Lyman Waldo Bigelow & Sons

Lyman Waldo Bigelow was born at Boxborough, Massachusetts on March 7, 1828. Lyman’s early education was in Boxborough and nearby Groton, Massachusetts. Lyman married Catherine B. Howard on September 12, 1849. He was engaged in business in Boxborough, but in 1853 he and Catherine moved to South Dedham and opened a country store, which became very prosperous.

L.W. Bigelow’s Dry Good Store shares the ground level of Village Hall with Moses F. Webb in this 1885 photo.

Lyman was a member of the Universalist Church and was interested in the welfare of the congregation. He was a strong supporter of all movements tending to improve and help society, including the cause of temperance. Well respected thoroughly by his community, he was chosen as the first Treasurer of Norwood, a position which he held until his death on December 13, 1886. His time as treasurer was not without controversy, as he claimed that interest earned on town deposits were part of his salary. The Town sustained this practice by vote even though there was nothing in writing that supported his claim. This was discontinued when his successor C. E. Pond took office in March 1887.

Lyman’s two sons Erwin Augustus and Edgar Laban Bigelow took over the dry goods store, located in Village Hall. They renamed the store L. W. Bigelow’s Sons.

1890 Norwood Directory listing for L. W. Bigelow’s Sons

In addition to selling to the public, they supplied the beds and blankets for the town lockup and clothing for Major Benjamin Guild who guarded it.

1888 Annual Report for the Town of Norwood showing payments to L.W. Bigelow’s Sons for lockup expenses.

In 1899 the Bigelow Block was constructed on the corner of Washington and Day streets (now numbered 692-702 Washington st).

The brothers sold their interest in the grocery business in 1905.

Erwin Married Mary Cragin in 1890 and they had two daughters, Catherine and Amy, and a son named Harry.

Erwin Bigelow died in 1907. His son Harry Augustus Bigelow attended Norwood high School, Harvard University and Harvard Law School. Harry was offered a position at the University of Chicago in 1904, passing the bar in 1908 and becoming a professor at the school in 1909. In 1929, he was named Dean of the University of Chicago where he specialized in real estate and property law and added economics, accounting and psychology classes to the law school.

After his brother Erwin died, Edgar Bigelow got into the real estate business in Norwood and was also Justice of the Peace. He married Abbie White, a Norwood school teacher, in 1878, and they had three children, daughters Bernice and Ednah, and a son named after Edgar’s father, Lyman Waldo Bigelow. Lyman became a civil engineer and his surveying office was in the Bigelow Block where Edgar ran his real state business. L. W. Bigelow’s Sons Furniture Company also used the building.

The Bigelow Block has not changed much in the past 122 years.

The Bigelow Block in 2019

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