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North Broad Street Historic District


The North Broad Street Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [1] Adaptation copyright © 2009, The Gombach Group.

Description

Located in the city of Norwich, the North Broad Street Historic District is comprised of forty-one detached residences dating from the early nineteenth century to the twentieth century. The North Broad Street Historic District is separated from outlying farms by factories and fast food establishments to the north and from the Chenango County Courthouse District by twentieth-century commercial development to the south. Containing the full range of domestic architectural styles popular during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the North Broad Street Historic District forms a homogeneous cityscape due to the houses' siting and landscaping.

Extending along both sides of the street for three blocks, the North Broad Street Historic District is lined with tall trees which form a screen behind which the homes and wide lawns are set. Most of the houses are two or three stories in height and of wood frame construction, although there are several stone and brick structures interspersed. Architecturally, the homes include outstanding examples of Greek Revival, Queen Anne, Italianate, and Stick style. Several residences have undergone various minor alterations during the twentieth century such as the enclosing of open porches or the loss of some architectural detail.

The earliest residences in the North Broad Street Historic District are located on Cortland Street (originally Pleasant Street), Rexford Street, and the lower-most portion of North Broad Street. All of these homes are constructed in the Greek Revival style. The facades of 8 Cortland Street, 12 Cortland Street and 110 North Broad Street are all so similar that they may have been constructed by the same builder, Archibald Clark, who is known to have designed 110 North Broad Street. The front elevations of these houses are all three bays wide with Ionic pilasters that evoke a panelled effect. In addition, all three contain doorways with similar rounded arches, keystone ornaments, and large fanlights. All of the homes appear to have additions and modifications to what was originally a simple Greek temple form. Thirteen other examples of this style are within the North Broad Street Historic District, each with varying degrees of detailing.

Settlement proceeded northward along North Broad Street with the result that the homes there date to the Victorian period and evidence the full range of styles popular at that time. Both 111 and 140 North Broad Street are examples of the Second Empire style, being asymmetrical in floor plan with high mansard roofs.

Numbers 87 and 115 North Broad Street demonstrate elements of the Stick style. Number 87 is nearly square in form with a second-story balustraded porch; the Stick work in the central gable is an obvious allusion to a Swiss chalet. In contrast, 115 North Broad Street is highly irregular in its plan with a circular and semicircular porch; using horizontal, vertical and even scroll-like boarding on its outside walls and gable to add character.

Due to the irregular plan and variety of color and surface texture, 90, 91, 93, 99, 105, 122, 126, and 137 are all characteristic of the Queen Anne style. Of these, 99 North Broad Street is by far the most elaborate with its abundance of projecting eaves, window shapes and wall surfaces. Number 100 North Broad Street, while of the same architectural era, has strong elements of the Eastlake style, especially in its highly decorative, turned porch posts.

Six homes in the North Broad Street Historic District are in the mode of Italian villas. All are nearly square in plan and lack towers; however, broad, bracketed eaves are present in most. Number 116 North Broad Street is by far the most elaborate of this group because of its bracketed square cupola and highly refined decorative detailing.

Two residences (117 and 119 North Broad Street) date to the mid-twentieth century. Neither of these homes visually intrude upon the setting of the historic district. In addition, the Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church (94 North Broad Street) is a modern structure.

Significance

The North Broad Street Historic District in Norwich has traditionally been the location of the finest homes in the city. One of the earliest settled sections of Norwich, the area of the district eventually became the address of the more influential and wealthy residents of Norwich. Within the North Broad Street Historic District are nineteenth and twentieth-century homes of architectural distinction constructed in the Greek Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, and Stick styles.

North Broad Street, formerly called North Main Street, was one of the first and most important highways in Norwich. The original road, known as a "plank" road because of the frequent muddy conditions which required covering the turnpike with timber, was the major turnpike between Oxford and Sherburne, a distance of seventeen miles.

Norwich grew along the north-south axis formed by North Broad Street. The earliest settlement occurred around the Courthouse Square area at the end of the eighteenth century, and for many years the North Broad Street Historic District was merely farm houses and farming property.

During the early part of the nineteenth century, several Greek Revival houses were erected along North Broad Street. In the 1840's, after completion of the Chenango Canal, the county experienced rapid growth. In Norwich, new residential development appeared largely along North Broad Street. By 1853, thirty-four houses stood within the historic district boundaries.[1]

As the population of Norwich became more affluent, the type and style of residences along North Broad Street became larger and more impressive. The street eventually became the address of the more influential and wealthy residents of Norwich. The original simple farm houses were replaced by elegant homes according to the architectural vogue at the time of the construction. This trend continued through the end of the nineteenth century when several homes on North Broad Street incorporated grand ballrooms into their floor plans.

The North Broad Street Historic District is a source of community pride because of the outstanding collection of virtually intact nineteenth-century houses shielded from the road by large trees and shrubs. Although several of the homes have been converted during the twentieth century to other uses, the buildings are still well maintained and the integrity of the North Broad Street Historic District is substantially intact.

Endnote

  1. Map of 1853, on file at Norwich Historian's Office, 31 East Main Street, Norwich, NY.

References

Clark, Hiram. History of Chenango County. Norwich, New York: Tompson, Pratt, 1850.

Files of the Norwich Historian's Office, 31 East Main St., Norwich, New York.

Phillips, Albert and Goldie. Annals of Norwich. Vol. II, Norwich, New York: Chenango Union Printing, Inc., 1965.

Smith, James. History of Chenango and Madison Counties, New York. Syracuse, New York: Mason and Co., 1880.

Nadler, Margaret L., New York State Department of Parks and Recreation, Division for Historic Preservation, North Broad Street Historic District, nomination document, 1978, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

North Broad Street Historic District Map

Street Names
Broad Street North • Cortland Street • Newton Avenue • Pellett Street • Pleasant Street • Tillman Avenue

**Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. You should independently verify any information you use for decision making.
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