Norwalk, Connecticut today is a thriving city of over 85,000 residents located in Fairfield County. Its geography is favorably situated by the shores of the Long Island Sound, and offers easy access to New York City by Metro-North Railroad or car. It is a thriving residential, professional, and business community which offers residents a full range of services and amenities.
THE HISTORY AND FOUNDING OF THE CITY OF NORWALK
Norwalk was initially inhabited by Native Americans. In fact, the name Norwalk comes from the Norwalke Indians, a small part of the Siwanoy tribe. Adriaen Block, a Dutch navigator, was the first to make contact with the Norwalke in 1614. Roger Ludlow and Daniel Patrick later purchased Norwalk from the native peoples in 1640 in two separate transactions. The first settlers arrived from Hartford, Connecticut in 1649. The town was then incorporated in 1651.
Norwalk was almost completely burned down by the British on July 12, 1770, with only a few historic houses escaping the devastation. Nathan Hale, an American patriot, soldier, and spy, departed from Norwalk during the Revolutionary War to gather intelligence in New York City, where he was captured and executed by the British. Today, he is officially designated as the state hero of Connecticut. Norwalk's Nathan Hale Middle School is named in his honor.
THE CITY OF NORWALK IS OFFICIALLY INCORPORATED
The city of Norwalk was officially formed in 1913 with the merger of Norwalk and South Norwalk in 1915. It has become a treasured home for many throughout the years, including generations of families, and many noteworthy people.
In 1915, Johnny Gruelle invented Raggedy Ann in Norwalk, and the doll is now included in the National Toy Hall of Fame. In addition, cartoonist Hank Ketcham, creator of the “Dennis the Menace” cartoon strip, was born in Norwalk in 1920. Big Band legend, Artie Shaw, was also a city resident, as well as Frances Dee, a Hollywood star of the 1930's and 1940's. These are just a few of the well-known “Norwalkers" over the years.
With its Long Island Sound location, Norwalk offers many amenities such as boating, fishing, and other water sports, as well as protected islands, lighthouses, and marinas. It is home to numerous attractions, shopping, schools, houses of worship, and world-class medical services through Norwalk Hospital and its Yale New Haven affiliation.
Today Norwalk also features the Maritime Aquarium, Stepping Stones Children’s Museum, the Norwalk Historical Society Museum, as well as many public parks, the SONO Mall, and other destinations. The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion, built in the 1860’s, was the home of banking and railroad magnate LeGrand Lockwood and is now a popular attraction. The Norwalk Historical Society maintains a museum in the 1935 townhouse located In the Mill Hill Historical Park. The historic South Norwalk neighborhood, known as SONO, was once an area known for factories, especially hat manufacturers. It now features trendy restaurants and shops, as well as many architecturally interesting buildings. Old factories have been re-purposed into chic industrial lofts, businesses, and restaurants.
The city also features the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, and a student orchestra, the Norwalk Youth Symphony. The Marching Bears of Norwalk High School are well-known for excellence, and have won many championships over generations.
Norwalk is known for its oysters, and the annual Oyster Festival at Veteran’s Park. Besides oysters, it features a variety of food, rides, games, artisan and craft vendors, as well as professional entertainers, attracting large crowds each year.
These are just a few highlights of Norwalk life today, and over the course of nearly 400 years of history. Hopefully you have found this information valuable.