Updated: Aug 22
Everyone is familiar with Norwood’s post office; it has been serving the community well from the same location since the 1930s. But, the history of the institution dates back to the 1840s when Norwood was still a village within the town of Dedham. The first three men who held the office of postmaster are buried in Old Parish Cemetery.
South Dedham’s first postmaster was Moses Guild (1792-1857) (lot 53), one of the largest landowners and wealthiest men in the village. Established on December 18, 1846, a year before the the first U. S. postage stamps were issued, the “post office” was housed in the building at the corner of Washington and Nahatan Streets (where the United Church stands today) which was Jabez Boyden’s home and general store. It was a post office in name only. In fact, mail was inserted into a three-foot high cylindrical letter wheel made of wood and tin.
In1849, Guild was succeeded by Ebenezer Fisher Gay (1820-1871) (lot 82), who co-owned the Gay & Bigelow grocery store at the corner of Washington and Cottage Streets. During his tenure, the postal letter rack was moved to that site. Moses Guild returned as postmaster in April of 1857 for only a few months; he died in July of that year.
Following that loss, Mark Guild (1805-1868) (lot 65) was appointed to the position and held the post until 1861, by which time the mail holder had been relocated to the Norwood Hotel. As decades passed, the post office journeyed to various sites along Washington Street, landing for a time in Village Hall, the Bigelow Block, the Talbot Block, and the Norwood Associates Block until its permanent home on Central Street was built.
In case you are wondering, the original letter wheel remained on duty until 1895. The instrument is today part of the Norwood Historical Society’s collection.