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It is the mission and duty of the Norwood Historical
Commission to “promote the educational, cultural, economic and general
welfare of the public through the preservation and protection of the
distinctive characteristics of buildings and places significant in the history
Known as the “School on the Hill, famous for its majestic
columns, clock tower and copper-domed cupola, Norwood Senior High School was
designed by Norwood native William G. Upham in 1926. Unfortunately, this key landmark was
demolished in August 2011. While numerous area school districts won state grants to renovate, to build new
additions, and to help make their schools energy efficient through the
Massachusetts School Building Authority’s Green Repair Program, instead Norwood
chose to build a new “model” school.
Norwood lost an opportunity to preserve for future generations, this
particular work of William G. Upham; however, some of his other designs
fortunately still live on.
In October 2011, Norwood resident and historian Heather Cole
completed and presented a research paper entitled: Transforming Norwood: Architect William G. Upham’s Contribution to
Early 20th Century Norwood, Massachusetts History. Funding for this project was provided through
a Scholar-in-Residence grant from Mass Humanities, the state-based affiliate of
the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Harvard-educated and Norwood native William G. Upham
designed or renovated more than 50 public and private buildings throughout
New England between 1911 and 1954, gaining recognition as a designer of
Colonial, Georgian and Gothic Revival buildings. Upham’s work in town was contemporary with
that of Norwood’s first town planner, George F. Willett, and landscape
architect, Arthur A. Shurtleff, who was a protégé of Frederick Law
Besides Norwood Senior High School, other buildings designed
by Upham here in Norwood include:
Norwood Memorial Municipal Building, including the carillon tower,
located at 566 Washington Street (on the National Register of Historic Places);
Norwood Theatre at 109 Central Street (currently being restored); Norwood
Masonic Temple at 76 Day Street; Norwood Odd Fellows Hall at 661
Washington Street; Norwood Post Office at One Central Street; Norwood Pumping
Station on Route 1; the Nahatan Street Bridge (rededicated in 2009 in honor of Norwood
World War II veteran Col. George T. Lee); Norwood Junior High School now
the Guild Medical Center at 825 Washington Street; and Guild Theatre now
Conrad’s Restaurant at 728 Washington Street.
At present, the Norwood Historical Commission is building
the replica of the oldest school in Norwood (c. 1788) at the George H. Morse
Meeting House, Museum and Education Center at 1285 Washington Street in
South Norwood. This one room school, called the Little Red Brick School,
should be completed in 2012 and open to Norwood school children.
Following the completion of the Little Red Brick School,
this Commission plans to look into the restoration of St. Gabriel’s Chapel at
Highland Cemetery and the renovation of the Norwood Pumping Station.
The Norwood Historical Commission supports the
research currently underway by the Local Historic District Study Committee to
establish an historic district around Town Common and actively supports the
ongoing restoration of historic Norwood Theatre being done by Dover resident