Why Would We Want Historic Districts

Even as the town grows and changes, there is a desire shared by residents of Harwinton to retain, in so far as possible, the qualities that led them or their ancestors to chose it as a place to live.

Accordingly, the citizens established a Planning Commission, Zoning Boards with comprehensive regulations, and in 1990 voted to create two Harwinton Historic Districts, administered by an appointed commission working under the provisions of Connecticut State General Statutes and the Town Ordinance.

The intent of any Historic District is: 1) To encourage the preservation of sites and buildings within the district which contributes to the educational, architechural, and aesthetic values that make the area unique; 2) To fulfill the pertaining Statutes. 3) To advise and guide new construction or additions to existing buildings so that exterior features visible from a public way are compaitible with the surroundings.

Through the Historic District and Historic Properties Commission the charter of a community can survive rather then be sacrificed to unrestricted development.

Harwinton's history is one of change and maturity. Some of Connecticut's Historic Districts consist of structures almost identical in style and age. By Contrast, Harwinton's structures range from mid-18th century homes to late 20th century homes. Many of them have been homes at one time and have seen public or commercial uses at another. It is this continuity wed to natural growth which is worthy of preservation and protection. Harwinton has changed and adapted, but always with an awareness of the present and the past. The Historic Districts and Properties are created to ensure that change takes place in a manner that preserves and protects the buildings, Structures and overall character presently in place.

Past eperience would indicate that threats to the integrity of Historic Districts may come from commercial interests indifferent to local surroundings. They may be presented also, however, by conscientious concerned citizens whose project proposals want some adjustment. Projects requiring review by this commission that is, whether they tend to preserve the qualities that have characterized Harwinton as a unique New England village that is evolving into a small, primarily residential 21st century town.

The character of such a town as Harwinton is the sum of small elements which, together, constitute the town's attributes and sense of place. These fragile qualities belong in common to all who live here and are enjoyed by those who visit. The Historic Districts and Properties serve to perpetuate the community's heritage, the destruction or compromise of which would be an irreparable loss.