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Arabella Elizabeth Park (1853-1891), Early Norwood Educator


Harrison G. Park (1806-1876) was ordained as minister of the South Church of Dedham in 1829. In 1830, he married Julia Bird, daughter of George Bird of East Walpole. Julia Bird Park died in 1835. A few months later, in September, 1835, Park left the South Church of Dedham and served in Massachusetts and Vermont.


In 1837 he married for a second time. His wife was Elizabeth Bird (1814-1882), daughter of George Bird, and sister of his first wife, Julia. The couple had eight children: Julia, Ebenezer, Henry, Montgomery, Calvin, Francis, Hannah, and Arabella Elizabeth.


Arabella Elizabeth Park, the youngest child of Harrison and Elizabeth Bird Park was born on October 2, 1853. She attended school in Dedham, receiving a diploma for fours years in the high school there. She then graduated from Boston Normal School as a teacher in 1873.


Identified as A. Lizzie Park in the Norwood town reports, she taught at the Everett School from 1874 until 1884. During those years she worked between 37 and 40 weeks per year at a salary of between $364 and $420 annually. She lived with her mother on Nahatan Street until her mother’s death in 1882 after which she continued to reside there with her sister Julia Park Hale. In 1885 to 1886, Arabella Elizabeth Park was in charge of the Dexter School in Dedham. After leaving the Dexter, Park opened a private school in her home in Norwood and ran it successfully for a number of years.

Dexter School in Dedham

Everett School occupied the site of present day Norwood Post Office


As Carlos Slafter wrote in 1905 in A Record of Education: Schools and Teachers of Dedham: “By natural gifts and solid acquirement, she was well qualified for the duties of a teacher, but her chosen work was not to continue.” After an illness of several weeks, Arabella Elizabeth Park died in Norwood on November 24, 1891 of heart disease. She was 38 years old.


Her sister, Julia Park Hale, was the executrix of her estate.


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