Front page of the first issue of the Norwood Free Press, March 19, 1937

Our First Anniversary March 18, 1938

With this issue the Norwood Free Press celebrates its first, birthday, rounding out a full year of publication since March 19th, 1937. For fifty-two weeks the paper has been delivered to 9,500 homes in the towns of Norwood, Walpole, Canton, Sharon, Westwood, Islington, and Medfield. For fifty-two weeks the events and news of the towns have been faithfully reported with an eye to authenticity, coverage, and reader interest. This, continued service has been made possible through the cooperation of the advertisers who have realized the paper’s possibilities for service and have appreciated it as a medium for keeping their names before the public, and by the growing interest of the readers which increasingly justifies the idea of a free local newspaper.

The Friendly Weekly Newspaper

The Norwood Free Press from its inception adopted two slogans, “The friendly weekly newspaper for all the family,” and “Every home every Friday”. Consistently the paper has adhered to these two mottos which summarize the fields of its service.

Editorially The Norwood Free Press has developed along three lines. In the presentation of the news it lias been local because it believes that people residing within a metropolitan area want to read local news in their local paper. It has been friendly with no malicious gossip and unfriendly criticism creeping into its columns, a policy which has proved itself appreciated by reader response. It has furthered community interest by faithful reporting of the conduct of town governments, local organizations and by acquainting its readers with one another in social news and Personality Portrait sketches.

Secondly the paper has through intelligent and constructive comment in its editorial columns been civic-minded, promoting whatever it deems for the good of the community. This has involved commendation when it is due, and on the other hand constructive criticism and suggestion. The paper has in several instances within the year had the satisfaction of having its editorial suggestions motivate action.

Lastly the paper lias developed along the lines of readability. Its tabloid size, a continual striving for improvement in make-up, the arrangement of stories, the intelligibility of headlines, has attempted to make the paper not only n well-balanced and well appearing, but also an increasingly readable organ for news.

Blanket Coverage — 9,000 Families

This editorial service to the 9,500 families of the district has been made possible through the cooperation of the merchants and organizations who have found the paper a satisfactory and successful medium for advertising their wares. In fact, because the merchants of Norwood and surrounding towns were far-sighted enough (o appreciate the potential service which the paper could render it has been delivered to your door each week. In return, the advertiser has been assured of a controlled and complete coverage of practically every home within the area served by the paper.

“Every home every Friday” thus incorporates the second field of service of the Norwood Free Press, for not only does it help the merchant to present his name and products to the public bill it also fosters the idea and habit of the local Heading area. With a realization that the local stores arc et pupped to supply quality goods at reasonable prices not only the individual merchant hut the community in general benefited by the increased business.

The reader also has a share in the successful cooperative venture of Norwood’s free local newspaper, for not only does his cooperation in relaying the news and criticizing its presentation improve the paper editorially, but his support of the advertisers is the basis for their continued belief that the paper lias a valuable service to render. It is reader response to the advertising which measures the extent to which the paper is appreciated.

The Norwood Free Press at the conclusion of this first year of publication is deeply grateful for this cooperation on the part of its advertisers and its readers. It is gratifying to know that its efforts to supply a newsy, readable and influential local paper have been both recognized and appreciated and as it peers into the vista of years that lie ahead with new news, new headlines and even new personalities it looks forward with anticipation and pleasure to the eon tinned service which it can render.

From March To March

The banner headline of the first! Issue of the Free Press on March ! 19, 1937, reads “Community Chest Workers in Final Drive” while today’s paper, which marks the completion of a year’s reporting of the news of the district, records the launching of the 1938 Chest campaign. And so the Free Press year has run from March to March and from civic generosity to civic generosity.


A year ago March, Westwoodwas examining the conduct of their Chief of Police and Norwood voters turned down a proposal which would make the innoculation of all dogs compulsory.

The Canton Grange celebrated its 34th anniversary, and St. John’s Literary Guild presented three performances of a Passion Play.

Albert Fales of Neponsct street, Norwood, was honored by his friends for his 33 years of sex-vice as deputy sheriff of Norfolk County, and 146 graduates of the evening Americanization classes received their diplomas.


April blew in with the unhappy death of a Norwood pheasant who flew against the windshield of an East Dedham driver’s car, broke the glass and expired in the back seat from the impact and shock.

High School debaters took on the Portland, Me., high school team and William V. Shyne was taking honors in the Legion oratorical contest.

High school students also held the center of the stage with their presentation of “Big Hearted Herbert”, the senior class play, on April 9th. Miss Dorothea Duffy and Jack Hepburn carried the leads.

The Edward J. Beatty Post of the American Legion of Canton celebrated its 18th anniversary, while the Canton Community Club marked its 25th year as a club.

Walpole and Foxboro settled their town line dispute amicably and Westwood was presented with final plans for its new post office.

Fire breaking out in the Legion quarters at the Civic gave Norwood firemen a stiff fight and caused an estimated damage of $4000. Over 1000 women took advantage of the opportunity of attending the three-day Free Press free cooking school.


The Norwood selectmen and the press clashed in the mild month of May with the Board voting to exclude the press, but rescinding the vote two weeks later.

The May 24th Norwood town meeting passed the proposal to hire an expert town planner to make a study and report on future town development which later brought Mr. Arthur Shurcliff to Norwood.

Carroll Woods won the Chamber of Commerce essay contest, writing on, “The War Crisis in Europe Today.“

Over 400 Junior high students shared in a mammoth musical called “Rendezvous Revue.“ Memorial Day observances in the various towns honored war dead in fitting exercises and red poppies sold on the Norwood streets gave citizens a concrete way of expressing their appreciation of veteran’s services.


June brought graduations, Norwood seniors receiving their diplomas on June 8th with William Shyne delivering the prize-winning essay, and receiving the Lane medal for high scholastic average for three years, the Washington- Fratikiin history medal, a Berwick English prize and the Teachers’ Club Scholarship.

Canton seniors journeyed to New York, held their class banquet on the boat on their way home, and received their diplomas on June 18th.

Walpole seniors also held thoir exercises on the 18th,

Garden Clubs held their annual competitions during the month, the Norwood show coming off on June 3rd, and the East Walpole show on the 18th.

It was in June also that Michael J. Fitzgibbons was dismissed from the Walpole police force, with repercussions of the case still making news today from time to time.

Walpole was hard hit by the electric storm on Juno 7th which damaged three homes — those of Miss Florence A. Wentworth, George Sheppard and Eugene Hartshorn.

The home of George Keddy on North street, Walpole, was ravaged by fire within the same week.

Norwood town affairs centered around the selectmen’s decision to provide underground electrical service along Westover street

Youth, however, definitely held the center of attention throughout the month, with four Norwood boy scouts leaving for the National Boy Scout Jamboree on June 29th, and the scouts from Walpole, East Walpole, Sharon, and Canton also making the Washington pilgrimage.


Over three hundred friends and associates of Walter F. Tilton of Norwood honored him in a huge testimonial as reported in the July 2 issue of the Free Press; Mr. Tilton is well known in Norwood as an active and generous citizen. It was his gift which installed the carillion in the Municipal Building.

Early in July also the Norwood Garden Club inaugurated its drive to rid the community of ragweed.

The Legion band was honored by being engaged as the official band at Duxbury’s tercentenary celebration.

Richard N. Anketcll, principal of the high school in Canton, was given the additional post of superintendent of Canton’s schools.

The Norwood town meeting approved the Nichols street extension which marked one step toward the completion of the Westover project.

The resignation of William H. Connor from the finance committee launched plans for a special election for this position.

The Forest Oil Co., accused of giving short measure and inferior oil to the Norwood schools, was cleared of all accusations before the school committee by the state district attorney’s office.

July added to Walpole’s lightning damages with one home slightly damaged by a bolt and the United Church steeple so seriously affected that services had to be conducted elsewhere pending repairs.

On July 24th, the Walpole firemen celebrated with their annual field day at Memorial Park,


Which brings us to August and with the announcement of the special election for September 13, James J. Curran, Edmund F. Murphy and William Carlson entered the campaign for the finance committee position

Social festivities were kept alive in the summer month by the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Mardi Gras, organizational outings, the operetta, “The Sun- bonnet Girl,” presented by the youngsters from the various playgrounds in Norwood on August 27th’, and St. Catherine’s parish annual field day.


September’s first issue announces the opening of school in all of the towns, and the Walpole Country Club bid adieu to summer with tournaments marking its tenth anniversary.

Edmund Murphy won the open position on the finance committee in the special September election. Trains began to figure in community news when Charles Britton and a group of prominent townspeople protesting the cutting of six trains from the Norwood line, thus beginning the war with the New Haven railroad which Norwood and Walpole are still carrying into the front line with attendance at hearings and continual protests.


The contract for the first house to be built in Westover was awarded early in October.

Work on the Nichols street extension was started.

Walpole made plans for the special election of the town treasurer on November 16th, an office made vacant by the death of Harry A. Whiting.

Dr. William H. Maguire of Walpole was reported missing, later found dead in Washington, D.C. and services were held on October 22nd with the Thomas H. Crowley Post giving full military honors.
Service for Richard Babcock, prominent Canton aviator killed in a crash in New York, were held on October 29th in Canton.

October also launched the adult recreation program, while scores of women thronged to the fall Free Press cooking school sessions.

The Norwood Board of Selectmen instructed town manager Kendrick to investigate and dose all gambling establishments in Norwood, with the manager taking prompt action on the matter.

The Guild Theatres fire added to the year’s major catastrophes.


The November 1st Norwood town meeting saw a lively argument on sewer construction which aroused considerable discussion of the Westover development. The $25,000 for sewer construction was passed by the 45 voters present over the objection of George F. Willett for postponement of the building of the trunk line sewer.

Sidney N. Shurcliff lectured at the Junior High School on the advantages of a residential program for Norwood under the auspices of the Norwood Woman’s Club, the Catholic Woman’s Club, the Italian Woman’s Club and the Mother’s Club, and the following week repeats the hearing on the Shurcliff report.

The jams and jellies drive at the Norwood Hospital Women’s club was carried to a sweeping success and Walpole residents were engaged with milk bottles to aid in selling the milk fund.

Recreation and the N. Y. A. program proceed rapidly in supplying leisure time activities for Norwood young people.

Herbert L. Lewis unseated Winslow Warren for the position of town treasurer of Walpole.


Santa Claus landed at Guild Sqare in Norwood on December 20.

Walpole and Canton firemen busily worked repairing toys, and various organizations throughout the district launched their programs of generous giving in accordance with the spirit of the season.

In town affairs, Chairman Charíes Holman broke the tie which gave the beverage dealers a seven-day license.

Beano made its first appearance on the Norwood scene with the visitation by the committee representing the clergy churches to the school committee and the Board of Selectmen. The committee asked that beano be discontinued in the schools of Norwood as representing ideals out of as keeping with our educational values. The controversy has continued since that time, with the clergy and the organizations sponsoring the game, presenting their views to the selectmen.

More recently, the Co. G games have been continued and the Legion has transferred their games to the Armory.

The Walpole town meeting on December 12th went without a hitch with no dissatisfaction as to action, assembling enough voters to make a quorom.

The Norwood Hospital joined the Bluee Cross plan in December, and Norwood’s Red Cross roll call drive totaled $1,193.67. Canton’s cabaret douce, a father and son banquet in Walpole, the Congregational Young People’s college night ball added festivity to the holiday season and the home lighting contest transformed Norwood into a gay and sparkling scene.


The Walpole and Norwood political campaigns held the positions of prominence in January news. The campaigns were hard fought and momentous with the final tabulations giving the candidates for re-election in both towns sweeping victories.

The Walpole Board returned in toto and Sture Nelson and Charles Holman were elected to sit on the Norwood Board again.

The candidacy of George Willett in Norwood made the campaign especially lively.

The Walpole Board reorganized on its last year’s lines with Willis D. McLean again chairman and Howard Everett, clerk.

Norwood, under a motion of John Mutch, proceeded for some weeks under a temporary form of organization finally to appoint Sture Nelson permanent chairman and James E. Pendergast, permanent clerk.

The Federal Music Project presentation of “Carmen” in concert form at the Junior High School under the sponsorship of the Norwood Teachers’ Club marked the gala musical event of the year, while Norwood’s military ball on January 28th climaxed the season’s social events.

St. John’s school reunion in Canton with Governor Hurley as the principal speaker was an outstanding event marking the fiftieth anniversary of the school.

January marked two sorrows, one the death of G. M. Graves, prominent Walpole citizen, the other, the tragic fatality which killed young Robert Mahoney.


Last month’s history saw Frank Coughlin of Norwood named special justice of the Walpole-Franklin court by the Governor, and a light upset in the Norwood Board when Selectman Harry Butters accused Selectman Herbert Brady and John Mutch of deliberate misstatement.

Walpole’s spectacular ice pageant for the benefit of the Boy Scouts gave the district something entirely new in entertainment. The Recreation council sprang into being with various organizations cooperating to secure the improvement of Dunn’s field for skating.

And in connection with recreation, Mrs. H. B. C. Riemer, for years the sponsor of playground activities in Norwood, resigned from the playground committee.

The Norwood senior’s play rolled around again with the presentation of “Life Begins At Sixteen.“

The Canton M. C. O. P. celebrated their fiftieth anniversary, “Previews of Progress“ showed in Norwood and Walpole, and the Charity Ball lent gayety to Washington’s Birthday celebration.

Walpole voters in their annual town meeting upped salaries and argued pedestrian lights on Washington street, and the town dedicated its now post office with appropriate ceremonies. Two Canton firemen were seriously injured in a fire which ruined their two family house and one of them, Thomas O’Connor, died as a result of burns. St. John’s Canton minstrel was a huge success and the Canton Hay- shakers Ball went over with a bang.


The year’s news ends in Canton’s, Westwood’s and Sharon’s political campaigns and with annual town meetings scheduled in many of the towns.

Canton’s proposed new high school provided a special interest to their session. Eugene Galligan, Frank Carroll and Albert Dahlke came off with the selectmen’s positions in Canton, while Robert Bishop copped the Westwood office.

Walpole again witnessed a devastating fire only last week, and Norwood celebrated two major social events the Woman’s Club dramatic evening and Judge Coughlin’s testimonial dinner.

Today we again feature Community Chest news which completes the circle of a year’s reporting.