John Edwin Morse House – 1247 Washington Street
This house is one of the original 14 houses on the street (pre 1900), before Washington Street was developed. It was originally part of the land grant given to Ezra Morse. John E. Morse built this Italianate style house in 1853. It is highly likely the builder of the house was Tyler Thayer. When Morse built his beautiful house, it was right next door to his father’s home. Morse lived in this portion of South Norwood his entire life.
John Edwin Morse was born in 1824 in South Dedham to John Morse and Roxa Fuller. In 1846, John E. Morse married Caroline A. Ellis (1826-1847). The couple had one son, Charles (1847-1855). John married a second time in 1852 to Hannah W. Guild (1832-1907), the couple had 5 children that survived into adulthood.
John Edwin Morse and his father were prominent South Dedham/Norwood citizens. They operated a successful express business between Boston & Providence. The Morse property was well situated for this business, as at one time Washington Street was the main highway (turnpike) from Boston to Providence. The road opened in 1812. The elder Morse started the business and over the years, and was highly regarded as a safe and secure transport company. The family continued to run the express business until 1918, as poorly maintained roads impeded swift deliveries, and the rise of a reliable railroad system cut into the Morse’s business.
Kraw-Kornack Funeral Home – 1248 Washington Street
The Kraw-Kornack Funeral Home has been a part of the South Norwood community for over severty-five years. Kraw-Kornack Funeral Home was founded by Paul Kraw in 1947. At that time, the name of the business was Paul H. Kraw Funeral Home. George Kornack (Paul’s brother-in-law) joined the business in 1959. In 1965 a new chapel was added to the property. George Kornack took over full ownership of the business in 1975 after the death of Paul Kraw. In 1983, John Paul Kraw (Paul’s son) joined the business and the name of the company was changed to Kraw-Kornack Funeral Home. In 1983 and in 1999 additions were added to the building. Today this business continues to serve the Norwood community.
Until the end of the Second World War the area of Allendale Parkway was a large community garden that provided families, neighbors and local groceries with fresh produce. Around 1954 the land was converted into “Norwood Park” one of the housing developments built to cater to returning GI’s and young families and anyone that was enjoying the prosperity of the post war economy. For $11,500.00, or $58.27 per month, one could buy a house in this new development. It boasted Cape Cod style homes in a neighborhood that adjoined 35 acres of recreational land that included a pool, a baseball diamond and children’s playground.
Hawes Pool/Endean Conservation Area – 1261 Washington Street
At some point the land at the top of Morse Hill, including the George H Morse house, was owned by the Bird family of Walpole who also owned and ran Bird & Sons. Endean in Gaelic means “ house on the hill’ and a large house was built on the Walpole side of Washington/Mylod St by Francis William Bird in 1839, whose father, George, started a paper making mill in then East Walpole, which eventually expanded into South Dedham/Norwood, succeeding generations added to the original House on the Hill and it became an extensive mansion, now a housing development. Although the Bird family owned the land, they generously allowed Norwood residents to use as recreational land and Charles S. Bird Jr. sold to Norwood the majority of land within the town borders plus 38 additional acres and the George H. Morse house. He then donated much of the land that was the Endean playground, the Middle School and the Hawes pool. Before this it was mostly farmland and recreational land. Charles Bird Jr. was named and “Honorary Citizen of Norwood, and died at age 95 in 1980.
Before 1949, when the pool was built this land was still farmland and open space/conservation land as we would call it today. The actual Hawes Brook originates in Walpole and flows through the southern portion of Norwood until it joins the Neponset River in the Fowle Meadow plain on the Canton border. The Hawes brook area had the fishpond, which is still here behind the pool, and there were two swimming holes, one for the ladies and one for the gents. Further back is reportedly the location of Ezra Morse’s first sawmill. In 1949 the pool was built. It held 200,000 gallons of water and because there was no filtration system it was drained and refilled every week. The pool was so popular with the residents that even during a drought it was exempt from the water ban. The upper area, (tennis courts, Middle School) held a substantial ball park, playground area and picnic grounds. As demand for the in the 60s and 70s.the a bathhouse was added, walking trails and playground. All have since been updated and expanded. The upper fields now house a Middle School and playing fields, walking paths, the Little League ballparks, the Community Garden and a brand new orchard!!!
Charles A. Shackley House – 1271 Washington Street
One of the original 14 houses on the street (pre 1900), before Washington Street was developed. The land this house sits on was part of the original Ezra Morse property. This was the home of Charles and Sarah Shackley. Charles was the brother of George H. Morse’s first wife. George H. Morse sold this the ½ acre lot to Sarah Shackley in 1887. Charles Shackley was a carpenter and it is highly likely he built this Queen Anne Style home.
George H. Morse House – 1291 Washington Street
This house is one of the original 14 houses on the street (pre 1900), that was built before Washington Street was developed. George Morse built this Italianate style house around 1850. The builder to the house is possibly Tyler Thayer. The house is situated on top of Morse Hill and was part of Ezra Morse’s original 40-acre land grant that had contained a house and a sawmill. The Ezra Morse house stood near this site, and was torn down in 1868.
George Henry Morse was born in 1832 in South Dedham to Joseph Morse and Millie Dean. He married first in 1855 to Abigail R. Shackley (1835-1869) and they had three daughters. George married a second time in 1871 to Athine Atkins (1833-1896), this couple did not have children together. Census records show George was a farmer. George’s daughters did not marry, and therefore did not leave heirs. Ellen Florence Morse (1857-1926) donated many family items to the Norwood Historical Society.
Old Brick School – 1291 Washington Street
Originally located on the corner of Pleasant and Sumner Street it was felt to have been built c.1800. It was last used as a school in 1866 and the Balch opened in 1867. It ministered to the children of Tiot until the Balch was built. After being used as various companies it was left empty and neglected and when the town did not appropriate monies to keep it the Historical Commission raised funds to have it dismantled and rebuilt on this spot. Kudos to Judith Howard and her group.
The James Mitchell House – 1329 Washington Street (corner of Mylod & Washington)
This is one of the original 14 houses on the street (pre 1900) before Washington Street was developed. The house appears to have been built somewhere between 1876 and 1890. In 1894, James and Margaret Mitchell bought the house. They lived here until their deaths, and their heirs sold the property and moved out of state.