Preserving Icons

Historic Resource Its Story HNP’s Role
First Presbyterian Church (1958)1 The “Fish Church” is a major world monument of modern religious design by Wallace K. Harrison, a towering twentieth-century American architect.  Conceived as an acoustic vessel with a Gothic sensibility, the unprecedented extensive use of colored dalles de verres (slab glass) creates a stunning jewel-like sacred interior. Faced with significant repair needs, HNP is assisting the Fish Church Conservancy of the Highland Green Foundation, a friends’ group supporting preservation, to develop a strategic plan and capital campaign to restore the exterior and upgrade the interior systems for extended use.
Holly House Oyster Shed (c1870)2 The small post-and-beam shed perched on a rubble stone wall at the shoreline in Cove Island Park is a coastal reminder of Stamford’s onceimportant fishery. A survivor of the great blizzard of 1888 and hurricane of 1938, it demonstrates the wisdom and sustainability of simple, traditional construction. The shed is the smallest and only surviving structure of three clustered  sheds along the shore.  Damaged but not destroyed by Sandy, HNP brought in a structural engineer to develop a cost effective plan to reverse a City condemnation.  HNP also assisted in preparing a pending grant application to return the structure to use bySoundWaters for canoe storage.
 Main Street Bridge (1888) 3 This graceful lenticular (lens-shaped) iron truss bridge was produced in Connecticut by the Berlin Bridge Co. and is emblematic of Stamford’s industrial era. It replaced a wooden span on what was then Stamford’s most critical road connection to New York.  The double-form was unusual in its time and is very rare today. The City-owned bridge was closed to vehicular traffic in the early twenty-first century and barricaded by Jersey barriers and chain link fencing just when historic lenticulars were being meticulously restored around the world and the lens form was being reintroduced in new bridges in Paris, London and New York.  Slated for replacement a decade ago, HNP is working with the Mill River Collaborative and the City to secure restoration funds to adapt the National Register of Historic Places-listed bridge to a pedestrian span.
Ferguson Library (1910)4  Situated as the focus of the long view at the north end of Atlantic Street, the Ferguson’s graceful Georgian Revival portico and façade are the closest realization of “City Beautiful” urban planning in Stamford. After one of the wood portico columns was damaged by fire, HNP assisted the Ferguson in securing a grant commitment of $200,000 toward restoration of the National Register of Historic Places-listed building.
Hubbard Heights5 One of Stamford’s most desirable neighborhoods, Hubbard Heights was developed in the early twentieth century by subdivision of a large nineteenthcentury estate west of the growing downtown.  Its wellpreserved single-family homes represent a broad range of historic architectural styles. HNP assisted the Hubbard Heights Neighborhood Association to seek recognition as Stamford’s fifth State and National Register historic district.  Listing is expected in early 2015, joining the South End, Downtown, Old Long Ridge Village, and Revonah Woods.
Glenbrook6 Glenbrook, the first of Stamford’s distinct satellite neighborhoods beyond the limits of an easy walk to the center of town, grew up around the New Canaan branch line (1866) in the late 1800s and street railroad along Hope Street in the early 1900s.  Its historic buildings and streetscapes represent a broad diversity of styles, forms and uses which convey Stamford’s evolution as a commuter suburb. HNP is assisting the Glenbrook Neighborhood Association to obtain grant funding to conduct an inventory of historic properties in the neighborhood and will provide training for volunteer surveyors in early 2015.