Wonderful Women of Norwood: Anna Groote
By: Laurie Kearney, Linda Rau, & Karen DeNapoli (Norwood Historical Society Board Members )
Wonderful Women of Norwood
In celebration of Norwood’s 150th Anniversary, the Norwood Historical Society would like to pay homage to the “wonderful women “ of our town’s history. These women contributed to the building and formation of Norwood in less visible ways than those of their male counterparts; but their contributions were invaluable. They are the “quiet heroes” of our town.
The Norwood Historical Society would like to present Anna Groote as an important woman in Norwood’s history.
Anna was born in Germany and married Franz “Frank” Groote in Germany in 1864. Anna and Frank came to the United States from Wehringhausen, Germany in May of 1887 through New York. They came to Norwood sometime after that and on the 1900 census were listed as living at 95-97 Wilson St. and had one child who had died. The jobs at the Winslow & Smith Tannery most likely brought them to the town and they settled in the Gemantown neighborhood of Norwood. Germantown was made up of Wilson and Walpole Sts. in Norwood and Bullard Street in Walpole.
Anna was active in the Germantown community and helped many other immigrants to the neighborhood. Sometime after her husband Frank died in 1909, Anna began taking patients into her house to care for them, where language and custom was familiar to those who fell ill. Norwood did not have a hospital, and the only small medical facility was the practice of Dr. Norton a few miles from the Germantown neighborhood. Anna’s hospital grew and was overseen and tended by Dr. Thomas O’Toole. It expanded to have patient rooms, a nursery, and an operating theatre. Nurses lived in the small cottage on the property. This provided an important resource for other immigrants in Norwood, especially from the Germantown, and Swedeville neighborhoods.
During this time, the Krueger family was also living at the Wilson St. address. The young Krueger couple had two boys, Charles and Kurt. The Krueger’s divorced. Both parents remarried and the father Julius and his new wife moved to Boston. The mother Ottolie , according to the 1910 census, remained and continued to live at 95 Wilson St. and worked as a nurse in the Wilson Street Hospital.
By 1920, the two Krueger boys had been adopted by Anna Groote and used the Groote surname. There is no clear information on why this adoption took place, especially as the mother Ottolie was still living there. Speculation is that it financially helped the divorced mother in the raising of the two boys.
The hospital, with Anna as director and Dr. O’Toole as physician, was active from approximately 1909 until around 1919 after the Spanish Flu pandemic when George Willett consolidated Dr. Norton’s practice and the old Corner House to make up the first Norwood Hospital. Anna remained a vital part of the Germantown neighborhood and mother to Charles and Kurt. In her later years, she went to live with Kurt and his family on Fisher St., in Walpole where she died June 10, 1927.
Anna was a great example of how women stepped up to contribute in a positive and vital way to the Town of Norwood.
Influenza and Inequality, by Patricia J. Fanning
Laurie Kearney, Archivist
Norwood a History, by Patricia J. Fanning
Norwood Historical Society archives