Norfolk Massachusetts, 1890

Norfolk is a farming town, with some manufactures, lying in the midst of the southwestern section of Norfolk County, about 23 miles southwest of Boston, on the New York and New England Railroad. The stations are Highland Lake, Norfolk (centre) and City Mills. The last two are post-offices. The other villages are Pondville in the southeast, and Stony Brook in the south part of the town. Norfolk is bounded on the north by Medway, Millis and Medfield, on the east by Walpole and Foxborough, on the south by Wrentham, and west by Franklin. The assessed area is 9,056 acres. There are 3,772 acres of woodland.

The surface of the land is uneven, somewhat rocky, and in the northeast and southeast, hilly. Stop Brook runs northerly along the eastern border, affording power at Highland Lake ("Campbell's Station" formerly); and Mill River, flowing in the same direction in the western part, drives the machinery at City Mills. Popolatic Pond, of 74 acres, in the northwest section of the town, and several smaller bodies of water near the centre and at the south and southeast, diversify the quiet scenery.

The crops which were proportionately large were cranberries, apples and strawberries. The value of the aggregate product of the 94 farms, in 1885, was $85,726. Forty-nine persons were employed in the woollen mill, 18 in the paper mill, and 30 persons were engaged in making straw goods. Other manufactured products were lumber (1 mill), metallic goods, mixed textiles, and boots and shoes. The value of the manufactures was $295,592. The population was 825 and the legal voters numbered 178. The valuation in 1888 was $467,318, with a tax-rate of $11.50 on $1,000. There were then 183 taxed dwelling-houses.

The town has six public-school buildings; and the Norfolk Public Library in 1888 had 250 volumes. The " Enterprise '' is the weekly newspaper of the town. There are two churches, the Baptist and the Congregationalist.

This locality: was for a long period known as North Wrentham. The present town was formed from parts of Wrentham, Franklin, Medway and Walpole, and incorporated February 23, 1870. The boundary line with Wrentham was revised in 1871.

Dr.: John Edwards Holbrook, a distinguished naturalist, and author of "American Herpetology" and other important works, was a resident of this town at the time of his death, September 8, 1871.

pp. 505-506 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890