History And Early Settlers
The native people who first contacted European settlers at Norwalk were the Norwalke Indians, a small tribe of the Siwanoy. The first recorded contact was made in 1614 by Dutch navigator Adriaen Block. Block mentions his visit to the Norwalk Islands in the records of a fur trading expedition with Native Americans along the Connecticut coast.
Roger Ludlow purchased land in what is now the present City of East Norwalk on February 26, 1640, embracing the area of land lying between the Saugatuk and Norwalk Rivers. Not long after, Captain Daniel Patrick purchased an additional portion of land in what is known today as Norwalk.
In 1776, Nathan Hale, disguising himself as a teacher, was rowed to British-held Long Island and then on to New York to give a report to the British. Later, General William Tryon raided Norwalk with a combined force of over 2,600 Hessian and British soldiers and burned the town down, leaving only six homes untouched. After the war, the citizens of Norwalk rebuilt the town, adding coastal trade, manufacturing and shipbuilding to their farm businesses. Norwalk citizens manufactured clocks, watches, paper, pottery, and nails, and hats.
Once nicknamed “Oyster Town”. Since the 19th century, oystering has been an important source of income for local watermen. Norwalk Harbor with its sheltering Islands, accessible beds and proximity to New York has been an ideal place to harvest oysters as a local food source and a commercial product to be sent to market. Oyster shell middens along the Connecticut coast tell the story of Native American life and how important oysters were to pre-Columbian culture as well. Oystering peaked between 1885 and 1910, going from public oyster beds to oyster farms.
The City of Norwalk is the 6th largest city in Connecticut with a population of 90,476 as of July 1, 2016. The city has a total area of 36.3 square miles, of which, 22.8 square miles of it is land and 13.5 square miles of it is water.The racial makeup of Norwalk is 55.7 percent White, 13.4 percent Black, 0.1 percent Native American, 4.7 percent Asian, 0.0 percent Pacific Islander, 0.3 from some other race and 1.4 percent from two or more races. 24.3 percent were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Median household income is $76,965.
Noteworthy And Interesting Facts About Norwalk
Norwalk has one of the nation’s largest collections of Works Progress Administration murals.
The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion in Norwalk has been featured in the movies “The Stepford Wives” and “House of Dark Shadows.”
With up to 100,000 people attending each year, Norwalk’s Oyster Festival is one of the largest volunteer-run events on the East Coast.