Norwalk, Connecticut

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Norwalk, Connecticut
Norwalk Harbor and vicinity
Aerial view of Norwalk Harbor and vicinity
Seal of the City of Norwalk, Connecticut

Etymology: Point of Land
Nickname(s): Oyster Town
Motto: Latin: E Pluribus Unum
Location in Fairfield County, Connecticut and the state of Connecticut
Location in Fairfield County, Connecticut and the state of Connecticut
Norwalk, Connecticut is located in the US
Norwalk, Connecticut
Norwalk, Connecticut
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 41°05′38″N 73°25′11″W / 41.09389°N 73.41972°W / 41.09389; -73.41972Coordinates: 41°05′38″N 73°25′11″W / 41.09389°N 73.41972°W / 41.09389; -73.41972
Country  United States
State Connecticut
Counties Fairfield
NECTA Bridgeport-Stamford
Region South Western (CT) Region
Purchased February 26, 1640
Incorporated September 11, 1651
Consolidated June 6, 1913
Founded by Roger Ludlow and Daniel Patrick[1]
 • Type Weak-mayor-City Council
 • Mayor Harry Rilling (D)
 • Total 36.3 sq mi (94 km2)
 • Land 22.8 sq mi (59 km2)
 • Water 13.5 sq mi (35 km2)
Elevation 36 ft (11 m)
Population (2015)[2]
 • Total 88,485
 • Density 3,846.53/sq mi (1,485.15/km2)
Demonym(s) Norwalker
Time zone Eastern Time Zone (UTC-5)
Zip Codes 06850 through 06860
Area codes 475, 203
FIPS code 09-55990
GNIS feature ID 0209405
Website Official website
Not to be confused with Norwich, Connecticut or Norfolk, Connecticut.

Norwalk (pronounced nôr′wôk′),[3] is a city in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States, located in the New York metropolitan area. The estimated population of the city was 88,485 in 2015.[4] Norwalk is the sixth most populous municipality in Connecticut.


Name origin[edit]

"Norwalk, settled 1649; incorporated Sept., 1651, Norwaukee shall bee a townee Algonkin noyank, point of land, or more probably from the Indian name, Naramauke."[5]

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.[6] 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[7]). Bradley's [Connecticut] Register describes that the early Colony Records call it "Norrwake". Around 1847 the elderly used the ancient pronunciation "Norruck".[8][9]

Norwalk has a nickname, "Oyster Town",[10] 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.[11]

21st century[edit]

In 2002 Norwalk was the location of the nationally-covered murder trial of Michael Skakel. After a four-week trial, Skakel was convicted on June 7 for the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley.[12][citation needed]

On Sunday May 25, 2008 the last service at the First United Methodist Church of Norwalk was held prior to a deconsecration ceremony that marked the end of the church use of the distinctive yellow brick building at 39 West Avenue. The Methodist congregation had been formed in 1789 during the visit by Jesse Lee, but is survived by three other Methodist churches in the city.[13][14]


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.


"Norwalk, Connecticut, gets 45 inches of rain per year. The US average is 37. Snowfall is 24 inches. The average US city gets 25 inches of snow per year. The number of days with any measurable precipitation is 100. On average, there are 179 sunny days per year in Norwalk, Connecticut. The July high is around 83 degrees. The January low is 18."[15]


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.[16] The highest elevation is 282 feet above sea level, at the summit of Middle Clapboard Hill in West Norwalk;[17] and the low elevation is sea level on Long Island Sound.



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. 2015 88,485 [18] 3.4%
1790 population includes
Stamford and Greenwich

According to the office of Connecticut's Secretary of the State 85,603 people resided in Norwalk in 2010.[4] A population estimation indicates 88,485 people resided in Norwalk as of 2015,[18] an approximate population growth of one percent. The estimate indicates a racially diverse population of 42,768 males (49%) and 44,446 females (51%).[20]

The racial makeup of Norwalk was[when?] 55.7% White, 13.4% Black, 0.1% Native American, 4.7% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.3 from some other race and 1.4% from two or more races. 24.3% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[citation needed]



Norwalk's voter registration and party enrollment statistics as of October 27, 2015[21]
Logo Party Active Inactive Total  %
Republician 8,649 423 9,072 19.3
Democratic 16,193 867 17,060 36.4
Minor Parties
Minor parties[22] 941 56 997 2
Unaffiliated 18,587 1162 19,749 42
Totals 44,370 2,508 46,878 99.7


The city of Norwalk, for administrative and representative purposes, is comprised of different special districts with different geographical boundaries for each. The establishment of these districts is authorized by Connecticut statute or by Norwalk's city charter.[23][24] There are presently five councilmanic or voting districts with topographic boundaries designated by the letters A-E of which each is further divided by number varying from two to four. These boundaries are represented by the respective city councilmen elected by voters in each district. These districts are designated coincidentally by their polling locations.[25][non-primary source needed] At the time of the consolidation of the former City of Norwalk, City of South Norwalk and the East Norwalk Fire District in 1913, the city was comprised of 5 wards[26] Subsequently, these wards were used to define what are now Norwalk's, six taxing districts[27] which provides various services to each district such as electricity, sewer and recreational facilities.[28]

Voting Districts/Polling Places
1 Tracy Elementary School Columbus Elementary School Marvin Elementary School Ponus Ridge Middle School Brookside Elementary School
2 St. Mary's Community Hall Nathaniel Ely School (a.k.a Head Start program) Nathan Hale Middle School West Rocks Middle School Rowayton Elementary School
3 Kendall Elementary School Fox Run School
4 Nathan Hale Middle School
Note: For details about polling locations listed above please see the Education section below


The city of Norwalk exists by authority of a municipal charter, granted by the Connecticut General Assembly, which is the legal document that defines the organization, powers, functions, and essential procedures of the city government.[29] Norwalk's municipal government is a Weak-mayor form of a Mayor-Council government[30] with the mayor of Norwalk elected by its voters. 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.[31] Administration offices are located at 125 East Avenue in Norwalk City Hall.

State representatives[edit]

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.[32][33]

Congressional representatives[edit]

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.

Sister cities[edit]


See also External links below—↓

Culture and religion[edit]


  • 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,[35] 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.[36]
  • SoNo Arts Celebration,[37] held in mid-summer

Places of worship[edit]

  • Al Madany Islamic Center Of Norwalk
  • Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Bridge Church
  • Calvary Baptist Church
  • Calvin Reformed Church
  • Canaan Institutional Baptist
  • Christ Episcopal Church
  • Christ Temple Pentecostal Church
  • Christian Fellowship
  • Church Of God
  • Church Without Walls Ministries
  • Cornerstone Community Church
  • Community Advent Christian Church
  • Congregational Church United Church Of Christ
  • Deliverance Pentecostal Church
  • Faith Lighthouse Church/Conservative Baptist
  • First Congregational Church
  • Gethsemane Outreach Ministries
  • Harvest Time
  • Holy Temple Church Of God In Christ
  • House Of Prophecy & Prayer Inc
  • Iglesia Betania Church
  • Kingdom Restoration Ministries
  • Little Zion Church of God In Christ
  • Macedonia Church
  • Methodist Church East Av
  • Mt Nebo Baptist Church
  • New Jerusalem Baptist Church
  • New Light Missionary Baptist Church
  • Norwalk Seventh Day Adventist Church
  • Parkway Assembly of God
  • Pentecostal Christian Church
  • Pentecostal Church John 3:16
  • Salvation Army
  • Shiloh Baptist Church
  • Saint George Greek Orthodox Church
  • Saint Jerome Church
  • Saint Joseph Church
  • Saint Ladislaus Church
  • Saint Mary Church
  • Saint Matthew Church
  • St Paul's Church Of God
  • St. Philip Church
  • Saint Thomas the Apostle Church
  • Word Alive Bible Church


Notable places on the National Register of Historic Places[edit]


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.[44] Several of the fields are illuminated for nighttime play.[45] The Norwalk Little League team won the Little League World Series in 1952.[46] The 14-year-old Babe Ruth League team won the championship in 2008.[47] In 2010, the cal Ripken 12-year-old Norwalk all star team made 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.[48] Norwalk resident Daniel Walsh won a bronze medal in Beijing with the U.S. Olympic rowing team in the 2008 Summer Olympics.[49]

There are three golf courses in the city of Norwalk.[50]

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.


Public buses[edit]

A Wheels bus at Wheels hub.

Public transport bus service within Norwalk is provided by Norwalk Transit District, also known as "Wheels". 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), Services for the Elderly & People with Disabilities and Commuter Shuttles. Access to regional bus services include Coastal Link (Norwalk-Milford), 7 Link (Norwalk-Danbury) and Rt 41 (Norwalk-Stamford). All fixed route buses meet at the Wheels Hub located on Burnell Boulevard, between Main St and Belden Ave.

Commuter rail[edit]

West entrance of the South Norwalk railroad station.

Metro-North's New Haven Line runs through and stops in Norwalk. 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.[51] A fare to any station on the New Haven line from South Norwalk cost less than $15 USD per adult.[52]

Roads and highways[edit]

Interstate 95 in Connecticut and Merritt Parkway lead through Norwalk, and there are several exits within the Norwalk city limits. Both of these roads are designated to be north/south routes, although both lead east/west in Connecticut. The major north-south corridor in Norwalk is U.S. Route 7 in Connecticut which can be accessed via Interstate 95 in Connecticut, both northbound and southbound, via Exit 15. Traveling north on the U.S. Route 7 expressway, exit 3 leads to Merritt Parkway southbound only and access to northbound Merritt Parkway can be made via Route 123 and Norwalk's Main Ave/Street from exit 2. Traveling south, the half-built exit 3 also leads to the Merritt Parkway southbound only. There is no direct northbound access to the Merritt Parkway, traveling south, from this expressway. Northbound the expressway section ends at Grist Mill Road in Norwalk from where Route 7 resumes northbound along Norwalk's Main Avenue. Traveling south, access to Interstate 95, both north and south, can be accomplished via their respective exits. Other state highways in Norwalk are Route 53, Route 123, and Route 136.


Electric power and natural gas in most of Norwalk is provided by Eversource Energy. The First Taxing District[53] provides water to the Third, Fourth and Fifth Taxing Districts.[54] The Second Taxing District[55] serves sections of South Norwalk, East Norwalk, West Norwalk, Rowayton and Silvermine.[55] and also owns and operates South Norwalk Electric and Water.[56] The Third Taxing District[57] 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.[58]
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.[59]
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).[60]
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.[61]

Emergency services[edit]

Norwalk Police Department serves as the city's police department,[62] and Norwalk Fire Department serves Norwalk's fire protection district.[63] 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.


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).[64]


News sources in Norwalk include News 12 Connecticut, a regional news channel for southwestern Connecticut and based in Norwalk.[65] The Hour was an independent daily newspaper based in Norwalk and founded in 1871, which was purchased by Hearst Communications on April 12, 2016.[66]

Notable people[edit]

Notable people from Norwalk include:

In popular culture[edit]



  • Partially or entirely recorded in Norwalk
    • For One More Day (television movie, ABC, December 2007). — filmed in July 2007 on Broad Street.[96]
    • To All My Friends On Shore (1972, made-for-TV movie).[97]
    • House of Dark Shadows (1970, TV series). — "Abandoned Monastery" portions filmed at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion.[98]


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External links[edit]

Community associations[edit]

Neighboring towns[edit]