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Norwich, Connecticut

HistoryEdit Norwich was founded in 1659, 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. 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 theSons 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 populationCensusPop.%±1800—1810−14.4%18200.2%18305.1%184034.0%185046.2%1860128.8%187018.5%1880−9.3%18906.9%19006.8%191018.1%19209.5%19303.2%19402.7%1950−0.9%196064.4%19708.4%1980−8.8%1990−1.8%2000−3.4%201012.1%40,178[3]−0.8%Population 1756 - 2010[4][5][6] 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 GovernmentEdit 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.[7]

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