South Britain Historic District
|Location||E. Flat Hill, Hawkins, Library, and Middle Rds., and 497-864 S. Britain Rd., Southbury, Connecticut|
|Area||70 acres (28 ha)|
|Architect||Clark, Zephania; Monumental Bronze Co.|
|Architectural style||Greek Revival, Federal, Colonial|
|NRHP reference No.||87000125|
|Added to NRHP||February 12, 1987|
The South Britain Historic District encompasses the core of the unincorporated village of South Britain in Southbury, Connecticut, United States. The village arose in the 18th century as an industrial center serving the surrounding agricultural community, powered by the Pomperaug River, and rivalled the town center of Southbury in importance. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
South Britain is located near the geographic center of Southbury, extending north along Connecticut Route 172 (South Britain Avenue) north of its crossing of the Pomperaug River. Near the river crossing, a dam spans the river, at a site that has been dammed since the 18th century. Foundational remnants of mill buildings line both sides of the river in this area, and a 19th-century power canal extends northward between the river, where it supplied power to further mill complexes. The village center, now a cluster of commercial, civic, and residential buildings, reaching its northern extent at the cemetery north of East Flat Hill Road. At the junction with Flat Hill Road stand two 19th-century churches, the Federal-style South Britain Congregational Church (1825) and the now unoccupied Greek Revival Methodist Church (1832).
The early industries of South Britain included fulling, grist, and lumber mills, which served the surrounding area. In the 19th century a wider variety of water-powered industries developed, including textile manufacture. Because of its economic importance, it shared civic duties with the town center, and was granted construction of the Italianate town hall (1873, still standing). That period marked the height of the area's economic influence, as the mills gradually declined. The town hall remained the seat of local government until 1964.: 23
Also included in the district is a steel-span bridge from 1939.