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The Town of Norwell is an affluent suburban community in Plymouth County which still retains some of its past rural character. Bounded by the North River, Norwell attracted settlers for its agricultural land and its water power potential. Colonists built grist and sawmills on the river as well as boatyards, and shipbuilding was a major industry in Norwell until the draft of boats being built outstripped the depth of the river. Poultry farming became the largest business in town and flourished until a virus killed off the flocks, wiping out many of the producers. The farmers had to sell off their land to developers, triggering a period of residential development and growth for the town. The end of the Second World War brought the G.I. Bill which provided low-interest loans for veterans and created a building boom that almost doubled the town's population between 1950 and 1955. This brought people with a diversity of backgrounds to what had been a homogeneous English and Scottish town. The new immigrants, unlike those which came to other area towns for mill jobs in the 19th century, are generally executives in the companies which occupy surrounding office parks. Norwell now has a suburban residential character which residents feel has not detracted from its charm as a small, friendly, rural town. (Seal supplied by community. Narrative based on information provided by the Massachusetts Historical Commission)
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