the process of exploring parking options.  Next steps are to meet with the Litchfield Historic District Commission and the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Post Office Wall Repaired


Project Underway

Project Underway

The 1895 Beckwith building on South Street, which houses the Litchfield Post office, is owned in a limited partnership by the GLPT and other investors.  The north side of the building was covered with brick patterned metal siding that had been patched over the years and was in need of repair/replacement.  It was believed the metal siding, which matched in form the brick façade of the building to the north of the post office, was installed in response to the devastating fires of 1886 and 1888 when most of the wood framed and clapboarded buildings in the commercial district were destroyed.

In the spring of 2013, the Trust, as the non-profit managing partner, received a matching funds, Technical Assistance grant from the CT Trust to evaluate the structural integrity and condition of the north façade of the building.  The firm of edm, Unionville, CT undertook the project determining the siding was in need of replacement and in addition, the 30 year old flat roof on the Post Office extension also needed replacement.

During the fall and winter of 2013 exhaustive efforts were made to find a fabricated material to replace the siding in-kind.  Without suitable alternatives in either metal or fiberglass, the Trust, with the assistance and comment from both Greg Farmer, the CT Trust Circuit Rider and Stacey Vairo of the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), submitted an application and was approved by the Litchfield Historic District Commission to replace the metal with clapboard siding.  The siding matches the south and west sides of the building and was considered the best course of action for the preservation of the building.

After going out to bids, a local contractor was hired to undertake the work.  Begun in July, the project was completed in September.




Harwinton House

Harwinton House Sign Temporarily in Storage 
You may have noticed that the thermometer monitoring fund-raising for the Harwinton House project has been removed from the bottom of Bentley Drive. The sign is in storage while grant money and new fund-raising efforts are pursued.
Harwinton House was built in Harwinton in 1795 by Loyalist Stephen Graves. In 1931 the house was dismantled and rebuilt in New Canaan. When the family that owned the property in 2010 decided to build a new home on the property, the older adjacent house was schedule to be demolished A New Canaan group with an interest in preserving history alerted Harwinton officials who quickly arranged to have the house disassembled and returned to Harwinton where it is stored in trailers as fund-raising continues. The project to rebuild the house is expected to cost about $500,000. Toward that goal, $250,000 to $300,000 must be raised to finish the effort.
The Harwinton House Committee, which has been working for about three years on plans to rebuild the house, will be suspended by the Board of Selectmen once the architect phase is complete. This should be by the end of this calendar year. Suspension of the nine-member committee is expected to continue until resources or grants are pursued through the Board of Selectmen to fund the full project.