This 1950’s aerial photo shows the downtown area of Norwood and includes the Norwood Town Common, Town Hall, The old Norwood Police and Fire Building (now the OCC), the Norwood Armory (now the Norwood Civic Recreation center), and the Norwood Theater. Below is roughly the same view today, courtesy of Google Earth.
The intersection of Washington and Nahatan Streets has only changed slightly since this 1950’s era aerial photo. A pedestrian island has been added at the corner closest to the Town Common, and traffic lights are now hung over the intersection. Lawn spotlights and a monument to former Town Manager John Carroll have been added to the Town Hall lawn.
Further down Nahatan Street on the corner of Central Street is the old Police and Fire Station, which was still in use until the early 1960’s. It is now the Old Colonial Cafe. The entrance of the Norwood Armory has changed slightly and a pedestrian island has been added in Nahatan to make crossing easier to the Norwood Civic and Recreation center, which occupies the building today. At the top right of the photo is the old Norwood Hotel, which used to sit on Washington street before being moved in 1913 to make room for George Willett’s Town Common. A bank occupies the site today. Next to the Norwood Theater, the corner block of businesses is now a two-story building with ground-floor retail and office space above.
Norwood Town Common still retains the walkways to reach the center, where the tree that was once decorated annually each Christmas was replaced with the Walter J. Dempsey Memorial Bandstand in 1993. The Roll of Honor can be seen along Washington Street in the 50’s photo, which now resides on the walls in Memorial Hall. A granite marker dedicated to all of Norwood’s veterans sits in the same spot today. The area was mostly open in the 50’s, but the trees on the common today provide shade for the many events held in and around the common, from music and weddings to community events, Norwood Day and the annual Fourth of July parade.