Main Births etc
Norwich, Connecticut
—  City  —

Nickname(s): The Rose Of New England
Location in New London County, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°33′01″N 72°05′15″W / 41.55028, -72.0875Coordinates: 41°33′01″N 72°05′15″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
  • Deberey Hinchey, Mayor
  • Peter Desaulniers, Council president pro tem
  • Mark Bettancourt
  • Bill Eyberse
  • William Nash
  • Sofee Noblick
  • Terell Wilson
 • 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 (2010)[2]
 • City 40,493
 • Density 1,290/sq mi (499/km2)
 • Metro 274,055
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 New London County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 40,493 at the 2010 United States 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.

Norwich Falls, oil on canvas, John Trumbull, 1806

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 18th century, shipping at the harbor began to become far more important than farming, especially when industrial mills began manufacturing on the three smaller rivers.

By the early 19th century, 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, courts, and 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%
2010 40,493 12.1%
Population 1756 - 2010[3][4][5]

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


The city elects a Mayor, who presides over the City Council, which includes six other members, all elected at large. The Mayor serves a maximum of two four-year terms; the council members serve two-year terms. The council appoints the Town and City Clerk, a City Manager who acts as chief executive officer of the city government, the city Planning Commission, and Zoning Board of Appeals.[6]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.5 sq mi (76.4 km2), of which 28.3 sq mi (73.4 km2) is land and 1.2 sq mi (3.0 km2) (3.87%) is water.

Climate data for Norwich, Connecticut (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 38
Average low °F (°C) 19
Precipitation inches (mm) 4.14
Snowfall inches (cm) 6.8
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 10.0 8.9 10.4 10.7 11.8 10.4 9.5 9.3 8.9 9.5 9.7 10.4 119.5
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 3.3 2.2 1.5 .2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .2 1.8 9.2
Source: NOAA [7]


As of the census[8] 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 per square mile (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. Many of the hiking trails are used by the Norwich Free Academy cross country team for practices, and in 2006 the team volunteered to improve the condition of trails. 5K "fun runs" are held in the park on Thursdays during the summer. As of 2009, the running course has been redesigned to incorporate much of the trails.

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 River 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.[4]

Sports and recreation[]

The AA Eastern League Connecticut Defenders, previously the Norwich Navigators, were a farm team of the San Francisco Giants and they played at Senator Thomas J. Dodd Memorial 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. However, starting in 2010, Dodd Stadium will be home to the Connecticut Tigers in the A Short season New York - Penn League (formerly the Oneonta Tigers). The ESPN mini-series "The Bronx Is Burning" was recently filmed at Dodd Stadium.

The Norwich Municipal Ice Rink 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[]

  • Benedict Arnold (1741–1801), born in Norwich, famous colonial soldier. There is a commemorative plaque on the lot where his house used to stand. The city library has a prominent portrait of Arnold on the north wall.[9]
  • Hannah Arnold (1708–1758), born in Norwich, mother of Benedict Arnold.
  • Isaac Backus (1724–1806), a delegate to the First Continental Congress, was born in the city.
  • William Alfred Buckingham (1804-1875), Mayor of Norwich, 41st governor of Connecticut, and United States Senator
  • Isaac H. Bromley (1833–1899), born in Norwich, lawyer, editor, politician, railroad director, possibly most notable as a humorist.
  • Benjamin Church (1734–1776), surgeon general of the Continental Army, suspected of spying for the enemy, was confined in the city.
  • Margaret Coit (1919–2003), historian, born in the city
  • Erastus Corning (1794–1872), born in the city
  • Rajai Davis, Major League Baseball outfielder for the Toronto Blue Jays.
  • Costa Dillon (1953- ) filmmaker, creator of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.
  • Thomas J. Dodd (1907–1971), a U.S. Senator and Representative and the father of U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd, was born in the city.
  • Arielle Dombasle (born Arielle Sonnery de Fromental in 1958 in Norwich) is a singer and actress working mostly in French films.
  • Terence P. Finnegan (1904–1990), Chief of Chaplains of the U.S. Air Force
  • Lafayette S. Foster (1806–1880), a U.S. Senator and 57th President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, died in the city.
  • Jonas Galusha (1753–1834), Governor of Vermont for two terms in the early 19th century, was born in the city.
  • Daniel Coit Gilman (1831−1908), educator, college president, foundation president
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman, author and social reformer, lived for a short time in the city.
  • Roger Griswold (1762–1812), Governor of Connecticut, practiced law for a time in Norwich.
  • Galusha A. Grow, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1861 to 1863, studied law in the city.
  • Benjamin Hanks (1755-1824), goldsmith, instrument maker, and first maker of bronze cannons and church bells in America.
  • Benjamin Huntington (1736–1800), a delegate to the Continental Congress and later a Congressman, resident of the city.
  • Ebenezer Huntington (1754–1834), member of the United States House of Representatives from 1817-1819.
  • Samuel Huntington, a delegate to the Second Continental Congress and signer of the Declaration of Independence. First president under the Articles of Confederation.
  • Samuel Kirkland (1741–1808), a Presbyterian missionary among the Oneida and Tuscarora people and founder (in 1793) of the Hamilton-Oneida Academy (later Hamilton College), was born in the city.
  • Paul Konerko Major League Baseball player for the Chicago White Sox.
  • Wally Lamb, author of She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True, was the director of the Writing Center at the Norwich Free Academy in the city from 1989 to 1998.
  • Edwin H. Land, inventor of the Polaroid Camera.
  • Cato Mead (ca. 1761-1846), African-American Revolutionary War veteran.
  • Miantonomoh (1565?–1643), chief of the Narraganset tribe, captured and executed by the Mohegan chief Uncas with a tomohawk in Norwich.
  • Elisha Perkins (1741–1799), a popular quack doctor whose magnetic therapy, "Perkins Tractors" (made up of two 3-inch (76 mm) steel and brass rods with points at the ends) convinced even George Washington to buy a set.
  • Simeon Perkins (1735-1812), a Nova Scotia merchant, diarist, and politician, who outfitted Loyalist privateers during the American War for Independence, born and raised in this city until moving to Liverpool, Nova Scotia with the New England Planters.
  • E. Annie Proulx (pronounced /proo/), journalist and author, was born in 1935 in the city.
  • Edith Roosevelt, the second wife of Theodore Roosevelt, was born in the city.
  • Matt Shaughnessy, American football defensive end for the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League, graduate of Norwich Free Academy.
  • Charles Sholes (1816–1867), Wisconsin politician, was born in the city.
  • Lydia Sigourney (1791–1865), an extremely popular poet from the early-to-mid-19th century, was born in the city.
  • Horace Smith (1808–1893), partnered with Daniel B. Wesson in Norwich in the early 1850s to develop the first repeating rifle, known as the Volcanic rifle. The two founded Smith & Wesson in 1852.
  • Albert H. Tracy, former US Congressman
  • Phineas L. Tracy (1786-1876), former US Congressman
  • John T. Wait (1811–1899), Connecticut politician and lawyer, U.S. Representative from 1876 to 1887.
  • Henry S. Walbridge, former US Congressman
  • Daniel B. Wesson, see Horace Smith
  • William Woodbridge (1780–1861), Governor of Michigan, who also represented the state in the U.S. Senate, was born in the city.

See also[]

List of newspapers in Connecticut in the 18th-century: Norwich


  1. ^ "Mayor & City Council". City of Norwich, Connecticut. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  2. ^ City Of Norwich Population Estimates
  3. ^ Office of the Secretary of the State
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ U.S. Census Bureau Accessed October 14, 2009.
  6. ^ [2] City of Norwich Charter, accessed July 12, 2007
  7. ^ "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  8. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963. 

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