Off the Beaten Path in Williamsburg

“Roads Scholar: Off the Beaten Path in Williamsburg” by Heather S. Cole
VA Homeschoolers Voice, January-February 2019

The annual Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers Conference is moving to Williamsburg this spring. For those of you bringing your family (and we hope you do!), here are some things to do in the area before or after the conference.

The Usual Suspects

If you have not yet been to Colonial Williamsburg or the historic sites of Jamestown and Yorktown, then by all means put them on your list. If you visit Jamestown or Yorktown, make sure to ask about the homeschool discount. But if you’re looking for some things a bit off the beaten path…

Free Activities

If the weather is good and your little ones need to burn off some extra energy, Williamsburg has two parks that locals recommend. Freedom Park is located about 10 miles from the conference hotel and is open daily until sunset. There is a playground, two miles of hiking trails and more than 20 miles of mountain biking trails in the park. Freedom Park is also home to the free Williamsburg Botanical Gardens and a Treetop Adventure Course ($28-58 per person). Veterans Park, located about six miles from the conference hotel, is open daily until 10:00 p.m. and is home to Kidsburg, a 30,000-square-foot lighted playground. It also has lighted basketball and tennis courts and Wifi.

Another option for good weather is the Yorktown Beach. Although March will probably be too cold for swimming (except for my kids!), you can take a stroll along the mile-long pedestrian Riverwalk or watch the kids play in the sand. Or visit the nearby Fishing Pier and try your hand at fishing, crabbing or spotting dolphins. No fishing license is required for fishing at the pier.

The College of William and Mary, located adjacent to Colonial Williamsburg, is also worth a visit, if for no other reason than to admire the 18th century buildings or throw a frisbee in the sunken garden in front of the historic Wren Building. Older students may be interested in taking a tour of the college, led by current students. Admissions information sessions and tours are offered twice-daily on weekdays and select weekends. See their website for details.

There are several local businesses providing boat rentals or tours, but for a free trip across the James River, checkout the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry. The car ferry runs from the end of Rte. 31 at the Jamestown Settlement, across the river and back. The ferry runs 24 hours per day, 365 days per year and you can take a car across or ride as a passenger. (But note that there is nowhere to park your car near the ferry dock.) The crossing is 15-20 minutes in each direction.

Indoor Play Areas

If the weather is crummy, the Williamsburg Indoor Sports Complex (WISC) and Bounce House/Laser Tag offer pay-to-play rock climbing, laser tag, bounce houses and other activities. WISC is open daily until 8:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays. Admission is $20 per person for 90 minutes, but they offer a homeschool discount during the day on weekdays and a family discount on Sundays. Bounce House/Laser Tag admissions is $9-15 per person and they are open until 8:00 p.m., 10:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Newport News/Hampton

If you’re willing to travel a bit further, the Newport News/Hampton area is about a 30-minute drive from Williamsburg and has several additional family-friendly options.

Got a kid interested in tanks and big guns? The U.S. Army Transportation Museum at Joint Base Langley-Eustis might be worth a visit. Admission and parking are free, although you will be required to show identification and check in at the Guard House on base in order to visit. See their website for details on what is required. The museum is open Tuesday thru Saturday from 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

What about ships or the Civil War? The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News has a huge collection of maritime-related artifacts including ship models, scrimshaw and artwork. The museum is also home to a full-scale replica of the USS Monitor, the Civil War ironclad ship, and a theater showing maritime-related films. Best of all, the museum just reduced their admission price to $1 for all. ($6 additional for the movie theater.) The museum is open daily until 5:00 p.m.

Or is your kiddo obsessed with space exploration? The Virginia Air & Space Center at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton has a number of interactive exhibits for aspiring scientists, as well as historic spacecraft and an IMAX theater. There is also a Ham Radio station in the museum and an exhibit especially for preschoolers. Admission starts at $19.50 for adults, $16 for children.

Thanks to the homeschoolers on Facebook who recommended their favorite Williamsburg-area activities. Click on over to The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers’ page for more suggestions or to share your own: facebook.com/groups/virginia.homeschooling/.

Heather Cole edits the Roads Scholars column and is always looking for suggestions on places to visit in Virginia (and beyond) that are off the beaten path. She homeschools her 10- and 11-year-old boys and can be reached at VoiceEditor@vahomeschoolers.org attn: Roads Scholars.

WEBSITES

Bounce House/Laser Tag: bouncehouselasertag.com

College of William & Mary: wm.edu/about/visiting/

Colonial Williamsburg: colonialwilliamsburg.com

Freedom Park: jamescitycountyva.gov/1324/Freedom-Park

Historic Jamestown: historicjamestowne.org

Jamestown Settlement: historyisfun.org

Jamestown-Scotland Ferry: virginiadot.org/travel/ferry-jamestown.asp

Mariners’ Museum: marinersmuseum.org

U.S. Army Transportation Museum: transportation.army.mil/museum/

Veterans Park: tinyurl.com/ycd232o3

Virginia Air & Space Center: vasc.org

Williamsburg Indoor Sports Complex: thewisc.com

Yorktown Battlefield, Yorktown, VA: nps.gov/york

Yorktown Beach & Fishing Pier: visityorktown.org/163/Outdoor-Fun

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Road Schooling Virginian Presidents

“Road Schooling the Homes of Virginian Presidents” by Heather S. Cole
VA Homeschoolers Voice, November-December 2018

colegeorgewashingtonPop quiz: What state was birthplace to the greatest number of U.S. presidents? If you said Virginia, you’re right. Bonus points if you can name all eight presidents and their Old Dominion homes.

As a recent transplant, I was intrigued to come across this bit of trivia a few months ago. We had already visited Mount Vernon and Monticello, so why not make a whole unit study of Virginia presidents? It seemed like a good way to spend a summer (or winter) break. We grabbed some kid-friendly biographies and hit the road.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon, home of our first president, is located on the Potomac River south of the Washington, D.C. metro area. We went there during their Revolutionary War Weekend in early May and had so much fun talking to re-enactors and watching battles that we never actually made it on the house tour!

Mount Vernon offers a variety of thematic tours, demonstrations and children’s activities throughout the year. Next time we plan to go on their National Treasure Tour that takes visitors behind-the-scenes and to some of the locations that were in the 2007 Disney movie of the same name. The museum also offers discounted homeschool days in the spring and fall.

The Mount Vernon website has a nice virtual tour of the estate, background information on Washington, lesson plans and thematic homeschool guides.

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

Our third president and author of the Declaration of Independence called Charlottesville home. We paired our visit to Monticello with lunch at the nearby Mitchie Tavern, which serves a buffet-style lunch in an 18th century tavern, complete with period-costumed wait staff. If the weather is warm, you could also pack a picnic and have lunch on the grounds of the Jefferson-designed Rotunda at the University of Virginia, just a short drive away.

Monticello offers a number of tours, including those focused on the lives of the enslaved residents of the estate. We took the Family Friendly Tour, which is offered during late December and select other times throughout the year. The tour guide began by giving each child an object related to Jefferson to hold (an oversized nickel, a copy of the Declaration of Independence, a quill pen), then asked the children to share their object with the rest of the group at a relevant point in the tour. This ingenious tactic served the dual purpose of keeping little hands busy and engaging the kids in the tour.

Monticello also hosts a Home Educators’ Day in the fall and their website has background information and lesson plans on Jefferson.

James Madison’s Montpelier

Thirty miles northeast of Charlottesville, near the town of Orange, is the home of our fourth president, James Madison. Best remembered as architect and promoter of the US Constitution, Madison also served in our first Congress prior to being elected president in 1808.

Montpelier offers a variety of thematic tours, and we chose their family tour: Discovering Montpelier. This tour was our absolute favorite of all the presidential home tours. Rather than marching through the details of Madison’s biography, this tour focused instead on how historians know the things they do about the past. In each room, the tour guide shared an artifact from Madison’s life (a letter, a painting, a scrap of wallpaper) and talked about how it was discovered and how it shed light on something about him, his family or the house. The guide ended the tour by reminding us that archaeologists continue to make discoveries about the house, and sent us to their Archaeological Lab to see how newly discovered artifacts are cleaned, labeled and stored.

My 10-year-old was absolutely enthralled by that idea that he, too, could make an archaeological discovery. When he found a bit of metal half-buried near the Montpelier parking lot, he was ready to launch a full-scale dig to uncover more artifacts. I told him to start saving his allowance: Montpelier offers week-long “expeditions” where kids (ages 12+ and accompanied by a parent) can work alongside professional archaeologists on an actual dig on the grounds of Montpelier. The Montpelier website has information about this and other educational programs at the estate, as well as several articles relating to Madison and the US Constitution.

James Monroe’s Highland

It’s one thing for a kid to uncover a previously-overlooked metal artifact, but what happens when the discovery is a whole new building? The staff at James Monroe’s Highland faced just this dilemma in 2016, when an archaeological dig uncovered the foundation of a 1799 building under the front garden. It turns out that the building they had been interpreting as our fifth president’s home was not his original home, but instead a smaller guest house on the estate. (The original home burned down after Monroe sold the property.)

The tour of Highland focused on the varied accomplishments of our fifth president: Revolutionary War veteran, Virginia governor, ambassador, negotiator of the Louisiana Purchase. Staff explained that they are hoping to undertake a larger archaeological dig to learn more about Monroe’s original home and have recently rolled-out a “augmented reality” tour to give visitors an idea of how the estate may have looked during Monroe’s life.

Highland is located in Charlottesville, just a short drive from Monticello. The museum does not currently offer specialized family tours, but can do a discounted school group tour for ten or more people.

William Henry Harrison’s Berkeley Plantation

William Henry Harrison, our ninth president, is notorious for serving the shortest term in office (a mere 31 days) and being the first US president to die in office (of what was then believed to be pneumonia). I was eager to see how interpreters at his Charles City birthplace would tell the story of his brief presidency.

The 45-minute tour of Berkeley Plantation actually made only cursory mention of Harrison and, instead, focused on telling the fascinating history of the colonial-era estate, which was also the birthplace of a signer of the Declaration of Independence and served as a Union encampment during the Civil War. The museum, located on the James River between Richmond and Williamsburg, offers a kids scavenger hunt and discounted homeschool events twice a year.

John Tyler’s Sherwood Forest

The home of our 10th president, John Tyler, is located just a few miles down a winding Rte. 5 from Berkeley Plantation. Sherwood Forest was purchased by Tyler in 1842 and is currently owned by his grandson. (A great mathematical exercise would be to figure out how that is possible. Hint: it involves second marriages!) The house is only open for tours by appointment, but visitors can take a self-guided tour of the grounds. The highlight of our walk around Sherwood Forest, according to my kids, was their encounter with the Tyler family cat: “We met the grand-cat of a president!”

Zachary Taylor’s Montebello

Our 12th president was born in Orange County, but just barely. His father was in the process of moving the family to Kentucky when some of their traveling companions contracted measles. The whole group was quarantined, and took up temporary residence on an estate named Montebello, near Gordonsville, where Taylor was born. The actual house is no longer standing, but is marked by a historical marker.

Woodrow Wilson’s Birthplace

The most recent president born in Virginia was Woodrow Wilson. Born in Staunton, he served as our 28th president from 1913-1921. My kids toured his Staunton home through a one-day class offered by the Staunton Recreation Department. The highlights of the tour, according to my kids, were seeing Wilson’s “cool car” (a 1919 Pierce-Arrow limousine) and the guns in the museum’s World War I exhibition.

Visits to the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum include a guided tour of the house where he was born and self-guided explorations of the adjacent museum exhibits about Wilson’s life and presidency. The museum does not currently offer specialized family tours or homeschool programs, but does have several kid-friendly museum scavenger hunts.

Heather Cole is based in Staunton and homeschools her boys all over Virginia. She is the new editor of the “Roads Scholars” column and wants to hear from you about the best field trip destinations in Virginia. What are your favorite places to visit? What are the “hidden secrets” in your hometown? Do you have a favorite museum, beach or historic site that you’d like to share? Email your tips to: VoiceEditor@VaHomeschoolers.org.

 

Road Schooling the American Revolution

“Road Schooling American History: The American Revolution” by Heather S. Cole
VA Homeschoolers Voice, June-August 2018

coleminutemenI’m a public historian by training. While I was in graduate school, I helped K-12 social studies and history teachers figure out how to use primary sources in their classrooms. I’ve worked in archives and museums and used primary sources in my own research. Yet I’ll admit that my first instinct when homeschooling history with my own kids was to turn to the experts—historians, authors, documentarians—rather than letting my children loose on the “real stuff” of history. We visited several museums and historical sites—which were immensely valuable in bringing the past to life—but I taught an entire semester on the colonial period of American history without showing my kids a single land grant, treaty or narrative written by the people who lived through the events we discussed. They are too young to understand the language, I told myself. They won’t appreciate the historical context. We have so much material to cover, we just don’t have the time.

In retrospect, that was a mistake. History is not a passive pursuit: listening to other people tell us what happened in the past and why it mattered. History is interactive, dynamic and ever-changing. Interacting with primary sources allows us to become historians: to hear the voices of those who lived through events in the past, to use our previous knowledge to interpret these voices, and to compare multiple sources to grapple with the complexity of the past. This interaction and interpretation is what makes history FUN!

When we began homeschooling the American Revolution, I was challenged to find a way to bring my 8- and 9-year-old boys up-to-speed on the facts of this period in American history quickly enough that we could spend some time playing with primary sources. My solution was television. We used as our “spine” the animated television series Liberty’s Kids. Although it has been criticized for it’s too-gentle portrayal of slavery, I found the series to be surprisingly historically accurate and absolutely captivating for my kids. We covered the American Revolution in a pretty straight-forward chronological fashion. We would watch an episode or two of Liberty’s Kids, read a relevant book and then either visit a historic site or explore a primary source related to the topic.

We were fortunate to be able to coordinate our study of the American Revolution with a road trip to visit family and friends in New England. While in Massachusetts, we visited Minute Man National Historical Park—location of the battles of Lexington and Concord—and walked in the footsteps of Paul Revere and the minutemen. We visited the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum where the boys spent an afternoon practicing throwing crates of tea off the side of the recreated boat. While at the museum, we were each given a card with biographical information about one of the Sons of Liberty, and we had fun researching what happened to our person after the events of that day. If we had more time, there are a myriad of other sites that we could have visited along Boston’s Freedom Trail, including the home of Paul Revere and the location of the Boston Massacre. While visiting family in Vermont, we took a detour to Fort Ticonderoga in New York—which played a role in three wars in America’s early history—and the kids burned off extra energy running up and down the walls of the fort and pretending to shoot cannons at the other tourists.

Closer to home, we coordinated a visit to George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon with their annual “Revolutionary War Weekend.” My kids were so enthralled with watching the battles and talking to the re-enactors, that we didn’t even bother to tour the house. Several weeks later, we took a wonderful children’s tour of Monticello—home of Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence—in Charlottesville, followed by an 18th century “period meal” at the nearby Michie Tavern. We ended our unit study with a visit to Yorktown, site of the last major battle of the war. Thanks to Liberty’s Kids, my kids were familiar enough with the events at Yorktown that we were able to march over the redoubts and along the American siege lines and imagine what those last days of the war might have been like for the American, French and British soldiers fighting there.

As for the primary sources that I was determined to use with my kids… I’ll give myself a A for effort and a C for execution. During our study, we read the preambles to both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. The language was too complicated for them to really understand and they puzzled over the old-fashioned handwriting for about two seconds. It wasn’t until we watched the movie National Treasure (2004)where Nicolas Cage finds a treasure map on the back of the Declaration of Independence—that the kids got excited to recognize the document and it’s home in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

We had slightly better luck looking at some period art. The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker’s Hill and Washington Crossing the Delaware are both well-know paintings that you would likely recognize by sight, if not name. For both paintings, we looked at digital versions online and I asked the boys to describe what they saw happening and who they thought the people depicted might be. We also talked about why paintings like these were made and the issue of perspective/point of view in artwork. I’m not sure how much they really understood, but these are topics I plan to revisit.

I was also able to check “music” off our to-do list when we learned to sing two songs from the American Revolution: “Yankee Doodle” and “In the Days of ’76.” Thanks to the internet, we were able to print out sheet music and spent some time puzzling through the meanings of the lyrics. The kids were particularly tickled to learn that both the Americans and the British sang “Yankee Doodle”—with totally different lyrics and meanings.

If my kids were a bit older—or I had a lot more time—I would also have included in our primary source study the poem “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Written on the eve of the Civil War by an avowed abolitionist, the poem is terribly (and intentionally) historically inaccurate, yet depicts what most people think they know about that famous night in 1775. With middle or high school students, the poem could lead to wonderful discussions about myth-making, popular culture and how we remember the past. It would also be a great way to transition to a study of the Civil War. Instead, my kids and I wrapped up our study of the American Revolution with several rounds of Professor Noggin’s “American Revolution” card game. We completed this unit almost a year ago, and just last week my youngest put his grandfather to shame by winning the game by a landslide. I’ll consider that a success!

Heather Cole is a writer, historian and homeschooling mom of two 10-year-old boys. She has worked as a museum educator, ran a state-wide oral history project and worked on federal grants to train K-12 teachers on using local history resources in the classroom. She and her family moved to Staunton from the Boston area in 2014 and started homeschooling the following year.

Road Schooling the 13 Colonies

“Road Schooling American History: The 13 Colonies” by Heather S. Cole
VA Homeschoolers Voice, March-May 2018

jamestown2It is a fall ritual that many of us who attended public school will remember: rows of little boys and girls in black construction paper hats and brightly-colored feathered headbands file onto the stage of the school gymnasium. A few students carry baskets of food: turkey, applies, cranberries, maybe a pumpkin pie. They place the offerings around a crepe paper fire, join hands and sing a song or two about the Pilgrims, the Indians and the First Thanksgiving in the new world. Parents clap proudly, and everyone adjourns to the cafeteria for apple cider and popcorn.

When my husband and I pulled our second- and third-grade boys from public school and began our homeschooling journey, I was determined that we would teach American history differently from how we’d been taught. No textbooks, no worksheets, no silly reenactments of Thanksgiving that bore no resemblance to the historical event. We would teach history the way it should be taught: by hearing the stories and experiencing the places of our past first-hand. Fortunately, many of those places are right here in Virginia.

So we loaded our car with a few necessities: a timeline, an historical atlas and a few picture books that I’d screened for historical accuracy. We selected a soundtrack: the hilarious history parody songs from mrbettsclass.com. And we hit the road.

Jamestown

The boys and I began our study of American history at Jamestown. There are two sites that together tell the story of the Virginia Company settlers and the indigenous Powhatan and are each worth a full day’s visit. Historic Jamestowne (historicjamestowne.org) is on the site of the original 1607 James Fort and is still an active archaeological dig. We took a tour of the fort remains with a knowledgable and engaging National Park ranger and then spent the afternoon in the onsite archaeology museum. The exhibits in the museum tell the story of the men and women who settled at Jamestown, but—more interestingly—also tell the story of how present day archaeologists and historians study the artifacts from the past to learn about what happened at Jamestown. The most fascinating story was how, in just 2012, scientific testing of a skull and leg bone led forensic archaeologists to conclude that there had been cannibalism during the early years at Jamestown.

Jamestown Settlement (historyisfun.org), located nearby, comprises a recreated Powhatan village, a reproduction of one of the boats that brought the settlers to Jamestown, a recreation of James Fort (circa 1610-1614) and a museum about all of the above. Living history interpreters were at each location and spent time showing the kids what life was like in the village, on the boats and in the fort. The boys tried sewing moccasins and playing corn cob darts at the Powhatan village, hauled water to the fort and watched musket-firing demonstration. The museum also has a special exhibition about Pocahontas that tells the story of the real little girl behind the Disney movie.

Native American History & Literature

From Jamestown, we travelled (figuratively) north to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, then through the mid-Atlantic colony of Pennsylvania and finally down to North Carolina. We couldn’t manage actual road trips to these destinations, but did our best with a few maps and some good children’s literature. For each colony we studied, we started by learning about the people who lived there first—the Wampanoag, the Delaware, the Choctow—then talked about the European settlers.

It can be difficult to find books that depict marginalized groups in a respectful and historically accurate way. When in doubt, I look to the experts: authors from those groups. Louise Erdrich, Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve and Joseph Bruchac are among those who write beautiful children’s books about Native American history and culture. The website for Louise Erdrich’s bookstore, Birchbark Books (birchbarkbooks.com), also has a nicely curated collection of Native American books for adults and children.

I was particularly concerned about how to tackle the subject of Thanksgiving, since it has become so mired in myth and stereotypes. I sought guidance from the experts at Plimoth Plantation (plimoth.org) and we read several children’s books they recommended, followed by a chat about how and why we came to celebrate Thanksgiving the way we do today.

Frontier Culture Museum

I also wanted to make sure the kids understood the diversity of the people who lived in the thirteen colonies. There were wealthy landowners and colonial governors, but also indentured servants, small farmers, tradesmen and religious dissidents. There were also thousands of men, women and children brought to the colonies against their will and enslaved on plantations, farms and homes in every one of the colonies. Their experiences, both at home and in the new world, shaped the culture of what the colonies, and eventually the United States, would become.

Nowhere in Virginia captures those stories better than the Frontier Culture Museum (frontiermuseum.org) in Staunton. The outdoor living history museum is set up in two parts: one side is the “old world” where the lives of people from England, Germany, Ireland and West Africa are depicted just prior to their departure (or kidnapping) to America. The other side of the museum represents several periods in early American history (1740, 1820, 1850) with homes, a school house and church. Costumed interpreters demonstrate how cultures and customs from the old world came together as people from these diverse areas settled near each other in the Shenandoah Valley. We have been to the museum several times and, depending on the season, kids can try their hands at cooking, weaving, grinding corn, feeding animals and all sorts of other activities from the period. They also run a great summer camp that both of my boys have attended.

Williamsburg

We sometimes think of the colonial period as a 160-year-long march from Jamestown to the American Revolution. But the 17th century was rife with conflict between various Native American tribes, colonists and soldiers from both England and France, and the success of the colonies was in no way guaranteed. While we didn’t have the time to study every conflict, we did select a few battles from the French and Indian War and discussed what this country might look like if the English had lost.

We wrapped up our study of the thirteen colonies at the place most people think of when they think of the colonial period: Williamsburg (colonialwilliamsburg.com). We visited during their March homeschool days, which was their off-season and thus had less going on than during the summer. However, we still spent a full two days touring the buildings and listening to costumed interpreters talk about life on the eve of the American Revolution. The boys were particularly intrigued by all the craft buildings, where they learned how books, guns, shoes and wigs were made during the 18th century. It was also interesting to contrast the relative grandeur of Williamsburg with life on the frontier in Staunton, and that allowed us to talk about how life changed in the colonies over time. Williamsburg also served as a great transition to the next phase of American history on our agenda: the American Revolution.

Heather Cole is a writer, historian and homeschooling mom of two very active boys-now ages 9 and 10. She has worked as a museum educator, ran a state-wide oral history project and worked on federal grants to train K-12 teachers on using local history resources in the classroom. She and her family moved to Staunton from the Boston area in 2014 and started homeschooling the following year.

Transforming Norwood

uphamTransforming Norwood: Architect William G. Upham’s Contribution to Early 20th Century Norwood
By Heather S. Cole
CreateSpace, 2012

William G. Upham (1880-1966) was a Harvard-educated architect who designed or renovated more than 50 public and private buildings throughout New England between 1911 and 1954, gaining recognition as a designer of Colonial, Georgian and Gothic Revival buildings. A Norwood, Massachusetts native and resident, Upham designed some of the most important and prominent buildings in town—including the town hall, post office, theatre and high school—many which remain standing today. Upham’s work in town was contemporary with that of Norwood’s first town planner, George F. Willett, and landscape architect Arthur A. Shurtleff (a protégé of Frederick Law Olmsted), and the work of the three men led the transformation of Norwood from a rather haphazardly developed farming village-turned-industrial city into what Willett later described as a “model New England town.

Available from the Norwood Historical Society or on Amazon.com.

 

Remembering Norwood

Remembering NorwoodRemembering Norwood: Win Everett’s Tales of Tyot
Edited by Heather S. Cole and Edward J. Sweeney
The History Press, 2008

Long ago, when Norwood was only virgin forests and streams, the Neponset Indian tribe christened the region ‘Tyot’ a place of waters. The name lingered on the tongues of residents long after their home was renamed and the advent of railroads opened up the region once enclosed by rivers and lakes. As rugged farmhouses dotted the plains and Puritan spires rose above the trees, the sleepy ‘Tyot’ blossomed into the bustling community of Norwood. Decades later, journalist Win Everett preserved Norwood’s colorful history in his column ‘Tales of Tyot’. With stories of haunted taverns and superstitious soldiers, influenza and the industrial age, Everett profiles the fascinating people who left their marks on the pages of Norwood history. Available for the first time in a single volume, these articles bring three centuries of history to life through the artful voice of Norwood’s beloved storyteller.

Available from the Norwood Historical Society or on Amazon.com.

Images of South Norwood

southnorwoodImages of America: South Norwood
By Patricia J. Fanning and Heather S. Cole
Arcadia Publishing, 2004

Beginning in the late nineteenth century, immigrants streamed into Norwood, attracted by work at industrial sites such as Morrill Ink Works, Norwood Press, and Bird & Sons. Arriving from Lithuania, Poland, Syria, and Italy, they took up residence in the southernmost section of town, nicknamed “the Flats.” Facing prejudice and isolation from the more established community, the area became a self-contained neighborhood characterized by small businesses, ethnic cooperative markets, benevolent associations, and the St. George, St. Peter’s, and St. George Orthodox parishes. Today, the immigrant population still thrives, and generations of families keep this melting pot alive with fairs, festivals, and neighbors who truly care about one another.
Available from the Norwood Historical Society.