Show off your antique home with a Historic House Marker!
Historic markers are a way to promote historic preservation, as they draw attention to places and events that the community might not know about otherwise. Wilton Historical is pleased to offer distinctive markers to identify the town’s important historic structures.
Historic house surveys promote historic preservation through scholarship and education. Connecticut’s State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) provides grants for the purpose of conducting Historic Resource Inventories, also known as historic house surveys. Wilton Historical has twice secured grants in order to provide these valuable tools to the town. Surveys were conducted by qualified architectural historians, who used a combination of research and field work as they took documentary photos and
conducted a “windshield survey”. A substantial inventory was conducted in 1989 (Phase 1) which identified approximately 319 structures. Another in 2018 survey focused primarily on structures built between 1920 – 1940, which added 160. Together, these inventories identify most of the significant Wilton homes and buildings more than approximately 75 years old.
The Historic Preservation Committee of Wilton Historical is responsible for granting Historic House
Buildings listed on the historic house surveys are automatically eligible; if your house appears there,
then you may request a house marker.
If your house is not on the historic house surveys (HRI) it is still possible to qualify for a marker, if it is
properly researched, certain standards are met, and is approved by the Historic Preservation Committee
after a complete review.
Age alone does not qualify the structure for a marker: the exterior needs to show original architectural details and still be identifiable as to the original style. (For instance, an 1800’s house with a stylistically unsympathetic addition or modification would not likely qualify for a marker.) A title search showing the chain of ownership is necessary, as well as information about the various occupants. Current and past photographs or images of the building should be provided.
Occasionally, an architecturally unremarkable structure or house that is rich in important local history
may qualify, if compelling supporting research is provided.
If you are the owner of one of the unique and historic structures listed in the surveys, you may already have a marker proudly displayed. However, not all owners have their original markers. Markers have been misplaced or damaged due to renovation or painting; or previous owners kept them as a memento. We continue to offer the markers to those who would like them. They are reasonably priced, and include a one-year family membership.
Historic markers consist of a custom-painted all-weather 14″ W x 11 1/4″ H clear cedar with the name of the original owner and construction date of the house, along with a specially cast bronze medallion. The 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ medallion depicts Lambert House, the first historic house owned by the Wilton Historical Society and now a part of its Lambert Corner complex at the intersection of Routes 7 and 33. Samples of the markers can be seen at Wilton Historical.
Please click here to access the Historic House Surveys, which are organized by street address.
Order a Marker
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best way to research my house?
A good place to start is with any documents and material that may have come with the house. Title search may need to be done at Town Hall in Wilton or possibly Norwalk if the house is quite old. Consult the definitive history of the town: Wilton: Three Centuries of People, Places and Progress by Bob Russell (available for checkout/sale at Wilton Library and for sale at Wilton Historical) for information. Contact the archivists in the Wilton History Room at Wilton Library for an appointment about your project. Files there are arranged by street number and neighborhood; there may be existing information about the building you are researching, as well as information about prior residents. Click here to learn more about the resources available in the History Room.
My historic marker, which has been on my house since the early 1990s, has lost the bronze medallion, which was the Bicentennial design. Can I get a replacement?
Yes. The bronze medallions now available have a new design which has replaced the Bicentennial original, but are the same dimensions. Please call for details.
Are there other kinds of markers for historic houses?
See the National Register for Historic Places FAQ page.
What other organizations are good resources?