Progressives Change Norwood

                       “Wealthy industrialists and working-class immigrants united to build this New England town and to foster growth into the Norwood of Today: a vital community that residents are proud to call home.”    Patricia J. Fanning

The Talbot Block, Norwood. One of the first new buildings in Norwood square. (from the collection of LL Kearney)

Norwood’s growth and industrialization due to the expansion of its printing industry from 1894 to about 1920 reflected the changes in many cities and towns in the United States during this period.  This period of history is known as The Progressive Era (1890-1920), a time characterized by a tremendous amount of economic, social and political change. Across the country people began to create social organizations to help those less fortunate, advocate to improve living and working conditions, and appeal to the government to regulate business practices. Norwood reflected what was happening in the United States. During this time, Norwood was growing, businesses were being created, their middle-class population grew, and a labor class of immigrants were moved in.

Washington Street, Norwood, showing sreetcars that made traveling to Dedham or Boston easy. (from the collection of LL Kearney)

The town set out to improve life for its newest residents. Schools and a new library were built, roads were widened and paved, a hospital was established, and recreational facilities were built to keep Norwood’s citizen’s hale and hardy. Progressives in Norwood created programs designed to “Americanize” and help their newest residents. Their children benefited from the new schools, they had access to health and dental programs and several organizations collected food, clothing and household items for them. Norwood’s citizens may or may not have been happy with the newcomers, but when they saw someone in need, they were willing to step up and help out. This is a tradition that still exists in the Norwood of today.

Women Behind the Lines –>

A Benevolent Community –>

A Multi-Cultural Community –>

Ethnic Enclaves –>

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