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Ridgefield Historical Society and Town of Ridgefield Awarded CT SHPO Grants

Thanks to two grants from the CT State Historic Preservation Office, the Ridgefield Historical Society will soon embark on an updated architectural survey of Ridgefield.

Funds will support an updated Historic Resources Inventory

The Ridgefield Historical Society and the Town of Ridgefield were recently awarded two survey and planning grants by the Connecticut State Preservation Office (CT SHPO). The grants will jointly support an updated Historic Resources Inventory (HRI) of the Town of Ridgefield — an architectural survey which will include detailed records and images of buildings, sites, structures and/or objects over 50 years old, as well as ‘younger’ structures with notable architectural significance.

The last Historic Resources Inventory of Ridgefield was created in 1979 and updated in 1983, so this new survey will be an important resource, chronicling not only historic homes that were not included in the prior HRI, but also capturing the significant growth and development of the 1960s and 70s.

“This HRI will play a significant role in preserving the historic character of Ridgefield and protecting our architectural heritage,” explains Phil Esser, Ridgefield Historical Society Board Member and Chair of its Historic Preservation Committee. “As Macklin Reid, longtime reporter and editor at the Ridgefield Press, wrote over 20 years ago, ‘Ridgefield’s character is something precious and elusive. Half visible, half fictional, it springs from the world of the physical — the great evenly spaced houses along Main Street, the winding roads, the hills thick with trees — but exists largely in the minds of the town’s inhabitants, and in the minds of those who left it long ago.’ This survey is a critical tool in capturing that character and engaging residents and community members in the collective preservation of our town.”

The survey will also act as a valuable resource in supporting Ridgefield’s Demolition Delay Ordinance by providing easy access to detailed information on Ridgefield’s historic and architecturally-significant properties.

“This is an excellent and well-needed initiative,” says Ridgefield First Selectman, Rudy Marconi. “As Ridgefield continues to evolve over time, it remains critical for us to protect and preserve that which defines us. This survey is an important part of this process.”

Work on the HRI is anticipated to begin this fall and will be conducted over a two-year period, resulting in a comprehensive 2024 Historic Resource Inventory of Ridgefield, CT, available as a fully digitized document. As the project begins, further details on the scope of the survey will be released. Owners of properties included in the inventory will be encouraged, but not required, to participate in the process by sharing any historical data and images they have of their homes and structures. “Owners of properties included in the Architectural Survey can be as active or passive as they like, and are not required to do anything,” explains Esser. “But it’s a fascinating and fun project, and our hope is that community members will appreciate the chance to be involved and learn more about the architecture, homes, and buildings of our beautiful town.”

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