Tremont Street

On November 5, 1954 the partially nude body of fifteen-year-old Geraldine Annesse was found the garage of #13 Tremont Street. She had been raped and strangled. Early newspaper articles speculated this might be the work of a serial sexual marauder (a sex maniac). Within two days the police had arrested 15-year-old Peter Makarewicz, who confessed to the crime. Makarewicz received a life sentence; but in 1975, Gov. Michael Dukakis commuted his sentence.  Makarewicz changed his name and resettled in Arizona, and became an artist.

B. A. Tumavicus Market – 1208 Washington Street

1208 Washington (photo LLKearney)

Owned and operated by Bartholomew Adam Tumavicus, a Lithuanian who arrived in the US in 1905. Records show that Tumavicus operated his store from several South Norwood locations. In 1913, he was operating a Provisions & Grocery Store at 1147 Washington but he was living at 1149 Washington. In 1916 his Provisions & Grocery Store was at 1154 Washington, and his brother John was clerking for him. 1920 census he says he is a merchant of a meat market. It is also possible that some buildings in South Norwood were renumbered as the area grew.

Boston Beef – 1214 & 1216 Washington Street

1214 & 1216 Washington 0 Boston Beef (photo LLKearney)

This triple-decker building, has 2 stores at street level and apartments on the top two floors. Boston Beef opened its doors in 1966 and is known of the high quality meats it sells. The shop next door had been home to American Lunch. A restaurant opened in the 1930s by Frank & Barbara Cofsky. It closed in the 1990s. In 2003, Frani Sarantos opened The Amazing Vase, a flower shop. Today, a Beauty Salon/Spa, called Salon De Rosa, operates out of this storefront.

Morini Bakery – 1220 Washington Street (at corner of St. John & Washington)

Morini Bakery owned by Morini family on Washington St. and St. John. They made wonderful Italian bread. When the bags were opened, steam came from the bread.

Sam’s Appliances TV & Furniture – 1232 Washington Street

Sam’s Appliance (photo LLKearney)

Sam’s Appliance is a family run business that has been a fixture in South Norwood since 1933, and in the same family since 1978. They offer a complete selection of quality furniture, appliances and home electronics, which they sell at fair discounted prices. They have knowledgeable sales people as well as having skilled technicians that offer appliance repair services. They pride themselves in their work, believing that people like to buy from someone they know and trust.

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Candy Store – 1236 Washington Street (on corner of St. Joseph & Washington)

1236 Washington. (photo LLKearney)

Triple Decker apartment with retail space on first floor (now living space). The 1923 business directory, lists this shop as the confectionary store operated by John Simmaski. In 1924 John & Bernard Chubet opened a grocery/variety store here. It had a penny candy counter & a soda fountain.  In the late 1950s/early 1960s a candy shop continued to run out of this retail space.

St Joseph Avenue – Land at end of road being developed into open/park space

The land at the end of St Joseph Avenue (photo Google Street View)

The adjacent wooded open space along the perimeter of the saint streets was privately owned by Cominitz family. In 2002, under Town Planner Stephen Costello and the first Open Space and recreation plan the family was approached regarding this property. The Open Space plan earmarked it for extension of the Elliot fields and to map out walking paths and riverfront access. The family continued to decline offers of sale to the town.  Then around 2019, the family attempted to sell the land to the Boch Enterprises, who planned to used the area as a open lot car storage facility. A South Norwood advocacy group successfully advocated to the townspeople, and they were able to stop the sale on the saint streets side. With monies from the CPA fund this area will be turned into an open space and recreation park area, to be named after the late Assistant town manager Bernie Cooper.

St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church – 23 St. Joseph Avenue

St Peter’s Roman Catholic Church (photo LLKearney)

It may seem odd that there would be two Roman Catholic parishes only three blocks from each other, and the circumstances governing this occurrence are pretty scandalous.  Since the majority of immigrants did not speak English and South Norwood Catholics found it difficult to attended Mass and Sunday school at St. Catherine’s in Norwood Center. Truth be told, the Irish, who were the majority of parishioners at St. Catherine’s were not all that welcoming to these South Norwood neighbors.  Thus, South Norwood Catholics traveled to Boston for Mass, and many did not go at all because of the distance.  As the Lithuanian and Polish populations grew in Norwood, it was evident that they needed some spiritual guidance. The Boston cardinal appointed, around 1912, Fr. Daugis to minister to the Lithuanians and a Fr. Syski was the Polish priest but stationed in Hyde Park. Fr. Daugis and the Lithuanian Benevolent Society raised the funds and bought the land and built the Church on St. James, which opened 1916.  At his time, he observed that many of the Polish immigrants instead if attending services in Hyde Park, were spending their Sundays drinking, playing cards, and even visiting houses of ill repute. He as concerned that their children were not getting a religious education, and that the Polish youth were running wild. Looking to avoid bad press and reputation since many arrests were made, he went to the cardinal and asked that he be made minister to the Polish community also.  Permission was granted and one Mass was said in Polish and one in Lithuanian. Polish children went to Sunday school at St. Georges and Fr. Daugis benefited from the additional monetary offerings from the Polish parishioner’s. Remember, he had a church and a rectory to support. However, Fr. Syski, who was the official Polish minister to this community, was not happy with this arrangement at all. He ran to the Cardinal to object, Fr. Daugis was called in and claimed that Fr. Syski never came to Norwood and many Polish parishioners had no means to travel to Hyde Park. The cardinal agreed with the Lithuanian priest and allowed him to minister to the Polish and Lithuanians.  Now tensions had always been there between Poles and Lithuanian because of ideology from their European situation. 

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Fr. Syski, looking to further his cause and not lose the parishioner’s started coming to Norwood to celebrate Mass and he did it in the Lithuanian Hall. Whether this was to antagonize Fr. Daugis and the Catholic parish is unclear, but probably.  Fr. Daugis stopped all Masses and Sunday school in Polish and petitioned the cardinal to force the Polish to go to Hyde Park. While this was going on, Fr. Syski was quietly asking the cardinal for permission to establish a second Roman Catholic parish in South Norwood and was looking for land.

In 1919 Polish Catholics meet at the Southern Theatre to discuss establishing their own church. They found a parcel of land on St. Joseph Ave with a small barn and purchased it.  On Easter Sunday 1920 St. Peter’s RC parish had their first Mass. Fr. Daugis was livid since he felt it was done behind his back and he had ministered to the Polish for years. He also felt the lose of their monetary support. St. Peter’s had a rocky start because there was no permanent Polish Priest. It achieved great stability in 1934 with the appointment of Fr. Zawalich who added a rectory in 1936. He served for 21 years during which St. Peter’s thrived. In 1955 Fr. Miszkin was appointed pastor and extensive renovation was done to the church. Fr. Miszkin’s hobby was woodworking and he personally hand built the side altars, the confessionals and the cross on top of the steeple.  He served St. Peter’s until 1971 at which point the membership had dwindled. In 1997 the Archdiocese of Boston closed St. Peter’s and sold the church and rectory. They are now condominiums.

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