Saint George Orthodox Church – 6 Atwood Avenue
The church was founded by Syrian immigrants. Before, the church was built, this South Norwood Syrians had to travel to Boston to attend Sunday religious services. This was difficult and they began raising funds to build their own church. In 1918 Abdullah Joseph Howard founded the St. George Mens Society for the support and betterment of the Syrian community, at this same time the Syrian Ladies Society was also formed. By 1920, there were approximately 150 Syrian/Lebanese people living in South Norwood. The fledging congregation acquired the land on Atwood Avenue to build their new church, which was dedicated in 1921. The Original church burned down on Good Friday, April 7, 1933 morning. Leaving only a large wooden cross standing. Easter was celebrated at the Balch School that year. The present building was dedicated in 1934 and was built on the same site as the old church. It was modeled after the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The rectory house to serve the priest and his family was built behind the church about 1952.
The Orthodox do not have a Mass. They have the Divine Liturgy on Sundays as well as other Worship services such as Orthros and Vespers. In the 1960’s, 70’s and early 80’s The Ecumenical Council of Norwood used to meet once a month at different churches. When they came to St. George Orthodox Church, they met at the rectory. The group called going to St. George as Father Nifon’s banquet since Kh. Afefee is a wonderful cook of Syrian foods. When Very Rev. Nifon Abraham, retired in May of 1995, his good friend, father William Wolkovich-Valkavicius (“Father Bill”), the priest from Saint George’s Roman Catholic Church (the Lithuanian Church on St. James St) attended the good-bye celebration and gave a speech praising and celebrating Fr. Abraham to the gathering in Arabic! Much to the surprise and amazement to all those in attendance!
The Howard Building – 1163 Washington Street
This building was constructed in 1918 by Abdallah Joseph Howard. It is a triple-decker building with two retail/office spaces on the ground level and living accommodations on the upper two floors. Over the years it was home to several stores and at one time a pool hall. A Branch of the Morrill Memorial Library opened in 1941. More than one hundred people attended the Open House Day. In 1945, moved to larger quarters in the Howard Building. This branch of the library is best remembered because of the firing of librarian Mary Knowles during the House Un-American Affairs Committee hearings. People liked Mary Knowles and felt badly when she was let go. They thought she was a kind and wonderful librarian, and they questioned why she was let go so abruptly. The Federal Government later exonerated Knowles, but Norwood has never done so. This library branch remained in use here until the early 1970s. People in South Norwood did not want this branch to close but did not have say in the closure. Today the Soggie Doggie is in the old library space and Howard Insurance, which opened in 1938, occupies the other storefront.
Balch School – 1170 Washington Street
Originally built in 1867. It took the place of the Old Brick School House, which was located at corner of Pleasant and Sumner streets. A version of this old red schoolhouse was rebuilt in 2013 at the Morse House property. Named for Rev. Thomas Balch, the first minister in South Dedham. In 1911 the town appropriated $57,000 for the construction and outfitting of a new school with desks, blackboards and books. The current building was dedicated in 1913, and several additions had been since added. Playground in back donated by Charles Bird. The school and school grounds became the focal point of the neighborhood. In 1909 Agnes Curtin’s class had fourteen children and ten different nationalities. Today the school boasts children who can trace their family origins to forty different countries.
Norwood Trading Post – 1182 Washington Street
Originally this building was the Wingding. In 1923, Konstan Janskowski operated a Provisions store here. By 1942, this was the home of the Crystal Market, another groceries and Provisions store. In 1946, John Correia and his wife bought the property and opened their antique/used furniture business. For a time they lived above the Store. Correia could often be seen sitting in a chair, outside his store, with his antique furniture displayed on the sidewalk, all around him. Store closed in the late 1990s. Today Ace Locksmith is at this location.
Original site of WWC Thrift Shop – 1192/1194 Washington Street
In 1927 Women’s Community Committee (WCC), was established to assist families and to improve the town. They are a non-profit, 100% volunteer driven program. Early on members of this committee began collecting donations of cast-off clothing and household items, which they would give to families in need. Within two years, their program had grown such that they needed a space to house the collected items and distribute them. They opened a thrift shop in this building, which operated here for over sixty years. With the net money they earn, they put it back into the community, either in the form of scholarships or as a donation to one of the many community-sponsored programs, services and charities. Today the thrift shop is located at 1091 Washington Street, having moved there in December 2012, and had a grand opening in February 2013.
Jean’s Beauty Shop – 1194 Washington Street (1942 Business Directory)
Gallop/Rogers/Folan House – 1200 Washington Street
This Queen Anne style house was built around 1872 by Cornelius Elms who also built a barn on the property too. This house was one of the original 14 houses on the street (pre 1900), before Washington Street was developed. The land was most likely originally part of the Morse Property. Sold to James L. Boyden by John Birch in 1856. Boyden sold to Cornelius Elms in 1872 (deed does not mention house on lot). Elms sold to Elias & Elvira Gallop in 1874 (deed now mentions a house & barn). Gallop sold to W. Hoskins & Margaret Rogers in 1877. Rogers sold to John Folan in 1881. Folan laid out 18 house lots on a new road to be developed (now Folan Avenue).