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Higganum Landing District Now on the National Registry of Historic Places

By Alessio Gallarotti.

1881 Map of Higganum Landing

(May 23, 2019) — The Higganum Landing District was an important New England shipbuilding community between 1752 and 1865. The subtle bend of the Connecticut River at this location created and still creates a natural harbor which was once a center for shipbuilding, trade, and other related activities. Over 150 vessels were built at the Landing and were used in river and coastal trade, as well as international voyages. Ships traveled to the West Indies, Europe, South America, China and participated in the economic growth of the area and nation. A number of these ships were used as warships and played a role in the country’s fight for independence. Following construction of the railroad, Higganum’s industrial center shifted inland and shipbuilding declined.

The district is architecturally significant because of the buildings constructed during the late 1700s and early-mid 1800s. The period of architectural significance extends from 1768, or the construction date of the earliest house in the district, through 1870, or the date of the establishment of the first railroad. This period saw the greatest amount of homes built at the Landing. “The district’s architecture reflects the wave of prosperity during the late eighteenth through mid -nineteenth centuries” says Lisa Malloy, Director of the Haddam Historical Society.

Current residents of Higganum Landing, together with the Haddam Historical Society thought this enclave deserved special recognition because of its historical and architectural significance. So, they worked closely with the Connecticut State Preservation Office to complete the National Register Nomination. The Higganum Landing National Register District stands as a community that developed as a direct result of the shipbuilding and shipping industries along the Connecticut River. The district’s architecture reflects the wave of prosperity which began during the late nineteenth century.

The National Register is the Federal Government’s official list of the Nation’s historic places. The list contains significant sites or places that tell the story of American life. This designation recognizes the significance of Higganum Landing in American history because of its architecture, history, and integrity of location. The district is also associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history, including the American Revolution and the beginnings of international trade. It has now earned the honorific title to the satisfaction of residents and the Haddam Historical Society.

There are two other National Register Districts in Haddam, CT. They are the Haddam Center Historic District and Camp Bethel Historic District. The only non-district or isolate landmark in Haddam is the Hazelton-Hayden House on Hayden Hill Road.

The National Register Nomination is an honorific designation and encourages the current owners to continue thoughtful stewardship of the landmark. Historic building owners may donate historic artifacts and qualify for state or federal historic rehabilitation tax credits. They can also receive maintenance assistance and purchase plaques that identify the building’s significance. There are no restrictions on a property listed on the National Register, but listing does provide protection from unreasonable destruction and the like. If you know of or live in a place that you think may qualify for such a designation, listed below are the criteria for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Photos courtesy of the Haddam Historical Society.

 

Criteria for listing on the National Register of Historic Places:

The quality of significance in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture is present in districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association, and:

  • that are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or
  • that are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or
  • that embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
  • that have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.

Properties that are less than 50 years of age, or moved or reconstructed buildings are generally not eligible for National Register listing unless exceptional significance can be shown.

 

If you are interested in the historic sites of Haddam or would like to make a donation to their preservation, contact the Haddam Historical Society at www.haddamhistory.org or (860) 345 2400.

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. The Landing In Higganum is such a special fairy tale-like place. It deserves this distinction as all the homeowners there take great pride in thier own individual properties , but also its collaborative history.
    Congratulations to all involved in receiving this honor.

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