July 23, 2014
By ROSA CICCIO | Hartford Courant
HOW IT GOT ITS NAME: From Norfolk County on the eastern coast of England.
ORIGINS: Settled in 1744 by Cornelius Brown of Windsor, Norfolk was the last town in Litchfield County to be auctioned off by the General Assembly. The town was incorporated in 1758, four years after the auction.
MUSICAL SUMMERS: Norfolk is home to the Yale Summer School of Music,which sponsors the annual Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. Residents and music aficionados Carl and Ellen Stoeckel founded a musical society in the 1890s that began the town's musical tradition. Among their many gifts was the construction of a music hall, named the Music Shed, which opened on June 6, 1906. After her death in 1939, Ellen Stoeckel donated the Shed, her family estate and an endowment to be used for Yale music students.
NOTABLE RESIDENT: James Mars, born in 1790, wrote about his experiences as a slave in Connecticut in "Life of James Mars" published in 1864. In his narrative, Mars writes about his efforts to remain in Connecticut, where the laws allowed for emancipation at the age of 25, rather than move to the South with his owner. With the help of many white people in town, he was able to hide long enough for his owner to give up the search and leave him behind. Mars went on to found the African Religious Society in Hartford which led to the formation of Hartford's first black church, Talcott Street Congregational.
SOURCES: The Hartford Courant; music.yale.edu ; norfolkct.org ; docsouth.unc.edu ; "Celebrating 100 Years of the Music Shed"; Connecticut Place Names