Norwalk, Connecticut

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Norwalk, Connecticut
City
Norwalk Harbor and vicinity
Aerial view of Norwalk Harbor and vicinity
Official Seal
Seal
Etymology: Mohegan-Pequot language
Nickname(s): Oyster Town
Motto: Latin: E Pluribus Unum
Location in Fairfield County and Connecticut
Location in Fairfield County and Connecticut
Norwalk, Connecticut is located in Connecticut
Norwalk, Connecticut
Norwalk, Connecticut
Norwalk, Connecticut is located in the US
Norwalk, Connecticut
Norwalk, Connecticut
Location in Fairfield County and Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°05′38″N 73°25′11″W / 41.09389°N 73.41972°W / 41.09389; -73.41972
NORWALK CONNECTICUT Latitude and Longitude:

41°05′38″N 73°25′11″W / 41.09389°N 73.41972°W / 41.09389; -73.41972
Country   United States
U.S. state   Connecticut
County Fairfield
Region Southwestern Connecticut
Settled February 26, 1640
Incorporated September 11, 1651
Consolidated June 6, 1913
Founded by Roger Ludlow and Daniel Patrick [1]
Government
 • Type Weak-mayor-City Council
 • Mayor Harry Rilling ( D)
Area
 • Total 36.3 sq mi (94 km2)
 • Land 22.8 sq mi (59 km2)
 • Water 13.5 sq mi (35 km2)
Elevation 43 ft (13 m)
Population ( 2010) [2] [3]
 • Total 85,603
 • Estimate (2016) [4] 88,438
 • Density 2,400/sq mi (910/km2)
 • Est. (2016) 88,438
 • Est. (2016) density 3,879/sq mi (1,498/km2)
Time zone Eastern Standard Time ( EST) ( UTC-5)
 • Summer ( DST) Eastern Daylight Time ( EDT) ( UTC-4)
Zip codes 06850—06860
Area codes 475, 203
FIPS code 09-55990
GNIS feature ID 0209405
Website Official website

Norwalk ( /ˈnɔːrˌwɔːk/ NOR-wawk), [5] is a U.S city located in southwestern Connecticut, in southern Fairfield County, on the northern shore of Long Island Sound. Norwalk is included statistically within both the New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA Combined Statistical Area as well as the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT Metropolitan Statistical Area. [6]

Norwalk was settled in 1649, and is now the sixth most populous city in Connecticut. According to the 2010 United States Census the city had a population of 85,603; with an estimated population of 88,438 in 2016. [7] [8]

History

Name origin

Norwalk was settled in 1649, incorporated September 1651, and named after the Algonquin word noyank, meaning "point of land", or more probably from the native American name "Naramauke." [9]

The city boundaries originally included parts of the current municipalities of New Canaan, Wilton, and Westport. Ancient records describe the boundaries as "from Norwalk river to Sauhatuck river, from sea, Indian one day walk into the country". Thus a disputing source, and common tradition, describes Norwalk's name deriving from the northern boundary extending from the sea covering one day's "north walk" into the countryside. [10] An additional source found this analysis to be improbable, given that the name "Norwalk" was used by natives, who were called the "Norwake Indians". Additionally a nearby river was known as the Norwake River when the area was first colonized. Roger Ludlow's 1640 land purchase was from "the Indians of Norwalke" and the land is described as lying between "the twoe rivers, the one called the Norwalke, the other Soakatuck." The earliest town records list the city name as Norwalke (the "w" likely silent, as in Warwick [11]). Bradley's [Connecticut] Register describes that the early Colony Records call it "Norrwake". Around 1847 the elderly used the ancient pronunciation "Norruck". [12] [13]

Norwalk has a nickname, "Oyster Town", [14] due to its prominent oyster fisheries providing a large source of income to the city since the early 19th century. Norwalk Harbor's islands and proximity to New York City make it profitable for oyster harvesting. Discarded oyster shells along the Connecticut coast help prove the importance oysters had to pre-Columbian inhabitants of the area as well. [15]

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 36.3 square miles (94 km2), of which, 22.8 square miles (59 km2) of it is land and 13.5 square miles (35 km2) of it (37.24%) is water.

Climate

Climate data for Norwalk, Connecticut
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 68
(20)
71
(22)
79
(26)
95
(35)
97
(36)
97
(36)
103
(39)
97
(36)
99
(37)
89
(32)
77
(25)
66
(19)
103
(39)
Average high °F (°C) 37
(3)
39
(4)
48
(9)
60
(16)
70
(21)
79
(26)
84
(29)
82
(28)
75
(24)
64
(18)
52
(11)
42
(6)
61
(16.3)
Daily mean °F (°C) 28
(−2)
31
(−1)
40
(4)
50
(10)
60
(16)
69
(21)
74
(23)
72
(22)
64
(18)
53
(12)
43
(6)
34
(1)
51.5
(10.8)
Average low °F (°C) 19
(−7)
21
(−6)
29
(−2)
38
(3)
44
(7)
57
(14)
62
(17)
61
(16)
53
(12)
40
(4)
33
(1)
24
(−4)
40.1
(4.6)
Record low °F (°C) −15
(−26)
−7
(−22)
−2
(−19)
17
(−8)
30
(−1)
34
(1)
45
(7)
41
(5)
31
(−1)
17
(−8)
14
(−10)
−9
(−23)
−15
(−26)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.2
(107)
3.15
(80)
4.33
(110)
4.37
(111)
4.36
(110.7)
3.94
(100.1)
3.83
(97.3)
3.89
(98.8)
4.54
(115.3)
3.89
(98.8)
4.04
(102.6)
3.96
(100.6)
48.5
(1,232.2)
Average snowfall inches (cm) 9.3
(23.6)
8.3
(21.1)
4.9
(12.4)
.8
(2)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
.7
(1.8)
4.6
(11.7)
28.6
(72.6)
Average precipitation days 10.5 9.7 10.9 12.5 12.5 11.7 10.2 9.7 9.8 9.2 10.6 11.3 128.6
Average snowy days 4.8 4.3 2.5 .4 0 0 0 0 0 0 .4 2.7 15.1
Source #1: NCDC [16]
Source #2: The Weather Channel [17]

Topography

Norwalk's topography is dominated by its coastline along Long Island Sound, the Norwalk River and its eastern and western banks, and the Norwalk Islands. [18] The highest elevation is 282 feet above sea level, at the summit of Middle Clapboard Hill in West Norwalk; [19] and the low elevation is sea level on Long Island Sound.

Neighborhoods

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 11,942
1800 5,146 −56.9%
1810 2,983 −42.0%
1820 3,004 0.7%
1830 3,972 32.2%
1840 3,863 −2.7%
1850 4,651 20.4%
1860 7,852 68.8%
1870 12,119 54.3%
1880 13,956 15.2%
1890 17,747 27.2%
1900 19,932 12.3%
1910 24,211 21.5%
1920 27,743 14.6%
1930 36,019 29.8%
1940 39,849 10.6%
1950 49,460 24.1%
1960 67,775 37.0%
1970 79,288 17.0%
1980 77,767 −1.9%
1990 78,331 0.7%
2000 82,951 5.9%
2010 85,603 3.2%
Est. 2016 88,438 [4] 3.3%
1790 population included
Stamford and Greenwich.
[20]

As of the  census of 2010, there were 85,603 people, 35,415 households, and 21,630 families residing in the city. [21] The  population density was 2,358.2 inhabitants per square mile (910.7/km²). There were 35,415 housing units at an average density of 975.6 per square mile (376.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 68.7%  White, 14.2%  African American, 0.4%  Native American, 4.8%  Asian, 0.1%  Pacific Islander, 9.0% from other races, and 2.8% from two or more races.  Hispanic or  Latino of any race were 24.3% of the population. [22]

There were 35,415 households out of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.1% were  married couplesliving together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.4% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size in the city was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.16. [23]

In the city, the population was spread out with 22% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 31.7% from 25 to 44, 31.2% from 45 to 64, and 12.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 96.2 males. [22]

The median income for a household in the city was $76,161, and the median income for a family was $103,032. The  per capita income for the city was $43,303. [24] About 5.7% of families and 8.4% of the population were below the  poverty line, including 10.2% of those under age 18 and 8.2% of those age 65 or over. [25] [26]

Economy

Pepperidge Farm, Xerox and Priceline Group have headquarters in Norwalk. [27] [28]

Arts and culture

Events

  • St. George Greek Orthodox Festival, held in late August, the festival features Greek delicacies, Pontic Greek dance exhibitions and a large carnival.
  • Round Hill Highland Games: a festival of Scottish culture and athletic events, was started in 1923 in Greenwich, CT but interrupted during World War II, then restarted in 1952, and has been held in Norwalk's Cranbury Park on or around July 4 for a number of years. In 2006, the 83rd annual event attracted 4,000 people to hear bagpipes and watch the caber toss, the hammer throw, and other events; with athletes often wearing wool kilts. Games for children are also offered. Food and Scottish items are offered for sale. Organizers say the event is the third-oldest Scottish games festival in the United States., [29]
  • SoNo Arts Celebration, held in mid-summer. [30]

Places of worship

Attractions

Norwalk's former city hall
A view of the Gallaher Tea House in Cranbury Park in Norwalk.
Edward Beach Gallaher's Tea House was built in the 1930's.

Notable places on the National Register of Historic Places

Government

Voters

Party Active Inactive Total  %
Republican 9,626 511 10,137 19
Democratic 18,754 1,269 20,023 38
Minor parties 986 76 1,062 2
Unaffiliated 20,488 1,408 21,896 41
Totals 49,854 3,264 53,118 100
Sources: [37]

Districts

The City of Norwalk currently has six taxing districts. [38] The First, Second, Third and Sixth taxing districts are political entities with their respective voters electing officers, holding annual business meetings, approving budgets and to consider other matters, as specified in each of their charters. [39] [40] Election of Taxing District Commissioners and Treasurers by voters from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 6th districts take place in odd numbered years.

The Fourth and Fifth districts are not counted as separate governments as they constitute the city proper. [41] Each taxing district has its own property tax rate reflecting the mix of services each receives from the city. Secondly, municipal elections of Mayor, Common Council, Board of Education and other positions are also held in odd numbered years at thirteen polling places within five voting districts around the city. Voting districts are not the same for state and federal elections which are held on even numbered years at twelve polling locations [42]

Municipal

Norwalk City Hall and Concert Hall

Norwalk's municipal government is a Weak-mayor form of a Mayor-Council government with the mayor of Norwalk elected by its voters. [43] The city's charter gives certain administrative powers exclusively to the Council and others jointly to the Council and Mayor. The Common Council is the law-writing body of the City of Norwalk. Norwalk's common council consists of fifteen council members, five elected at-large and ten elected by district, two from each district. [44]

Representatives

Norwalk is represented in the Connecticut General Assembly by five House Representatives corresponding to five Connecticut legislative districts and one senator from one Connecticut Senate district. [45] [46]

Norwalk, which lies within Connecticut's 4th congressional district is represented in the United States Congress by one congressional representative in the United States House of Representatives and, along with the rest of Connecticut, by two Senators in the United States Senate.

Education

Norwalk was granted a town charter by the Connecticut General Court in 1651. On May 29, 1678, town records mention the establishment of community-supported teaching activities with a passage that reads: "'At a town meeting... voted and agreed to hier a scole master to teach all the children in ye town to lerne to Rede and write; and that Mr. Cornish shall be hierd for that service and the townsmen are to hier him upon as reasonable terms as they can."

The school that was established in the 1670s was located near the Ludlow Square area of East Norwalk (near the former Roger Ludlow Junior High School). [47]

Sports

Baseball and softball are popular amateur sports with active leagues across many age groups in Norwalk. There are 4 baseball fields and 16 Little League fields in the city. Several of the fields, including Calf Pasture Beach are illuminated for nighttime play. The fields at The Norwalk Little League team won the Little League World Series in 1952. [48] [49] The 14-year-old Babe Ruth League team won the championship in 2008. [50] In 2010, the 12-year-old Norwalk all star team made it to the Cal Ripken league World Series and placed 3rd in the country. In 2011, the Norwalk American Senior Legion baseball team won the Connecticut State Championship. This had not been accomplished by any other Norwalk Legion team in the storied 83-year history. The team defeated Branford, CT in the championship game. The girls Norwalk Pride fast pitch softball team won the Connecticut State Championship in 2005, 2006, and 2007.

The Norwalk Biddy Basketball All Star team Won the State and Regional titles and then went on to the World Championships in New Orleans, LA in 1986 and placed 7th in the world.

Being a coastal city Norwalk is home to a great many water sports including competitive swimming, recreational boating and fishing, sailing, windsurfing, and kayaking. The Norwalk River and inner Norwalk Harbor host rowing events and organizations. [51] Norwalk resident Daniel Walsh won a bronze medal in Beijing with the U.S. Olympic rowing team in the 2008 Summer Olympics. [52]

There are three golf courses in the city of Norwalk: The Shorehaven Golf Club [53] is a private club in East Norwalk, the Silvermine Golf Club [54] is a private club in Silvermine (part of the course lies in the town of Wilton), and the Oak Hills Park golf course [55] is a public course in West Norwalk.

The cross town rivalry between the city's two largest high schools' sports teams can be rather fierce, particularly for the football, soccer and field hockey teams in the fall; as well as lacrosse, baseball, and softball teams in the spring. Brien McMahon high school's football team won the FCIAC (Fairfield County InterAthletic Conference) and Class M State Football championship in 1994. McMahon high school's boys lacrosse team went on to win the state division 2 lacrosse championship in 2000.

In professional team sports, Norwalk is represented by the Connecticut Wildcats in the American National Rugby League.

Media

News sources in Norwalk include News 12 Connecticut, a regional news channel for southwestern Connecticut and based in Norwalk. [56] The Hour was an independent daily newspaper based in Norwalk and founded in 1871, which was purchased by Hearst Communications on April 12, 2016. [57]

Infrastructure

Transportation

A Wheels bus at Wheels hub

Public transport bus service within Norwalk is provided by Norwalk Transit District. [58] Norwalk Transit District operates fixed route public bus service in Norwalk and Westport with evening and Sunday shuttles (serving South Norwalk, Main Avenue and Connecticut Avenue) and commuter shuttles. Access to other cities through bus services Milford, Danbury, and Stamford. All fixed route buses meet at the Transportation Hub. [59]

West entrance of the South Norwalk train station

The Metro-North Railroad's New Haven Line runs through and stops in Norwalk. The train goes West and East with Grand Central Terminal and New Haven Union Station being the final stops. The Danbury Branch runs from South Norwalk to Danbury, CT. There are four stations in Norwalk, three of them on the main line which is: Rowayton, South Norwalk and East Norwalk. The fourth station, Merritt 7, is on the Danbury Branch. Metro-North provides commuter service for all four stations. [60]

Interstate 95 and the Merritt Parkway lead through Norwalk, and there are several exits within the Norwalk city limits, and are the major thoroughfare through the city. U.S. Route 1 goes through the center of the city, mostly following local streets. The major north-south corridor in Norwalk is U.S. Route 7, which is a expressway throughout most of the route in the city. The expressway section ends at Grist Mill Road in Norwalk from where Route 7 resumes northbound along Main Ave. Other state routes include Route 53, Route 123, and Route 136.

Utilities

Electric power and natural gas in most of Norwalk is provided by Eversource Energy.

  • The First Taxing District [61] provides water to the Third, Fourth and Fifth Taxing Districts. [62]
  • The Second Taxing District [63] serves sections of South Norwalk, East Norwalk, West Norwalk, Rowayton and Silvermine. [63] and also owns and operates South Norwalk Electric and Water. [64]
  • The Third Taxing District [65] provides electric power for East Norwalk.

The districts purchase wholesale power and arrange for its delivery to, and distribution within, their respective districts. Power lines and meters in East Norwalk, South Norwalk, and parts of Rowayton are maintained by the districts. Both the second (SNEW) and third (TTD) district electric departments belong to the six member Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative which pools their wholesale power purchasing to obtain lower rates for their customers. [66]

Connecticut Light and Power (now Eversource Energy) operated a power plant, Norwalk Harbor Station on Manresa Island, from 1960 to 1999 when it was acquired by NRG Energy, which then began its deactivation in 2013. [67]

In 2004 the third taxing district installed 3 diesel powered generators at the Norden complex on Norden Place that were initially licensed only for emergency power supply. By summer 2008 the generators, with a combined capacity of 6 Megawatts, had been upgraded to allow licensed operation as regular power providers for the grid (not just emergency power). [68]
In 2007 and 2008 the construction of the Middletown-Norwalk transmission line disrupted traffic along the Boston Post Road, but the completion of the line is hoped to help provide additional power to lower Fairfield County. In addition a high-voltage undersea line runs from Manressa Island to Long Island to help provide electric power to Long Island Power Authority customers. In 2008 the city government of Norwalk started initial investigations of whether the city might resume generating power for sale to electricity customers in the city. [69]

Emergency services

Norwalk Police Department serves as the city's police department, [70] and Norwalk Fire Department serves Norwalk's fire protection district. [71] Norwalk is served 24/7 by Norwalk Hospital and Norwalk Hospital EMS, a 911 paramedic service. The service consists of hospital-based paramedics and EMT-Is who serve Norwalk as well as New Canaan, Wilton, Weston, and Westport.

Notable people

Notable people from Norwalk include:

In popular culture

Films

Full-length features and documentary films, filmed or set in Norwalk: [86]

Television

Partially or entirely recorded in Norwalk:

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