1852 Map (by H.F. Walling) of Walpole, showing the area that would eventually become Germantown.

Germantown was an almost self-contained section of Norwood in the early 1900s. Located in the Southwest portion of the town, it was largely unsettled land owned by Joseph Fisher.  Around 1767 Mr. Fisher sold a large parcel of the land along Hawes Brook to Solomon Bullard who built a house near today’s dam that forms New Pond, and then he extended the road off the Norfolk Bristol Highway (Walpole’s Main Street) beyond the Fisher house to his house. This road became Bullard Street.  Mr. Bullard sold the land and house to Edwin Wilson, and the road that ran from today’s Walpole Street (in Norwood) to his house at the end, became Wilson Street.  When Norwood was incorporated in 1872 the land along Wilson Street was brought into the new town of Norwood, and Bullard Street remained in Walpole.

Early settlers to this part of South Dedham, found ample waterways, and dammed the three predominate brooks, the Hawes Brook (Ellis Pond), Germany Brook (Gould Pond), and Bubbling Brook (New Pond), and used the waterpower to power their industries. Abijah Fisher’s sawmill, the Ellis paper mill and later their ice business, and Smith and Winslow Tannery, all established themselves here.  But it was the Smith and Winslow Tannery on Everett Street that grew the area. The jobs that the tannery provided drew in many immigrants to the area. 

A view down Wilson Street (photo by LLKearney)

Over the years the good jobs and excellent houses, along with the other German speaking families, made this area a place where the German immigrants settled. They established a Turnverein, playing fields, a grocery store, their own hospital, a pool hall, a social and benevolent club, and provided a tightly knit cultural and social community for these workers and their families. It was one of several places that the German-Austrian Gottshceer people settled after WWI their when homeland became Yugoslavia. Today, it is Slovenia.   

Today if you knocked on doors in Germantown you would find descendants of these original immigrant families still residing in Germantown and still in touch with  those who grew up there though they may have moved to other towns and states. It  still remains one of Norwood’s neighborhoods that everyone truly comes home to.

History of the Germantown Area

Points of Interest in Germantown

Meet Germantown’s Neighbors

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