One of the historic buildings located at Mill Hill Historic Park in Norwalk is the Downtown District Schoolhouse, a one-room school erected in 1826. The schoolhouse originally stood near what was then an intersection of Willow Street and East Avenue. East Norwalk was known as the “Down Town” district until the late nineteenth century. The building was used as a school until 1876 and was later used as a residence. The building was moved several times over the years, settling at Mill Hill when Interstate 95 was built through East Norwalk.
The earliest core of the house at 93 East Street in Norwalk dates to at least 1750 (and perhaps earlier). It was built by Samuel Grumman, a carpenter and builder who came from Fairfield to erect Norwalk’s second meeting house. During the Revolutionary War, the Grumman House was at the center of the Battle of Norwalk in July 1779, when General William Tryon’s raiding forces burned much of the town. The house was damaged, but it was rebuilt in the 1780s and expanded in the nineteenth century. The current roof was added in the 1870s. In 1805, the Grumman family had sold the house to Stephen Buckingham St. John, whose descendants, including the Hoyt family, owned it until 1925. The building was subdivided into apartments in 1928.
In 2001, the neighboring Norwalk Inn & Conference Center purchased the house with the intention of demolishing it to make way for an addition to the hotel. Preservationists rallied to block these plans and preserve the historic house. Litigation ensued and in 2010, after an extended legal battle, a compromise was reached: the Inn would renovate the dilapidated building to contain extended stay suites with permission being granted to the Inn itself to expand to a third floor. The renovations were completed in 2013.
The building that is called Winthrop House, at 166 Rowayton Avenue in Rowayton, Norwalk, was built in 1848 by Charles L. Raymond as a a four-story summer hotel. It has had many names, being called the Fairview Hotel by the turn of the century. It was a private home around the time of World War I, but then became a hotel again under various names over the years: Colonial Inn (1926), Pleasant Inn (1930) and Rowayton Inn (1935). During the Second World War it was purchased by the Bassler brothers. At the start of the twenty-first century there were plans to demolish the building, but in 2005 the Norwalk Preservation Trust worked with developer Andrew Glazer, the Rowayton Historical Society, the Rowayton Community Association and the Norwalk Planning and Zoning Office to restore the exterior to its nineteenth-century appearance. The interior was converted into three luxury condominiums.
The home of the Rowayton Historical Society is the Seeley-Dibble-Pinkney House, located at 177 Rowayton Avenue in Norwalk. The house was built c. 1790-1820 and has been altered over the years. Part of the basement floor is paved with left over shipping ballast. Alfred Seeley purchased the house in 1820. He was a successful farmer and store-owner. He also built the first packet that traveled between Rowayton to New York. Seeley’s youngest daughter, Hannah Minerva, married Alphonso Dibble, who took title to the house and store in 1890. In turn their youngest daughter, Gertrude Hannah, who was married to William Pinkney, next occupied the house. The house was sold by Dorothy Cowles Pinkney, poet and widow of William Pinkney Jr., to the Sixth Taxing District of Norwalk (Rowayton) in 1971
The current City Hall of Norwalk (125 East Avenue) was built in 1938 as Norwalk High School. Its original entrance, since altered, faced East Avenue. It and other buildings in Norwalk contain one of the largest collections of WPA Depression era murals in the country (45). Twenty-three of the City Hall murals were restored in the 1980s. Others were brought to the building bringing the total on display there to thirty-one (now thirty after the recent removal of a controversial painting). The High School moved to a new building in 1971 and the 1938 building became City Hall in place of the 1912 City Hall in South Norwalk (which became home to the Norwalk Museum until 2011).
Nicholas Vincent, New York ship builder, erected the house at 184 Rowayton Avenue in Rowayton, Norwalk in 1842 for his son John R. Vincent. The house next door was built the same year for his daughter, Catherine. John R. Vincent was a ship carpenter who also owned a livery stable and a saloon.