PROGRESS IGNORES NORWOOD, ONCE LEADER IN CHARLEVOIX
Charlevoix- Probably no town in Michigan has been so roughly trampled under the fee of progress as the little village of Norwood, located on the Lake Michigan shore 12 miles south of Charlevoix. Every move for the advancement of Charlevoix County has further isolated this once prosperous village, whose history antedates that of any other community in this section.
In 1860, Norwood was the leading settlement in Charlevoix County. Although it was not organized as a township until 1869, the bulk of the county’s commercial activities were located there. Norwood’s position at the head of Grand Traverse Bay and on the only north and south state road along Lake Michigan gave it great advantage over other settlements. In 1866 a dock was built and an extensive business in shipping and fuel wood was established. This industry flourished, for in those days boats depended wholly upon wood as fuel, and both freight and passenger vessels stopped there regularly.
A sawmill was built at Norwood the same year the dock was built. It was the first steam mill on the west shore north of Traverse City. This mill cut the first hardwood lumber in Charlevoix county and afterward sawed millions of feet. The mill later burned down and the dock was carried away by ice.
The post office was established at Norwood in 1867, mail being carried here by and Indian from Traverse City. About this time fate began dealing harshly with Norwood. The Pennsylvania railroad was completed through the east end of the county to Petoskey, and with it came new settlements. Industry moved toward the railroad and the first slump hit Norwood. In 1892, when the Pere Marquette Railway Company extended a line to Charlevoix, efforts to route it through Norwood failed. This was a severe blow. The last blow came a few years ago when the state highway department rerouted fromer trunk line M-11 to a point four miles east of Norwood, through the Village of Atwood.
Thus Norwood’s downfall as a commercial center was complete. However, the village has since developed into a small scale resort, and proudly points out to the tourists its old cemetery with grave markers dating back to 1848; the former home of Rex Beach, novelist, and its old church, the first in Charlevoix County.
Norwood is said to be the warmest place on Lake Michigan north of Benton Harbor, the mercury never going lower than at that place. In clear, cold weather it will be from 10 to 15 degrees warmer there than at Charlevoix and other places near here. It is free from frost in the early fall and in 40 years has been the last place to have killing frost in the region.
Norwood is situated in the center of a great area of limestone deposits, now owned by a large cement concern.