|Town of Bridgewater|
Bridgewater Central Square
Location in the United States
|• Type||Town Council|
|• Total||28.2 sq mi (73.1 km2)|
|• Land||27.5 sq mi (71.2 km2)|
|• Water||0.7 sq mi (1.9 km2)|
|Elevation||104 ft (32 m)|
|• Density||940/sq mi (360/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (Eastern)|
|Area code(s)||508 / 774|
|GNIS feature ID||0619466|
Bridgewater is a town located in Plymouth County, in the state of Massachusetts, United States. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the town's population was 26,563. Bridgewater is located approximately 25 miles (40 km) south of Boston and approximately 35 miles east of Providence, Rhode Island.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 28.2 square miles (73 km2), of which 27.5 square miles (71 km2) is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) (2.62%) is water. Bridgewater is 99th out of the 351 communities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and eighth out of the twenty-seven municipalities in Plymouth County in terms of land area. The town is bordered by West Bridgewater to the northwest, East Bridgewater to the northeast, Halifax to the east, Middleborough to the south, and Raynham to the west. Bridgewater is approximately 5 miles south of Brockton, 10 miles northeast of Taunton, and 25 miles south of Boston, of which it is a suburb.
Neighborhoods in Bridgewater include Stanley, Scotland Park, Pratt Town, Paper Mill Village, and South Bridgewater.
Bridgewater lies along the Taunton River, which has several other rivers and brooks which branch off the main waterway. There are also several ponds, the largest of which is Lake Nippenicket along the western edge of the town. There is a state forest, a town forest, several conservation areas and a large portion of the Hockomock Swamp Wildlife Management Area, in the western part of town. Parts of this swamp give rise to the so-called Bridgewater Triangle, a small area of concentrated reports of strange Fortean phenomena, colonial "dark days", Bigfoot and mysterious black panthers, UFO sightings, and other weird encounters, a phrase coined by Loren Coleman, author of Mysterious America, often compared to the Bermuda Triangle.
|* = population estimate. |
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
As of the census of 2000, there were 25,185 people, 7,526 households, and 5,584 families residing in the town. The population density was 916.2 people per square mile (353.7/km²). There were 7,652 housing units at an average density of 278.4 per square mile (107.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 87.28% White, 17.47% People of Color.
There were 7,526 households out of which 38.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.5% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.8% were non-families. 19.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.27.
In the town, the population was spread out with 22.9% under the age of 18, 14.7% from 18 to 24, 32.9% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 8.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 110.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 111.9 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $65,318, and the median income for a family was $73,953. Males had a median income of $48,438 versus $32,383 for females. The per capita income for the town was $23,105. About 1.9% of families and 3.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.6% of those under age 18 and 6.1% of those age 65 or over.
Statistically, Bridgewater is the 71st largest town in the Commonwealth by population, and 110th by population density. In the county, Bridgewater ranks third in population and seventh in density.
In the late 1960s, the economy of Bridgewater was dependent upon the Old Colony Correctional Center and other Massachusetts Correctional Institutions of the MCD in Bridgewater, Bridgewater State Hospital and the Bridgewater Teacher's College (now the Bridgewater State University). Donald Cabana, who served as a prison guard at the Bridgewater prison and later became the superintendent of the Mississippi State Penitentiary, said that "the community promoted the fact that it was home to the United States's first "normal school" (teachers' college), while the prison was "often mentioned in less glowing terms".
Also, for most of the 1800s and beginning of the 1900s, Bridgewater's economy was largely dependent on the factories located within the town. Bridgewater is renowned and known for its iron works factories. One of which is appropriately named Bridgewater Iron Works, and is a registered historical site in Massachusetts. The majority of the Iron Works factory was torn down in 1994 and turned into a park, which is named Ironworks Park. Still, to this day, Bridgewater has numerous iron works companies still in business, namely Ashmont Iron Works, and Superior Nail & Iron. The town also had multiple paper mills, saw mills, and a boot & shoe factory. The old boot & shoe factory still stands today off Broad St. adjacent to the MBTA Commuter Train rail tracks and the Burger King. Although the factory no longer manufactures shoes, it still houses numerous businesses and storage units to this day.
Bridgewater was formerly governed on the local level by the open town meeting form of government, led by a Board of Selectmen until January 2011. Bridgewater is now led by seven Precinct Councilors, 1 per precinct, and two "at-large councilors", with an appointed Town Manager, Assessor, Tax Collector, for a total of nine Councilors. Bridgewater is one of thirteen Massachusetts municipalities that have applied for, and been granted, city forms of government but wish to retain "The town of” in their official names. This is from the majority 'Yes' vote on Question #1 at the April 24, 2010 annual town election, to change from a five-person, elected Board of Selectmen to a nine-person, elected Town Council, and thus abolishing the Annual Town Meeting, which was held in 2010 after generations. Town facilities are located at the center of town, with the Police Department headquarters being just west of the Square along Mass. Route 104. There are two fire departments in town, one next to the College and the other in the eastern part of town, directly behind the Town Hall. There is one U.S. Post Office branch, located just north of the town center along Mass. Route 18.
On the Commonwealth level, Bridgewater is represented in the Massachusetts House of Representatives of the General Court of Massachusetts as a portion of the Eighth Plymouth District, which includes Raynham and a small portion of Easton. In the Massachusetts Senate, the Town is a part of the First Plymouth and Bristol District, which also includes Berkley, Carver, Dighton, Marion, Middleborough, Raynham, Taunton and Wareham. The Town is also patrolled by the Fourth (Middleborough) Barracks of Troop 'D' of the Massachusetts State Police.
The Massachusetts Department of Correction operates several correctional facilities in the Bridgewater Correctional Complex in Bridgewater. The prisons in the complex include Bridgewater State Hospital, Massachusetts Alcohol and Substance Abuse Center, Massachusetts Treatment Center, and Old Colony Correctional Center.
On the national level, Bridgewater is a part of Massachusetts's 8th congressional district, which has been represented in the United States House of Representatives since 2001 by Stephen Lynch, a Democrat. The Commonwealth's senior member of the United States Senate, elected in 2012, is Elizabeth Warren. Warren defeated incumbent Republican Senator Scott Brown who had won a special election in 2010 to win the seat after the death of Ted Kennedy. Ed Markey became the commonwealth's junior Senator after he won a special election to the U.S. Senate to succeed John Kerry after his confirmation as United States Secretary of State. The Town also has a Massachusetts National Guard armory along Mass. Route 18.
Bridgewater shares its school district with neighboring Raynham, with both towns operating their own elementary and middle schools, and sending their students to a common high school. Bridgewater has one elementary school, George H. Mitchell Elementary School (south and west of the town center - formerly known as Bridgewater Elementary), which serves students from kindergarten through grade three. All the fourth, fifth, and sixth graders attend M.G. Williams Intermediate School, while seventh and eighth graders attend Bridgewater Middle School. The Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School is located in Bridgewater, west of the town center. B-R's athletics teams are nicknamed the "Trojans", and their colors are red and white. The athletic teams of the Bridgewater Middle School use the "Spartans" nickname.
In 2015, during February vacation, the roof of the Mitchell Elementary school collapsed due to heavy snow. The students at the elementary school were moved to Bridgewater Middle School, and the students at the middle school were split between the Williams Intermediate School and Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School.
Bridgewater was formerly home to two private schools which served students from preschool (Joyful Learning) and kindergarten through sixth grade (Southbrook Academy) until their closings after the 2012-2013 school year. There are also private schools in nearby Taunton and Brockton.
Bridgewater was formerly the site of the well-known, influential Bridgewater Academy, a private high school formerly located on the "Town Common" (park). It was attended by many leading young men of the area in the early and mid 19th Century, including a well-known Massachusetts-born merchant/philanthropist Enoch Pratt (1808-1896), in the late 1830s, who endowed the Public Library in his hometown of North Middleborough and also set up the world-famous Enoch Pratt Free Library, one of the first free public library systems in America.
The town is also home to Bridgewater State University, a public liberal arts university that was founded as a "normal school" (now teachers' school) in 1840. It is the largest of the state's nine state universities outside of the University of Massachusetts system itself. As of 2015, approximately 10,000 undergraduate students and 1,800 postgraduate students are enrolled at the college.
Bridgewater is the site of the intersection of Interstate 495 and Mass. Route 24, with only a one-mile stretch of the interstate highway running through the southwestern corner of the Town. Just north of this intersection along Mass. Route 24 are two large service areas, both of which have restaurants and a gas station. They are the only two such full service areas along Mass. Route 24, or, for that matter, anywhere along the highways of Southeastern Massachusetts (aside from a stop along U.S. Route 6 in Barnstable; that stop, however, is considered to be off the highway). At the center of town, Mass. Route 18, Mass. Route 28 and Mass. Route 104 meet at the Town Common. Mass. Routes 18 and 28, both north-south routes, are coextensive from this point south to the road's intersection with U.S. Route 44 in Middleborough. Mass. Route 104 passes from east to west, with ramp access to Mass. Route 24 in the west. A short portion of Mass. Route 106 passes along the town line in the northeast of town; Mass. Route 104 's eastern terminus is at that route, just along the East Bridgewater line.
The Middleborough-Lakeville line of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) commuter rail passes through the Town, with a stop at the southern end of Bridgewater State University's campus. The stop is just south of the University's main parking lots at the Southern Campus. There is a small air strip in nearby Taunton, and the nearest national air service can be found at T. F. Green Airport outside Providence and at Logan International Airport in Boston.
Artemas Hale (October 20, 1783 – August 3, 1882) was a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts.
Born in Winchendon, Massachusetts, Hale received a limited education and worked on a farm. He taught school in Hingham, Massachusetts from 1804 to 1814. He became interested in the manufacture of cotton gins in Bridgewater. He served as member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1824, 1825, 1827, and 1828. He served in the Massachusetts Senate in 1833 and 1834. He was again a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives 1838-1842. He served as delegate to the state constitutional convention in 1853.
Hale was elected as a Whig to the Twenty-ninth and Thirtieth Congresses (March 4, 1845 – March 3, 1849). He engaged in agricultural pursuits. He served as presidential elector on the Republican ticket in 1864. He died in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, August 3, 1882. He was interred in Mount Prospect Cemetery.Barzillai Gannett
Barzillai Gannett (June 17, 1764 – 1832) was a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts.
Born in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, Gannett was graduated from Harvard University in 1785. He studied theology, but did not enter the ministry. He served as Selectman of Pittston, Maine (then a district of Massachusetts). He also served as town clerk in 1794 and town moderator 1797–1802. Gannett was Selectman and assessor of Gardiner, Maine from 1803 to 1808. He was appointed as the first postmaster of Gardiner and served from September 30, 1804, to October 1, 1809. He also served as Town Moderator. Gannett served as member of both the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Massachusetts State Senate.
Gannett was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the Eleventh and Twelfth Congresses and served from March 4, 1809, until his resignation in 1812.
Because of an accusation regarding a breach of trust Gannett left Maine, changed his name to Benjamin Gardiner, and moved to Ohio.During about the year 1822 Barzillai Gannett (Benjamin Gardiner) again suddenly disappeared from Ohio.Gannett died in New York City in 1832.Benjamin W. Harris
Benjamin Winslow Harris (November 10, 1823 – February 7, 1907) was a nineteenth-century politician, lawyer and judge from Massachusetts. He was the father of Robert Orr Harris.
Born in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, Harris pursued an academic course at Phillips Academy, Andover, graduating in 1847. He graduated from Dane Law School of Harvard University in 1849. He was admitted to the bar in Boston, Massachusetts in 1850, commencing practice in East Bridgewater. He served in the Massachusetts Senate in 1857, was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1858, was district attorney for the southeastern district of Massachusetts from 1858 to 1866 and was collector of internal revenue for the second district of Massachusetts from 1866 to 1873.
Harris was elected a Republican to the United States House of Representatives in 1872, serving from 1873 to 1883, not being a candidate for renomination in 1882. There, he served as chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs from 1881 to 1883. Afterwards, he resumed practicing law in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts and was judge of probate for Plymouth County, Massachusetts from 1887 to 1906. Harris died in East Bridgewater on February 7, 1907 and was interred in Central Cemetery in East Bridgewater.Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School
Bridgewater Raynham Regional High School, founded in 1961, is a regional high school in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, shared by the towns of Bridgewater and Raynham. The high school, commonly referred to as B-R, relocated to a new building at 415 Center Street in 2007. The athletic teams are called the Trojans and the school colors are red, blue, and white.Brockton, Massachusetts
Brockton is a city in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States; the population was 95,314 in the 2015 Census. Brockton, along with Plymouth, are the county seats of Plymouth County. Brockton is the seventh largest city in Massachusetts and is sometimes referred to as the "City of Champions", due to the success of native boxers Rocky Marciano and Marvin Hagler, as well as its successful Brockton High School sports programs. Two of the villages within the city are Montello and Campello, both have the distinction of having their own MBTA Commuter Rail Stations and post offices. Campello is the smallest neighborhood in the city, but also the most populous. Brockton hosts a baseball team, the Brockton Rox. Brockton is one of the windiest cities in the United States, with an average wind speed of 14.3 mph.Don Colo
Don Colo (born January 5, 1925) is a former American football defensive tackle who played nine seasons in the National Football League. He was born in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts. He is a veteran of World War II.Dunham Jackson
Dunham Jackson (July 24, 1888 in Bridgewater, Massachusetts – November 6, 1946) was a mathematician who worked within approximation theory, notably with trigonometrical and orthogonal polynomials. He is known for Jackson's inequality. He was awarded the Chauvenet Prize in 1935. His book Fourier Series and Orthogonal Polynomials (dated 1941) was reprinted in 2004.East Bridgewater, Massachusetts
East Bridgewater is a town in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 13,794 at the 2010 census.East Bridgewater High School
East Bridgewater Jr./Sr. High School is a public secondary school located at 143 Plymouth Street in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts. The school serves students in grades 7–12 and has an approximate enrollment of 1000 students. The schools colors are Navy, Gold & White and the
school mascot is the Viking.Ezekiel Whitman
Ezekiel Whitman (March 9, 1776 – August 1, 1866) was a Representative from Maine, both when it was the District of Maine within Massachusetts and after it became an independent state. He was born in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts on March 9, 1776. He graduated from Brown University in 1795. He studied law, was admitted to the bar and practiced in New Gloucester, Maine and in Portland, Maine (both communities a district of Massachusetts until 1820.
He was an unsuccessful candidate for election in 1806 to the Tenth Congress. He was elected as a Federalist from Massachusetts to the Eleventh Congress (March 4, 1809 – March 3, 1811). He was a member of the executive council in 1815 and 1816. He was elected to the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Congresses (March 4, 1817 – March 3, 1821). Whitman was a delegate to the convention in 1819 that framed the first State constitution of Maine. He was elected to the Seventeenth Congress from Maine and served from March 4, 1821, to June 1, 1822, when he resigned.
He served as a judge of the court of common pleas of Maine 1822-1841. He was an unsuccessful candidate for election in 1838 to the Twenty-sixth Congress. Whitman served as chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court 1841-1848. He retired in 1852 and returned to East Bridgewater, Massachusetts where he died on August 1, 1866.Hockomock River
The Hockomock River is a 3.6-mile-long (5.8 km) stream in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts. It is a tributary of the Town River.
Hockomock is said to mean "Place where Spirits Dwell" in the Wampanoag language. The river arises in the Hockomock Swamp, and flows south to its confluence with the Town River which eventually joins the Taunton River to empty into Mount Hope Bay.John Reed Jr.
John Reed Jr. (September 2, 1781 – November 25, 1860) was a Representative from Massachusetts.
Reed was born in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts. He graduated from Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island in 1803, and was a tutor of languages in that institution for two years, and principal of the Bridgewater, Massachusetts Academy in 1806 and 1807. He studied law, was admitted to the bar, and commenced practice in Yarmouth, Massachusetts.
Reed was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1814, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1830.He was elected as a Federalist to the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Congresses (March 4, 1813 – March 3, 1817); elected to the Seventeenth through Twenty-third Congresses; elected as an Anti-Masonic candidate to the Twenty-fourth Congress, and elected as a Whig to the Twenty-fifth and Twenty-sixth Congresses (March 4, 1821 – March 3, 1841). He was chairman of the Committee on Revisal and Unfinished Business (Twenty-second Congress). He declined to be candidate for reelection in 1840.
He was the 17th Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts (1845–1851).
Reed died in West Bridgewater, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. Interment was in Mount Prospect Cemetery, Bridgewater, Massachusetts.
Reed was the son of John Reed Sr.John Reed Sr.
John Reed Sr. (November 11, 1751 – February 17, 1831) was a Representative from Massachusetts.
Born in Framingham, Massachusetts, Reed moved with his parents to Titicut Parish, in the northwestern part of Middleboro, Massachusetts in 1756. He graduated from Yale College in 1772, studied theology, and was ordained as a Congregational minister in 1780. He served as a chaplain in the United States Navy for two years, then moved to West Bridgewater, Massachusetts in 1780, where he became pastor of the First Congregational Society, which position he retained until his death. He was elected as a Federalist to the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Congresses (March 4, 1795 – March 3, 1801). He was not a candidate for renomination in 1800. He again resumed his ministerial duties, and died in West Bridgewater, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. Interment was in the Old Graveyard.
He was the father of John Reed Jr. (1781–1860), a Representative from Massachusetts.Lake Nippenicket
Lake Nippenicket, known locally as The Nip, is a freshwater pond in the town of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, and immediately adjacent to Raynham, Massachusetts. The lake borders a tiny portion of Route 104, and is near the junction of I-495 and Route 24. Lake Nippenicket is part of the Taunton River Watershed, emptying into the Town River and into the Taunton River, and a good-size portion of it is included with the Hockomock Swamp Wildlife Management Area.Martin Kinsley
Martin Kinsley (June 2, 1754 – June 20, 1835) was a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts. Born in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, Kinsley graduated from Harvard College in 1778. He studied medicine. He became a purveyor of supplies in the Revolutionary Army.
He served as Treasurer of the Town of Hardwick. He moved to Hampden, and was a representative of that town in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He served as member of the executive council in 1810 and 1811, as a judge of the court of common pleas in 1811, as judge of the probate court, and served in the Massachusetts State Senate.
Kinsley was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the Sixteenth Congress (March 4, 1819 – March 3, 1821). He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1820 to the Seventeenth Congress. He died in Roxbury, June 20, 1835.Massachusetts Route 106
Route 106 is a west–east highway in southeastern Massachusetts, United States.Nahum Mitchell
Nahum Mitchell (February 12, 1769 – August 1, 1853) was a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts.
Born in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, Mitchell attended the local school.
He graduated from Harvard University in 1789.
He studied law in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
He was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts.
He served as member of the State house of representatives 1798-1802.
Mitchell was elected as a Federalist to the Eighth Congress (March 4, 1803 – March 3, 1805).
He was not a candidate for renomination.
He was again a member of the State house of representatives in 1809 and 1812.
He served as judge of the common pleas court 1811-1821 and chief justice 1819-1821.
He served in the State senate in 1813 and 1814.
He served as member of the Governor's council 1814-1820.
State treasurer of Massachusetts 1822-1827.
Librarian in 1835 and 1836 and treasurer 1839-1845 of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Mitchell's love for music began early, was leader of the church choir and a teacher of music in East Bridgewater. One of his pieces was performed in the World's Columbian Exposition concerts in Chicago in 1893. He was also one of the first American composers; his work sold more than 100,000 copies.
He died in Plymouth, Massachusetts, August 1, 1853.
He was interred in Old Central Street Cemetery, East Bridgewater, Massachusetts.WBIM-FM
WBIM-FM (91.5 FM) is a non-commercial, educational radio station broadcasting 24/7 from the campus of Bridgewater State University. The station has a mostly alternative and indie rock format during regular automation, but the station does have many specialty shows which cater to such formats as R&B, Metal, Jazz, Hip Hop, sports, decade specific, and many other formats. Licensed to Bridgewater, Massachusetts, United States. The station is currently owned by Bridgewater State University.West Bridgewater, Massachusetts
West Bridgewater is a town in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 6,916 at the 2010 census.
Municipalities and communities of Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States
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