History of Mill Hill
A 19th Century Hub of Commerce
In the mid-1800s, Norwalk became an important hub for shipping and commerce. The first commercial wharves were located near Wall Street, and the Head of Navigation was marked by a pole near the Town House on Mill Hill. In the early 1800s, this area was the hub of the city, where one of the town’s most successful enterprises, E. Lockwood and Sons, was located.
Near the Great Bridge over the Norwalk River, the small country store expanded into a mini-conglomerate, with ships bringing goods from Europe and the West Indies, and local artisans reconciling their accounts with locally produced goods such as textiles and leather.
By the late 1800s, the maritime industry in Norwalk boomed, and the city could boast of the world’s largest fleet of steam-powered oystering ships.
However, this part of town, known as Norwalk Borough, while a successful port, could only accommodate shallow draught ships and, consequently was soon surpassed as the principal port by South Norwalk, which was established at a deeper part of the river.
Steamboat landings accommodated growing industry, and larger ships allowed the town’s three potteries, six hat factories, smithy, carriage manufactory, stone cutting shops, and various warehouses to move goods far and wide. By the early 20th century, commercial pursuits in Norwalk had changed, and less emphasis was placed on shipping, but the town retained its prosperous industries throughout World War II.
Compare 19th & 21st Century Mill Hill Views
LOOKING WEST FROM MILL HILL
LOOKING EAST FROM COMMERCE STREET