Norwood Historical Society

Established on May 2, 1978, the Norwood Historical Society is a non-profit volunteer based organization. With an average of 60 members, the society’s mission is to collect, preserve, exhibit, interpret, publish and educate about the history of Norwood, Ohio. Currently, they have an archive room open by appointment, in the Community Center at 1810 Courtland Ave. It is filled to the brim with documents, pictures and artifacts that have been donated to the society for decades, and they will begin digitally cataloging these items soon. 

 

 

The Buildings

The City of Norwood is approximately 3.15 square miles, yet it supports a tight knit community of nearly 20,000 people in over 8,000 homes. The majority of Norwood’s homes were built between 1890 and 1930 making it a particularly older stock of housing partly because new home construction is a rarity compared to surrounding cities. The residents appreciate the historic homes and often have a shared interest in learning about their home’s history. The Northwestern portion of Norwood features many Sears ready made homes as it was the last section of Norwood to be built upon in the housing stock. The older sections of Norwood, which is South of the Lateral, contain a mixture of Victorian and Presidential style homes with original stained glass windows and varying character from street to street. 

“This is not a place where all the homes look the same. The historic character, over a dozen parks and walkability make this place special.” -Noah Powers III, Esq, City of Norwood Safety-Service Director

Norwood circa 1969: The GM plant is visible in the back and the empty lot is where Surrey Square is now.

Centrally located, and an enclave surrounded by the City of Cincinnati, Norwood has a small town vibe with the convenience of being inside a larger metropolitan area. Another plus is that the new development is not taking historic housing away from the community. For example, Factory 52 created 400 new units nestled within mixed-use commercial entertainment and lifestyle amenities with environmentally conscious building efforts by PLK.

 

Photo from Factory 52

 

Sites of Black History

Recently, the Society got the Ohio Historical Marker approved for the Marsh Park project. This makes Norwood’s second marker ever and after submitting 122 pages of evidence and write-up to Ohio History Connection this year, Norwood was one of 22 approved applications in the entire state making this a huge accomplishment. The marker will be fabricated in 2024 for installation and you can follow the Society for up to date details as to when that will be. The single acre of land now known as Marsh Park was created as a park in 1922 as a result of eminent domain. In the middle of the site once stood a four-family dwelling that was inhabited by an African American woman named Miranda Boulden Parker (the widow of a great Underground Railroad conductor named John P. Parker). Parker moved to Madisonville after racist acts made life in Norwood too difficult. Further racist attempts to drive African Americans from Norwood after one married couple purchased the adjacent empty lot with the purpose to build, led to the demolition of the dwelling and the creation of Marsh Park. Learn more about the important history of Marsh Park on Cincinnati Sites and Stories here

Events and Services

Not only will the Society provide history for your home but they will also teach you how to research with presentations for the public called ‘How to Research Your House’ and ‘How to Research Your Roots’ which is about genealogy. Up next will be a big prohibition event in January 2024… stay tuned for details! 

Stained glass skylights in Norwood City Hall

Fun Facts

  • Founded in 1888, Norwood served as the birthplace and home for numerous office, manufacturing, service, and retail businesses.
  • The Cincinnati Subway went through Norwood and some tunnels are still there today.
  • Norwood has its own (recently upgraded) water system and during the flood of 1937, the city provided aid to Cincinnatians with temporary housing and water. 
  • The book, Norwood 1940-1979, by Susan Daniels published by Arcadia is available in stores. 
  • More signage, book and video projects are in the works as the Historical Society continues to interview older Norwood residents, veterans and teachers.
  • Norwood is the only participant in Cincinnati’s GoVibrant program that incorporates history into their walking signs. 

Ways to Support

You can join the Society for just $15 a year, purchase ornaments, sign up for their monthly newsletter on their Facebook page, or purchase a “’home bundle” for $50 which includes research on your homes’ history, a one year membership, a book, ornament and a history report of your home with photos and documents. Email the Society at norwoodohiohistory@gmail.com for more information.

The Norwood Historical Society are members of the Norwood Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Local Historical Alliance, Museums and Historic Sites of Greater Cincinnati and American Association for State and Local History.

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