Looking ahead as we finish work on a Phase I grant from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program, the Ridgefield Historical Society has the added guidance of the Ridgefield community.
Ridgefielders and other interested parties recently took part in two charrettes organized by FHI Studio. One virtual and one in-person, these workshops were organized to identify the needs and desires of the community and to help develop consensus about future town celebrations of the Battle of Ridgefield as well as educational and tourism programming. The discussions also included consideration of permanent protection of the battlefield site.
FHI Studio’s report on the two charrettes noted similar attitudes from participants at both sessions: all were supportive of long-term stewardship and preservation of the battlefield and providing a diversity of educational components and activities to bring the battle to life for residents and visitors alike. Among the suggestions:
- Interactions with universities and colleges to create film, art, etc., to promote both the Battle of Ridgefield and the upcoming 250th anniversary of the American Revolution.
- Coordinate with elementary, middle and high schools to include the Battle of Ridgefield, with emphasis on the choices Ridgefielders were making in 1776-77 as loyalist and patriot positions hardened. It was also suggested that the Ridgefield High Class of 2026 could have a special opportunity to commemorate American Independence, since they’ll be graduating just before the July 4, 2026 national celebrations.
Other ideas to place the Battle of Ridgefield in a regional context were to work with groups to establish walking, cycling, and driving self-guided and facilitated battle tours.
Long term, participants supported further archaeology research and considered incentives for developers to grant deed restrictions in areas of most historic significance in the battlefield area. It was also suggested that homeowners be given guidance in land record research and information about what agencies can support preservation efforts.
Leading recommendations from the two meetings included:
- Partnering with the State Historic Preservation office to apply for state historic designation.
- Partnering with the National Park Service, Weir Farm, and other national parks.
- Improving coordination and communication with nearby towns and historical societies.
- Building historic preservation into the Town of Ridgefield budget regardless of selectman.
- Partnering with town Planning and Zoning to curb development and preserve historic areas
- Develop a committee now to begin planning for the 250th anniversary of America’s founding
The Community Charrettes were the final elements of this phase of the National Park Service grant. Prior to this step, Heritage Consultants LLC created a 149-page Site Identification and Documentation Plan: Research Survey, Mapping, and Reporting Project, which is available on our website here.