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Danbury Town

Danbury Town Hall is located at 201 Courthouse Circle, Danbury, NC 27016; phone: 336-593-2002.

Beginnings [1]

Surrounded by the hills of the Sauratown Mountains, in the center of Stokes County, the small town of Danbury, North Carolina, was established in 1850 to serve as the county seat. Though Danbury grew quickly, the town did not come of age until the turn of the twentieth century, when it emerged as a bastion of judicial functions and social affairs. During this time, not only was a new, imposing Beaux Arts Neo-Classical Revival courthouse built in the middle of town, but nearby mineral springs boasted luxurious resorts which catered to the local community as well as pleasure seekers from afar. These landmarks represent two of the most compelling forces in the development of the town's visual landscape: local lawmakers and vacationing merry-makers.

The town's geography also played an important role in shaping Danbury's physical character. In following the natural contours of the land, Main Street winds around hills as it meanders through the town. The buildings which stretch down this road, are in relatively close proximity to one another and are set at varying distances from the road depending on the geography of the particular lot. There are no paved sidewalks in town, only well-worn paths crossing front property lines. Vestiges of the white picket fences that once lined the streets have all but vanished save for the ivy-covered gates of the H. M. Joyce House. Large shade trees also feature predominantly in this landscape, many of which were set out as seedlings by Danbury's earliest settlers.

As the headquarters of local government, the town of Danbury was laid off along a main road with the courthouse, situated high atop a hill, serving as the town's centerpiece. Like other rural county seats, lots nearest to the courthouse provided space for government related activities and the town's commercial district, while the townspeople resided in houses lining the main thoroughfare. To this day, the courthouse still visually dominates the landscape and the town plan continues to follow the same arrangement as when it was first conceived.

Whereas the town layout makes a visual reference to mid-nineteenth century Danbury, the buildings that still line the streets recall a later chapter in the town's history. The surge of population in Danbury between 1880 and 1896 created a new demand for housing that continued well into the 1920s and 1930s.

  1. Kathy Goddard and Maurice York, consultants, North Carolina Division of Archives and History, Danbury Historic District, Stokes County, North Carolina, nomination document, 1984, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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