The North Haven Historical Society is in the process of exploring the feasibility of an ordinance that would slow down the speed in which historically significant structures could be demolished. We believe that when property owners understand the intrinsic worth of their historic properties, they will explore options that will enable them to keep their properties intact, in whole or in part.
Should an owner wish to initiate a project that would save an historic building, there are numerous guidance documents and resources available through the CT Trust for Historic Preservation (the CT Trust), Historic Real Estate. The building owner may benefit from the knowledge and skills of architectural investigators and other historic preservation specialists. These professionals can also be found through the CT Trust.
The preservation of a historic structure affords the owner numerous benefits.
Generally, national and state financial assistance have been developed to encourage historic home rehabilitation. These incentives may include grants, low-interest loans, property tax abatements, tax deductions. Again, the CT Trust offers its Connecticut Circuit Riders (presently Greg Farmer and Brad Schide) who can provide guidance to organizations and individuals. It is unknown how available these incentives are for individual homeowners.
For those owners concerned with the preservation of a specific building material or practice, both the National Park Service’s Preservation Briefs and The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s (National Trust) Preservation Green Lab, provide technical information about a wide variety of topics.
Depending on the scale of renovation to the building, our State Building Codes have exemptions that may be granted for historic structures. Architects, Building Officials and some Contractors would know how to apply Sections 3407-Historic Buildings, of the International Building Code, or R104.10.2-Historic Structures exemption, and R105.2.2-Repairs, of the International Residential Code.
An owner interested in selling material from their building should research companies that perform deconstruction or material salvage. The CT Trust’s Restoration Service Directory maintains a list of contractors. In addition, the online Preservation Directory also maintains a list of preservation businesses, products & services. There are also local demolition contractors and recycling companies that specialize in building material salvage.
The sale and relocation of a building is another alternative to demolition. One should consider the existing conditions and bulk of the building; to the building’s new location and feasible reuse. The CT Trust for Historic Preservation publishes a list of endangered historic properties that includes structures available for relocation. Known as the Historic Properties Exchange, the listings are published on-line and printed in the bi-monthly Connecticut Preservation News. The North Haven Historical Society maintains a collection of these documents in their library.
Building movers are a specialized trade. In addition to the House & Building Movers listed in telephone books, the Blue Book for Building & Construction will have a larger list of contractors. In addition, the International Association of Structural Movers will have a members list for reference.
Moving can trivialize a building, turning it into an artifact, or souvenir. Normally, relocation also requires destroying elements that are too fragile, deteriorated, or bulky to move with the building. Other troublesome issues center on how the building will be used once it’s moved. An economically viable reuse needs to be in place once the structure is moved, and as many buildings threatened with demolition are already suffering from economic marginalization, prolonged vacancy, or deferred maintenance, finding a feasible reuse, either at an original or new location, can be problematic.
Demolition is an expensive, dangerous, unsustainable practice. There is a tremendous amount of “embodied energy” in the structure. That is, the energy to manufacture, transport, and assemble the original building; combined with the potential disassembly and transport to be lost in a landfill. Please consult the Embodied Energy Calculator located at “thegreenestbuilding.org”. In addition, the National Trust’s Sustainability Initiative may be the best source on the web for green preservation.
Please be aware that we do not have direct experience, nor endorse any specific business. All owners should adhere to the recommended consumer protection practices. In addition, all owners should be aware of the potential environmental issues that may exist in all older homes. For instance, the State and Federal governments have specific requirements concerning lead paint and asbestos.
Here are some further resources you may find helpful:
The Historic Preservation and Museum Division, State Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD) Offices of Culture and Tourism, functions under state and federal law as Connecticut’s State Historic Preservation Office. The division administers a broad range of federal and state programs that identify, register and protect the buildings, sites, structures, districts and objects that comprise Connecticut’s cultural heritage.
In addition, the National Trust’s Sustainability Initiative may be the best source on the web for green preservation.
We recommend their Green Home Tips. Learn more with sustainability news, research and case studies. And read the article that started it all, Carl Elefante’s “The Greenest Building Is…One that is Already Built,” from the Summer 2007 Forum Journal.
424 Grand Avenue
New Haven, CT 06513
Phone: (203) 752-1204
Frank Gagliardo, ASLA
731 New Britain Avenue
Newington, CT 06111
(Twin City Plaza)
30 Manila Avenue
Hamden, CT 06514
Old New England Salvage Co.
112 Sisson Road
Lebanon, CT 06249
860-885-9589 (cell) or 860-887-2280
1 River St.
Millers Falls, MA
Peter Mastriano Jr
Reusable Green Works
840 Boston Post Road
West Haven, CT
United House Wrecking
535 Hope Street
Those interested in learning more about the relocation of a historic property might refer to these texts:
Moving a Building with Preservation in Mind, Peter Paravalos. Provides step-by-step instructions on the process of moving a historic building, from the initial decision-making to the actual move. With detailed information on moving techniques, choosing a contractor, obtaining permits, finding a site, budgeting the move, and obtaining funds.
Moving Historic Buildings, John Obed Curtis. Discusses the limited circumstances under which a historic masonry or frame building should be moved. Establishes a methodology for planning, research, and recording prior to move; and addresses the siting, foundation construction, building reassembly, and restoration work after a successful move has taken place.
Bullock, Orin M. Jr., The Restoration Manual. Norwalk, CT.: Silvermine Publishers, 1966.
Burns, John A., editor. Recording Historic Structures. Washington, D.C.: The AIA Press, 1989.
Howard, Hugh. How Old Is This House? New York: Noonday Press, 1989.
Howe, Barbara J., Dolores A. Fleming, Emory L. Kemp, and Ruth Ann Overbeck. Houses and Homes: Exploring Their History.Nashville, TN.: American Association for State and Local History, 1987.
Judd, Henry A., Before Restoration Begins. Nashville, TN.: American Association for State and Local History, 1973.
Kitchen, Judith L., Caring For Your Old House. Washington, D.C.: The Preservation Press, 1991.
McDonald, Travis C. Jr., The Process of Architectural Investigation
Seale, William, Recreating the Historic House Interior. Nashville, TN.: American Association for State and Local History, 1979.
Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. Washington, D.C.: Preservation Assistance Division, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1992.
Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Architectural and Engineering Documentation: HABS/HAER Standards. Washington, D.C.: HABS/HAER, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1990.
Vogel, Charity, Ph.D, How To Research Your Home’s Past, Old House Journal.