A historical sign for the Trolley Viaduct, 468 Water Street, is being produced. [Read more…]
Have you noticed the red, white and blue signs in front of many houses around town? They designate the home as that of a of Civil War soldier from Guilford and provide his name and some information about him. Historian Tracy Tomaselli, working with Town Historian Joel Helander, was able to identify 90 houses still standing that served as soldiers’ homes. Already, more than half of the present residents have indicated an interest in participating in the identification program. GPA played a role in making this happen.
Guilford Preservation Alliance (GPA) Bus Tours
Many of these houses will be the focal point of 40-minute, guided heritage bus tours run by the GPA as part of the Guilford and the Civil War celebration, a Guilford 375th Anniversary Signature Event that takes place onSaturday, May 31, from 11 am to 7 pm.
The bus tours, which will run hourly between noon and 4 pm, will board from a station on the Green across from St. George Church.
These bus tours are a prototype for other bus tours the GPA plans to run as a complement to guided walking tours that are part of the GPA’s Heritage Tourism initiative. In addition to educating residents about the Guilford community, the tours have enticed visitors from around the northeast and beyond to shop, walk, bike and enjoy our town.
Other Guilford and the Civil War Events
In addition to the bus tours, residents and visitors can enjoy a living-history experience at other Guilford and the Civil War events on May 31 from 11 am to 7 pm. Here’s what’s in store:
- Military reenactors demonstrating what life was like for the town and its soldiers, including military drills, cooking, clothing, sleeping conditions, medical procedures, and even an 1860s-style baseball game.
- An 1860s-type farm market organized by Dudley Farm will have fresh foods, home-baked and prepared foods, as well as demonstrations of candle-making, and woodworking.
- A large exhibit about the lives of soldiers and residents of Guilford at the time of the War. The exhibit will be located around the Soldier’s Monument, and the research materials will be donated to the Guilford Free Library after the event so it can be accessible by researchers.
- Adams Middle School students will recite the Gettysburg Address with musical accompaniment by Adams Concordia strings group.
- Reenactors, Abraham Lincoln and other historic figures will be available on the Green for a chat.
- Six original ten-minute plays about the lives of local soldiers and abolitionists, told in part, in their own words.
- Special exhibits of Civil War artifacts or period activities at the Hyland House and Griswold House museums.
- Rides in an authentic 1860s carriage and a hay wagon.
- Live music during the day.
- A closing concert from 5:30 to 7 pm organized by New Haven Symphony Orchestra Conductor William Boughton. The concert will feature performers of Civil War-period music and performances by the Guilford High School’s Voices Choral Group and the Heritage Choir of New Haven.
- Restaurants and shops around the Green, many of which will offer special items.
- Food reminiscent of the period from Guilford restaurants, including a raw bar, jonnycakes, pulled pork, mac and cheese, homemade ice cream, and sandwiches.
With the exception of foods, market items and the bus tours, all of the events are free of charge.
Rain or shine. Performances will move inside.
In case of rain, the short musical events and the closing concert at 5:30 will be moved indoors to adjacent churches. The plays will be held in the Christian Science Church on Park Street as planned. The reenactors will be on the Green, rain or shine. So come and enjoy these programs rain or shine. Changes of venues for events will be posted on the churches, at the information tent, and on the website listed below.
Parking will be available at the Griswold House and the Bethel Assembly of God, both on Boston Street and within easy walking distance to the Green. Horse drawn carriages and busses will also carry people to and from those lots.
More Information, including a detailed schedule, go to the event website at:
You can also view a short fun video about the event:
Helps us get the word out:
Please tell your friends and family about this exciting and educational event.
Feel free to forward this email or any parts of it to others throughout the region and to post the links and any parts of it on your Facebook pages.
Hope to See you and your families on the 31st.
THE GUILFORD PRESERVATION ALLIANCE, in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Transportation, is pleased to announce that a permanent exhibit of historical photos, “Railroads in Guilford” will be mounted this Friday, February 28th in the south pavilion of the Guilford train station.
If you ask me what the Guilford Preservation Alliance does, I may have to pause and think: our programs and activities run the gamut from traditional historic preservation to sustainable development and environmental issues. But ask me what the GPA stands for and I can give you a one-word answer: partnership. [Read more…]
The first edition of Sarah Brown McCulloch’s Guilford: A Walking Guide, The Green & Neighboring Streets was published in 1989 with principal funding provided by the Guilford Preservation Alliance. In 2012 we presented for the first time an online version of the text with updates from the 2012 revision. Now, in February 2013, we have begun adding photos to this text. For links to this new illustrated version of Sarah Brown McCulloch’s Guilford: A Walking Guide click here. We also have a new illustrated version of our survey of Significant Structures Fifty Years Old or More.
What a great party we had for the “Hope Springs” premier! Thanks to our hosts at the Guilford Food Center and Breakwater Books and to all of the merchants who sponsored the very successful fundraiser. The event on August 8th brought together excited moviegoers, local and state politicians, and even a few local businessmen in tuxes. Guilford Preservation Alliance board member Ellie Green’s husband Barry took great photos capturing the spirit and excitement of the evening. [Read more…]
The next time you visit Guilford’s modern Shore Line East commuter rail station at the bottom of Old Whitfield Street, take a few moments to study the tall, octagonal brick water tower that stands sentinel on the north side of the tracks, a few hundred feet east of the passenger platform.
A crew of GPA volunteers recently cleared away the overgrowth and debris that have obscured this wonderful historic structure for years, allowing us all to appreciate the soaring pilasters, elegant corbelling, gracefully arched windows, and other details that make it one of Guilford’s architectural gems.
The GPA has long been in the forefront of efforts to bring the water tower and the adjacent rectangular engine house back to life. Both buildings date from around 1875, when Guilford’s 1850s-vintage wood-framed passenger depot–tragically demolished by Amtrak in 2000–was served by no fewer than a dozen steam-powered trains a day.
Today, twice that many Shore Line East trains stop in Guilford, bringing thousands of visitors and commuters to our doorstep every month of the year. It doesn’t take much imagination to envision the refurbished water tower as an iconic portal–say, a welcome and information center for tourists eager to explore our town’s wealth of historic, cultural, and recreational resources.
The 19th-century station buildings are an irreplaceable part of Guilford’s heritage. But preserving them is not about turning back the clock. It’s about planning for the future and capitalizing on one of our most distinctive and valuable assets. In short, it’s about making heritage and cultural tourism an integral part of Guilford’s 21st-century economy.
Elsewhere on this website you can read about some of the GPA’s related initiatives, including walking tours of the historic town center led by specially trained Guilford High School students, a presentation on sustainable development by one of the leading “green” developers in the country, and a new website, www.historicguilford.org, dedicated to promoting our town as a tourist destination.
The train station project is a key part of that larger effort. It’s also an urgent priority, as the continuing deterioration of the water tower indicates. Thanks to the generosity of dozens of Guilford citizens, the GPA has a substantial fund earmarked for stabilizing the station buildings, and we are currently assessing the possibility of raising additional funds to install a new roof on the water tower.
Pending resolution of legal issues relating to ownership and potential liability for toxic cleanup on the site, the GPA board last year decided to move ahead incrementally, starting by commissioning field-measured architectural plans of the two station buildings. Over the past several months, local architects William Mack and Randy Siress have donned hard hats, braved the elements, and volunteered hundreds of hours of time to create the beautiful drawings of the water tower that you can view here.
Since the original plans for the structure no longer survive, this painstakingly researched documentation enables us for the first time to accurately envision the water tower in all its pristine splendor. From a practical standpoint, the drawings will serve as a blueprint for the building’s restoration and make reconstruction possible in the event that it collapses in a hurricane or other natural disaster.
On a separate but parallel track, the GPA is collaborating with Amtrak, Connecticut State Archaeologist Nick Bellantoni and his colleagues at the State Historic Preservation Office, town officials, and other interested parties to develop a long-range plan for preserving the water tower and engine house as part of an ecologically and economically sustainable effort to revitalize the neighborhood around the train station.
Many pieces will need to fall into place before this complex project becomes a reality. In the meantime, the GPA is working with the state Department of Transportation to install a permanent historical display about the old passenger and freight depot in the foyer of the Shore Line East commuter rail station, a project made possible through the generosity of Boynton Schmitt, a long-time friend of preservation in Guilford.
Both the exhibit and the eventual adaptive reuse of the old station buildings demonstrate, in a very tangible way, what we mean when we speak about connecting Guilford’s past and future.
The latest project I have been working on is developing the Historic Walking Tours program here in Guilford. We have assembled a group of enthusiastic high school student researchers and guides who will lead visitors on two newly-developed tours, both encompassing the Guilford Historic Town Center (which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places). One tour will focus on the history of Guilford and include an introduction to three of Guilford’s house museums. The second tour will focus on architecture and include Guilford’s historic districts and scenic Broad and Fair Streets.
Highlights of our walking tours will include our well-known eight-acre green, the home site of the most popular poet of the 19th century, six homes on the National Register of Historic Places, two historic districts, stories of Indian Wars and regicides, stories of America’s most popular novelist of the 19th century and Guilford’s most famous summer guest, details of New England slavery, histories of separatists from the Church of England, revolts within the Congregational Church, and the expulsion of Abolitionists. All in a community with the oldest stone house in New England, the third most pre-Revolutionary War homes in the Northeast, and almost 375 years of history.
These same student guides are developing a Historic Architecture Walking Tour of our most beautiful residential streets filled with 18th and 19th century homes. These homes built for sea captains, preachers, merchants, traders, and congressmen are representative of Colonial, Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, Second Empire, and the rare Octagonal architectural styles. Students are also discovering the stories of the women and men who lived in these homes.
Editor’s Note: Instead of the student-guided tours described above, a free walking tour on Saturdays at 11 am in the summer season begins at the Information Kiosk at 32 Church Street. Check the information on the visitguilfordct.com website at http://www.visitguilfordct.com/todo-category/tours/ The same site offers information about self-guided tours of the Alder Brook Cemetery and of the Fair Street Historic District.
[By Penny Colby] In 2005 the Guilford Board of Selectmen adopted a Delay of Demolition Ordinance at the instigation and with the assistance of the Guilford Preservation Alliance. If a demolition permit is requested this ordinance gives [Read more…]
The first edition of Sarah Brown McCulloch’s Guilford: A Walking Guide, The Green & Neighboring Streets was published in 1989 with principal funding provided by the Guilford Preservation Alliance. We are presenting for the first time an online version of the text (from the 2006 seventh printing, revised, with a few editorial notes in brackets from 2012). In the future we plan to present an illustrated version. A new revision of McCulloch’s book is expected to appear in the summer of 2012.
You can click here to begin reading Guilford: A Walking Guide.