The first permanent settlers came to Norwalk Township in 1809, the same year Huron County was formed. The settlers located on Old State Road at the south edge of Milan.
Platt Benedict was the first to permanently settle in the Village of Norwalk in 1817, along with his wife Sally De Forest Benedict and their five children. He encouraged “mechanics” (Carpenters, Masons, Cabinet Makers, etc) to come to the new village. In 1818, Platt Benedict was named Postmaster.
Residents named the town after Norwalk, Connecticut. Many of Huron County’s first residents were from Connecticut.
Norwalk grew quickly, claiming approximately 1,800 inhabitants in 1846. That same year, the town contained five churches, fourteen stores, one bank, and two newspaper offices. The Norwalk Institute also existed in the community. Founded by the local Baptist Church, this institution taught approximately one hundred students in 1846. This school accepted both men and women as students.
Over the next thirty years, Norwalk grew slowly, having 2,338 inhabitants by 1880. In 1886, five newspaper offices, eleven churches, and three banks existed in the community. Numerous manufacturing businesses operated in the town, with Sprague and French, an advertising novelty company, being Norwalk’s largest employer. Most businesses provided services or manufactured products for farmers in the surrounding countryside.
During the twentieth century, Norwalk continued to grow, located approximately fifty-five miles from both Toledo, Ohio, and Cleveland, Ohio, and 12 miles inland from Lake Erie.
Beginning in the early 1990’s, the Norwalk Revitalization Corporation coordinated a $2.4 Million infrastructure improvement project in Norwalk’s Central Business District. Reconstruction began in 1997 and completed by 1999. Norwalk was named a Main Street Community in 2000 and continues to hold that distinction today.
The downtown district offers an array of unique shops, eateries and coffee houses and the city takes great pride in maintaining its trees. From street trees to park trees, the city makes every effort to maintain the right mix of safety and beauty. Main Street is lined with majestic Maple trees which were originally planted in the 1830’s by City Founder Platt Benedict. These trees marked the beginning of Norwalk’s reign as “The Maple City.”
If you are lucky to be a Norwalk native, we hope to meet you soon and hear your tales of Norwalk.
Picture by Jeeves and Fork