Norfolk Town Hill
Built - 1995
The town of Norfolk was initially part of Dedham when the first settlers arrived in 1635. From the onset, these brave new residents were plagued with the normal problems of the wilderness living with the most prevalent issue being Indian wars with local tribes in that area, in their case the Wampanoag tribe. But as time went on, outstanding issues were settled and these brave adventurers tried to make the best life possible for themselves in this new land they had decided to live on.
Norfolk then became part of Wrentham and an important area of the colony with noted people passing through particularly a Mr. George Washington who spent the night at the tavern belonging to Josiah Ware later becoming the Mann store.
Around the turn of the century, circa 1800, Dr. James Mann innoclulated his oldest daughter and 2 of her cousins against the dreaded smallpox disease which had become the scourge of the country and exposed them to a man who was sick with the disease. Luckily, the vaccination worked and this became the first experimentation with this new smallpox vaccine in the country.
Other less notable events that happened in the area was when Charles Slocumb experimented with straw and produced the first man's straw hat in the mid 1800s. In 1870, Norfolk became incorporated and was no longer known as North Wrentham.
The quiet town decided to "re-sculpture" their town hill since they had completed the development and building of their beautiful new town hall. The old bandstand, which stood proudly for many years, was soon knocked down being in great disrepair and now too small for use to accommodate the bands of the day and singing groups which frequented the hill. Thus in 1994, their new bandstand project was started by Woodvisions of New Hampshire at a total cost of $75,000. The town initially gave $25,000 to the project with donations and fund raising completing the amount needed. The brick walkway, which is engraved with many of the town's contributors of the bandstand, was completed in 1996 to complete the setting.
Most of the town's citizens embraced the new project of beautification of the hill but many of the older townspeople wanted to keep the old bandstand and not disturb their hill but the majority finally ruled in this case. After completion, even these town "purists" gave in and admired the newly-renovated and landscaped area which features its new 24-foot octagonal-shaped bandstand of two levels with one having steps with a bi-level cedar shaped roof. The floor is made of concrete with a seal of the town of Norfolk engraved in the center in bronze. The top of the roof is adorned with a hawk weathervane. Surrounding the bandstand are built-in benches for listeners' convenience. The new bandstand was given much thought prior to its being built and the final product is one the town is very proud of and extremely happy the former bandstand, built in 1914, was replaced.
On June 23, 1996, the formal dedication was held to also commemorate the town's 125th year of incorporation. Along with this happy day of celebration, the bandstand has been used for concerts, choral singers, especially at Christmas time with bell ringers, and children's groups who gather inside the bandstand for meetings and/or special events. The most important event to date has been a wedding that was performed by the town's newly-appointed Justice of the Peace, who is also the Town's Clerk - Marie Chrofalo. Cheryl Jacques, the town's State Senator and Representative Scott Brown, have also made appearances on the structure.
INFORMATION PROVIDED BY:
Thelma Ravinski, Co-Chairman
of Norfolk Historical Commission
& member of Town Hill Committee