In 1614, the area then known as “Nauyang” (meaning “point of land”) was a summer camping ground of the Pequot. The Pequot were taken under English protection in 1655 following the Pequot War. The land comprising Noank Peninsula was acquired by James Morgan through a lottery in 1712.
In 1861, Charles Mallory and Elihu Spicer, Jr., established the C. H. Mallory and Company Steamship line. In 1879, Robert Palmer put steam railways into his shipbuilding plant in Noank. His company became one of the largest in the United States at the time for making wooden ships, building one thousand vessels ranging from fishing boats to sound steamers.
Around 1912, the Connecticut State Lobster Hatchery was established in Noank.
The community grew from a tradition of fishing, lobstering and boat-building and has more ship and boat yards than churches. The fishing sailboat type known as the “Noank Smack”, of which the Emma C. Berry is an example, is indigenous to this village. The Village of Noank hosts the longest running continuous Memorial Day Parade in the country held annually since 1875. The majority of the community was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 as an historic district, including houses and businesses dating back to 1840. The significance of the historic district is primarily in the domestic architecture preserved in 240 houses.