January isn't the most popular fishing season, but I wanted to share some history of the Norwalk reservoirs. This is prompted by questions from an inveterate fisherman who may be fishing at the reservoirs even today!
Norwalk's first municipal water supply came from the Huron River in 1871. The original pumping station still stands west of town and south of the Armory. This system soon showed the inefficiency of pumping water from an unreliable supply uphill, while maintaining an acceptable pressure.
As early as 1888, Norwalk city councilman Jay F. Laning proposed building a new reservoir/reservoirs at a high altitude for better supply and pressure. He favored the present location at Woodlawn and Old State. As we might expect, there were as many opinions as there were councilmen. Engineers investigated Mr. Laning's site, plus a site with springs just south of West Hartland as well as the Read's Creek which crosses under Ridge Road just south of U.S. 20.
After six years of haggling and engineering reports, the Laning site was selected, but not without considerable lip service from local citizens. It was decided to build what we call the upper and lower reservoirs, with a pumping station and a standpipe for storage at the corner of Old State and Woodlawn. In those days Woodlawn went through straight east and crossed the railroad. Beyond Old State it was called the Medina Road.