This is a great aerial view of downtown Norwood Center then (probably early 1960’s) and now (2018). Moving left to right at the top of the photo, you can see the Norwood Municipal Building (Town Hall) and the old Fire Station (now the Olde Colonial Cafe) with a dry cleaner to the rear in both photos.
Top center right is the State Armory (now the Norwood Civic Center), and in the top right corner was an apartment building, torn down in 1968 to build a Goodyear Tire store, which was replaced in 1984 with a bank. A Santander bank stands there in 2018 although the bank has changed names several times.
The right side of the photo shows the Norwood Theater, renovated in 2012 and flanked on both sides by retail shops.
At the bottom right you can see the corner of the Folan block. Moving around to the left side, The United Church appears to have been changed very little.
A few modifications have been done the commercial retail buildings at the bottom left. most notably to the building at 615 Washington St that housed the Apollo restaurant for many years. After 10 years on Vaderbilt Ave, the Heritage Baptist Church bought and renovated the building in 2015. The spire is visible in the bottom 2018 photo across from the center of the Town Common.
The Norwood Town Common itself has changed a bit in the 50+ years since the top photo. The spoked paths remain the same, but the pine tree in the center has been replaced with a Gazebo Band Stand, erected in the 1990’s. Weddings, concerts and other special events use the gazebo throughout the spring and summer months and well into the fall.
This postcard looks North from the intersection of Cottage and Washington streets in Norwood. The trolley tracks ran down the center of Washington Street starting in 1896. On the left you can see one of Norwood’s earliest brick commercial buildings, the first Talbot block, built on the site of Allen Talbot’s house. Norwood House, formerly the Norwood Hotel, still stood on the current site of the Town common when the postcard photo was taken. It was removed with all the other buildings in that area when the Norwood Town Common was constructed.
This postcard shows the intersection of Nahatan st and Washington Street, looking Southeast. The left side of the postcard shows the location of the current Norwood Municipal Building (Norwood Town Hall), completed in 1928. Standing opposite on the right side of the postcard is the Norwood Town Common, which still had a stone gazebo on the corner. In the foreground you can see the old trolley tracks running down the center of Washington Street, which were not removed until the early 1980’s.
Use the above link to see the notes and zoom in on the map.
This is a proposed 1930 plan to build the Massachusetts Air Terminal and Arena (MATA) along the Norwood and Canton border. Interest in aviation was great enough after Charles Lindbergh visited in 1927 that investors were able to gather up $130,000 in private funding in the midst of the Great Depression to buy up the 1298 acres of land. It was said to be the largest single piece of land ever purchased by a private company in Massachusetts history. The location was prime real estate- just off the new US Route 1 in Norwood and adjacent to a mile and a half of railway lines in wetlands that were marked for industrial development. In addition to 8 runways, hangars and blimp docking bays, there would be an aviation club and a dedicated fire station. The area containing the arena would have a sports stadium, athletic complex, tennis club, 9 hole golf course with country club and various athletic fields. This was to be a major transportation center with a “world class” airport, ready to handle the future transatlantic air travel that the developers saw as the next big thing. On June 26, 1931 Canton opened the first airfield of the project, just East of present day I-95. At that time, the airport was the 3rd largest in the state. Several times when weather conditions in Boston made landing at Logan unsafe, flights were diverted to Cnaton airport and passengers were shuttled to Boston via Canton Junction. On August 19 of 1936, the German airship Hindenberg visited Canton. Less than a year later on May 6, 1937 it passed over the airport at around 300 ft, low enough that people on the ground could see the passengers. By 7:30 that same night, the Hindenberg burst into a flames attempting to moor in Lakehurst, NJ, killing 13 passengers and 22 crew members. A 1940 survery recommended moving the airport to the Norwood side of the Neponset river. During WWII Canton Airport came into competition with Bedford airport for government contracts and expansion funding. Bedford won the competition (and has a military base there today) partly because the town of Canton was slow to modernize their airport. in 1946, Wiggins Airways moved to the present day site and still operates the airport in Norwood today. The Canton airport closed sometime between 1957 and 1959 and was later used as a junkyard before being bought by the MDC for sewer piping. Today the Canton site has been developed into a park.