THE BENEDICT ARNOLD WALKING TRAIL
Length 2 Miles, 40 Minutes
Difficulty Level: Easy, some uneven terrain
Benedict Arnold is Norwich’s most infamous native son. Discover the story of a controversial and complicated man who greatly impacted our nation’s history during the Revolutionary War. The tour gives a glimpse into Benedict Arnold’s complex childhood and discusses prominent Norwich figures that played a role in the Revolutionary War. Many of the stops on the trail are located in the Norwichtown Local Historic District. The tour can be explored in any order. Enjoy!
Setting the Stage
The Mohegan Tribe were the original stewards of the land where the City of Norwich now stands. Norwich can trace its origins to the year 1659, when Chief Uncas gave a gift of 9 miles square of his native homeland to the immigrant people surrounding him. The early English settlement surrounded the Norwichtown Green and included the prominent Huntington, Lathrop, and Leffingwell families. The English settlers aided the Mohegan tribe numerous times throughout the 1640s – 1650s during the Mohegan and Narragansett Wars. Sachem Uncas sold a nine by nine- square mile tract of land to the settlers, which includes present-day Norwich and parts or all of the towns of Bozrah, Franklin, Griswold, Lisbon, Preston, and Sprague in appreciation of the settlers’ aid in lifting a Narragansett siege at Shantok.
In the 18th century, Norwich was a prominent manufacturing community, which boasted numerous factories and mills powered by Norwich’s three rivers – the Yantic, the Shetucket and the Thames. Norwich was a thriving seaport; crops and livestock were traded for rum, sugar and molasses from the West Indies at Chelsea Landing. Norwich was a major shipbuilding center and provided supplies, munitions and soldiers during the American Revolution. By 1774, Norwich was the twelfth largest city in the colonies.