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.

The Alms Fire

The Alms Fire

The picture of a proud Irish Mary Collins Stanley with her three boys Bill, Jim and Chick, taken over 100 years ago.

Plaque sponsored by the Norwich Grange

Located on Asylum 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.

Hopkins & Allen

Plaque sponsored by David and Karen Warfield in honor of Edward J. Rogalski

Located on Chestnut Street at Willow Street

One upon a time in Norwich, Hopkins & Allen Gun Factory was the city’s largest employer. During the Civil War, Norwich provided more arms for the Union forces than any other city. As the nation’s largest armory, Hopkins & Allen was just one of many gun factories in Norwich.

It was a cold February 4, 1900 when the four-story brick building on this site caught fire. It was February, and so at six in the morning it was dark, and the streets were lighted by gas lamps. The fire was discovered by the night watchman, Joe Skelly. By the time the fire department arrived, it was too late to save the building, and Hopkins & Allen was destroyed in the biggest fire in the history of Norwich. It imposed a special hardship, for all of the gunsmiths’ tools were lost in the flames. Without those tools, the entire work force was unemployed.

A new 80,000 square foot Hopkins & Allen was built on the same site and rededicated in March of 1901. The 22 foot long, 60 foot wide, four-story building cost approximately $55,000.

Hopkins & Allen Arms Company, which began operations in 1868, continued in business until 1917. The World War I Armistice was given as the reason for going out of business.