In 1872, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts accepted a petition from the residents of a village in South Dedham and the town of Norwood was established. As Norwood grew, many people settled here from other parts of New England and from all over the world. During the 1890’s and into the early 1900s, Norwood’s population grew rapidly. This growth was the result of the influx of immigrants who came to work in the industries that were establishing themselves and becoming the basis for Norwood’s economical and societal rise. The tanneries, leather works, printing presses, ink producers, railroad yards, flooring and paper mills, and location on the roads between Boston and Providence allowed for this success.
The people came to Norwood from foreign countries settled in areas with others from their countries, family members who had come before them, and close to the businesses where they were employed. These hard-working immigrants brought their customs, language, religious affiliations, traditions, and sense of family and lifestyles into the areas where they settled: establishing “neighborhoods” and creating the history that makes Norwood such a unique town.
They lent their expertise to the businesses that employed them and to the neighborhoods and the town that welcomed them. They assimilated into the town and held, and still do hold, positions in town governance, business ownership, education, and organizations formed to better their community.
Yet they also remained proud and loyal to the neighborhoods they had established and continued to live in generation after generation. It was common to refer to these neighborhoods when meeting someone and giving your address. Many directions were given by saying, I live on Wilson Street in Germantown; my house is the second on the right on Railroad Ave in Cork City as opposed to the Railroad Ave that crossed over into Dublin; Iam next to the Balch School on St. George in the Flats; look for the house on the hill in Swedeville; the big white Victorian on Vernon Street in Christian Hill; go under the bridge into Ellis/hardscrabble and take your first right; I’m across the highway near the Prescott. These neighborhoods were a part of who you were. You could have lived upstairs from your grandparents, or two houses down from your aunt and uncles. Young people might leave Norwood but when their parents called to say a house was for sale in the “neighborhood” they bought it and came back. Norwood was once described as, “The town everyone came back to”.
Those of us who either have grown up here and never left, or those who have left and come back, or to those who are just coming here to make it your home can all take a line from the old television show, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. While Fred Rogers sang, “it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood”; in Norwood we sing It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhoods. Our beautiful neighborhoods are who we are and a source of community within the larger community. A shared pride in our town and the values that we have formed from the contributions of all our neighborhoods.
One might expect to find a large variety style of homes in any neighborhood in a New England town. After all the area was settled…
The Joseph Day house, circa 1990 (Source: MACRIS database) Joseph Day had Tyler Thayer build this Italianate style house in 1855 for him and his…