During the 1600’s Norwalk was governed by Reverend Thomas Hanford, the Pastor of the Congregational Church, and the church was used as the town’s meeting house. Besides administering to spiritual and civic duties, Hanford was also the schoolmaster.
In the early 1700’s the town grew and became more diverse religiously and more democratic. In 1726 town government started, with all landowners eligible to vote.
It was at this time that meetings started to be held in places other than the church.
Until 1736 meetings may have been held in private homes. After that they were held in the Uptown Schoolhouse, built in 1736. Then the meetings were moved to the first Town House, located at the corner of Wall and Knight streets. Later this was the site of the Old Trolley Car Barn.
Next the meetings were moved to a Town House built on this site. It was destroyed during the Revolutionary War when the British burned Norwalk on July 11, 1779.
Two weeks after the burning, Colonel Thomas Fitch (of “Yankee Doodle” fame) and two other citizens were appointed to a committee to make arrangements for a new Town House. Fitch acquired the title “Yankee Doodle” during the French and Indian War, which was from 1755 to 1762.