South Norwalk's Wall Street area under construction.
The city of South Norwalk was the most industrialized section of the three towns that made up the city; Norwalk, South Norwalk and East Norwalk. The Housatonic Railroad Came north into Downtown South Norwalk from Wilson Point and went under the New Haven's shore line tracks, then turned to the east and met with the New Haven at the South Norwalk train station, each railroad sharing one side of the building. The two railroads shared a set of team tracks to the west of the station and a turntable to the east.
Leaving the station going east, the New Haven continued east and crossed the Norwalk River. The Housatonic turned north and followed the river, serving many industries along the way including the Norwalk Lock Co., the South Norwalk Iron Works, Hatch, Bailey & Co (doors, windows, millwork), and several others. It passed Dock Yard, which is detailed on another page, and extended up through Wall Street and beyond before leaving the city.
On The Model:
South Norwalk has always been a major component of the layout plan, though its appearance and arrangement on the layout have changed dramatically. Originally, the downtown area including the station and interchange with the New Haven was going to be the focus of the scene, but over time I realized that while it was visually appealing, there were better areas of the city to model from an operational standpoint. The focus shifted to Dock Yard, which turned out to be a critical spot to model, and the new plan includes both Wall Street and the Downtown area as little more than bookends to set the scene geographically. Plans obtained from the University of Connecticut's Thomas J. Dodd Research center were critical in making these decisions.
The attractive Beaux-Arts downtown station has bee demoted in importance, and will either be modeled as a flat, or painted on the backdrop on the wall next to the entrance stairs. We are debating whether to model some of the other downtown structures at the foot of the stairs, which would help set the scene but not really contribute to operations at all. This would include the Norwalk Lock Co. building and the Old Well Cigar Co. building, which would serve as a viewblock to hide the walls in the back corner at the bottom of the stairs. A short piece of New Haven trackage (purely decorative) could be added to help place the scene. I've also recently been given a photo of the area between the Norwalk Lock Co. and the station which will help set that scene even better.
Most of the modeled industries in South Norwalk are served out of Dock Yard, including the Iron Works, Hatch-Bailey & Co., The Jerome Paper Co., Armour Meats, and a yet to be named coal and lumber dealer. Many more are served operationally through the freight house and team tracks in Dock Yard proper.
The Wall Street area was included on the north end because I needed to make a nice transition to the "country" outside of the city, and we had a good bit of information on what it looked like from several books. It also helps set the scene for those who are familiar with the area even today.
Here are some other photos of the South Norwalk area:
The Norwalk Lock Co., which we will eventually model at the foot of the stairs:
Here's a photo of the actual Iron Works building which sat just north of the Lock Co.:
And here's a photo of the nearly completed scratchbuilt and cast Iron Works model: