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This Day in Norwood History-January 13, 1939-Chamber Of Commerce Has Its Origin In Store Meeting


Apropos of the forty-fifth anniversary of the Norwood Chamber of Commerce, which was celebrated this month, the FREE PRESS today publishes the first of a series of articles of the history of that organization and its forty-five years of service. —-let’s take a look at the records.


They are bound in the style of another day and their contents, the minutes of their meetings, are written in fine long-hand by the different secretaries, the first of which was George Hill. The pages are beginning to turn yellow with age, and on the first is written: ”Constitution and By-Laws of the Norwood Business Association, January, 1894.”


January C, 1894, according to the first page following the constitution and by-laws, a meeting was held, called by the Business Men’s Committee appointed by the towiï’at the preceding town” meeting. The meeting was held in the J. M. Folan store and a committee was appointed to determine a suitable place for the meetings of the organization. John C. Lane was appointed temporary chairman of the organization, and at a following meeting, J. M. Winslow’s name went on record as the first President of what is now the Chamber of Commerce. Governor At Ladies’ Night From a small gathering, the Association rapidly grew in numbers, each account of a meeting naming candidates accepted for membership, until finally reference is made to a waiting list. The meetings were held in Oddfellows Hall and the secretary describes the minutes in detail, including commentary on the “wholesome and toothsome supper,” and the remarks which elicited “warm and cordial applause.”

On April 27, a Ladies’ Night was held by the organization at which His Excellency, Governor Frederic T. Greenhalge and his secretary, H. M. Thomas, attended. The Governor delivered a few well-chosen words—to quote the record —on the “Commonwealth of Mass.,” and complimented the members on their initiative, and their unselfish efforts. H. H. Thomas “responded to the Ladies in a happy and pleasant speech which was enjoyed by both Ladies and Gentlemen.”

Evidence of the Association’s influence on the town first comes to light in the minutes of the June 5 meeting, in which Mr. F. A. Morrill was accepted to membership and was invited by the President (J. S. Cushing) to address the members on the subject, “A National Bank in Norwood.” Mr. Morrill said the payroll of the town amounted to about $900,000 and could support a bank. A committee reported at that meeting, that in their opinion the best location for a future bank was on the Hoyle land between Washington and Walpole streets.

Committee On Stations

At that meeting, on the evening of June 5, a committee moved that the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad be requested through the Railroad Commission to build one or more passenger stations for the benefit of the traveling public. The motion was voted in, and a committee—J. S. Cushing and George Hill—was appointed to take action.

In that short time, that young organization, organized for the benefit of the town, dreamed and talked of the building of a bank, railroad stations, and investigated sanitary conditions and the causes of sickness. Throughout these musty records you find references to, discussions of, and final voting and action on ideas which now arc actualities.




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