South Norwalk (known also as SoNo or Downtown) is a neighborhood in Norwalk, Connecticut. The neighborhood was originally a settlement called Old Well and was incorporated as the city of South Norwalk on August 18, 1870. The cities of Norwalk and South Norwalk were consolidated on June 6, 1913. The former city of South Norwalk became the new Norwalk's Second Taxing District.
SoNo features a high density of bars and eateries and is the center of Norwalk's nightlife and restaurant culture. Also located in SoNo are the South Norwalk Metro-North Railroad station, the Maritime Aquarium (with IMAX theater), a post office, banks, and a cinema. South Norwalk is also the home of a large annual Arts Celebration.
After the original settlement of Norwalk in 1649, additional settlements developed in the area, particularly one on the western side of the Norwalk Harbor and river. This settlement came to be known as "Old Well". In a 1738 deed, present-day Washington Street was referred to as the "high Way that Leads to ye Landing place ye Old Well". The actual well was east of present-day Water Street, about 75 feet south of Washington Street.
In 1870, Old Well was incorporated as the City of South Norwalk. A charter for the city was granted by the Connecticut General Assembly in 1871.
In this period, South Norwalk was a manufacturing and commercial city with a relatively large Hungarian population. In 1913, South Norwalk combined with the Town of Norwalk, the City (formerly Borough) of Norwalk, and the East Norwalk fire district into the present day City of Norwalk. The former city of South Norwalk became the new Norwalk’s Second Taxing District.
Properties on the National Register of Historic Places
Jeremiah Donovan's saloon
The former Jeremiah Donovan's pub has stood at the corner of Washington and Water streets since the late 19th century. Jeremiah Donovan a former Norwalk mayor and U.S. Congressman, owned the bar, which at some points had been a small grocery store.
In 2006, Richie Ball sold it to Ron and Dominique Rosa, two Greenwich, Connecticut restaurateurs. The Rosas removed about 80 percent of the roughly 200 photographs of boxers that had lined the walls in order to spread them around to two other bars they planned to open.
On the blank outside wall of the eastern side of the building, facing the Stroffolino Bridge, a large mural depicts a sailing ship under a banner announcing "Welcome to Historic South Norwalk". The mural was painted in 1978 by Brechin Morgan, then a South Norwalk artist and now a resident of Milford, Connecticut. In 1983, after a billboard company rolled white paint over it, Morgan repainted the mural with some friends. The mural was touched up in 2007. It depicts one of the last working schooners on Long Island Sound, the Alice S. Wentworth, and Sheffield Island. Morgan also painted "Blue skies Over South Norwalk", a mural on Elizabeth and South Main streets.