In the heart of the Green Woods, Norfolk was settled in 1744 by Cornelius Brown of Windsor. The town was incorporated in 1758 with forty-four voters at the first meeting. A meeting house was built in 1761 and the Reverend Ammi R. Robbins became the first minister, serving for 52 years.
Twenty four men from Norfolk marched to aid Boston in 1775 and over one hundred and fifty fought in the Revolutionary War. The early settlers were farmers, erecting sawmills, gristmills, and blacksmiths for their own needs. Using the waterpower of the Blackberry River, the town became industrial in the 1800’s, manufacturing such diverse products as linseed oil, men’s hats, woolens, cheese boxes, scythes and hoes.
In the later 19th century, industry declined, but the coming of the Connecticut Western Railroad in 1871, together with Norfolk’s natural beauty, contributed to the growth of a thriving summer colony.
Largely through the efforts of the Battell and Eldridge families, Norfolk has been a center of culture. The Norfolk Library was established in 1888 and the Litchfield County Choral Union in 1889. The Stoeckel Estate and its famous Music Shed, often visited by many of the world’s greatest musical artists, is now the home of the the Yale Summer School of Music and Art and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival.