Survey chronicles early 20th Century buildings

Wilton buildings dating primarily from 1920 to 1940 will be inventoried as part of a project announced by the Wilton Historical Society. Executive Director Leslie Nolan has said architectural historians Stacey Vairo of Scheller Preservation Associates, and Lucas Karmazinas of FuturePast Preservation have begun researching historical records.

The project is funded by a $30,000 grant awarded to the society last fall from the State Historic Preservation Office. It should be completed by early December 2017 and a public presentation of the survey’s findings will follow.

The inventory will be conducted using a combination of research and a “windshield survey,” meaning the historians will periodically drive around Wilton from now through early August, looking at structures from the road or right of way, taking photos as they document. Access to interiors is not needed.

Some of the styles of the period include Colonial Revival, Craftsman, and Tudor Revival, plus the distinctive stone houses designed by architect Frazier Peters. The historians will consult old maps, research within the town’s archives, the society’s archives, and other resources as needed.

The historians will also digitize an existing survey, conducted in 1989, of approximately 315 structures, combining the old and new survey into one seamless document. This will make research much easier, enabling corrections to be made and updates going forward.

Approximately 25 pre-1930 buildings not included in the 1989 survey will be reviewed. The new survey will focus on nearly 400 structures in Wilton built from 1920 to 1940. Together, these inventories should identify all significant 20th-Century Wilton homes more than approximately 75 years old, a press release from the historical society said.  

Those selected to be included in the survey should meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Have maintained a high degree of design integrity;

  • Are of important historical significance:

  • Are examples of a rare, unusual, or an infrequently found structural type or style;

  • Are of architectural significance.

The survey will provide the documentation necessary for evaluation of structures, sites, and districts that may meet the criteria for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places and/or be considered for inclusion in a local Historic Property or Historic District study.

It will also provide a database that places each structure in its historic and architectural context. This could assist town officials in better planning for the preservation of the town’s resources. Owners may learn the significant features of their buildings, an aspect that could slow the loss of valuable buildings, the society said.