The preservation of a community’s older structures, it has been shown, provides the foundation to its successful revitalization. Although small in size, Trenton is very fortunate to have so many historic structures and areas. Through the restoration of these structures, the City can enhance its distinctive historical character.
Eight historic districts were designated within the City of Trenton to not only identify historically and architecturally important areas, but also to encourage restoration efforts within these areas and build a sense of neighborhood identity and pride. Six of the City’s historic districts are residential in character.
Trenton’s Architectural Development
As a colonial era city, Trenton’s first housing consisted primarily of simple wood frame houses similar to the historic Douglass House on East Front Street. Most of these houses have been destroyed but other colonial era buildings of the federal style remain especially in the Mill Hill, Academy/Hanover, and Greenwood/Hamilton Historic Districts. Later in the nineteenth century, there was a flourishing of many historical styles including Greek Revival, Italianate, French Second Empire, and Victorian, including Queen Anne and other numerous combinations of style featuring external ornamentation.
City Landmarks Commission
City historic districts and individual landmarks are so designated by the City Landmarks Commission with the concurrence of City Council. Trenton was the first City in New Jersey to officially adopt a Landmarks Commission ordinance in August of 1972.
In addition to designating historic districts and structures, the Commission is responsible for reviewing all exterior alterations to structures in historic districts and to individual landmark buildings. Also, it reviews all proposed new construction within a district. For more information about the approval process for exterior building alterations including exterior painting, please contact the City’s Preservation Specialist at 989-3582. Detailed information on restoration guidelines is also available by contacting this number
The contents of these pages were prepared by the City of Trenton Department of Housing & Development. They were adapted for the web by Bonnie Rock.