Norwich, Connecticut

Not to be confused with Norwalk, Connecticut.
Norwich, Connecticut

Nickname(s): The Rose Of New England

Location in New London County, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°33′01″N 72°05′15″W / 41.55028°N 72.08750°W / 41.55028; -72.08750Coordinates: 41°33′01″N 72°05′15″W / 41.55028°N 72.08750°W / 41.55028; -72.08750
Country United States
State Connecticut
NECTA Norwich-New London
Region Southeastern Connecticut
Settled 1659
Incorporated (city) 1784
Consolidated 1952
  Type Council-manager
  City council
  • Deberey Hinchey (D), Mayor
  • Peter Desaulniers (D), Council president pro tem
  • Mark Bettancourt (D)
  • Bill Eyberse (D)
  • William Nash (R)
  • Sofee Noblick (R)
  • Terell Wilson (D)


  City manager John Bilda
  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 (2012)[2]
  City 40,502
  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.


Norwichtown was founded in 1659, by settlers from Old Saybrook led by Major John Mason and Reverend James Fitch.[3] They purchased the land "nine miles square" that would become Norwich from the local Native Mohegan Sachem Uncas.[4] 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 population
Census Pop.
Est. 201539,899[5]−1.5%
Population 1756–2010[6][7][8]

Regular steamship service between New York and Boston helped Norwich to prosper as a shipping center through the early part of the 19th 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.[9]


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
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.14
Average snowfall inches (cm) 6.8
Average 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
Average 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[10]


As of the census[11] 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).

29.0% of households 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 age distribution of the population shows 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.

In 2012, the population had risen to 40,502 and the racial makeup of the city was 70% White, 13% Hispanic or Latino, 10% Black or African American, 8% Asian, and 1% Native American.

The 2012 median income for a household in the city was $51,300. 15% of the population were below the poverty line.

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 however, long term saturation of the over 100 year old earthen content, along with unchecked shrub and tree growth, severely weakened the structural content of the dam and caused the waters of Spaulding Pond to burst forth into the city, causing the Great Flood of Norwich, elegantly chronicled in Thomas Moody Jr's "A Swift and Deadly Maelstrom; The Great Norwich Flood of 1963." The break and subsequent flood flow swamped houses, streets, cars and collapsed a mill, causing several deaths and over six million dollars in damage. Mohegan Park also contains another, smaller pond, called The Skating Pond which is southeast of the main pond. This pond, which had always been an overflow spillway for Spaulding Pond and, when frozen in the winter provided a wonderful ice skating area for the local youth, thus its sobriquet, was re-designed as part of Norwich's long term flood plan in 1968 and currently serves as a surge overflow volume for the upgraded Spaulding Pond Dam. This pond is no longer open to public use however.

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.[12] 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.

Norwich Technical High School, A Connecticut Technical High School System School also serves the area. This school is an open option to those within the Norwich area, and many other towns surrounding Norwich. To those within the Norwich area, transportation is provided by Norwich Public Schools via the same buses that serve Norwich Free Academy in the morning, and in the afternoon students are transported to Norwich Free Academy to use their buses to return home.

Sidney Frank donated $12 million to the school[13] 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.[14]

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 became the home to the Connecticut Tigers in the Class-A Short season New York–Penn League (formerly the Oneonta Tigers). The ESPN mini-series "The Bronx Is Burning" was 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. Established in 1995, the Rose City Warriors are Norwich's Senior Women's Ice Hockey Team and 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.


Public Transportation in Norwich is provided by Southeast Area Transit, or SEAT.

Notable people

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. Caulkins, Frances Manwaring (1866). History of Norwich. [Hartford] Self-published.
  4. "Norwich, CT - Official Website - History of City". Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  5. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  6. Office of the Secretary of the State
  7. U.S. Census Bureau Accessed October 14, 2009.
  8. City of Norwich Charter, accessed July 12, 2007
  9. "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  10. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  12. Martin, Douglas (January 13, 2006). "Sidney E. Frank, 86; liquor baron was a master of marketing". U-T San Diego. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
  14. Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963.
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