Chapel Street is a road that had been part of the landscape of South Dedham years before it became a part of Swedeville. When Isaac Ellis was in his eighties, around 1900, he drew a map of South Dedham, showing its streets circa 1840. This map did not included Chapel Street, however in an 1852 map of Dedham, Chapel Street on it. In 1828, the Second Parish Church members bought a parcel of land on Washington Street, approximately today what is the very end of the old Norwood Press building, and built their third Meeting house (called the “1828 Church”). Chapel Street, initially must have been a cut through from Walpole Street to the new Church. When Chapel Street became a formal road, it ended right at the Church – hence the name Chapel Street.
In 1867, John M. Robbins bought the thirteen-acre Thompson Estate, which was located in South Dedham, between Chapel Street, Centre Street (Now Washington St) and the land of John Morse. In 1879, he laid out 19 house lots on Chapel Street. These lots were located along Chapel from the intersection of Chapel & Washington, and ran along the street to approximately where Cedar Street is today. Lots 1 through 9, which were closest to Washington Street, were not purchased singularly, but with an abutting lot, making a large lot to build a large house. In 1888 George and Elisha Winslow bought lots 10 through 19, roughly, the land between Savin and Cedar Streets. George Winslow eventually moved one of his homes to lot 18 and 19. That house is still standing and until very recently had been a take-away restaurant.
When Swedeville was growing, a train station was located at the far end of Chapel Street (near Washington). Having a train station, “Winslow Station,” this close to Swedeville, would have been extremely convenient to get to and from Boston. At one time, the bend in the road did not exist; in the late 1890s when the Washington Street under-pass was being constructed, Chapel Street was re-directed, and the sharp turn was created to make the train overpass. At the other end of Chapel Street, abutting Walpole Street is the Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Park, originally called Winslow Park, at one time, it was sort of a lover’s lane…Finnish locals referred to is as “Pussu parki” or the Kissing park!
Grocery Store – 25 Chapel Street
A Grocery store was at this location for several years. A 1909 Sanborn map shows a grocery store in the front of the building and a dwelling in the back. Wilho Maenpaa bought an empty lot from George O. Peterson in 1907 and built his home/store here. Previously he lived in Fitchburg, where he was also in the grocery business. Born in 1865 in Wassa, Finland, he and his wife arrived in New York in 1892, with a destination of Massachusetts. Their son John was born in 1893 in Westminister, MA, but when Wilho applied for citizenship in 1899, he was living in Fitchburg. Wilho ran his Norwood grocery business until his death in 1915. His family closed the store but continued to live in the house. Apparently Oscar Bagge may have run his own grocery store out of this address for a very short while before he took over Andrew Kallgren’s shop at #39 Chapel Street (now #41).
The building Maenpaa built is now gone. In its place is a three-residence condo building.
Kallgren Boot & Shoe Shop/Variety Store – 41 Chapel Street
Rev. Anders Kallgren was the minister for the Swedish Baptist Church. He was born 1861 in Sweden, arrived in the US in 1891 and seems to have first settled in Michigan where his first child was born. He married in 1895 and was in Massachusetts by1897 when his second child was born. By 1900 he was pastoring at the Swedish Baptist Chapel on Cedar Street. He would have been part of the membership who supported building the larger Church on Chapel Street, and been part of helping to grow the membership through creating religious programs for his pastorate. Kallgren bought the parcel of land next to the new Swedish Baptist Church on Chapel Street. He constructed a new building on the lot that had retail space on the first floor and living space on the second. To supplement his income, Kallgren opened a boot and shoe business and eventually added select dry goods to his inventory. It is unclear how long Kallgren was the settled minister of the Baptist Church, as in 1910 he claims to be a “merchant,” and throughout the 1920s and 1930s he worked in a book bindery. Kallgren may not have been a local settled minister, but he appears to have remained an active religious leader, attending religious conferences in Massachusetts and filling the pulpit when a settled minister was out. Kallgren’s business closed around 1920, and he began to rent the store front to Oscar Bagge. Bagge must have thought Kallgren’s location was better than the Maenpaa store, as Kallgren was located at the top of Savin Avenue – a shorter walk to the store for Swedeville residents. By 1940, Waino “Whitey” Huttunen was running a variety store at this location. He had come with his family from Gloucester around 1931. They originally rented the house at #82 Chapel Street and for a short time, operated a small store, “J. Huttunen & Sons,” there. Whitey took over the business and relocated to the Kallgren property. Whitey’s Variety store was a local fixture at his location through the 1980s.
The building that Rev. Andrew Kallgren built I the early 1900s is still standing. The Kallgren family continued to own and live in the building well into the 1950s. It is said that Rev. Kallgren’s son Samuel was an accomplished violinist, and on summer evenings when the windows were open, neighbors were serenaded as Samuel practiced.
Site of the Second Swedish Baptist Church – 43 Chapel Street
With land purchased from George O. Peterson, Norwood’s Swedish Baptists built a new church here in 1902. This new church replaced the small chapel they built just four years earlier in Cedar Street. Originally all the services were in Swedish, but the congregation began to reflect the multi-ethnicities of Norwood, and eventually all services were held in English. In 1943, the church changed its name to the “Chapel Street Baptist Church,” thus, further reflecting the changing ethnic make-up of their congregation. In 1947 the church purchased a larger plot of land on the corner of Berwick and Walpole Streets. First they built a new parsonage there, then, in 1953, they moved their church building from Chapel Street to the new site. Ron Wiik was a little boy when the church was moved. He remembers the children came out of the school and sat on the front lawn to watch the spectacle of a church slowly traveling down Chapel Street its way to the new site. He also remembers the church had to be divided into two pieces, before it could be moved. When the building was set on its new foundation, it was reconfigured, remodeled and enlarged to accommodate a growing congregation. The two pieces, that was the original church, were set in a straight line, where they formed an “L” shape before, leaving a large space in between for a new addition. The new addition, filled this center section and jutted out to the left and right to make the church into the shape of a cross. If one studies the current church building, one can see how the smaller original church building was incorporated into the new structure. When the updated church building was dedicated in 1955, they assumed a new name, becoming the “Evangelical Baptist Church,” a name they held on to well into the 1970s. Today they are known as the “Trinity Community Church.”
Samuel Berezin, Tailor – 42 Chapel Street (on corner of Savin & Chapel)
Schiloma “Samuel” Berezin was born 1883 in Russia, arrived in the US in 1909 and in 1911 he married Fannie Fliegelman in Chelsea, MA. The couple settled in Wrentham where their three children were born. They were in Norwood by 1918 living on Lenox Street, by 1924 the family was living here at #42 Chapel Street. Samuel was a tailor. His wife often assisted him with his sewing. The couple must have been rather successful as their two sons went on to medical school, becoming doctors, and at least one of their three daughters went to college. In the book Muisto, the author remembers the kindly tailor who lived on the corner of Savin Avenue and Chapel Street. (Although, she mixed him up with his son Norman, who became a doctor).
Elk’s Parkway –
At the end of this road is the Elk’s Lodge #1124. However, The Norwood Press Club, originally occupied this area. It was built as a gathering and athletic club by James Berwick, of the Norwood Press’s Berwick & Smith. The seven acres of land was bought in 1907, a pond and swamp were drained and filled, the rolling hills and shady trees were kept and after the area was seeded, a beautiful park had been created. On the grounds a grand clubhouse was built as well as a racetrack, a grandstand and a band pavilion. The clubhouse included bowling alleys, a poolroom, a library and a large meeting room, and was for the use of the employees of the Norwood Press. A 1908 Edition of The American Printer, says “the building is handsome and commodious, with everything necessary to the indulgence of up-to-date indoor forms of social and athletic enjoyment. While the outdoor spacious grounds provide for out-of-door accommodations such as a tennis court, baseball diamond and the like.” In 1923, the property was bought by the local branch of the Elk’s Club, and the area was renamed “Elk’s Park.” The Elks remodeled and renovated the old Norwood Press Club building in the early 1960s, and then in the 1980s, they tore the building down and built a new modern structure to suit their needs. Today the Elks still occupy this site, and they are large supporters of many local organizations.
Church – 71 Chapel Street
This building was built in 1909 as a church. Over the years it served as a house of worship for three different congregations, and today it is a private home.
This was the second site of the Swedish Congregational Church (1909-1939). It appears the first minister they called was Rev. Gustav Adolph Suber in 1905. He served a short time as Rev. Carl Olof Lawson was the minister of the church when it celebrated the dedication of this new church building. Rev Lawson served only a short time too, as his death was recorded in Somerville in 1915. December of 1910, the church held an all day event to dedicate the Swedish Evangelical Mission. A newspaper article notes that at the afternoon service, congregants pledged money to help pay off the debt incurred from building the new church building. The much of this church’s history is unclear as records appear to have been lost. The church seemed to have an excellent beginning, they established programs like a Sunday School and a Ladies Sewing Circle, they seemed to be growing as in about five years they needed to build a larger church. The Swedish Congregational Church disbanded in 1939, and the Church of the Nazarene bought the property in 1943.
Church of the Nazarene (1943-1967) began in Walpole and Norwood, when interested people held services in local homes, as early as 1942. Within a year they purchased the old Swedish Congregational Church building on Chapel Street. They were formally incorporated on April 19, 1943 with seventeen charter members. The church had regular Sunday services, a Sunday school, a missionary society, a youth group and an adult fellowship program. Over the twenty-five years the Church of the Nazarene outgrew this building, they closed this site when they found a larger facility in Walpole in 1967.
Temple of the Full Gospel (1968- ??) was a multi-denominational and an independent organization founded in 1968. They were renting this church building from the Church of the Nazarene in 1973. The category their Christian beliefs tend to fall into are Christian fundamentalist Pentecostal. By 1973 this church had 50 members who came to Norwood to attend services from the Greater Boston area.
Today this building is a private home.
More About Swedeville:
Four family building on Savin Avenue. (photo LLKearney) The house lots in Swedeville, when originally sold, were empty lots, ready to have a house…