OFFER MADE FOR BEACON SCHOOL
O’Toole Puts In Bid For Condemned Building
Unfolds Apartment House Plan Before Selectmen
October 22, 1942 – The Norwood Messenger
What is now Norwood’s major eyesore, the old battered Beacon School, may become one of the town’s residential wonders, according to a plan unfolded before the selectmen Tuesday evening by Edward O’Toole.
Contractor (sand, gravel, foundations) O’Toole told the selectmen he was interested in purchasing the site and turning the now dilapidated building into one of the finest apartment dwellings between Boston and Providence.
To back this plan he had architect Harry Korslund on hand Io answer any technical Questions the selectmen might care to ask.
Before any decision ran be reached on building several other things have to be done. Here’s how it will go. First the citizens of Norwood who own the property will have to rescind a previous vote ordering dismantling of structure, then vote to permit the sale of the property through the board of selectmen.
O’Toole meanwhile must file an application to change the present wreck into a residential unit.
Much of the many moves may be done simultaneously.
What the plan calls for is a modern, top-priced apartment house of about 15 units, ranging from one to three room, or perhaps what is called three and a half rooms. The rent level will take care of the future security of the neighborhood and its surrounding.
Seam-faced granite for the foundation and brick veneer facing is down in theory at the outside and complete renovation for the interior. The rooms will be kept intact and used for the apartment.
IN PEOPLE’S HANDS
Until such time as the towns-people have a say about the matter there was little to be gained, the selectmen said, by trying to determine what their action might be.
The board did agree to appropriate out of the general government funds a sum of $25 to get an expert appraisal of the property. It is pretty stiff at its assessed value, something over $6500, the general manager, Francis W. Smith told the board. The expert might clear up the selling price for the town.
Selectman Sture Nelson, on what he heard Tuesday night, said he felt there would be plenty of objection from residents in the neighborhood. Even if the building is on the grandiloquent scale as outlined by O’Toole, Nelson said he still was sure there would be objections many and vigorous. He pointed out the parking of cars alone for 15 families would be no laughing matter in that small street.
But, countered O’Toole, the plans will take care of the garaging of cars. The garages will not he shacks in the back either, he said. They would blend with the building being partly under the structure and roofed on the exterior. The garage roof would be utilized as a terrace for ground floor dwellers. The rear of the building now is some 10 feet higher than the Beacon street entrance.
Children will hardly be a problem, said O’Toole in answer to Nelson. It wasn’t Nelson’s objection to children, as he pointed out but the objection of those who protested to him. Apartments such as planned are not conducive to large families. Ono and three-room apartments never are, O-Toole said.
The selectmen had no doubt when Korslund got through that the apartment was perfectly feasible and one of the finest of its kind anywhere.
Priorities, the plague of construction as well as of industry, seemed to interest general manager Francis W. Smith. He quizzed Korslund on the government attitude on residential buildings at the present lime.
Architect Koslund said the government certainly wasn’t encouraging building private, single dwellings, but units of some capacity such as apartments, were favorable, especially when the job involved not from the ground up in new materials, but the renovation of a building already in existence. Much of this kind of a building is going on now, Korslund said.
There will have to be the usual hearings and applications and town voting and building permits, but the plan it there and it seems there will be as little delay as possible in clearing away technical blocks to the project.
To wreck the plant on contract the town realizes little in cash and whatever it got from the wreckers it would cost that much more to fill the pit and sod it to lawn level, the manager told the selectmen.