The Biggest, Busiest and Best Suburb in New England

The Biggest, Busiest and Best Suburb in New England: George F. Willett & Progressive Era Municipal Reform in Norwood, Massachusetts
By Heather S. Cole
Rock Street Press, 2022

During the Progressive Era, one dynamic and visionary businessman-reformer undertook a decades-long project to transform a small, industrial, working-class town into a model 20th century community. A wealthy industrialist by the time this study begins in 1900, the businessman-reformer George F. Willett spent more than a million dollars of his own money trying to turn the town of Norwood, Massachusetts into the “biggest, busiest and best suburban municipality in New England,” and a model for other towns across the country.

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