Local city information for Norwich, CT
known as "The Rose of New England," is a city in, and former county seat (when there were county seats in the state) of, New London County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 36,117 at the 2000 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 Native American Tribe Mohegan. It 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.
By 1694 the public landing built at the head of the Thames River allowed ships to offload goods at the harbor. The distance between the port and Norwichtown was serviced by the East and West Roads which later became Washington Street and Broadway.
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.
During the American Revolution Norwich supported the cause for independence by supplying soldiers, ships, and munitions. 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.
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 around the cause of freedom 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.
Norwich served as leadership center for Connecticut during the Civil War. Connecticut Governor William Buckingham, who was from nearby Lebanon, used his Norwich home as a de facto office during the conflict. Also, United States Senator Lafayette Foster later became Acting Vice President after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. During this period, Frances M. Caulkins composed her histories of both Norwich and New London.
Through the end of the 19th century and into the early 20th century, Norwich served as home to many large mills. The population grew and became more diverse with an influx of different ethnic groups. These new residents helped to build the city's schools, churches, and social centers. Today, Norwich is a thriving city with a stable population, wide range of municipal services, a modern industrial park, its own utility company, and a positive outlook for residential and business growth.
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