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The earliest European settlers of what eventually became the Town of Norwood arrived from Dedham in the late 17th century. The attraction was the swift moving Neponset River in present day South Norwood near the East Walpole line. The Neponset River was to become the driving force for the Town's development throughout the next two centuries. Known officially as the second parish of Dedham, most inhabitants referred to their village by its Indian name, Tiot. The population grew through the 18th century, and names such as Tiot, Morse Village, and Ellis distinguished the various population centers within South Dedham. On February 13, 1872 Norwood became a town of Norfolk County when the Act of Incorporation was approved by the General Court. At that time, 1,825 people, almost exclusively Anglo/Saxon Protestant, lived within its area of 10.48 square miles. Spurred by its status as a separate town, Norwood was launched into a growth pattern. Between the years 1872 and 1922, industry replaced agriculture as the economic base of the community. Many of Norwood's industries were world-famous for their products. Several of these old industries have since dissolved or moved out but others have survived and prospered. Attracted by the rise of new industry, various foreign-born people moved into the Town and the population increased to over 12,600. The influx and assimilation of immigrants has placed Norwood among the most culturally diverse towns of its size and type in New England. Economic and physical expansion culminated in the "Town Manager" for of government in 1914 as a more effective way to administer the growing town. Industrial development continued in Norwood through the mid-20th century. After World War II a gradual shift to high tech occurred in Norwood. Major corporations have found Norwood's proximity to Boston and access to major east coast population centers to be attractive for business. The Town is now considered one of the more important manufacturing, suburban-residential, and wholesale and retail trade centers south of Boston.
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