BRISTOL – Two former school buildings have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation recently announced that the old O’Connell and Bingham schools have been added to the National Register, along with the New Haven Clock Company building in New Haven, and historic houses in New Haven, Cornwall and New Canaan.
“These schools illustrate how the small industrial city of Bristol kept up with the needs of its rapidly growing population in the early 20th century. Constructed of brick in 1914 [O’Connell] and 1916 [Bingham] respectively, both replaced smaller, wood-frame buildings and both were expanded during the next 50 years,” according to the announcement.
“Their design reflects contemporary efforts to provide natural light, ventilation and fire safety, as well as facilities for current educational needs. The schools are being redeveloped as housing; National Register status will allow the projects to qualify for historic rehabilitation tax credits,” the announcement continued.
The two former elementary schools are slated to be converted into market-rate senior housing. In 2015, the city council agreed to sell them to Bristol Enterprises LLC for $219,000.
Back then, developer Ted Lazarus said “we’re very excited to be preserving these masterpieces of Connecticut school architecture and transforming them into something that will continue to serve the Bristol community for years to come.”
Mayor Ken Cockayne called it “a fantastic project that meets a market demand, introduces the properties to the tax rolls for the first time in the city’s history and preserves two historic properties that might otherwise have been demolished.”
Plans call for 38 independent living units at Bingham and 49 at O’Connell, utilizing geothermal and solar energy technology so that heating, cooling and electricity systems at both buildings would be energy neutral.
O’Connell, along with Jennings and Greene-Hills elementary schools, and Memorial Boulevard Middle School, all closed in June of 2012, in anticipation of the district opening two new K-8 schools later that year. Bingham was closed in June of 2010.
Jennings now houses the Bristol Preschool Child Care Center and senior housing, the city is looking at converting Memorial Boulevard into a cultural center and possibly city offices, and Greene-Hills was demolished to make way for the new school of the same name.
Administered by the National Park Service, the National Register is the official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, it’s part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect our historic and archeological resources.
Properties listed in the Register include districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. Generally, properties eligible for listing are at least 50 years old.
For more information, visit www.nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com .
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or email@example.com.
Other local places on the National Register include: The Beleden House, 50 Bellevue Ave.; the Bristol Girls Club, 47 Upson St.; the Ernest R. Burwell House, 161 Grove St.; Copper Ledges and Chimney Crest, also known as the Barnes Compound Historic District, along Founders Drive between Bradley and Woodland streets; the Endee Manor Historic District, along Sherman, Mills, and Putnam streets; the Federal Hill Historic District, bounded by Summer, Maple, Woodland, Goodwin and High streets; the Forestville Passenger Station, 171 Central St.; the William I. Jerome House, also known as Cippel House, 367 Jerome Ave.; the Main Street Historic District, roughly from School to Summer streets and adjacent areas of Prospect Street; the Marlborough House, 226 Grove St.; Rockwell Park, along Dutton Avenue and Jacobs Street; the South End Historic District, bounded by East Road, Willis, George, and South streets; and the Townsend G. Treadway House, 100 Oakland St.