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This Day in Norwood History-January 4, 1946-Westover Proposed As Home For United Nations HQ

Original 1945 United Nations Logo

Possible That Delegates Will Be Taken Here In Inspection Tour


Norwood has been included as one of the areas which might have a chance of becoming the permanent scat of the United Nations Organization.

A representative of Governor Maurice J. Tobin’s committee to bring the UNO to the Boston Area told a Free Press reporter this week that Westover, the extensive Garden Village property in this town, of which George F. Willett is Trustee, has been recommended to the committee for consideration.

If the delegates now meeting m London arrive this week at a tentative list of possible sites — and Massachusetts should be included— it is quite possible that UNO representatives when taken on a tour of inspection of suggested Massachusetts localities, will be shown all the possibilities of Westover as the site of the ten million dollar project which UNO plans to make its home site, it was stated.

Pending advice from London, the Massachusetts committee is admittedly in the dark, and is not in a position to say that this State has even a fair chance of securing the project. The member of the Governor’s committee in discussing the possibility of Norwood as the site, said that the Committee was interested in the State as a whole and not in the advancement of any individual community.

Many towns, he said, have appealed directly to the United Nations Organization committee asserting that their communities were ideal for the location. Others have laid their bid before the Governor with a request that it be given to his committee for consideration “We have no official correspondence from Norwood which has been called to my attention,” he said. “That area was, however, mentioned in connection with the Blue Hill Reservation area.” Supporters of the proposal stated that Westover could accommodate a community of 35,000 which compares well with the offers of larger communities not nearly so centrally located. The permanent site which UNO desires as a permanent site required a mile-square area. Doubt was expressed here today that the Westover tract included as large an area as stipulated as being necessary.

NO OFFICIAL MOVE

George F. Willett, Trustee of the property, reached by telephone late this morning, said that news of the property being under consideration had reached him, but that no official word had been received at his office.

Officials at the Municipal Building said that no official move had been made yet toward calling the attention of the United Nations Organization to Norwood’s possibility of providing accommodations for its several hundred delegates and thousands of staff members. It was stated, however, that if a district of suitable size and desirable character were the main requests, Norwood’s Westover properties might even surpasë that of the Blue Hill Reservation’ which has been so prominently mentioned by leading Boston businessmen as the most desirable location near Boston.

If “desirable character” means s wide tract of beautiful wooded laud with attractive scenery and within easy reach of Boston and the Norwood Airport, Westover would be the answer, it is stated.

Again, if suitable size means an acreage of sufficient size and scope for many buildings with opportunity for spacious recreational development and residence areas. Westover and Norwood would again be able to fulfill requirements.

The commuting distance to Boston is a prime factor in selecting the UNO site, it is stated. Here again, Norwood would qualify in making transportation easily available to Boston, capital of the State, with its vast educational institutions, amusement places, and shopping districts.

One point particularly stressed by UNO delegates as a prime request for the site of its organization was that it should be located sufficiently beyond city limits to secure independent jurisdiction for the UNO and to give needed protection against, encroachment by local town and industrial growth.

MADE TO ORDER

“Westover” would appear to have been made to order for complete compliance with this principle.

An examination o£ possible and proffered Massachusetts sites in the light of UNO requirements would seem to indicate that the most desirable areas would lie in a radius •from Boston more or less from Route I. tlie’Providence Road, and Route II, the Concord turnpike. Automobile traffic from Boston or to New York is excellent for the Norwood area on Route I, and less favorable to Route II.

Town officials and businessmen on the Route II side of Boston arc, however, actively pushing their case and while little action has occurred East of Boston other, then along the South Shore where the towns of Weymouth, Rockland and Plymouth have put in bids directly to UNO headquarters and the Governor Committee, it is stated that once Massachusetts is named, action will start in many towns.

The city of Quincy, with its excellent Navy Air Base, has also put in a request that they be included in the forthcoming inspection.

This morning it was also announced that the city of Taunton has asked the Governor to consider Camp Myles Standish large staging area for troops during the war and a reception center for redeployed soldiers since hostilities ceased Supporters of the proposal say the area could accommodate a community of 35.000.

Hamilton, the North Shore home of the late General Patton, has indicated it would welcome UNO. Bids also have been received from as far away towns as those “in the Berkshire Hills and the cities of Worcester and Springfield.

The argument of distance from Boston would weigh heavily against this area it is stated as compared with Norwood and the Blue Hill site.

An unusual feature in connection with Norwood’s Westover proposal is that it seems to have been brought in for possible consideration entirely on its merits as regards its geographical location and desirability without any organized or official action on the part of its owners or town officials.

The UNO special inspection group will leave London on Friday for its tour of the United States.

By JOHN B. HITCHINS

Norwood Free Press

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