Walk Norwich

Walk Norwich

The Walk Norwich Trails are a series of historically themed walking trails designed to educate residents and visitors about the rich history of Norwich by providing people with an interactive walking self-guided trail complete with trail marker signs, interpretive signs, and self-guided brochures. The first two trails in the Walk Norwich Trail System are the Uncas Leap Trail and the Benedict Arnold Trail. The Uncas Leap Trail features the Native Mohegan Tribe’s rich history in southeastern Connecticut, including a legendary battle with the Narragansett Tribe, the tribe’s friendly relationship with Norwich’s early settlers, and key sacred sites and the Benedict Arnold Trail features Norwich’s infamous native son and discusses Norwich’s rich colonial era history and significant figures from the Revolutionary War.

NHS recently completed the Norwich Freedom Trail & the Norwich Millionaires’ Triangle, part of the Walk Norwich, CT trail network. The Freedom Trail celebrates Norwich’s rich, diverse, and largely untold story of African-American heritage, highlighting notable people figures who played important roles in the movement to end slavery and advance civil rights before and after the United States Civil War. Lastly, the “Norwich’s Millionaires’ Triangle” explores Norwich’s Industrial Era during the Gilded Age.

In total, the Walk Norwich trail network has five major trails, four of which are themed self-guided walking tours:

  • Uncas Leap Trail – stories about the Native American Mohegan Tribe.
  • Benedict Arnold Trail – stories about Norwich’s role in the American Revolution
  • Freedom Trail – stories about civil rights in Norwich
  • Millionaires’ Triangle – stories about the industrialists that capitalized on the Industrial Revolution during the Gilded Age
  • Heritage Trail is the main spine of the network, as it connects many of the trails to each other along the Yantic River, a Connecticut-designated greenway corridor.

Norwich’s approach is to develop the initial program over four phases, starting with the pre-colonial to American Revolution timeframe, then the Jeffersonian Period, followed by the Industrial Revolution, and completed with the Civil War and Civil Rights movements. The ultimate result will be copious walking trails, interconnected / networked to each other. Our concept is to create a walking map that mimics the well-known transit maps in major cities (e.g., Boston MBTA Subway Map).

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Walk Norwich Trail brochures can be picked up from the Norwich Heritage and Regional Visitors’ Center located at 69 East Town Street open end of May– October Thursday–Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm.

Check out walknorwich.org to access the trails.

OUR CURRENT TRAILS:

“The Uncas Leap Walking Trail”

“The Uncas Leap Trail,” features the Native Mohegan Tribe’s rich history in southeastern Connecticut, including a legendary battle with the Narragansett Tribe, the tribe’s friendly relationship with Norwich’s early settlers (which close relationship exists today), and key sacred sites.

“The Benedict Arnold Walking Trail”

“The Benedict Arnold Walking Trail,” features Norwich’s infamous native son and discusses Norwich’s rich colonial era history and significant figures from the Revolutionary War.

“The Norwich Freedom Trail”

“The Norwich Freedom Trail” trail covers the Jacksonian Period in history and includes Norwich notables such as David Ruggles, James L. Smith and the Jail Hill National Register Historic District, located adjacent to historic Downtown Norwich. In addition, the trail emphasizes Norwich’s connection to President Lincoln during the Civil War.

Norwich has many important natives during this period, such as the Acting Vice President of the United States – Lafayette Foster, and Governor William Buckingham. There are also significant places, such as the historic Yantic Cemetery where many civil war soldiers are buried, and the Wauregan Hotel, where Lincoln visited.

“Norwich’s Millionaires’ Triangle”

“Norwich’s Millionaires’ Triangle” explores Norwich’s Industrial Era in the Gilded Age. At one time Norwich had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the United States.

The rich and famous of the era, included William Slater, Leonard Ballou, and Henry Bill. Many of the homes are still in existence and are all conveniently located near Slater Memorial Museum and the Chelsea Parade National Register Historic District.

This effort includes connectivity to the various mill village neighborhoods in the city (Greeneville, Occum, Taftville, and Yantic) along with the stories of servant life during that period.

Photo by: Courtney Dubreuil
Photo by: Courtney Dubreuil

OUR PARTNER TRAILS:

“The Heritage Trail ”

The Heritage Walk is a 2.8-mile roundtrip trail along the Yantic River connecting historic downtown Norwich CT to the remarkable Uncas Leap Heritage Area.

“The Troubadour Trail”

The Troubadour Trail was created by Tom Callinan, a full-time creative and performing artist since 1977, and resident of Norwichtown since 2007. The Troubadour Trail was created to use thirteen of his original songs, to provide visitors – whether onsite, or virtually, with musical interpretations of people, places and/or events in Norwich’s storied history.

The Troubadour Trail is divided into 12 separate stops, within three distinct sections.  Some of the stops overlap with stops on other components of the “Walk Norwich” online project, such as the Benedict Arnold Trail and the Uncas Leap Trail.

HOW IS THIS PROJECT INNOVATIVE?

Steve and Jon from the Department of Public Works

This project will utilize 21st Century technology to reach a broad audience. Each historicsite located on the trails will be available on walknorwich.org and will provide smart phone users with easy access to information about the various historical sites located along these routes.

Way-finding signs for the self-guided walking trails will direct sightseers along the route and informational signage will be located at significant cultural sites.

Walking tour brochures complete with a trail map, color photos, trail information, and trail length / duration. The brochures will include information about local amenities.

GUIDED WALKS:

Please see the Walktober
or Second Saturday Walking Tours.

Beth Regan from the Mohegan Tribal Council of Elders and NHS President Bill Champagne give a guided Uncas Leap Tour
Beth Regan from the Mohegan Tribal Council of Elders and NHS President Bill Champagne give a guided Uncas Leap Tour

Upon special request and 3-4 weeks advance notice, the Norwich Historical Society can provide a guided Benedict Arnold Trail Tour for $5.00 per person

Bus Tour of the Benedict Arnold Trail for America's History LLC. Tour participants included James Kirby Martin, renowned Benedict Arnold Historian.
Bus Tour of the Benedict Arnold Trail for America's History LLC. Tour participants included James Kirby Martin, renowned Benedict Arnold Historian.

SCHOOL TOURS:

Please contact us at info@norwichhistoricalsociety.org for information on tours for the school system. Schools will be charged a nominal fee for the tour.

TOURS OFFERED FOR SCHOOLS:

The Benedict Arnold Trail: – Students will learn about the significance Benedict Arnold and Samuel Huntington played in our country’s history. Students will see significant sites related to Huntington and Arnold.
– Students will learn about Colonial Norwich and what life was like in the 1700s.
– Students will be walking around the Norwichtown Historic District
– Alternate available option: Take a tour of Leffingwell House Museum

Questions for students to answer:
1. Investigate historical Norwich residents and their impact on Connecticut and national history → Samuel Huntington and Benedict Arnold
2.What contributions did Norwich make during the Revolutionary War?

Tour of the Colonial Burial Ground:
– Students will have a tour of the burial ground by a member of the Norwich Historical Society. The tour will include what a burial ground is, some of the people who are buried there, and information about famous gravestone carvers and the symbols that they used.