Town Hall, P.O. Box 548, 27 Main Street, Salisbury, CT 06068

Historic District Commission

Salisbury Historic District Commission
P.O. Box 429
Salisbury, CT 06068

The Salisbury Historic District has developed this guide to provide residents with a clear understanding of the process of applying to the Historic District Commission for a Certificate of Appropriateness.  Click HERE for the brochure. 


The American historic preservation movement arose during the 1960s as a response to the destruction of historic buildings brought on by "urban renewal," a well-intentioned but insensitive effort to rebuild rundown neighborhoods.  Valuable old buildings, which had an important historic and contextual character, were destroyed in the process.  This destruction continues despite a growing awareness of the value of preservation.

The Town of Salisbury has been a leader in the historic preservation movement.  It was among the first ten towns in Connecticut to form a Historic District Commission.  As early as 1962, Salisbury’s First Selectmen William B. Barnett appointed a committee to survey the buildings in the township and make recommendations as to which properties should be recognized and included in historic districts. The report was completed in 1969 and the first two historic districts were established in 1970.  Since then additional districts have been designated.

Salisbury’s districts are varied.  Some are made up of single buildings.  Other districts contain a group of structures in close proximity to each other.  An example of a district with several buildings in Salisbury Center, which includes the Congregational Church, Scoville Memorial Library and the structures which housed Salisbury Academy building and Bushnell Tavern.  Important individual buildings are Ragamount Inn, Moore Leech’s House, “Holleywood,” and the Holley Williams House.

In the Town of Salisbury, the historic districts are intended to preserve the district character of the community.  Salisbury has several communities dating from different periods of history.  “Company towns” were built around industries.  In Lakeville the knife factory and its associated workers’ housing have been preserved.

The National Historic Registry has designed a process for establishing a District.  A Historic District can be created by the local Commission or by an individual for his or her own property.  The registration process includes a survey, which is sent to the State Historic Commission together with the reasons for the application.  After the state has approved the application, the local Commission approves the application.  Subsequently, an ordinance establishing the new District is written.  In a sense the Commission provides a forum for discussion and negotiation.

The main purpose of the local Historic District Commission is the preservation of the historic character within the village centers and the architectural integrity of the buildings which are under its jurisdiction.   The commission also works with the Planning & Zoning Board and other Town bodies on projects of mutual interest.

Historic District Commission members are appointed by the Board of selectmen and the Commission operates under the Connecticut statues and local ordinances.  The five members and three alternates serve five-year terms on a rotating basis.  Meetings are held the first Wednesday of each month at the Town Hall in Salisbury.  Members serve without pay, while the work of the Commission is funded by the Town.