South Norwalk

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South Norwalk (SoNo)
Neighborhood
Washington Street, looking west, about 1910
Washington Street, looking west, about 1910
Country  United States
State  Connecticut
County Fairfield
City Norwalk
Incorporated August 18, 1870
Consolidated with Norwalk June 6, 1913
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5:00)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4:00)
ZIP code 06855
Area code(s) 203

South Norwalk (known also as SoNo or Downtown) is a neighborhood in Norwalk, Connecticut. The neighborhood was originally a settlement called Old Well and was incorporated as the city of South Norwalk on August 18, 1870. The cities of Norwalk and South Norwalk were consolidated on June 6, 1913. The former city of South Norwalk became the new Norwalk's Second Taxing District.

SoNo features a high density of bars and eateries and is the center of Norwalk's nightlife and restaurant culture. Also located in SoNo are the South Norwalk Metro-North Railroad station, the Maritime Aquarium (with IMAX theater), a post office, banks, and a cinema. South Norwalk is also the home of a large annual Arts Celebration. [1]

SoNo Geography[edit]

Roughly, SoNo is bounded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and West Avenue on the west, the Norwalk River and Norwalk Harbor on the east, the Connecticut Turnpike and Central Norwalk on the north, and Long Island Sound on the south. The main downtown area is Washington Street (between Main Street and Water Street). Google Maps view of South Norwalk

SoNo History[edit]

Norwalk Museum, the former City Hall

After the original settlement of Norwalk in 1649, additional settlements developed in the area, particularly one on the western side of the Norwalk Harbor and river. This settlement came to be known as "Old Well". In a 1738 deed, present-day Washington Street was referred to as the "high Way that Leads to ye Landing place ye Old Well". The actual well was east of present-day Water Street, about 75 feet south of Washington Street. In 1870, Old Well was incorporated as the City of South Norwalk. A charter for the city was granted by the Connecticut General Assembly in 1871.[2]

In this period, South Norwalk was a manufacturing and commercial city with a relatively large Hungarian population. In 1913, South Norwalk combined with the Town of Norwalk, the City (formerly Borough) of Norwalk, and the East Norwalk fire district into the present day City of Norwalk. The former city of South Norwalk became the new Norwalk’s Second Taxing District.

Properties on the National Register of Historic Places[edit]

Norwalk River Railroad Bridge
  • Norwalk River Railroad Bridge — the Amtrak right-of-way over Norwalk River was built in 1896, when the route was widened to four tracks (the South Norwalk Railroad Bridge over the intersection of Washington Street with North Main and South Main streets was built the same year). The 562-foot (171 m) span, with a rotating swing span (202 feet long) was provided by the Berlin Iron Bridge Company of East Berlin, Connecticut. "The bridge's swing span, rotating on a rim-bearing system of 96 rollers, allows tall vessels to pass on the Norwalk River," according to a Web page about the bridge. The span is one of only 13 of the company's bridges (and one of only two railroad bridges) that survive in the state (as of August 2001). In 1907 the rail line was electrified with overhead catenary wires, which form a prominent feature of the bridge today.[5] (added 1987)
  • South Main and Washington Streets Historic District — 68-139 Washington St. and 2-24 South Main St. The 11-acre (0.045 km2) district encompasses 35 buildings and two other structures (including the South Norwalk Railroad Bridge). Varied architectural styles from the late 19th and early 20th centuries include Romanesque Revival, Second Empire, Italianate.[6]
  • U.S. Post Office-South Norwalk Main — 16 Washington St. (added 1986)

Jeremiah Donovan's saloon[edit]

The former Jeremiah Donovan's pub has stood at the corner of Washington and Water streets since the late 19th century. Jeremiah Donovan a former Norwalk mayor and U.S. Congressman, owned the bar,[7] which at some points had been a small grocery store.

In 2006, Richie Ball sold it to Ron and Dominique Rosa, two Greenwich, Connecticut restaurateurs. The Rosas removed about 80 percent of the roughly 200 photographs of boxers that had lined the walls in order to spread them around to two other bars they planned to open.[7]

On the blank outside wall of the eastern side of the building, facing the Stroffolino Bridge, a large mural depicts a sailing ship under a banner announcing "Welcome to Historic South Norwalk". The mural was painted in 1978 by Brechin Morgan, then a South Norwalk artist and now a resident of Milford, Connecticut. In 1983, after a billboard company rolled white paint over it, Morgan repainted the mural with some friends. The mural was touched up in 2007. It depicts one of the last working schooners on Long Island Sound, the Alice S. Wentworth, and Sheffield Island. Morgan also painted "Blue skies Over South Norwalk", a mural on Elizabeth and South Main streets.[8]

Emergency services[edit]

The city of Norwalk Police Department is located at 1 Monroe St. near the heart of SoNo.

The city of Norwalk Fire Department currently operates 2 Fire Stations within close proximity to SoNo: Fire Station # 2, or Fire Headquarters, located at 121 Connecticut Ave. and Fire Station # 5, located at 23 Meadow St. in SoNo.

Images[edit]

SoNo Photos[edit]

SoNo Historical Photos[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Deborah Wing Ray, Gloria P. Stewart (1979) (3rd printing 2004). Norwalk: being an historical account of that Connecticut town. Norwalk, CT: Norwalk Historical Society. pp. 135. ISBN 0-914016-56-3
  3. ^ [2]"International Survey of Jewish Monuments" Web site, Web page ("40 of 48" "Norwalk CT ... Beth Israel Synagogue" noted near top), accessed September 9, 2006
  4. ^ "NationalRegisterofHistoric Places.COM (private website echoing National Park Service data, with 10x error in areas)". Web page titled "Connecticut-Fairfield County-Historic Districts. Retrieved September 12, 2006. 
  5. ^ [3] Web page titled "Norwalk River Railroad Bridge" at the "Public Archeology Survey Team" Web site, accessed September 12, 2006
  6. ^ [4] National Park Service Web site, Section for National Historic Places, Web page titled "Connecticut-Fairfield County-Historic Districts", accessed September 12, 2006
  7. ^ a b Stelloh, Tom, "Donovan's by any other name: Under new management, pub rehangs boxers' pictures", news article in The Advocate of Stamford, Connecticut, April 2, 2007, page A7
  8. ^ Chamoff, Lisa, "Putting new wind in the sails: Mural's touch-up surprises artist", article in The Advocate of Stamford, Connecticut, page A7, Norwalk edition

External links[edit]

North Main Street, about 1922

Coordinates: 41°05′37″N 73°25′07″W / 41.09361°N 73.41861°W / 41.09361; -73.41861