Dr. Know takes on the origin of an obscure nickname for Norwood in this response from the March 2013 issue.
I’ve heard that a nickname for the city of Norwood is Swamp Poodle Town. Could you please tell me the origin of the name—or at least explain what it means? —Norwoodian
Dear Norwoodian:What Swamp Poodle Town does not mean is a neighborhood blessed by the presence of gamboling herds of Swamp Poodles. Swamp Poodles, also known as Boykin Spaniels, are smallish retrievers created by the sporting set to paddle around Wateree River estuaries gathering up quail and pheasant corpses from the South Carolina wetlands, a favorite wintering area for bird-slaughtering plutocrats. The shooting parties created the Boykin breed decades after the founding of your hometown, so it stands to reason that the old nickname was not referring to the dog. The Doctor, a notoriously lazy researcher, believes there may have been an early and nostalgic Norwood settler from the District of Columbia, where there was a mid-19th century Irish neighborhood known as Swampoodle. The Swampoodle of our nation’s capitol became home to the Daniel Burnham–designed Union Station. One can understand why Burnham’s vast Beaux Arts masterpiece was not named for the neighborhood, and indeed, why the unlovely nickname has not been embraced by your own city’s rather touchy civic groups, who must work constantly to battle unkind Norwood epithets.
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