In this atmosphere, the frictions between Dedham and its South Parish, which had been building since 1734, finally set off the fuse of separation. The crux of the problem was money. South Dedham wanted a high school of its own to educate the growing young population. The Dedham town meeting refused the funds. At the same time, Dedham wanted a new steam fire engine. South Dedham would not support the idea, since they would get no benefit from and engine stationed so far away.
They also complained of the difficulty of attending Town Meeting. At the same time, Dedham Village resented the fact that the South Parish had become self-supporting and practically independent of the mother town, so that less Tiot money was flowing into the Village coffers.
It was an insult to South Dedham’s civic pride, however, that finally caused the secession. In the summer of 1871, the Dedham Selectmen refused to allow the firemen of South Dedham the traditional Privilege of ringing their “America No. 1” firehouse bell on the Fourth of July. South Dedham rebelled, and the bell was rung and rung and rung.
Its reverberations lasted for years to come.
The Dedham Selectmen wanted to punish the firemen, but the matter was dropped when it met a mass protest from the people of South Dedham.
That winter of 1871-72, the citizens petitioned the Great and General Court for incorporation as a separate town. And on February 23, 1872, the Town of Norwood was born.
By Marguerite Krupp, Originally published in the 1972 Centennial Magazine
By Marguerite Krupp, Originally published in the 1972 Norwood Centennial Magazine The Indians who lived near the Great Blue Hill…