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Town History

The town of Westwood was originally a part of Dedham, until it was officially incorporated in 1897.  An early account of the formation of Westwood is in the Dedham Historical Register of April 1897The pages of the register describing the separation of Westwood (then West Dedham) from Dedham can be found in this linked pdf document  As stated in the Dedham Historical Register, “The formation of a separate town by the division of the Town of Dedham is not a question of recent or sudden growth; it has been discussed at different intervals for many years.”  The final petition that resulted in the incorporation of the Town of Westwood was suggested in November of 1896.  The petition was quickly prepared and circulated once the residents of West Dedham realized that they must act quickly to receive consideration from the Legislature in 1897.  The original signers of the petition were:

Calvin S. Locke
Luther A Eaton
Henry E. Weatherbee
Benjamin Weatherbee
John L. Fisker
W. W. Baker
W Schluemeyer
Eustis Baker

Charles H. Ellis
Henry E. French
Henry S. Draper
Nicholas Furlong
Michael Mulverhill
Benjamin Fisher
Joseph L. Fisher
Daniel W. Parker

Dexter Baker
Charles Rohen
John W. Allen
George C Cheney
Joseph H. Walley
Reuben Colburn
Frederick Fisher
Simon W. Hathaway

 

It is interesting to note that the separation of Westwood from Dedham took seven public meetings and seven months from petition start to incorporation of the new town on April 2, 1897 which was not so coincidentally just 3 days before the state set appropriations for the coming fiscal year.  The new town was scheduled to be incorporated one month earlier in March but ran into problems in the Senate when on March 8, 1897, a senator from Nahant objected to the originally proposed name of Nahatan for the new town.  A change to the town name Westwood was quickly made and the bill was passed. 

The Dedham Historical Register makes no mention of the reasons for separation, but water rights to Buckmaster Pond has long been identified as fueling West Dedham residents to separate from Dedham.  The Dedham Westwood Water District (DWWD)  which can be traced back to the Dedham Water Company incorporated in 1876, provides a history of the district   http://www.dwwd.org/history) .  DWWD provides a detailed description of how Buckmaster Pond was considered for a water supply for Dedham but then was discounted because of the cost to transport the water from West Dedham to Dedham's town center almost 4 miles away .  Once Buckmaster Pond was determined to be an unacceptable water supply for Dedham town center, Dedham gave
the water rights of the pond to the Town of Norwood in 1885.  The residents of West Dedham lost a water supply close to their land which might have presented at least one reason for separation.