Rich Inn History

A Norwalk tradition stands the test of time.

The Norwalk Inn’s location was notable long before there was a Norwalk Inn.

During the early days of the American Revolutionary War, Norwalk stood out as one of the most important Connecticut ports supporting General George Washington’s Continental Army. In retaliation, New York’s Royal Governor, William Tryon led some 2,000 British soldiers ashore on the evening of July 11, 1779. After defeating a small band of local militia near the Long Island Sound, Governor Tryon’s forces set a massive fire and then, from an elevation known as Grumman’s Hill, the enemy witnessed an inferno which destroyed all but six of Norwalk’s homes.

Over the following decades and centuries what was once a modest Grumman Hill trail transformed into East Avenue, the most important artery in Norwalk’s municipal road system. With the benefit of such a central location, East Avenue was, in 1955, the natural choice to be Norwalk’s main entry/exit point for the Interstate-95 highway. The new highway’s visitors were considered so vital that they prompted an unprecedented, bold plan: Norwalk town leaders, residents and investors decided to establish a community-owned lodging house less than a half-mile from the I-95 off-ramp.

‘The Norwalk Motor Inn’ proved successful in drawing visitors but, by 1985, three decades after its founding, the 99 East Avenue property had seen far better times. As a result, the city sold the somewhat run-down motel to private investors.

Under new ownership the renamed “Norwalk Inn & Conference Center” soon underwent the first of several top-to-bottom renovations to upgrade its 72 guest accommodations. The latest of the multi-million dollar overhauls took place only two years ago, earning recognition as the Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Small Business of the Year’ while also establishing the Inn among the best of Fairfield County’s hotels.

The Norwalk Inn’s most newsworthy renovation was yet to come, however. In August 2010, the Inn’s owners publicly announced that, through an innovative agreement involving the State of Connecticut and local preservationists, they would rehabilitate an adjacent home that had fallen into disrepair. The landmark “Grumman-St. John Home”, dating back to the 1870s, was soon fully restored to its 1920s-era appearance.

With almost 35 years of service behind us, we’re proud of our unique history, our facilities and our place in our hometown’s civic life.