Guilford Preservation Alliance
The Guilford Preservation Alliance (GPA) is a non-profit group whose mission is to preserve and protect the built and natural heritage of the town of Guilford. Incorporated in 1980, the GPA has been active in promoting the preservation of the diverse buildings, landscapes, and streetscapes that contribute to the quality of life in Guilford.
Since its inception, GPA has united like-minded individuals and organizations in the protection and preservation of historic buildings and neighborhoods. The GPA’s first contribution to Guilford’s preservation was saving the Kingsnorth-Starr House (ca. 1694) and property from future commercial development. Some of the many other contributions in the past 35 years are:
Protection of the Built Environment
Established the Hugh McKay Jones Trust for Historic Preservation, a revolving loan fund. The Jones Trust has assisted restoration of the Thomas Griswold House by the Guilford Keeping Society, the establishment of the Dudley Farm in North Guilford, and the initial efforts to preserve the Faulkner Island lighthouse by the Faulkner Light Brigade, the commission of the GPA. The trust fund has provided grants and loans to the preservation and restoration of the water tower, barn, and bowling alley on Broad Street, and to numerous community groups.
Participated in the establishment of two Guilford Town Historic Districts.
Participated in the placement of the North Guilford Meeting House Hill on the National Register of Historic Places and funded the research for the Dudleytown (Clapboard Hill) national register district.
Cooperated in placing the Guilford Town Center Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.
Compiled authoritative surveys of historically significant homes, business and industrial structures, barns, and outbuildings.
Worked with town officials to draft and enact regulations governing delay of demolition, blight, and protection of historic stone walls. Regulation to expand accessory apartments to protect outbuildings and provide affordable housing.
Purchased, and re-sold with protective easements, the Kingsnorth-Starr house, Guilford’s oldest dwelling.
Worked with town officials to preserve the historic stone bridge on Great Hill Road in North Guilford and install traffic-calming crosswalks, sidewalks, and traffic islands.
Assisted in obtaining state funding of restoration work on the Henry Whitfield Museum.
Spearheaded an on-going effort to preserve Guilford’s 19th-century railroad buildings.
Participated in the Route One East Design Review.
Protection of the Natural Environment
Inventoried all public-street trees in the Guilford Borough.
Completed planting 475 trees on Church, Water, and twenty-two other streets within the Borough of Guilford and along Whitfield street along the Green.
Initiated establishment of the state Scenic Roads Advisory Committee.
Sponsored state designation of Route 77 Route 146 as Scenic Roads.
Supported enactment of the Scenic Roads amendment to the town ordinances.
Wrote and secured enactment of the Guilford Tree Ordinance.
Secured appointment of a paid town tree warden for Guilford.
Established an Open Space Acquisition Study Committee that later became a town-appointed committee for the acquisition of town-owned open space.
Cooperated with state representatives to secure passage of legislation that allows towns to deviate from mandated state standards in the reconstruction of historic bridges.
Advocated and secured passage of Public Act 99-207 establishing a fine of $1,000 for authorized cutting of trees along state highways.
Co-sponsor of POG, Protect Our Guilford, Residents for Controlled Growth, an organization that is drafting changes in Guilford’s zoning regulations to contain inappropriate commercial development.
Research and Publication
Published inventory of 450 architecturally and historically significant Guilford structures.
Published the Town Center Survey of Public Trees and Tree-planting Guide.
Published the Master Plan for Preservation and Scenic Conservation, now in its second edition.
Published Guilford: A Walking Guide, by Sarah McCulloch, now in its ninth printing.
Underwrote the second printing of The Children’s Walking Guide by Joanna Corlett.
Published A Guilford Bibliography by Nona Bloomer.
Education and Public Service
Recognizes outstanding achievement in the preservation of the built and natural environment through its annual awards ceremony.
Sponsors public meetings with planning and conservation professionals.
Initiated and now financially sponsors early Guilford Days with the Keeping Society and the Dorothy Whitfield Society, a program for all fourth-grade students in Guilford schools.
Sponsors the Witness to History: Slavery in Guilford which seeks to uncover the history of slavery in our town, examine its legacy, and share what is learned through community-based events and projects.
Cooperated with other town organizations in the formation of the Group of Seven, a cooperative effort of historical and conservation organizations for better cooperation with town officials in the preservation of the built and natural environment.
Held, and continues to hold, public meetings, public forums, and educational talks on topics of preservation, local candidates for office, and development.
Sponsored public workshops on Town Center South.
Provided guidance and financial support for nine signs placed at three town exits to promote economic development and heritage tourism.
Provided financial support for the preservation of historic books and for the preparation of an electronic catalog of historic resources at the Guilford Free Library.
Provided financial support for the preservation of cemetery records throughout the town.
Sponsored heritage walking tours of the town center, student tours of the Kingsnorth-Starr house, tours of North Guilford, and Lunch & Learn programs at the library.
Co-sponsored with the Guilford Historic Commission the Certified Local Government designation for Guilford (a companion program to the National Register of Historic Places).
Purchased signs indicating the inclusion of the central village on the National Register of Historic Places.
Initiated an on-going improvement replacement of street signs on Guilford town roads.
Initiated and co-sponsored “Welcome to Guilford” signs at each highway exit to promote economic development and heritage tourism.
Organized an on-going effort to preserve the Governor Woodruff farm property.
Proposed and secured planning grant for walkway connecting the Green with the waterfront.
Assists with the Sustainable Guilford Task Force (SGTF) to further advance the principles of sustainability, equity, and environmental stewardship within our community while fostering community support.
In the Fall of 2014, the Guilford Preservation Alliance began supplying historical plaques for businesses around the Green, each one giving a short history of the building. The plaques have a QR code to enable anyone with a smart phone or device to navigate directly to a page with more information about the structure.
Informational resources to preserve historic homes were compiled into literature which was distributed, and supplies placed at the Town Hall and Library.
A town-wide recreational areas map was created in display and hand-held formats.
The Visitors Information Center and Kiosk represent the second of GPA’s gifts to the town in celebration of its 375th anniversary in 2014, the first being the railroad station’s permanent historical exhibit. The Visitors Information Center serves as the focal point for our growing heritage tourism program and provides much-needed historical, architectural and natural resource services. The associated visitguilfordct.com website, also sponsored by the GPA, provides the same information as well as a local calendar of events.
We invite you to join the GPA as a member as we continue to protect and celebrate the past, enrich the present, and plan for the future. Please visit www.guilfordpreservation.org for more information.