Norfolk History


On April 9, 1823 Norfolk was divided from Lousville, primarily because of the large swamp that forms a natural dividing line between Louisville and Raymondville. Norfolk became a separate township in excess of 35,000 acres, with boundaries that subsequently changed on April 15, 1834 when a section of Stockholm was annexed, and on April 5, 1844 when a portion was returned to Louisville. Raymondville soon became known as the Lower Village to distinguish it from Norfolk, the upper Village, and East Norfolk also became known as Slab City.


The first town meeting was held in East Norfolk on May 5, 1823 at the home of Elisha Adams, across from the present Mobil Home Park at 59 South Main Street. A town supervisor, Christopher Stowe, was elected soon made his first report to the County Board. His report stated that Norfolk had 108 taxable inhabitants, with a town tax of $248.70. State tax was reported at $62.77 and the county tax was listed as $89.77. Wild land was assessed at $1.09 per acre, improved land at $4.75 per acre, barns at $75.00 apiece, and the total real estate in the township was set at $62,770.


The Norfolk village Post Office was opened on May 22, 1823 with Phineas Atwater as its first post master. The large two story stone building was located on the east corner of Sober Street in what was then the major business district in Norfolk village. Mail was brought to Norfolk from Potsdam by a courier who traveled on horseback and on foot.


The first saw mill located at East Norfolk was built in 1824 by Oral Bradly, and on October 7, 1825 the Phoenix Iron Company formed under the firm of E. Keyes and Company. The following year, a Phoenix furnace was constructed on the north bank of the Raquette in Norfolk village, on the Southwest corner of High and Furnace Streets. The furnace, lined with sandstone from Potsdam and Hopkinton, used bog ore from swampy lands in Norfolk and Brasher to produce a soft, tenacious pig iron. The furnace turned out about 12 tons daily, 200 days a year until in 1844 when it burned. Two years later, William Blake constructed a forge just above the furnace site, which also burned in 1844.