South Norwalk

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This article is about a neighborhood in Norwalk. For the railway station in that neighborhood, see South Norwalk (Metro-North station).
South Norwalk
Taxing District[1]
SoNo Illuminated Sign
SoNo Illuminated Sign
South Norwalk is located in Connecticut
South Norwalk
South Norwalk
South Norwalk is located in the US
South Norwalk
South Norwalk
Coordinates: 41°07′N 73°25′W / 41.11°N 73.42°W / 41.11; -73.42
Country  United States
State  Connecticut
County Fairfield
City Norwalk
Founded August 18, 1870
Incorporated with Norwalk June 6, 1913
ZIP code 06854
Area code(s) Area codes 203 and 475

South Norwalk is a neighborhood and the Second Taxing District in Norwalk, Connecticut. The neighborhood was originally a settlement called 'Old Well' which became chartered as the city of 'South Norwalk' on August 18, 1870. The cities of Norwalk and South Norwalk were incorporated on June 6, 1913.

Often referred to with the acronym 'SoNo' (redeveloped area).[2] "The term 'SoNo' refers to the formerly rundown stretch of Washington Street between the Metro-North Railroad tracks and Norwalk Harbor".

SoNo South encompasses what state Rep.Joseph Mann, a Democrat who lives and works in the neighborhood, yesterday [June 2, 2004] called "the real South Norwalk" -- the heavily minority, middle- to lower-class residential and industrial neighborhoods bordered on the north and south by Washington and Concord streets, and on the east and west by Water Street and Martin Luther King Drive."[3]

Maritime Aquarium

"SoNo, with its delightful mixture of classy and tasteful or just plain homey restaurants, shops, and clubs, combined with museums and galleries, has become integrated with greater Norwalk as well as the harbor and Long Island Sound beyond. SoNo is anchored by the Maritime Center,[ Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk ] which invites visitors of all ages to become immersed in sea life. Exhibits, educational programs, research cruises, and a boat building shop, are topped off by the spectacular IMAX Theatre".[4][5]

South Norwalk is host of the annual SoNo Arts Celebration. The free event takes place every August and features over 100 fine art and craftsperson exhibits, as well as over 25 musical performances for all ages.

South Norwalk Boundaries[edit]

South Norwalk, or Norwalk 2nd Taxing District, borders are as follows:[6]

  • North: From Connecticut Ave. near I95 exit 14 through Mathews Park to the Norwalk River.
  • South: from Windsor Place on a line to South Main St. near the intersection of Meadow St. and on a line to Norwalk River.
  • East: Through Norwalk River.
  • West: From Connecticut Ave. near I95 exit 14 on a line to Windsor Place.

South Norwalk History[edit]

Map of South Norwalk and Norwalk, CT

Old Well[edit]

"Sailing ships in the olden days pulled up to docks along the inner harbor and waited their turn to fill up their water casks from the “Old Well”. In a 1738 deed Washington Street is referred to as “the highway that leads to ye landing place called Ye Old Well. The actual well is shown on the Beers Atlas map of 1867[7] to be East of Water Street about 75 feet South of Washington Street. The exact location has been lost but is believed to have been very near to Donovan’s Tavern, which seems likely since sailors are said to have enjoyed the spirits. Old Well was involved in coastal trade, manufacturing, and shipbuilding as well as having many farms with diversified crops."[8]

“Old Well was scarcely a village in those days, but rather a group of farms, and the well which gave the place its name was on Water street, near the corner of Haviland street, on the property of Eliakim Raymond, a patriarch of several Norwalk lines. His house stood at the corner of Washington and Water streets before the Revolution and was burned with rest of the town."[9]

City of South Norwalk[edit]

"Norwalk was made a borough in 1836, and the village of Old Well, named from an ancient well where vessels were supplied with water, was incorporated into a city in 1868, and named South Norwalk two years afterward."[10] "South Norwalk, formerly called "Old Well" was organized a city August 18, 1870, under a charter granted by the Legislature of Connecticut, July 5th of the same year. This charter was revised by the Legislature April 19, 1882, and the city continued its existence under this revised charter until May 27, 1897, when the Legislature approved a revised and amended charter, under which the city has since continued and worked."[11][12]

"In the 1800s, industrialization started to take place--large factories manufacturing goods such as firearms, buttons, shoes, cloth and hats were increasing in Connecticut and in Norwalk. Workers came up from Chesapeake, Maryland, to work as oystermen. Wealthy owners and managers of businesses lived on Golden Hill overlooking South Norwalk. Immigrants came into Norwalk from many places. One of the largest [group] to come here in the early 1900s was the Hungarians; there were also many Eastern European Jews and Italians, among others."[13]

"In the city government consolidation of 1913, the City of South Norwalk became the Second Taxing District, but South Norwalk was brought into the consolidation against its will. South Norwalk had been incorporated in 1873 as a city within the Town of Norwalk and in the following half-century it became the economic center of Norwalk. With a port and a railroad, it was the center of Norwalk industry, providing employment to thousands of Norwalk factory workers.

"Prosperous and self-sufficient, the City of South Norwalk had little financial incentive to join in the 1913 consolidation. Its residents feared higher taxes if they lost their city status. In 1902 South Norwalk had tried to leave the Town of Norwalk entirely, and, along with East Norwalk, become a completely separate Town. At the time Mayor Mortimer M. Lee said that South Norwalk had “a large water system, a splendid electric light plant, a separate sewer system, a public library and a library building and schools second to none.” In 1903 the Connecticut State legislature passed a bill to create the independent Town of South Norwalk, but it was vetoed by the governor."[14](Abiram Chamberlain)[15]

Further information: History of Norwalk, Connecticut

National Register of Historic Places[edit]

Canaan Institutional Baptist Church
Former City Hall
  • Norwalk City Hall[19] "Completed in 1912, when South Norwalk was an autonomous municipal entity, 41 North Main St. originally served as the South Norwalk Town Hall. Following the consolidation of the City of Norwalk in 1913, the building began its 75-year stint as Norwalk City Hall, which ended in 1988, when City Hall moved to its current location on [125] East Avenue."[20] "The first and second floors of the old structure later became home to Norwalk Museum, which was operated by the city government. As a museum, the building contained archival material and other items related to Norwalk's culture and history, including documents, items of significance to the history of Norwalk and artwork. In May 2012, the city removed funding for operation of the museum. The old city hall was not owned by the city, and according to city officials the annual rent was not justified by the several thousand annual visitors. The museum was closed to the public later that month. The city plans to transfer the exhibits and archival documents located at the old city hall to temporary storage and eventually redisplay the material at another location[.]"[21]

The Norwalk Historical Society along with the Norwalk Historical Commission reopened the Norwalk Historical Society Museum at the Lockwood House at 141 East Avenue. The archives, genealogy and unframed photographs was placed with the “History Room” at the Norwalk Public Library Main branch (1 Belden Ave, Norwalk, CT). It includes items from the four collections: City of Norwalk, Lockwood family, Norwalk Historical Society and the Connecticut Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and Norwalk-Village Green Chapter.

Norwalk River Railroad Bridge
  • Norwalk River Railroad Bridge[22] "This bridge was built in 1896 as part of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad's massive re-building of its New York to New Haven main line. Then as now, this was one of the busiest rail corridors in the nation, and to handle the growing traffic, the railroad doubled its carrying capacity from two tracks to four. At the same time, the railroad eliminated almost all grade crossings and straightened out many curves. A further improvement occurred in 1907 when the line was electrified with overhead catenary wires."[23]
  • South Main and Washington Streets Historic District[24] The 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.
US Post Office, 16 Washington St. South Norwalk, CT

Donovan's Restaurant: A South Norwalk Landmark[edit]

"Donovan's restaurant, located in South Norwalk, CT, sits comfortably on the corner of Washington and Water Street in the historic section of South Norwalk. Since 1889 the restaurant in Norwalk is one of the area's favorite place to meet old friends and make new ones and has been serving the public within its charming restaurant and authentic saloon ambiance. A brief exception was the Prohibition Era when it served as the neighborhood A & P. Rumor has it that bootleg booze was available in the back room."[26]

"The new owner, Ronald Rosa of Polpo Restaurant and Saloon in Greenwich, said [in 2006] he would like to retain the establishment's atmosphere, right down to keeping the historic boxing photographs hanging on the walls." "The place [the Bulldog Bar & Grill] is going to stay identical, only better," Rosa said. We'll just spruce it up."[27]

"Donovan's, the bar which dominated the corner of Washington and Water Streets for nearly three decades, re-opened for business last Friday [Jan. 30, 2009] as Donovan's & Mackenzie. The bar and grill, formerly named Jeremiah Donovan's, closed its doors in September of 2006. It was replaced by the Bulldog Bar & Grill. When the Bulldog closed last fall [2008], Donovan's owner, Richie Ball of Newtown, saw an opportunity to come back to town."[28]

"Today the restaurant has a collection of vintage prizefighter pictures that belonged to “Battling Bat Kunz”, a regional champ who owned the restaurant for several decades. The current owner, Richie Ball restored the restaurant and bar in 1979 to its original Victorian style and renamed it after its original founder, Jeremiah Donovan. On the east side of the building is a mural depicting one of the last working schooners on Long Island Sound, the Alice S. Wentworth. It was painted in 1978 by Brechin Morgan,[29] a local artist. After a billboard company painted over it in 1983, Morgan repainted the mural with some friends. It was touched up in 2007."[30]

South Norwalk (SoNo) neighborhood in Norwalk, Connecticut (CT), 06854 detailed profile[edit]

Various South Norwalk statistics from City-Data[31]

Emergency services[edit]

The city of Norwalk Police Department[32] is located at 1 Monroe St. near the heart of SoNo.

The city of Norwalk Fire Department currently operates two Fire Stations in or near South Norwalk:[33]

  • Station Two- Headquarters, 121 Connecticut Ave
  • Station Five, 23 Meadow St.

See also[edit]


South Norwalk Photos[edit]

South Norwalk Historical Photos[edit]

Development Projects[edit]


  1. ^ [City of Norwalk] TAXING DISTRICTS
  2. ^ The Free Dictionary: SoNo,+Connecticut
  3. ^ Keeping the "real South Norwalk alive", The Norwalk Advocate, By Brian Lockhart, Staff Writer
  4. ^ CT Dining and Events Guide
  5. ^ 2 N Main St Norwalk, Connecticut Street View - Aug 2014 Google maps,-73.4188233,3a,75y,114.7h,64.2t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sd18quysVvK5OZdm-p44vdQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en
  6. ^ Norwalk Tax District Map
  7. ^ Plan of Norwalk, Plan of South Norwalk. Fairfield County, Connecticut. Beers, Ellis, & Soule. 1867.
  9. ^ Norwalk after two hundred & fifty years...etc. (p. 302-303)
  10. ^ A History of New England...etc. (p. 300)
  11. ^ Norwalk after two hundred & fifty years...etc. (p. 380)
  12. ^ Charter of the City, Pub ... 1898
  13. ^ Norwalk, Lisa Wilson Grant, (p. 8), Arcadia Publishing, Jun 23, 2014
  14. ^ The Second Taxing District By Isabel Bullen
  15. ^ Meriden Morning Record - Apr 9, 1903, Governor's Veto,3910625&hl=en
  16. ^ Beth Israel Synagogue (added 1991 - - #91001684) Also known as Canaan Institutional Baptist Church
  17. ^ "International Survey of Jewish Monuments"
  18. ^ Haviland and Elizabeth Streets: Hanford Place Historic District(added 1988 - - #88000664)
  19. ^ Norwalk City Hall (added 1995 - #95000282)
  20. ^ Old Norwalk Museum building begins new chapter
  21. ^ Norwalk City Hall - Norwalk Museum
  22. ^ Norwalk River Railroad Bridge (added 1987 - #87000844) Also known as Norwalk River Bridge
  23. ^ "Norwalk River Railroad Bridge"
  24. ^ South Main and Washington Streets Historic District (Boundary Increase) (added 1985 - Fairfield County - #85003505)
  25. ^ United States Post Office–South Norwalk Main (added 1986 - - #86000126)
  26. ^ Donovan's Restaurant
  27. ^ Landmark tavern, 'Jeremiah Donovan's' changing ownership, name: The Hour, Tuesday, October 3, 2006, Page 5 |,289718&hl=en
  28. ^ Donovan's returns to South Norwalk, 'The Hour' Wednesday, February 4, 2009
  29. ^ Brechin Lee Morgan
  30. ^ Historic Buildings of Connecticut
  31. ^ South Norwalk (SoNo) neighborhood...etc.
  32. ^ Police Department
  33. ^ Norwalk Fire Department Stations

External links[edit]