Jobs in Norwalk, Connecticut, United States
Congregationalists founded the first English colony in central Connecticut in 1636 and soon settled throughout the state. They obtained a royal charter in 1662 and governed until 1818. The state has a strong maritime tradition. During the 19th century it also became a major center for financial services and manufacturing.
Irish and southeastern European immigrants came to work in the factories and introduced Catholicism. In the 1950s and 60s, economic expansion led to an influx of Puerto Rican and African-American workers, but 71 percent of the state’s population of 3.5 million is still non-Hispanic and white, and their religious traditions remain influential.
Ending of the Cold War and endemic corruption led to a period of late-20th century decline, but since 2008 the economy has begun to rebound. Finance, insurance and real estate now account for a third of the state’s GDP. manufacturing, the arts and tourism are also important. Affluent communities within commuting distance from New York make Connecticut a high-income state, but wealth is unevenly distributed and many older industrial cities are now impoverished.
NORWALK – Oyster Town
Portrait of Contemporary Norwalk
With a population of just over 88,000, Norwalk is the sixth largest city in the state of Connecticut. It is located in Fairfield County, a heavily urbanized metropolitan area in western Connecticut on the northern shore of Long Island Sound.
Non-Hispanic Whites comprise 54% of the current population, with Hispanics (all races, 25%) and Black Africa-Americans (15%) accounting for most of the rest. Fairfield is an affluent county, and Norwalk is an affluent city. Median household income is well above both US and state averages, while unemployment and poverty are low.
Private developers have built several office complexes that now house corporate headquarters and offices of smaller businesses in downtown Norwalk, and more similar projects are planned.
Taxes and cost of living are high, so working class people and the young tend to live elsewhere, but many professionals make their home in the city’s attractive residential areas. Norwalk is also a prime tourist destination in Connecticut.
Norwalk is a coastal city with a natural harbor. A chain of some 25 rocky islands peek out from among submerged boulders, reefs and mudflats about a mile off the coast in Long Island Sound. Kayaking, camping, boating, swimming, bird-watching, fishing, clamming and seasonal duck and deer hunting are popular recreational activities on the Norwalk Islands.
Natural vegetation and wildlife are protected, and many of Norwalk’s oyster beds are located there. The sea breeze is refreshing and the climate is generally mild, though subject to extreme storms.
Early History and Industrial Revolution
Norwalk incorporated as a town in 1651 on land purchased from local Indians. It developed initially as a farming settlement, but during the American Revolution it was burned to the ground by the British in retaliation for the support it provided to the Patriots for espionage missions, munitions manufacturing, and a supply depot. After the war the citizens rebuilt the town, and during the 19th century it became an important trading port. Light industry also thrived, consisting mainly of manufacture of clocks, watches, paper, pottery, hardware and hats. In 1913 the city of Norwalk was formed by consolidating the towns of Norwalk and South Norwalk. During the remainder of the 20th century the city developed a balanced mix of office development, retail, small business, housing, and open space. Bivalve mollusks (clams, oysters, mussels, scallops) grow naturally in Connecticut’s tidal rivers and coastal bays, and oysters became a popular food among American urban dwellers.
Oyster farming in seeded beds on the rocky shores of Long Island Sound and the Norwalk Islands developed into a major industry, and Norwalk gained fame as ‘Oyster Town.’ Demand declined after 1920, due to environmental concerns, fear of contamination and economic depression while supply fell off due to predation, disease, marine traffic and storm damage.
Since the 1970s the oyster industry has recovered, thanks to new farming techniques that protect both the oysters and the environment.
Amenities and Cultural Attractions
Fun things to do include: Lockwood-Matthews Mansion, Maritime Aquarium, Norwalk Museum, Sheffield Island Lighthouse, South Norwalk Historic District, and Stepping Stone Museum for Children.
The city celebrates several annual festivals (Norwalk Oyster Festival, International In-Water Boat Show, SoNo Arts Festival), all of which draw large crowds from outside the area. Water sports and golf are popular among residents, and there is a professional rugby team with a loyal local following.
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