Norwalk has always been a city of neighborhoods. It is home to more than 20 neighborhood associations that participate in meetings of the Mayor’s Neighborhood Preservation Task Force. Each of these neighborhoods is unique, offering its own character and charm. The following is a brief description of the four neighborhoods whose associations cover the largest landmass as well as two neighborhoods with rich histories.
• East Norwalk – a diverse neighborhood now home to Calf Pasture Beach, Veterans Memorial Park, and is host of the Norwalk Oyster Festival; the site of Norwalk’s original colonial buildings, a number of which are still in use today (number 1 on the map)
• Flax Hill – this neighborhood’s agricultural heritage as a flax and hemp farming area is honored at Fodor Farm, which is now the site of a buzzing community garden; home to Flax Hill Park (number 15 on the map)
• Golden Hill – just a short walk west from the South Norwalk Railroad Station, this is the site of Connecticut’s first State Historic District; the residential neighborhood’s rocky slopes were Revolutionary War battlegrounds (number 9 on the map)
• Rowayton – a coastal village that fronts on the Long Island Sound and is home to a host of beaches and charming eateries; its central Pinkney Park is the site of summer Shakespeare performances (no formal association)
• Silvermine – this neighborhood has roots as an art colony that are proudly remembered at the Silvermine Guild Arts Center; home to a number of historic buildings, including the Silvermine Tavern; the Silvermine River once supported a dozen mills, and several working silver mines (number 4 on the map)
• West Norwalk – home to Norwalk Community College; a largely residential neighborhood boasting many historic houses and miles of historic stone walls (number 12 on the map)
Over a dozen other neighborhoods, from Broad River and Hospital Hill to Marvin Beach and Harbor View, entice visitors and prospective residents with their appealing mix of neighborhood assets, nature, and proximity to local and regional amenities and jobs.
Norwalk’s Urban Core encompasses approximately two square miles on the west bank of the Norwalk River. It is made up of four distinct districts, each with its own unique character and charm. Redevelopment plans are in place to guide progress in each Urban Core neighborhoods.
The Wall Street District, also called Norwalk Center, is the traditional downtown of Norwalk and has been a central location for business, civic and transportation activities since colonial times. In October of 1955, a catastrophic flood destroyed the majority of the neighborhood’s riverfront buildings. Today, the Wall Street district is characterized by traditional low-rise buildings, many of which date to the late 1800s and early 1900s. The heart of this neighborhood is now a designated historic district that is home to landmarks such as the Norwalk Public Library, the Norwalk Post Office, the Wall Street Theater, Fairfield County Savings Bank, and the Wall Street Bridge.
West Avenue North is Norwalk’s most drastically and rapidly changing district. Hundreds of residential units and thousands of square feet of new commercial space have been recently built and more are now under construction. A significant transition is shifting this area from industrial, and commercial uses to a mixed-use environment on West Avenue. The West Avenue North neighborhood also includes Mathews Park, which provides access to the Norwalk River Valley Trail and Harbor Loop Trail system.
West Avenue South, or Reed Putnam District, was the focus of an intensive urban renewal effort that began in the 1980s with the redevelopment of an abandoned 1860s iron works factory into what is now Norwalk’s ever-popular Maritime Aquarium. Redevelopment continues to transform this neighborhood from a former industrial and low-density area into a vibrant mixed-use center that includes mid-rise residential development, office space, retail storefronts, and the award-winning Oyster Shell Park. The SoNo Collection is set to add a major regional shopping destination and hotel.
South Norwalk, also called SoNo, is Norwalk’s largest and most diverse neighborhood. It is characterized by a vibrant dining and entertainment district, an authentic architectural landscape, and a transit-oriented neighborhood that is connected to the broader region via the South Norwalk Railroad Station. SoNo is home to Norwalk’s industrial past and boasts factories, mills and forges which have been converted into housing and commercial space. View South Norwalk Projects to learn more about how we support historic preservation. The “Choice Neighborhood”, bounded by Washington, Water and Concord Streets and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, is within South Norwalk.