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Fair Haven’s History and Architecture—Past and Preservation, by Benjamin A. Gorman


Guide Entry to 84.01.05:

The unit is designed for an eighth grade class in social studies. The purpose is to provide a history of the Fair Haven area and to give the students the opportunity to observe the existing architecture in the area. The aim of the unit is to increase student knowledge, appreciation of Fair Haven’s past, and to develop in them a sense of community. No matter where students may live, their community’s landscape is changing and they should have a frame of reference because they are a part of that place. As new comers or life-long residents, they should become more aware of their physical environment. By looking at the structures the students can gain an historical perspective and realize that the preservation attempts are helping to revitalize their community.

A set of slides, available at the Teachers Institute Office, show the variety of structures that exist and illustrate the area’s historical development, preservation efforts and architectural heritage. Fair Haven blends the architecture of the last two centuries in its houses; the streets are lined with Colonial, Federal, Greek Revival and Victorian Gothic styles. The commercial buildings are finding new life through adaptive usage and the public buildings reflect society’s concept of permanence and importance.

The suggested lessons could be used with slight changes in studying any area/neighborhood within the city. A questionnaire begins to focus attention on student attitudes. Observation and communication skills are developed through viewing pictures, slides and writing. Students are then asked to draw, practicing the ruler and scale, and to make decisions about changes in design.

Through observing, exploring and thinking, the students may realize the importance of preservation and develop a sense of belonging to a community.

(Recommended for Social Studies classes and Art classes, grades 6 and 8)

Key Words

Connecticut Architecture American Fair Haven History Nineteenth Century

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