Brief History of Norwalk

Fairfield County, Connecticut


1640 Roger Ludlow bought land from Chief Mahackamo. Ludlow's agreement with the Indians provided for the purchase of land between the Norwalk and the Saugatuck Rivers.

1651 Norwalk officially founded.

1754 Thomas Fitch of Norwalk became the Governor of the Colony of Connecticut.

1775-1783 American Revolutionary War.

1779 General Tryon landed his men at Calf Pasture Beach and marched them up Sunset Hill and then East Avenue, burning a total of 135 houses. (A monument stands at the corner of East Avenue and Adams Avenue to honor those who fought the British in this "Battle of the Rocks".)

c. 1785  --  Silvermine Tavern.

1800 the 80 feet long steamboat, the Adelphi plied the waters around Norwalk.

The Andrew Oyster Company built its company building at the edge of the Long Island Sound.

1804 Captain Robert Sheffield of Stonington bought White Island (later known as Sheffield Island).

1835 the old town house was pulled down by some citizens offended by the deteriorating building.

1836 a new brick town house erected.

1848 the train came to Norwalk.

1853 (May 6) a train crash in South Norwalk killed 46 people. Two baggage cars, two passenger cars, and part of a third passenger car went into the river.

c. 1864  --  50-room Victorian Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum built.  (It is now a National Historic Landmark, as well as a museum). 

1868 Sheffield Island Lighthouse built.

1878 (September 28) a boiler explosion on the steamboat Adelphi caused 30 injuries. The ship was later rebuilt as The City of Albany.

1888 the Great Blizzard of 1888.

c. 1890s  --  South Norwalk Train Station built

1892 photo shows South Main Street and Railroad Avenue from the Mahackamo Hotel.

1902 Sheffield Island lighthouse was replaced by the new Greens Ledge Light farther West.

c. 1912  --City Hall built.  It is now restored and serves as the Norwalk Museum with community exhibition and collection of Norwalk art, furniture, artifacts.

1912 photo shows Guthrie's Mill.

1913 --  Andrew Carnegie had the South Norwalk Branch Library built.

1917  --  formation of the Connecticut Light and Power Company.

1936 photo shows Norwalk Airport. (All Saints School now occupies the site.)

1952 Norwalk, Little League World Series champions.

1955 a rainfall of 12.89 inches led to a flood that caused over $8 million dollars in damage in the heart of Norwalk (especially on Wall Street).

1994  --  South Norwalk Train Station refurbished and modernized to recreate many of the 19th century historic features, including a Victorian-style waiting area on the westbound side.

2003  --  population of 84,170.


Sources:

The History of Norwalk. http://www.norwalk.k12.ct.us/tracey/history.htm


Editorial:

Norwalk: The Worst Town Performance for Natural Area Preservation

I am not impressed with Norwalk at all in the area of natural area preservation.  The detailed county map shows lots of "parks" but most of these are mere recreational area extensions of the elementary,  middle and high schools. 

Cranbury Park is about the only large area of nature in the Town.  We visited Woods Pond Park and found it virtually abandoned with trails overrun with invasive species and private property too close to the northern end. We stopped at a park on Ponus Avenue that was all woods but there is no signage and no trails.  We stopped along the Heritage Walk  -- not clearly marked, if marked at all, mostly urban and/or horticultural, not natural. 

Veterans Parks is for residents only.  The beaches are for residents only except in off-off season.  Taylor Farm has no trails and is mostly used as a off-leash dog area. 

What a disappointment and the worst of the many towns we have seen in Fairfield and Litchfield counties. 

Come on Norwalk, get some "Friends of . . ." groups and work with what little you have to make Norwalk a more livable place.

 

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney

 

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