Preserving Ridgefield’s character: What are residents’ options?
What can people do to recognize and maintain the buildings that give the town its character? What resources are available to individuals and groups from government and private entities?
A program at the Ridgefield Library on Saturday, Oct. 5, will explore these questions as well as highlight the diverse and extensive array of construction in Ridgefield, now in its fourth century.
Architectural historian Phil Esser will present “Ridgefield’s Rich Architectural History — What’s Here and How to Protect It,” a program that will explore the history of building design in Ridgefield, on Saturday at 10 a.m. at the library, 470 Main Street.
The Ridgefield Historical Society, the Ridgefield Historic District Commission, and the library are co-sponsoring the program with the goal of providing Ridgefield homeowners with more information about the town’s architectural styles “from the humble beginnings of the town, through the high-style and post World War II era through the turn of the 21st Century.”
Esser, a member of the historical society board, grew up here and devoted many hours to assessing and recording the historic buildings of the town. He did the research for the Titicus Hill Historic District, recently in the news because of the proposed demolition of an antique home at 5 North Salem Road. Unlike the Main Street Historic District, Titicus Hill does not have local historic district status. It is included in state and federal registers, but neither provides any legal protection against alteration or demolition.
Ridgefield has no protection for buildings of architectural or historic value outside of the local historic district and unlike many towns in Connecticut has no demolition delay ordinance, although demolition notices are issued. Such ordinances make it possible to assess and offer guidance and resources to owners of properties that might have historic and architectural value.
The first part of Saturday’s program will be Esser’s illustrated presentation on “Ridgefield’s Rich Architectural Heritage,” ranging from 18th- to 20th-Century buildings. The town’s Main Street is renowned, but there are many other streetscapes that will receive attention.
The event will also highlight resources for owners of Ridgefield’s historic homes, who will learn about what kind of assistance is offered for preservation efforts and how to go about qualifying. Representatives from the Historic District Commission, the State Historic Preservation Office, and the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation will be available to answer questions and discuss programs.
To register for this free program, visit the library website, ridgefieldlibrary.org. For more information about the Ridgefield Historical Society, visit ridgefieldhistoricalsociety.org.