Historic Preservation Restrictions

Historic Preservation Restrictions [HPR] are a legal means to provide the highest level of long-term protection to significant historic properties in the form of deed easements. 

Important Resources

The Massachusetts Historical Commission [MHC] plays an important statutory role in all Historic Preservation Restrictions.  Visit the MHC website to learn more. Another key resource is the Community Preservation Coalition which acts as a liaison between municipalities and the Community Preservation Act [CPA] and is a valued partner to local Community Preservation Committees.  Visit the Coalition to learn more about CPA.

DHPT’s role in CPA projects

DHPT has an active interest in some of Dartmouth’s CPA-funded historic preservation projects, namely, the Akin House, featured prominently on this site, the town-owned 1871 Russell’s Mills Schoolhouse and the Dartmouth “Y Barn” on Gulf Road .  This community has come together to save these properties for future generations.

Read on for details.


DHPT’s purpose is to advocate for the preservation and protection of our historic assets, and that includes HPRs, the MHC-approved “gold standard” of perpetual protections.

DHPT holds the HPRs on two Dartmouth properties: The Russell’s Mills Schoolhouse, a significant contributing building in the only 40C local historic district Dartmouth, Russell’s Mills Village AND the “Y Barn”, an integral structure of the Gulf Hill Dairy Farm complex on scenic Gulf Road, owned by the YMCA, SouthCoast.

HPRs guarantee that these buildings are protected forever.  DHPT’s role is to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the applicable HPR agreements undertaken between the grantors, e.g., the property owner, and the grantee [DHPT].


The Schoolhouse which also served as a library is located at 1205 Russell’s Mills Road is a contributing structure in Dartmouth’s only Local Historic District. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

What’s the difference between a Local Historic District [LHD] and the National Register of Historic Places? Simply put, a LHD has more teeth.

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Learn more about Dartmouth’s only Historic District right here.

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This town-owned property is leased by the Dartmouth Historical & Arts Society for community use. The Dartmouth Historical & Arts Society, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, non-profit organization. Donations to DHAS are tax deductible as allowed by law. Visit their website.

For a detailed narrative about the history of the Russell’s Mills Schoolhouse, read on.

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This easement was recorded at the Registry of Deeds, Bristol County S.D. on May 21, 2014, Doc. 9384, Book 11079, Page 238 and can be accessed online.


In 2012, the Young Men’s Christian Association, Southcoast, Inc. granted an easement or HPR to DHPT to assure that the architectural, historic, and cultural features of the exterior of the Dartmouth Y barn located at 276 Gulf Road, Dartmouth. MA, would be preserved and protected in perpetuity. This easement was recorded at the Registry of Deeds, Bristol County S.D. on June 18, 2012, Doc. 14589, Book 10424, Page 191 and can be accessed online.

Why is the Y Barn’s long-term protection so important to the Town of Dartmouth? 

The Y barn is a contributing historic structure in the eligible “Gulf Hill Farm Historic District” encompassing an area of Gulf Road and Bakerville Road, both scenic roads. This area has one of the most stunning heritage landscapes with historic views still intact, and rare historic structures and landmarks.

The farm is significant to Dartmouth’s agricultural history, the role of which dairy farming played in the region’s economy and for its association with Portuguese settlement in Dartmouth. The Fernandes dairy farm was established in 1896 by Frank J. Fernandes and operated as a family-owned business until the early 1960s.

The Gulf Hill Dairy Farm is now a residential/commercial/agricultural district and includes properties located along Gulf Road which were associated with the dairy farm.

This easement was recorded at the Registry of Deeds, Bristol County S.D. on June 18, 2012, Doc. 14589, Book 10424, Page 191 and can be accessed online.

See below, for a detailed narrative about the history of the Gulf Hill Dairy and the Y Barn.

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