Historic House Surveys, properly known as Historic Resource Inventories (HRIs), are an important way to promote historic preservation, through scholarship and education. Connecticut’s State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) provides grants for the purpose of conducting Historic Resource Inventories. The Town’s two surveys (Phase 1: 1989 and Phase 2: 2018) have been funded by grants obtained and administered by the Wilton Historical Society. The Phase 1 survey listed approximately 319 structures, and the Phase 2 survey, focused primarily on buildings from 1920-1940, added 160. Together, the inventories identify most of the significant 20th-century Wilton homes more than approximately 75 years old.
The surveys are an invaluable source of information for the HDPC and for homeowners. The surveys are available online at the Wilton Historical Society. Hard copies of the surveys are also available at the Town of Wilton Building Department, the Wilton Historical Society, and at the Wilton Library Association in the History Room. Individuals may also use the Historic House Survey Index to find properties on the survey by street address.
As required by SHPO, the surveys were conducted by qualified architectural historians, who used a combination of research and field work to assess the structures. It is important to note that HRI surveys are not intended to be a comprehensive list of every antique structure, but those which meet the following criteria as established by SHPO:
- 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 purpose and value of the historic resources survey is the following:
- provides 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;
- the database provided by the survey enables local officials and boards to better plan for the preservation of the resources under their jurisdiction by placing each structure in its historic and architectural context resulting in greater understanding and appreciation;
- findings of the survey will be of interest to individual property owners by placing buildings in their historical and architectural context and identifying their significant features which could slow the loss of valuable buildings