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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.
The First Baptist Church originally stood at the foot of Vernon st, near 686 Washington St, current site of Byblos restaurant and Burn Boot Camp (home of New England Taekwondo and Ice Jack for many years).
In September of 1938, Norwood was struck hard with the Hurricane of ’38. Many houses and buildings throughout Massachusetts were damaged or destroyed, and Norwood was no exception.
Trees were knocked down all over town and several buildings and houses were struck, but the most dramatic loss in Norwood was the spire at the First Baptist Church.
The fall of the church spire was captured in a several photos.
The replacement spire was a different, smaller style and changed the look of the Church completely.
In 1951, a new church was built near the corner of Bond and Walpole streets and the old church was torn down.