By BRUCE MORSE
The town could have the largest historic district in the state if residents approve the proposal to amend the ordinance and add the Ellsworth district to its three previously approved historic sites.
The original district, around the Green, was established in 1975, the Calkinstown extension was added in 1985 and the Oblong Valley in 1991.
The six members of the Ellsworth Historic District Committee, five of whom live within the district and Jean Madjalany, past town historian, recently completed three years of work on the subject and received approval of their 65-page report from the Historic District Commission of Connecticut early this month.
Historic districts seek to preserve the original architecture of the area and require new structures to be in keeping with the old.
This is the second time a committee has worked on the issue. The first was from 1981 to 1984, but the proposal was defeated at a town meeting, said Janet Nickson, who worked on both committees. The area, more than 2,000 acres, includes land around Dunbar, South Ellsworth, Northrop, Kings Hill roads and part of Herb Road.
A distinct community within the town of Sharon, Ellsworth had its own grange, gristmill, sawmill, post office, general store, blacksmith and tavern.
Although predominantly farmers, the people who lived there were often called "mountain people" because in the winter they could not make it into town. They had their own church and a minister that would come to them.
There are 45 residents living in the area, which includes 28 historic homes. Several of the homes date back to the mid-18th century.
Nickson said the area cannot become a district unless two-thirds of the residents vote to approve the proposal.
A town hearing/meeting will be held at Town Hall Saturday, Sept. 25, at 10 a.m. to discuss the issue and to vote on authorizing the town clerk to mail ballots, which are to be returned by Oct. 13. There will be a town meeting Friday, Oct. 22, at 8 p.m. to vote on the issue, providing the necessary majority of area residents voted for the district. If the two-thirds vote is not received, the town vote will be negated, said First Selectman Robert Moeller.
Nickson said, "It is up to the will of the people. Not everyone will want it because it entails more rules and bureaucracy."