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Norwalk City

Norwalk City Hall is located at 125 East Avenue, Norwalk CT 06851; phone: 203-854-3200.

Beginnings [1]

Settled in 1649 by colonists from Hartford under the leadership of Roger Ludlow and incorporated as a town in 1651, Norwalk is one of the two towns in the state having an Indian name. Many evidences of an earlier Indian habitation (probably of the Mohawk tribe) have been found west of the harbor on Wilson Point. During the Revolutionary War, Norwalk was harassed by the depredations of British raiders. Rowayton offered a sheltered landing place for marauders who, working with Tory sympathizers living within the town, crossed from Long Island to steal cattle, grain and vegetables for their troops. On the eve of July 11, 1779, 26 British vessels, carrying a land force of 2,500 men, disembarked on Calf Pasture Beach. The patriots, scarcely more than 400 in number, were no match for the Redcoats who took possession of the town and set fire to both the Congregational and Episcopal churches, 80 dwellings, 87 barns, 22 storehouses, 17 shops, 4 mills, 5 vessels, and all the stores of wheat, hay and grain.

Norwalk's development as an industrial center dates from before the Revolution, when the manufacture of clocks, watches, shingle nails and paper was started between 1767 and 1773. A few years later, probably as early as 1780, a pottery kiln, the first of several which produced the stoneware pottery for which Norwalk became famous, was erected at Old Well. Among collectors' pieces are examples of red, yellow, brown and black ware, all of simple design with the exception of the early pie plates, now museum pieces, which are distinguished by their Oriental decoration, showing the influence of the China trade on home industry.

A granite Memorial to Roger Ludlow, deputy governor of the Connecticut Colony, was erected at the intersection of Gregory Boulevard and Fifth Street. In 1640 Ludlow purchased Norwalk by a treaty with the Indians for the price of '8 fathoms of wampum, 6 coats, 10 hatchers, 10 hoes, 10 knives, 10 scissors, 10 jews harps, 10 fathoms tobacco, 3 kettles (3 hands about), and 10 looking glasses.'

  1. Workers of the Federal Writers' Project, Works Progress Administration, Connecticut: A Guide to its Roads, Lore and People, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1938.
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