East Great Plains Fire Company

Plaque sponsored by the East Great Plains Fire Company

Located on New London Turnpike at West Main Street

Once upon a time in Norwich, behind this site, stood the poor farm and the mental asylum for which Asylum Street was named. Norwich’s first poor house was on lower Washington Street. As the city prospered, successful merchants, bankers, manufactures and sea captains built mansions of Washington Street, forcing the poor farm to this site.

One March 12, 1876, at 2:00 a.m., a fire was reported. The facility, having been deliberately removed to this remote section of town, burned before help arrived. Sixteen mental patients, locked in their rooms, were unable to escape and burned to death. In this field, most of those bodies are buried.

The poor farm was rebuilt and used for many years. Those who died there without friends or family, numbering well over 100, are also buried beneath this field in unmarked graves. In later years, mental patients were cared for at the Norwich State Hospital. The poor farm was ultimately abandoned, sold and was again destroyed by fire in 1956.

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