Since its founding in 1961, NHPT has played a key role in the preservation and restoration of many local landmarks, including the New Haven Free Public Library, New Haven City Hall, and Union Station, as well as countless private residences and commercial buildings throughout the city.
Through public advocacy, educational lectures, walking tours and workshops, historic research, technical architectural advising, and private consultation, the Trust continues to work to preserve and protect the historic architecture that defines our city.
Since I was a child, I have been fascinated by houses and buildings. Whether I played with blocks, Legos, or Erector sets, I built houses. I grew up in suburban Pittsburgh, in a mile-square suburb built mainly between 1880 and 1930, with one 20-house hill-top 1960's subdivision carved out of the hilly woods, where I lived. The town had little houses, big houses, and apartments, the streets were lined with trees, a central walk-in school, and a neighborhood grocery store, shoe repair shop, and drugstore. This neighborhood setting always means home to me.
I have been in New Haven since 1974--first as a student and then as professional--and it is this same neighborhood quality that makes me love New Haven so much. New Haven is a city filled with neighborhoods, each with its own charm and history and each with its own importance.
The New Haven Preservation Trust's mission under its Strategic Plan is “to honor and preserve New Haven’s architectural heritage--historic buildings and neighborhoods--through advocacy, education, and collaboration.” For New Haven to be vital and alive, the focus is not just on one building, one street, or one institution--it is New Haven's entire built environment which allows our neighborhoods to be places where we can work, live and play together. This wonderful tapestry of houses, churches, stores, parks, factory buildings and educational buildings all work together to make New Haven special--and home.
With this as our mission and outlook, the Trust works hard to reach out to homeowners, fellow non-profit organizations, municipal staff and officials, and real estate and architectural professionals in New Haven to collectively celebrate New Haven’s distinct built environment and recognize the importance of preserving the structures which we have. In a time of tight finances for everyone, it is through these collaborations that the Trust’s reach has been extended and our voice and viewpoint in the community reinforced. Our members, donors and sponsors continue to be the foundation which allow us to undertake these tasks.
Everyone deserves to grow up and live in a community as warm and vital as the one I grew up in. As New Haven grows and changes over the years, we need to remember where we have come from and recognize how all of the components of built environment must come together towards that end. New Haven must have an educated and aware citizenry who recognize that preservation is done for the purpose of maintaining the valuable buildings and landscapes of New Haven which make our city unique, which make our neighborhoods strong--and which make New Haven “home.”
Bruce R. Peabody, President
In 2016, we offered 15 public and members-only tours. Our smallest tour had 22 people, while our largest tour, given as part of the International Festival, welcomed more than 130. Tours traditionally fill to capacity within 24 hours of announcement and average 30 - 35 attendees - - a number often dictated by the maximum allowed for a particular property. When available, we have offered up to three additional time slots for the same tour in order to accommodate a larger demand. This trend is becoming the norm as more people become aware of the high-quality, interesting programs that we offer.
Tracking tour participation has shown that a significant portion of new members reach us through these events.Tour participation can signal the beginning of a relationship, with financial support coming several years later.
NHPT provides professional technical assistance to individuals and organizations with questions about historic preservation, restoration practices, and state and federal preservation standards. We respond to property owners, realtors, architects, developers, city officials, and others who ask for information on the historical and architectural significance of structures and sites in the area. Many are seeking guidance on rehabilitation standards and economic incentives for preservation projects. NHPT's Historic Preservation Services Officer has more than 35 years of experience working with historic properties in New England.
Input and consultations with the NHPT's Preservation Services Officer has ensured that more property owners take the steps necessary to comply with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation, thereby ensuring the preservation of the City's architectural fabric.
We have continued our successful collaborations with local and regional partners on a variety of projects that affect the historic architecture of New Haven and Connecticut, and we have expanded the number of organizations with which we collaborate and who benefit from our consultations.
As noted in the Hartford Courant editorial of May 4, 2012, recent studies show that preserving historic buildings has a handsome economic payoff. One study of the State’s three tax credit programs for historic properties showed that $32 million in credits triggered nearly $160 million in private investments – creating 560 job and nearly $30 million in wages – and generating more than $12 million in state & local taxes.
The second study looked at the effects of property values for properties in a local historic district. In no district, did being in the historic district reduce property values, and in 75% of the cases, properties in an historic district increased in value faster than those in the surrounding communities.
Historic Preservation is a good, smart, engine for economic development for every community.
In 2013, NHPT reinvigorated its Historic Structures Small Grant Program, which awards construction funding ($1,500 - $4,000) to qualified property owners for specific improvements to the exterior of their historic houses or buildings. Grants have been given for renovation of porches, windows, wooden architectural detailing, masonry repairs and other historic features. Applicants are advised as to construction methods and finishes by the Historic Preservation Officer and must complete work within one year of approval. Historic Structures grant applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and are overseen by the Preservation Committee.
Since 2013, the Trust has approved seven applications for a total amount awarded of $18,475.00. Work is complete on five properties and continues on two.
The New Haven Preservation Trust faces two significant challenges, one financial and one more philosophical.
Most of the programs undertaken by the Trust are unique in the city, not offered by other public or private entities. The Board of Directors recognizes that this is both good and bad, good because it gives the Trust responsibility for upholding an entire field of endeavor, and bad because that position is not well understood in the community. Unlike organizations providing food, shelter, health care, or activities for young people, the Trust aims to enhance quality of life. We believe that appreciation and upkeep of its historic environment is crucial to the economic well being of a healthy urban center. However, the role of an agency supporting the community's quality of life through preservation of its architectural heritage is fairly subtle, and not as easily portrayed as other charitable activity. NHPT addresses this challenge by balancing its free education and awareness programs with essential principled advocacy for the future of neglected or undervalued historic structures. Popularizing this role takes leadership and longstanding commitment, assets we are in the midst of growing.
Primarily due to its strong committee structure, NHPT successfully survived a transition year in 2016. Board members, volunteers, and part-time independent contractors filled in for staff who had retired or left for other employment. Trust programs continued to run smoothly, with minimal impact on community outreach. After a mid-year reevaluation of its initial plan, the Board hired a capable and imaginative Operations Coordinator in October, 2016. This step served to stabilize the staff and give NHPT's programs and membership coordination new energy and enthusiasm. Trust leadership recognizes that program expansion to include serious fundraising and robust public relations may require additional staff and plans to review staff capacity when the need arises.
The NHPT relies on a strong, working Board of Directors. All Board members serve on one or more committees or lead special projects. Committees meet monthly with members of the staff and other volunteers to share information and set program priorities. Committees develop and refine the governance and management policies that will lead us into the future.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Financial information is inputted by Foundation staff directly from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved by the nonprofit’s board. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. The Community Foundation is continuing to receive information submitted by the organization and may periodically update the organization’s profile to reflect the most current financial and other information available. The organization has completed the fields required by The Community Foundation and updated their profile in the last year. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
Greater New Haven is home to a thriving arts community that includes theatre, music, dance and the visual arts. It is invested in its museums, historic preservation and the celebration of its members’ ethnic and cultural diversity.
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