A short history of Norwood, Ohio, written by former Society member Mildred Schulze
Norwood had its beginnings with an Indian trail widened by General "Mad Anthony" Wayne, who was moving his troops against a hostile tribe of Indians encamped on the banks of the Millcreek in what is now St. Bernard. As early as 1809 Samuel D. Bowman had purchased a tract of land lying within the northern fork of two roads, Montgomery, a State road, and Smith Road, a County one, leading into Carthage Avenue. There he established a tavern for travelers. He was soon joined by John Sharp, who it is thought had a country store nearby. A little settlement began, and from its beginning up to 1888, the community was called "Sharpsburg." Later it was renamed by the wife of an early realtor, Sarah Bolles, who admiring the view from the window of her North Norwood farm one day, thought of the name "North-woods," which when contracted became "Norwood."
In those early years the village was largely farms or pasture lands, plus two or three small subdivisions with a few houses. There were no streets, no sidewalks, no lights, no water system. But there was a frame town hall on Montgomery Road and Elm Avenue, and a vigorous Town Hall Association with an equally ambitious Ladies' Aid Society to assist it. To attain improvements the villagers saw that they must incorporate. Accordingly, their leaders started proceedings, and Norwood became as incorporated village on May 14, 1888. The signers of the petition were almost the entire male population of a total census of 1,000.
The village grew to unexpected proportions, and as the years passed the governing body annexed surrounding properties north and east, later south and west. With such aggressive developers as L. C. Hopkins, Louis G. Hopkins and A. G. Boffinger, subdivisions were begun. The realtors offered prospective homeowners free train rides to Norwood for a survey of the lots for sale.
It was not surprising that in 1902 council members began to talk of advancing the status of Norwood from village to City. A popular vote substained their view. After legal proceedings, Norwood became officially a city by the proclamation of Mayor George E. Mills on May 4, 1903.
Already in 1894 nearly seventy passenger trains a day passed through Norwood and stopped at six different railroad stations. With the constuction of streets and sidewalks, the introduction of street cars, telephones, and a water system noted for its excellence, Norwood became attractive not only for homeowners, but also to businesses and factories.
Within the years 1897 - 1898 the Bullock Electric Company became a part of Norwood, the first factory of its kind to appear in the area. It is now known as Siemens-Allis, Inc. Other companies moved in during the next eighty years to change the contour of the city. Today with a population of roughly 28,000, multiplied by the daily influx of out-of-town workers to its many businesses and factories, Norwood is a city still growing and on the move.
There are presently two organization in Norwood that have interests in the preservation of Norwood history. They are the Norwood Historical Society and the Half-Century Club of Norwood.
The newly formed Norwood Historical Society's membership is open to any Norwood resident who has a sincere interest in the preservation and research of Norwood history.
Evening meetings will be held monthly on pre-announced dates.
The Half-Century Club of Norwood is for people who have lived in Norwood for fifty years or longer, or who lived in Norwood fifty years ago. It is not necessary to have had a continuous residence.
The Half-Century Club has afternoon programs at two o'clock in the basement of the Norwood Library on the fourth Wednesday of March, May, July, September and the third Wednesday of November.
There is a mutual interest and cooperation between the two clubs, and some citizens belong to both clubs.
ISSUED BY THE NORWOOD HISTORICAL SOCIETY