Norwich, Connecticut: Wikis


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Norwich, Connecticut
—  City  —

Nickname(s): The Rose Of New England
Norwich, Connecticut is located in Connecticut
Norwich, Connecticut
Location within the state of Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°33′01″N 72°05′15″W / 41.55028°N 72.0875°W / 41.55028; -72.0875
Country United States
State Connecticut
Region Southeastern Connecticut
Settled 1659
Incorporated (city) 1784
Consolidated 1952
 - Type Council-manager
 - City council Peter A. Nystrom, Mayor
Peter Desaulniers (Council Pro Tem)
H. Tucker Braddock, Jr.
Jacqueline Caron
Deb Hinchey
William Nash
Laurie Glenney-Popovich
 - City manager Alan Bergren
 - City 29.5 sq mi (76.4 km2)
 - Land 28.3 sq mi (73.4 km2)
 - Water 1.1 sq mi (3.0 km2)
 - Urban 123.1 sq mi (318.7 km2)
Elevation 56 ft (17 m)
Population (2008)[1]
 - City 36,388
 - Density 1,292.4/sq mi (499/km2)
 - Metro 266,618
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 06360, 06365, 06380
Area code(s) 860
FIPS code 09-56200
GNIS feature ID 0209410

Norwich, known as "The Rose of New England," is a city in, and former county seat (when there were county seats in the state) of, New London County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 36,117 at the 2000 census. Three rivers, the Yantic, the Shetucket, and the Quinebaug, flow into the city and form its harbor, from which the Thames River flows south to Long Island Sound.

Norwich was founded in 1659 when settlers from Old Saybrook, Connecticut, purchased land from Chief Uncas, leader of the Mohegan Native American tribe. In the 19th century, Norwich came to be known as a manufacturing city because of its many large mills.



Norwich was founded in 1658 by settlers from Old Saybrook led by Major John Mason and Reverend James Fitch. They purchased the land that would become Norwich from the local Native American Mohegan Tribe. In 1668, a wharf was established at Yantic Cove. Settlement was primarily in the three-mile (5-km) area around the Norwichtown Green. The 69 founding families soon divided up the land in the Norwichtown vicinity for farms and businesses.

By 1694 the public landing built at the head of the Thames River allowed ships to offload goods at the harbor. The harbor area is known as the Chelsea neighborhood. The distance between the port and Norwichtown was serviced by the East and West Roads which later became Washington Street and Broadway.

The original center of the town was a neighborhood now called Norwichtown, an inland location chosen to be the center of a primarily agricultural farming community. By the latter 1700's, shipping at the harbor began to become far more important than farming, especially so when industrial mills began manufacturing on the three smaller rivers. By the early 1800s, the center of Norwich had effectively moved to the Chelsea neighborhood. The official buildings of the city were located in the harbor area, such as the City Hall, the courts, Post Office, and all the large 19th century urban blocks. The former center is now called Norwichtown to distinguish it from the current city.

Norwich merchants were shipping goods directly from England, but the Stamp Act of 1764 forced Norwich to become more self sufficient. Soon large mills and factories sprang up at the falls on the rivers which traverse the town.

The ship captains of Norwich and New London who were skillful at avoiding Imperial taxation during peacetime later were just as successful eluding warships during war.

During the American Revolution Norwich supported the cause for independence by supplying soldiers, ships, and munitions. Norwich was also a center for activity for the Sons of Liberty. One of the most notable figures of the Revolution, Benedict Arnold, was born in Norwich. Other Colonial era noteworthies include Samuel Huntington, Christopher Leffingwell, and Daniel Lathrop.

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1800 3,476
1810 3,528 1.5%
1820 3,634 3.0%
1830 5,179 42.5%
1840 7,239 39.8%
1850 10,265 41.8%
1860 14,048 36.9%
1870 16,653 18.5%
1880 21,143 27.0%
1890 23,048 9.0%
1900 24,637 6.9%
1910 28,219 14.5%
1920 29,685 5.2%
1930 32,438 9.3%
1940 34,140 5.2%
1950 37,633 10.2%
1960 38,506 2.3%
1970 41,739 8.4%
1980 38,074 −8.8%
1990 37,391 −1.8%
2000 36,117 −3.4%
Est. 2008 36,388 0.8%
Population 1756 - 2000[2][3][4]

Regular steamship service between New York and Boston helped Norwich to prosper as a shipping center through the early part of the 20th century. During the Civil War, Norwich once again rallied and saw the growth of its textile, armaments, and specialty item manufacturing. This was also spurred by the building of the Norwich and Worcester Railroad in 1832-1837 bringing goods and people both in and out of Norwich. By the 1870s the Springfield and New London Railroad was also running trains through Norwich.

The harbor, 1906

Norwich served as leadership center for Connecticut during the Civil War. Connecticut Governor William Buckingham, who was from nearby Lebanon, used his Norwich home as a de facto office during the conflict. Also, United States Senator Lafayette Foster later became Acting Vice President after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. During this period, Frances M. Caulkins composed her histories of both Norwich and New London.

Through the end of the 19th century and into the early 20th century, Norwich served as home to many large mills. The population grew and became more diverse with an influx of different ethnic groups. These new residents helped to build the city's schools, churches, and social centers. Today, Norwich is a thriving city with a stable population, wide range of municipal services, a modern industrial park, its own utility company, and a positive outlook for residential and business growth.



The city elects a City Council President, who presides over the City Council, which also includes six other members, all elected at large. The Council President serves a maximum of two four-year terms; the council members serve two-year terms. The council appoints the Town and City Clerk as well as a City Manager who acts as chief executive officer of the city government. Members of the city Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals are also appointed by the City Council.[5]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.5 square miles (76.4 km²), of which 28.3 square miles (73.4 km²) is land and 1.1 square miles (3.0 km²) (3.87%) is water.


As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 36,117 people, 15,091 households, and 9,069 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,274.7 people per square mile (492.2/km²). There were 16,600 housing units at an average density of 585.9/sq mi (226.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 83.14% White, 6.84% Black or African American, 1.21% Native American, 2.10% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 2.76% from other races, and 3.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.11% of the population.

There were 15,091 households out of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.7% were married couples living together, 15.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.9% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.1% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 30.2% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 15.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 90.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $39,181, and the median income for a family was $49,155. Males had a median income of $34,880 versus $26,880 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,742. About 8.3% of families and 11.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.3% of those under age 18 and 11.8% of those age 65 or over.

Mohegan Park

Pavilion and lake, 1912

This forested area is Norwich's largest park. The park's property contains numerous hiking and biking trails, picnic tables, grills, pavilions for rent, a beach, basketball courts, a Mohegan monument, fountain and playgrounds. The Rose Garden at the entrance on Judd Road contains over a hundred varieties of roses and is a popular site for weddings.

The Park Center contains Spaulding Pond, the square, fountain and Mohegan monument, both playgrounds and a dog pound run by the Norwich Police Department. The Park Center has declined somewhat. The zoo, reptile house, and concession stand have been closed for over a decade. However, much has been done to improve the appearance of the remaining park. Spaulding Pond, the main body of water in Mohegan Park, is held back by an earthworks dam, across which is a path bordered by pergulas and flowering plants. In 1963, a crack in this dam caused the waters of Spaulding Pond to burst forth into the city, causing the Great Flood of Norwich that swamped houses, streets, cars and collapsed a mill, causing several deaths. Mohegan Park also contains another pond, called The Skating Pond, in the southwest corner. This pond has been pressed into reservoir service and is no longer open to public use.

Because of its ample, sprawling trails and variety of flora and fauna, Mohegan Park is a lesser-known destination for Southeastern Connecticut's nature photographers.



Several Norwich neighborhoods maintain independent identities and are recognized by official signs marking their boundaries. Neighborhoods of Norwich are Norwichtown, Bean Hill, Yantic, Taftville, Greeneville, Occum, East Great Plains, Thamesville, Laurel Hill and Chelsea (the original "downtown" area.)


Elementary and middle school residents are zoned to Norwich Public Schools [3]. The district also operates Thames Academy, an alternative high school. The middle schools of Norwich are Teachers' Memorial Middle School and Kelly Middle School. Norwich is also home to the Integrated Day Charter School, an alternative to the area of public schools.

The Norwich Free Academy is the primary high school for students living in Norwich and several surrounding towns.

Norwich Free Academy is a public school that is often described as an "independent school." The school receives money from state, federal, and private sources, and is not controlled by any of the municipalities that it serves. The school is governed by an independent board.

Sidney Frank donated $13 million to the school which resulted in the campus' newest building to be named after him: the Sidney E. Frank Center for Visual and Performing Arts.

Three Rivers Community College serves the region and is located on two sites in Norwich.[4]

Sports & Recreation

The AA baseball Connecticut Defenders, previously the Norwich Navigators, were a farm team of the San Francisco Giants and they played at Dodd Stadium from both's inception in 1995 until the team announced its move to Richmond, Virginia for the 2010 season, where they are now known as the Richmond Flying Squirrels. The ESPN mini-series "The Bronx Is Burning" was recently filmed at Dodd Stadium. The Norwich Municipal Ice Rink is an active center for Norwich's youth and young-at-heart. It has a 200’ x 85’ NHL regulation ice surface, four large locker rooms and other amenities. Residents of Norwich, Taftville, Occum and Yantic, senior citizens, and members of the U.S. Armed Forces receive reduced admission rates. Established in 1995, the Rose City Warriors are Norwich's Senior Women's Ice Hockey Team. A number of local high school ice hockey teams call the Rink home as well.

The Slater Memorial Museum, located on the campus of the Norwich Free Academy, is named for John Fox Slater (1815–1884), corporator of The Norwich Free Academy for twenty years. The museum has grown to include the "Art of Five Continents"—North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Of particular interest are the Vanderpoel Collection of Asian Art, the Paul Zimmerman Collection of African and Oceanic Art, and a collection of American 19th century paintings.

Notable people, past and present


  1. ^ City Of Norwich Population Estimates
  2. ^ Office of the Secretary of the State
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ U.S. Census Bureau Accessed October 14, 2009.
  5. ^ [2]City of Norwich Charter, accessed July 12, 2007
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  7. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963.  

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

NORWICH, a city and one of the county-seats of New London county, Connecticut, U.S.A., in the township of Norwich, at the point where the Yantic (which expands here in " The Cove ") and Shetucket rivers join and form the Thames. Pop. (1900) of the township, 24,637, which included that of the city (17,251, including 4597 foreign-born); (1910) of the city, 20,367, and of the township, 28,21 9. The city area in 1906 was 5.63 sq. m. Norwich is served by the New York, New Haven & Hartford and the Central Vermont railways, by steamers from New York and New London, and by interurban electric lines connecting with Willimantic, New London and other neighbouring places. The city is at the head of navigation on the Thames river, whose channel is 100-200 ft. wide and 14 ft. deep. The residential and older portion of the city is built on the rising ground between the valleys of, the two streams; along their banks lies the business district. In Sachem Street is the grave of Uncas (d. c. 1682), a Mohegan Indian chief and friend of the early settlers; the corner-stone of the granite monument over the grave was laid by President Andrew Jackson in 1833. North-east of the Roman Catholic Cemetery, in the extreme eastern part of the city, is a monument to Miantonomo, a sachem of the Narraganset tribe of Indians, who was put to death here. Among the principal buildings and institutions are the Congregational Church, organized in 1660; the Norwich Free Academy (1856) and its Slater Memorial Hall, in which are the Peck Library and an Art Museum, and the Converse Art Annex and Art Collection; the Otis Public Library (1848); the William W. Backus Hospital; a state hospital for the insane and a state armoury. In the 18th century, and early in the 19th, Norwich had a lucrative trade with the Atlantic ports and the West Indies, but later manufacturing became the most important industry; the manufactures including textiles, cutlery, firearms, paper, electrical supplies, printing presses, &c. In 1905 the factory products were valued at $6,022,391. With the city's growth in manufacturing there has been a large increase in the foreign element in the population. The municipality owns and operates the waterworks, and gas and electriclighting plants.

Norwich was settled in 1659 by colonists from Saybrook under the leadership of Captain John Mason (1600-1672), who had crushed the power of the Pequot Indians in Connecticut in 1637, and the Rev. James Fitch (1622-1702), who became a missionary to the Mohegans." The tract was purchased from the Mohegan chiefs, Uncas, Owaneco and Attawanhood, and the settlement was called Mohegan until 1662, when the present name was adopted. During and preceding the War of Independence the citizens of Norwich were ardent Whigs, various members of the well-known Huntington family being among their leaders.' In December 1767, in reply to a message from Boston, a townmeeting forbade the use of tea, wines, liquors and foreign manufactures; in 1770 all citizens were forbidden to hold 1 The principal village of the Mohegans was originally, it seems, on the site of Norwich. Subsequently the village of Mohegan (on the W. bank of the Thames, about 3 m. S. of Norwich) became their principal settlement, and the remnant, numbering about 100 individuals of mixed blood in 1904, still live here and in the vicinity.

2 Norwich was the birthplace of Benjamin Huntington (1736-1800), a member of the Continental Congress in1780-1784and 1787-1788, a representative in Congress in 1789-1791, judge of the state superior court in 1793-1798, and first mayor of Norwich in 1784-1796; of Jabez Huntington (1719-1786), a patriot leader and majorgeneral of Connecticut militia during the War of Independence; of his son, Jedediah Huntington (1743-1818), also a patriot leader, a brigadier-general in the Continental Army (1777-1783), and a founder of the Society of the Cincinnati; of Jedediah's brother, Ebenezer Huntington (1754-1834), a soldier and in1810-1811and 1817-1819 a representative in Congress; and of Jedediah's nephew, Jabez Williams Huntington (1788-1847), a jurist, a representative in Congress in 1829-1834, and a member of the U.S. Senate in 1840-1847. Samuel Huntington (1731-1796) removed to Norwich about 1758, was a member of the Continental Congress in1776-1783and its president in 1779-1781, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a justice of the supreme court of Connecticut in 1774-1784, and governor of Connecticut in 1786-1796.

intercourse with a schoolmaster who had continued to drink tea, and in 1776 a town-meeting directed the town clerk to proceed with his duties without reference to the Stamp Act. Norwich was chartered as a city in 1784. Among the early settlers in Ohio many were inhabitants of Norwich. Benedict Arnold was a native of Norwich; Mrs Lydia H. Sigourney was born here in a house still standing; Donald G. Mitchell (" Ik Marvel ") was also born here; and Norwich was the home after 1825 of William Alfred Buckingham (1804-1875), war governor of Connecticut.

See F. M. Caulkins, History of Norwich (Hartford, 1866).

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