Norwalk working on razing blighted homes

One of the homes on the fast track for razing is 21 Woodlawn Ave., which recently was destroyed by fire.
Scott Seitz2
Dec 29, 2012


A number of blighted Norwalk properties should be demolished in the upcoming months.

Mark Schloemer, safety-service director, said the city is working with two different programs on these demolitions. A story about this subject was published in Saturday's Reflector.


hit the road jack

Got to admit,some of the old neighborhoods in Norwalk are looking pretty rough and I'm not just talking about homes like this one.


I grew up in the Jefferson/Newton Street area. It was mediocre 20 years ago when I moved away. That place down there is a dump now. Hate to see the people that are actually keeping there houses and property up around there brought down by the Terrace Slums, the old Fast Foods store front that is BP crap now, Jefferson St. Trailer Trash Park, etc., etc. They need to do drug sweeps down there and clean that place out. Just a hole in Norwalk now. One of the worst-if not THE worst place in town now. Embarrassed to say I even grew up there.

hit the road jack

Thats one area I was referring too,there are 4 or5 areas of Norwalk that look like the trailer trash just upgraded to cheap housing instead of trailers.


Ya- I brought my daughter through there to show her where I grew up. She grew up in a nice section of Florida. Thank god my wife and I lived there then. Her comments when I showed her were "Wow-you actually grew up in a ghetto", and "Doesn't your hometown care?". Wasn't sure how to answer either but to say it was a fun neighborhood back when and had a lot of good friends around there. Shame. Moved back here 6 years ago and Norwalk isn't the Norman Rockwell I always remembered. Rose colored glasses I guess...

hit the road jack

You gotta admit though,the Newton St.-Jefferson St. Pleasant St. area wasn't the same people back then as now,I just wonder where this many misfits came from? they don't care about jack $hit! the insides look as bad as the outside,their cars are junk,most look like hell but they go to Cleveland to sporting events or wherever the big party is,you'll see them there,just got their priorities @ss backwards.


Absoutely correct. It was actually a nieghborhood. I know if I did something wrong in a 4 or 5 block radius my Mom/Dad was finding out because we were raised BY the neighborhood. We got our as*ses cracked because Mr. or Mrs. So & So saw us do something wrong. Now the misfits just don't care and let their kids run wild and everything go to sh&t. Shame. Like I said- a lot of good friends came out of there. Guess it just sucks when things change. Specially for the worse.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained A duplicate post.

hit the road jack

I know where your coming from,I knew quite a few people who grew up in that area,we had a lot of fun and like you said if you got in trouble you knew your @ss was grass and the 'ol man was the lawnmower! hell,back in them daysno matter where you were at if the mom seen you in the back yard playing whatever if it was lunch time,they made enough for the group,no questions if your hungry,they just fed you and kept an eye on you or maybe called mom and told her where you were and it was like that everywhere you went,not this crap we have today where your afraid to let the kids get more than a couple blocks away from home.


Left decades ago after graduating from college and not finding a job.

Eventually ended up in Cleveland and then Chicago. We'd return periodically to see family and friends.

The decline in the quality of life in Norwalk has been like a slow moving train wreck. Sad, but true.

Only came back to help with family. After my job here is done - Adios!

@ cooker: I can identify with your sentiments, thanks for sharing.


hurry up with that "job" superhero, so you can pack up your junk and haul azz. you won't be missed. maybe u can find wonderland and settle down with all the perfect people just like you.

Swamp Fox

Every town has its problem areas. I congratulate the city for tearing these eyesores down, compared to other area cities, like Bellevue, Fremont and Sandusky, Norwalk is at least trying to improve.

swiss family

I have to applaud the way that Norwalk works. For how many years did we pay someone with the title of being the "Building inspector" and yet she would admit herself that she doesn't inspect buildings???????so why and what was she paid to do for 15 years or so??? so. since then, the city has decided that we do NOT have a "building inspector" but we do have a "zoning inspector"??So do we have someone responsible for the decaying buildings or don't we??

If you come through town on Main street, things look pretty presentable, but come in from 250, and you see a whole different town.. look to your right at the main intersection.. the old structure that houses the Asian restaurant, is falling apart, and in disrepair... who and why is this like this??? then look up in most of the "Uptown buildings, you will see lights on inside.Most buildings have apartments up there, and yet if you go behind them you will see rusted out and rotted fire escapes??? so when a fire breaks out, and if the tenants can not get out and any number of tenants die, who will be responsible for the way things are???

Now come down the hill, go past the old Sheriffs dept jail.. see all the broken and rotted windows?? see the holes where you can watch pigeons walk in to use the bathroom in there???now come further down the hill. see the boarded up windows in the buildings to your right??? looks bad, doesn't it, but venture behind them and see the rear view of Norwalks buildings, some missing back doors altogether, some with broken glass, some who's porch's and back stairs are rotted so bad that they are literally hanging this up to the zoning inspector to handle??? or was it up to the "building inspector" that did nothing and after 15 years or so was declared not qualified for the job??? City halls answer always seem to start with the attack on the Christie ave house, but come on... how about starting where it really matters?? how about checking the fire escapes before there is a fire , and dead tenants


my friend Lisa Neeley is already dead!!!

Cliff Cannon

I certainly agree with the bulk of the sentiments here.Then add this to the JeFFerson st. problems. A ranking N.P.D. cop told me that they found connections to a ---West Coast drug cartel--- right there. Shocking isn't it ?

Obviously, Norwalk can not escape the damage from national trends that have been overtaking America for some 60 years.

Think about the changes we lived through: birth control pills,Watergate,Vietnam,50 % divorce rate,l.b.j.'s gift to the welfare world the 'Great Society', Miranda "rights" for criminals,Nafta,Cafta, wide open borders, and as the song says;" JFK ( MLK & RFK to) blown away what else do I have to say "

Certainly, these great changes have not only impacted every city in America,they have impacted every person as well.

So I personally,don't think Norwalk ----all things considered--- is doing too badly. In fact,given the quality of people who call our great city home, I for one look to the future with great confidence.

Also,if you desire to change the future in a meaningful way. May I suggest we be the people that we all fondly remember;those who took the time to teach you,coach you & tell your folks when you were bad,when you were a kid.

After all children are the future. We must pass the torch to them. If we don't attempt to teach as many as possible, in these troubled times. Aren't we passing the torch,flame first ?


@ CC:

Closer to home: Rt. 20 used to be a main thoroughfare.

Talk to some seniors who remember when the Turnpike was opened and how it adversely affected the gross receipts of local commerce.

IMO, the Rt. 20 by-pass built in the 60s allowed even more traffic to detour downtown.

Norwalk has slowly slid from being a "Mayberry" toward the direction of a Cairo, IL.

Cliff Cannon

@ Contango: Must say,you make my day when you bring history into our debates.

We moved here in June/67. from Detriot. First thing that happened was 2 boys ( jrs.?) from St.Paul were killed in a car accident. (I remember them because Mom was so broken up.)Do you remember their names ? For I do not.

Then, that dang by-pass opened. Which of course,stole the trucks from downtown,where those crazy ( to me) 'walk-lights' held those beautiful trucks up enough,that I could enjoy them.

So I hated that change. However,isn't it always "change" that teach's one to not only adapt,but grow as well ? So why do human's fight it so much ?

Certainly,the turnpike opening took " gross reciept's " from local commerce. Yet,who today would give up our interstate highway system ?
Then,of course,the usual adjustment's to 'change' were made and Norwalk continued to grow.

Can not argue that Norwalk has slid " from being 'Mayberry' ".... Yet,where in America hasn't that disturbing'change' happened ? Who is immune from the common attacks on deceny ? Or the dastardly eFFects of hard drugs ? So I will never put down my home town for having these 'changes' be a part of it's fabric.

Surprisingly,I find the answer to help solve the problems of 'change' we face, in your er,ah, 'beloved' Cairo,Ill. For being a dedicated " Lewis & Clark " fanatic,I have read ---- " the sign"

As you well know,Cairo sit's on the confluence of two of our most powerful rivers :The' Ohio' and the 'Mississippi' which of course,lends itself greatly to the seediness of the city.

The rivers,naturally,provide powerful, sweeping currents of challenge,change and surprise. So it was here that " Lewis and Clark" taught their great explorers " with courage undaunted" as Jefferson noted, how to meet the inevitable powerful 'changes' the unexplored current of the future would bring.

At least,that what it say's on " the sign " near where they trained,there in Cairo, as well as in any book one ever reads on those intrepid souls

Contango,sadly we will never be able to bring 'Mayberry' back to Norwalk. Hopefully though, by teaching every child we meet,that the river of life always brings with it; challenge,surprise and most of all ---change--- we can help them find confidence in their "undaunted courage" for their journey,as Lewis & Clark did in--- Cairo,Ill. :)


@ CC:

'67 car accident? I believe that you're referring to March & Prince plus another boy.

They didn't make the curve and left the road slamming into an embankment on Rt. 61 heading East just before Rt. 601. Corvair - front gas tank exploded.

I often think about it when I pass that way.

After the Turnpike opened, gas stations, restaurants, hotels and other shops that catered to travelers began closing up.

Yes, Cairo (Pronounced: "Kay-row") was once a center of commerce, but times and St. Louis helped to pass it by.

Came through there a while ago and was told that the unemployment bureau closed due to the lack of available jobs.

There are lotsa places in the U.S. where there's construction and economic development. Unfortunately, Norwalk ain't one of 'em and I fail to see any catalyst.

BTW: Harland "Col" Sanders of Corbin, KY. owned a restaurant, a gas station and a "motor court." He fought to get I-75 built thinking that it would help his business. Unfortunately, they put the exit ramp in the "wrong" place and subsequently bypassed the road to his property.

The value of his holdings went from being worth about $250K to a greatly reduced amount.

There are always those unintended consequences for "progress" like interstates and turnpikes and Norwalk and other communities along U.S. 20 are the unfortunate recipients.

Cliff Cannon

@ Contango : Aren't memory's strange ? Of course,the key componet's to memory in the human is adrenaline as well as association's.

So being brand new to Norwalk in 1967 everything I saw or heard pumped adrenaline into me. That tragic car accident might well have been in the first 'Reflector' I ever read. Then the by-pass opened and ever since,when I've read of the by-pass opening. I remember,Mom's reaction to that terrible accident. Strange,isn't it ?

Are you a Lewis & Clark fan ? Personally,since Dad's family is from the Woodriver,Ill.area where they wintered.I grew up with Lewis & Clark roads, a college and ton's of trivia from their time there.

I also,was mad at myself from last year,when you first mentioned Cairo. That I hadn't brought them up then.

Col. Sanders ? You really want me to babble like a teenage girl at a slumber party,don't you ? I am such a KFC fanatic,that I've visited his grave in Louisville,Ky. However,did not know his business in Corbin was so big or so damaged by I-75. So thanks for the tidbit.

No doubt, that with "progress" comes winners as well as loser's. Here's praying and hoping that we get to debate through the year's positive "progress" that always brings change to lives, as well as our beloved city.


@ CC:

Been to Corbin lately? It's pretty economically depressed. We've stayed there a few times over the yrs. on our way South. I’ve yet to make it to the museum-restaurant.

Yea, I used to enjoy reading biographies, (believing that life was stranger than fiction) and Col. Sanders was one I found along the way.

I just thought the idea of being "by-passed" was an appropriate analogy.

Just "passable" knowledge of Lewis and Clark.

Now I mostly read business and investment websites and newspapers like the WSJ.

I also have been periodically studying Texas history in preparation for our eventual departure from the Maple City.

I go into local stores and see mostly seniors, but seem to notice few adults with small children. IMO, demographically, Norwalk is getting older and poorer. I refuse to plant in a desert.

Cliff Cannon

@ Contango: No I haven't been to Corbin,Ky since 'furniture' closed.Can tell you the mus./rest. is very easy to get to. It sit's just south of the main road (25E) on 25. You can go to the rest. then continue south on 25 and re-enter I-75 a couple miles later.And yeah," by-passed" fit perfectly.

I really think, reading biographies of the great, as well as even some not so great people. Should be required reading for all impressionable high school kids. After all they just might pick up some very valuable idea,they can use.No doubt,they would conclude as you did "that life is stranger than fiction"

Texas ? Seriously ? You sure are welcome to my part of that God forsaken state. Never,saw anything to make me like it. All though, I do wish from time to time,that I had visited El Paso when I could've,but that's another story.

Rudely,I haven't asked " what part is of interest to you ?" So forgive my poor manners and please clue me in on that, " Tex " :)

P.S. Got 5 bucks says you'll miss Norwalk like crazy.


@ CC:

Lookin' at the East Tx. "Piney Woods" area with it's trees, grass, hills, and lakes. Reminds us of the topography as well as the flora and fauna of OH in several ways.

The people tend to be respectful, friendly and have manners: Yes sir, no sir, excuse me, please and thank you.

Kinda reminds me that the way that we were taught in Norwalk. Sure 'different' than Chicago attitudes. :) Over the yrs. I just got used to the rudeness.

Texas is a big state, about the size of OH, IL, IN and PA combined.

Miss Norwalk? As my late OK born father-in-law used to say: Kinda like missin' flies in winter.

Cliff Cannon

Contango : Having delivered all across the 'piney woods' area. I've got to agree---it is an amazingly beautiful area.( despite being in Texas)

Also totally agree about the people from the 'Bible belt' still having the manners that we used to consider " normal". In fact,I'll add,Iowa was my personal favorite place to go in the 'furniture' years,not just because of it's amazing farms.But equally important,the whole state is very " Mayberry-ish"

Also, must remind that Texas has only 3 seasons; spring,summer,fall ---then mud. So you will miss out on the greatest time of the year ( my opinion) winter. Then,don't forget the same social dynamics we see happening here---are there as well.

As for me,I've come to believe that Oscar Wilde had it right; " I traveled far and wide,only to come home to find exactly what I was looking for" Here's hoping you find what your looking for.

P.S. We delivered Lufkin which is right next to " Sam Rayburn" lake in 'piney woods'. Rayburn,answered of course to " Mr.Speaker" ( of the house) In his lengthy career in congress Rayburn took a whopping---one --'fact-finding' trip. Compare that to today's gov't mooches who travel often, with the number one 'fact-finding' trip for congressman being Paris,France.

Sadly,'change'( in character) is every where,isn't it?


@ CC:

Got to thinkin'. You wrote that you moved from Detroit. That could be a corollary to my sad feelings toward present Norwalk.

Would you move back to Detroit and spend your time, effort and money to do what you could to improve the quality of life? Or would you do what so many thousands of others have done and flee for the good of themselves and their prodigy?

BTW: My father worked for Fisher's. When they shut down the plant and moved to Detroit, he had an offer to be transferred.

But my mother, not wanting to leave the familiarity of Norwalk refused to move.

Norwalk was a great place in which to grow up. Unfortunately, over the yrs., it became a great place to be “from.”

The majority of the “best and brightest” with which I went to school moved away across the county.

Also, most of the settlers of E. TX, were Southerners, making the area about as far West in the South as you can go. Towards DFW they are more “Western.”

TX has four seasons: Spring, Summer, Summerer and Christmas.

Been to Lufkin - a little too "run down" for us. We like the looks of Nacogdoches.

Oil helped to make E. TX and the new oil boom is still propelling it.

Cliff Cannon

@ Contango:I see your point and no,I would not move back to Detroit. I do love visiting there. And in my mind's eye. I see it as it once was;vibarant,dynamic and growing. Then reality comes back...

Your Dad worked for the Fisher's,that's cool. Did he meet any of the brother's ? Personally,I would've loved to have met Charles in particular. May I suggest,if you have nothing to do,that you read about the " Boston-Edison " area of Detroit.

This is a fabulous housing development just north of the " Fisher Building" where the bulk of the Fisher's as well as everybody,who was anybody from the golden era of Det. lived. ( Charles built THE biggest house in this amazing development)
In reading about that area. You'll see Mrs. Fisher came from Germany and that her maiden name was actually " Thiesen" . So can you picture going to " Fisher-Theisen " hospital ? ( glad her folks changed their name to 'Titus' )

Only mentioned Lufkin to bring Sam Rayburn into the debate.I agree Lufkin is dumpy.( although the road to La. from there is a beautiful ride) However, it was how Rayburn and the other " public servants " of his era, spent the public's money being the point I was after.

In a John Wayne movie ( The Alamo ?) he say's he's headed for 'Nacogdoches' and then 'Lampasas'. Liking the sound of those names,I too wanted to visit them. So,having been to Nacogdoches several times I must agree it is a pretty cool town.

Personally, if I were to retire and move. I'd go to Mackinaw City, Michigan, with it's wonderful marriage of woods,water,winter and modern man. However,since I believe Dorthy & Toto had it right;" there's no place like home " I'll be here,till my kids plant me at Woodlawn.

Again,here's hoping you find what your looking for my friend


@ CC:

Yes, my father has some "great" stories about the Fisher Bros.

He's said that it was the threat of unionizing which caused 'em to close up shop.

Seeing the building razed was rather sad - the final end of an era.

My spouse's formative yrs. were spent in TN. She doesn't particularly like the cold and could do without it.

If I never do another "donut" in a snow-covered parking lot, I think I'll be fine.

In my will, it's cremation and spreading of the ashes for me.

BTW: Got a will? Our insurance agent recommended Legal Zoom. Easy and inexpensive.

Cliff Cannon

@ Contango: I sure can not thank-you enough for our onging debate. It has been a blast !

Truthfully,I did not know the 'Fisher bros.' had a plant here,after they left for Detroit. Where was it ? Also,if we ever do meet,I would love to hear great stories about the Fisher's. As you can no doubt tell,they certainly intrigue me.

You won't miss 'donut's' ? Oh man,they are winter.
Please ask, your Cherokee princess if she would like to go for either a wild winter ride or a walking tour of local woods in the snow with my princess and I. (Bet that will change her mind about winter )

Of course,one of the things a writer looks for is a word or phrase that will "sing" in the readers mind. Might have one here.Everytime,I rolled into Nacogdoches on bus. 59 the home's along it reminded very much of west Main st. here in Norwalk. Hopefully,you too will see Norwalk there.

P.S. Thanks for the will tip. However,Mr. Laycock has already taken care of that for me.( I am taking everything I got with me :)


@ CC:

Fisher Body - The former Midway Parts Co. property on Hester St.

Cherokee? Don't believe that they enjoyed the "Trail of Tears" during the winter.

The Chicago winters were more than enough for her.

Mr. Laycock's a good guy.

Taking it with you?

I once worked down the street from a funeral home and witnessed many processions.

I can honestly state that NOT once did I witness an armored car or a moving van among the vehicles.

I did see a garbage truck in a procession once, but I think that the driver accidentally got in the line.

Cliff Cannon

@ Contango : Good morning. So,roughly how many people did Fisher body employ here locally ? Again,that was a nice surprise to know that other than the original site,that Fisher's had a plant here.

" Cherokee ? " You sounded a bit surprised,that I remembered your wife is 1/64 Cherokee. Well, you also told me her Dad was from Oklahoma ( which translates: " Land of the Red man" ) So may I assume,her Cherokee background is paternal ?

No matter. Being a student of American Indian culture,I think it's cool,she has Indian in her. Especially,Cherokee. After all a Cherokee by the name by the name of " Sequoyah" invented an alphabet for them and the white men were so impressed. That they named one of natures most amazing tree's after him.

Despite wishing,I didn't blog under my own name from time to time.Here is one advantage. Yesterday, I repeated an old urban legend in this article.So I was quickly informed that once,again, I needed to scrape egg oFF my face.

Here's the legend; " Fisher-Titus " hospital get's it's name from the Fisher bros. donating money,with the caveat,that----their mother's maiden name--- be apart of the title. " Everyone " knows that,correct?

I even thought,I had a 'secret' in that their mother's maiden name was " Thiesen".Then even surmised the family had changed it upon arrival in America. All this, despite reading "the sign's " about " Fisher-Titus's " origins more than once.

Of course,the "real story" is that William and Lura Fisher donated the money that led to Lura Titus Fisher's maiden name being on our hospital. And if my name was Paul Harvey, I'd say; " and now, you know ,the rest of the story."


@ CC:

Yep, she has high cheekbones. Looks 'somewhat' oriental, but different. Best lookin' girl I ever dated - had to marry 'er. Good cook too!

Might be 1/32nd. The subject doesn't come up much.

I don't remember the labor count for Fisher's. But I do remember that when my father told me that I was surprised that number of people could fit into that building!

hit the road jack

My mother worked for the Fisher's and she told me the plant was where the old bowling alley,alsport,precision plastics,same building,she made seats while she worked there.