The Rose of New England: An Historic Overview of Norwich

The city of Norwich, Connecticut, also known as “The Rose of New England”, was founded in 1659 by settlers from Saybrook. The land was purchased from Chief Uncas of the “Mohegan Native American Tribe”. This Native American tribe originated in upstate New York as the Mohegans and later became The Mohegan Tribe after moving into Connecticut.

As one of the first Connecticut cities, Norwich was incorporated in 1784. Textile factories were common, due to the available water supply of the Yantic and Shetucket rivers. Thanks to the ship trading between Boston and New York, Norwich became a prosperous shipping center, due to its convenient location.  It was also known as both an agricultural and industrial area. Many of the agricultural areas evolved into to more industrial ways over time.

Notable Natives

Benedict Arnold: Born in Norwich in 1741, Benedict Arnold was an American General during the Revolutionary War. Arnold became possibly the most infamous traitor in United States history after his plan to defer to British military forces was exposed in 1780.

Samuel Huntington: As a signer of the Declaration of Independence, long-time resident of Norwich, Samuel Huntington became the President of the Continental Congress in 1779. Since he obtained this position during the time that the Articles of Confederation were being ratified, many beat-biographers and Connecticut cival groups believe that Huntington was actually the first President of the United States.

Thomas Leffingwell: Built in 1675, a two-room home built by Stephan Backus was purchased and converted into an Inn by Thomas Leffingwell. Known best to locals as the “Leffingwell House Museum”, the house is a modern day tourist staple containing many fine works created by 18th century silversmiths and clock makers. The Inn is said to have also hosted George Washington for breakfast in 1776.

The Rose City Today

The Norwich & Worcester Railroad (still alive today) was constructed from 1835-1840. Today’s Norwich is flourishing and boasts immigrants from French Canada, Cape Verde Islands, Europe, and more. The “Mohegan Native American Tribe” continues to thrive in this area of Connecticut as well. Named after the tribe, Mohegan Park is one of the most popular recreational areas in the city today. With it being the largest park in Norwich, residents and patrons can enjoy the beach, hiking and biking trails, basketball courts, picnicking and grilling, playgrounds, and more. Many events and activities are held here and preservation efforts are constantly made to keep it thriving.

Have you visited one of the many historical venues in Norwich lately? Please share in the box below your experiences and any additional fun facts you may have learned about our fair town!