The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts on March 29, 1964 · 168
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The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts · 168

Boston, Massachusetts
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 29, 1964
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,. Si fr t I " A : Wj . . : Winnr--ri-i- rr I mi saw "'-- "Hr" ' ' ' .' ' V mmme- f-- i"---;-- fifur i .ml.1 r-n-.-l.ii ' - - -,,-.?. if- ... 4 jfejJ: ft.,, -, ,n-. mrlWHSCT. .vrlWii-tmtaf .I..! ft.ttlM , -nan r m If ft u A 1 Vo ,. Town Manager Waher A. Blasenak takes a look at Norwood's future from the pine-paneled selectmen's room in the Municipal Building. Early and steady growth forestalled, but did not prevent, problems. Norwood's Municipal Building, constructed in honor of the town's World War I dead, is copied after the buildings on the Yale campus. It has a carillon of 50 bells in the tower. Mire7dl Frairdl Photo by Jock OConneU, Glob Staff By Anne Wyman St. Timothy's, the town's newest Catholic church, overlooks Willet Pond. The site is not far from the area conceived as "Westover" by the late philanthropist George F. Willett. Willett's Pond offers bathing and boating facilities for the residents. It was man-made to provide controlled water power for the Wmslow tanneries. PAGE 26 Norwood, until 1872 a part of Dedham, today appears a town that was built -and divided by a railroad. But unlike many New England towns that boomed early in the Industrial Revolution and then declined, Norwood has continued to prosper as an industrial center. While only four trains a day now stop at the depot at the foot of Winter St., the tracks of the New Haven Railroad which brought factories and shops to the Neponset Valley town in 1848 still separate the well-to-do residential area from the industrial section. The early prosperity has taken its toll on 20th-century Norwood. The community grew like Topsy, with no thought of municipal planning. The town square is a bleak agglomeration of two-story shops, churches and business buildings overlooking the railroad bridge and the sprawling wooden factories beyond. The municipal building, constructed as a memorial to the soldiers of World War I, has dark wooden paneling and a massive stone-towered exterior modeled after the halls of Yale University. Placed at the north comer of the square, it shuts off the extension of the business area along Washington St., according to one resident To the east, Rte. 1 traverses the lands bordering the Neponset Formerly farming country, this area is now dedicated to second-hand car lots and other small businesses. Beyond it are the Norwood airport and the nationally-famous stock car raceway, with zoning for single residence, general residence and manufacturing. Between Rte. 1 and the tracks, in an area known as "The Flats," are the multiple-family homes of the Syrians, Poles, Lithuanians and Italians, who came, wave after wave, to work in the tanneries, roofing mills, ink works and printing presses which grew up around the railroad. The older homes of the Yankee bosses and most of the new suburban residential development are on the other side of town. Here the late George F. Willett conceived the town's first planned subdivision in the village of Westover. Norwood's first philanthropist, Willett planned a town square with central town house overlooking handsome buildings in the foreground. When the town would not appropriate funds to widen Washington St., Willett himself put up the money. . The son-in-law partner in the Winslow tanneries, Willett built a pond at the edge of town, designed to serve as a water source for the mill as well as a recreation and beauty spot Part of the $1 million he spent to improve the town went toward financing the privately-owned Norwood Hospital, which today serves 10 communities. His fortune and industries were wiped out in a 1924 stock suit, however, and Willett, who spent his last 12 years in Brookline. died nearly penniless in 1962. . Since Willett's efforts, the town has twice turned down a master plan. Although when it was proposed in 1953 and in 1956 the master plan would have cost only $3500, the meeting members evidently felt that, with most of the open land already gone, the professional survey would be too expensive. The town was still very much in the black, with new diversified industry replacing some of the old mills. At the site of Willett's old Wins-low plant there are some 30 to 45 new businesses today. Bird & Sons, Inc., founded in Needham in 1795, last year sold its Norwood floor-covering plant to a New London firm which retains the same personnel of about 350. The firm's roofing plant has an additional 250 workers. The Plimpton Press, founded in 1897, employs more than 1000. In addition, four plants, paying a total of $220,622 in taxes, have opened in Norwood since 1950. One of these saw its fourth plant expansion here last January. Factory Mutual, which opened its Norwood plant in 1950, has 200 employees, pays $77,066 in taxes. Mason-Neilan Regulator Co. came to Norwood in 1956, has 600 workers, pays $63,207 BOSTON SUNDAY CLOBE, MARCH 29, 1964

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