This Day In Norwood History-May 19, 1923


Planning Board Has Done Excellent Work

NORWOOD, May 19—The marked improvement in the physical appearance of the town of Norwood, since the establishment of a Planning Board, here, as well as the pride and interest which its townspeople have in the civic welfare of the community, is emphasized in the elaborate report of the Norwood Planning Board for 1923, which has just been published.

Norwood was the second town in this State to establish such an organization. This year’s report represents the work of the Planning Board for the last 11 years, and, as the chairman, George F. Willett, states, it is the fruit, not only of much thought on the part of local men who are interested in the town’s appearance, but of experts whose services have been employed as consultants.

The report of the town planner Arthur A. Shurtleff, which is contained in the report of the Boards says that the results of all planning for the town are the outcome of the best ideas which have been evolved from all sources, through painstaking conferences.

The members of the Town Planning Board, in addition to Chairman Willett are Frank B. Coughlin, secretary; William G. Upham, J. Conrad Johnson and John E. Folan.

The new report is beautifully gotten up, with many attractive photographs of Norwood’s principal streets and public buildings and maps showing the general town plan, improvements which have already been made and improvements which are in prospect.

Norwood Planning Board Report 1923 Schools Playgrounds

One portion of the 1923 Planning Board Report covered the schools in Norwood and showed proposed sites for new school buildings. We have broken the map into smaller, zoomed-in sections below and in addition to the school locations you will see many proposed neighborhoods and streets. Also note, US Route 1 was not built for almost a decade after this map was created.

Norwood Planning Board Report 1923 Schools Playgrounds
Norwood Planning Board Report 1923 Schools Playgrounds

Willet Pond (also known as New Pond) dominated this part of 1923 Norwood with mostly the undeveloped land of Westover to the North and East. Still more open land lay to the South between the Pond and Walpole street, where two triangular islands and 3 new roads were penciled in for the future, one of which would have extended through present-day Windsor Gardens, under the New York and New Haven Railroad and through Endean where the Coakley Middle School sits today. A new school, which was never constructed, was proposed on Wilson Street next to the Wilson street playground. The rotary at the top-right of this map that would act as the hub to access Westover connected to Prospect street instead of Nichols Street as it does today.

Norwood Planning Board Report 1923 Schools Playgrounds

The large elongated oval rotary in the center of this portion of the map is the approximate location of the Norwood High School track and football field in 2022. New neighborhoods were planned where the school and front field sit today. Nichols street, which ended at Bond street in 1923, was planned to extend only to the location of the small rotary at Berwick Place, where it would end at a triangular park. Parts of land currently used today by Highland Cemetery would have connected to Shattuck park forming an “Emerald Necklace” of open green space. Silver street would be extended, running from Nahatan Street through the rear of the Laselle Road Conservation Land behind Father Mac’s, across Winter street where Spruce street is today and up the side of the new park all the way into Westwood. A new school site was suggested near the Bond street/ Highland Street intersection, but was never constructed.

Norwood Planning Board Report 1923 Schools Playgrounds

In this area of Norwood, West of Washington street, you can see the full proposed Silver street extension at the top of the map. At the top right of the map, the large empty space shows some of the vast property owned by W. Cameron Forbes. Fulton street in 1923 ended at Howard Street. An extension to Fulton along with extensions to George Street and Philbrick would have converged in a new, large intersection. Although this plan was scrapped, Fulton street still has an extra-wide rounded area in this spot today. A possible future school site was identified adjacent to the Fulton Street extension.

Norwood Planning Board Report 1923 Schools Playgrounds

A few things of note in the South Norwood section of the map. An Austin street extension under the New York and New Haven Railroad, which would have eventually connected to Chapel and Walpole Streets. Short street would have crossed Washington street at the approximate location of Hawes pool and continued through Endean farm until joining with Mylod Street near the Railroad. Next to the Balch School, Folan Ave would run under the Wrentham Railroad across Pleasant street toward present-day Route 1. Many other new streets would be added or extended in the undeveloped area East of Pleasant street.

Norwood Planning Board Report 1923 Schools Playgrounds

The construction of Route 1 may have forced changes to the plans in this area, although First through sixth streets were all completed, and Gay and Arnold Streets were built with the same curve as the plan. Neither of the schools were built in this area, although nearby Hennesy field remains a potential site for a future school.

Norwood Planning Board Report 1923 Schools Playgrounds

Downtown Norwood is shown here. On the left of this section of the map we can see three schools- the Beacon school, next to the Morrill Memorial Library; and the Everett and Guild Schools near present-day Aaron Guild Park. On the Right of the map is the East school, located on Railroad Avenue. There were many new streets proposed in the area between Neponset street and Hill street. East of the Railroad tracks on Nahatan st today you will find Nahatan Place, and Nahatan Plaza, two banks, Dunkin Donuts and the Public Safety Building. In 1923, the Planning Board suggested single-family housing in this area with a large park in the center.

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