The following is a small round-up of Interesting dates in Hyde Park history during the month of February:
Before the town's incorporation, Mason residents of the area in the proposed town of Hyde Park petitioned and were granted dispensation of form a lodge. On February 15, 1866, the first meeting of the Hyde Park Lodge was called to order in a hall on Fairmount Avenue. Meetings were held here for a year until a hall on the corner of River Street and Hyde Park Avenue could be leased and fitted to Masonic purposes.
The Hermit of Hyde Park, James Gatly, was a native of England who eventually settled in Grew's Woods and was a skilled taxidermist, a profession stemming from his interest in ornithology. He died on February 2, 1875, at age 65, and his large collection of prepared birds, animals, and reptiles were sold to various buyers near and far.
On the same date of February 2 in 1885, the Young Men's Christian Association was organized in Hyde Park and comprised 13 members. Last year the YMCA reopened its newly renovated building at 1137 River Street.
One hundred and twenty-five years ago last week on February 15, 1886, massive flooding devastated Hyde Park. Swollen by snow melt and very heavy rainfall, the Neponset River and Mother Brook overflowed their banks. Of those situated near these water courses, some eighty or so families had to vacate their homes and many manufacturers and businesses suffered thousands of dollars in losses. The wooden bridge on Bridge Street was also swept away.
The Norfolk County Gazette published its first issue on February 26, 1870. Comprised of the Dedham Gazette (est. 1813) and the Hyde Park Journal (est. 1868), the newspaper continued publication in Hyde Park until 1877.
Source: Memorial sketch of Hyde Park, Mass.... Joseph King Knight, Edmund Davis, and Henry B. Humphrey, compilers. (Boston: L. Barta and Co., 1888)