Dover, Massachusetts

Dover is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 6,279 in 2016, with 2,008 households and 4,296 registered voters.

Located about 15 miles (24 km) southwest of downtown Boston, Dover is a residential town nestled on the south banks of the Charles River. Almost all of the residential zoning requires 1-acre (4,000 m2) or larger. As recently as the early 1960s, 75% of its annual town budget was allocated to snow removal, as only a mile and a half of the town's roads are state highway.

Dover is bordered by: Natick, Wellesley and Needham to the North, Westwood to the East, Walpole and Medfield to the South, Sherborn to the West.

For geographic and demographic information on the census-designated place Dover, please see the article Dover (CDP), Massachusetts.

Dover is also home to the Dover Demon, a creature reportedly sighted on April 21 and April 22, 1977.

Dover, Massachusetts
The Dover Church
The Dover Church
Official seal of Dover, Massachusetts

Town of Friendship
Dover is one of the smallest towns in Norfolk county.
Dover is one of the smallest towns in Norfolk county.
Coordinates: 42°14′45″N 71°17′00″W / 42.24583°N 71.28333°W
CountryUnited States
 • TypeOpen town meeting
 • Total15.4 sq mi (39.9 km2)
 • Land15.3 sq mi (39.7 km2)
 • Water0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
150 ft (46 m)
 • Total6,279[1]
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s)508 / 774
FIPS code25-17405
GNIS feature ID0618319


The first recorded settlement of Dover was in 1640. It was later established as the Springfield Parish of Dedham in 1748, and incorporated as District Dedham in 1784. Dover was officially incorporated as a town in 1836.

The Benjamin Caryl House at 107 Dedham St. dates from about 1777 and was home to Dover's first minister, Benjamin Caryl, his son George, who was the town's first doctor, and their descendants until 1897. It has been owned by the town and operated by the Historical Society since 1920. The house retains its architectural integrity and has been carefully restored to reflect life in the 1790s when the first two Caryl families lived and worked there together.

The Sawin Building has been a home for thousands of Dover relics, books, photographs and artifacts since the beginning of the 20th century. Benjamin and Eudora Sawin willed land and funds into the Dover Historical Society along with their old household goods so that the building could be erected, and it was dedicated on May 14, 1907, by members and friends of the Dover Historical Society.[3] In the early years it was used for meetings and to house Dover's historical memorabilia, but eventually members became disenchanted with the Society and the building was seldom opened. In the 1960s there was a renewed interest in the Historical Society which led to the general overhaul and refurbishing of the building. The Sawin Museum, located at the corner of Centre and Dedham Streets in Dover Center, is owned and operated by the Dover Historical Society and is open to the public free of charge.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 15.4 square miles (39.9 km2), of which, 15.3 square miles (39.7 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km2) of it (0.52%) is water. It is bordered by the towns of Natick, Wellesley, Needham, Dedham, Westwood, Sherborn, Walpole, and Medfield.


Historical population
* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13]

As of the census[14] of 2000, there were 5,558 people, 1,849 households, and 1,567 families residing in the town. The population density was 362.6 people per square mile (140.0/km2). There were 1,884 housing units at an average density of 122.9 per square mile (47.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.18% White, 0.41% Black or African American, 0.04% Native American (2 people), 3.63% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.05% from other races, and 0.67% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.19% of the population (approximately 105 people).

There were 1,849 households out of which 46.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 77.0% were married couples living together, 5.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 15.2% were non-families. 12.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.01 and the average family size was 3.29.

In the town, the population was spread out with 31.6% under the age of 18, 3.7% from 18 to 24, 23.9% from 25 to 44, 29.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $141,818, and the median income for a family was $157,168. Males had a median income of $100,000 versus $56,473 for females. The per capita income for the town was $64,899. About 2.3% of families and 3.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.5% of those under age 18 and 7.1% of those age 65 or over.


Dover is one of the few communities in metro Boston to have more registered Republicans than Democrats. In 2012, Mitt Romney, a Republican, defeated Barack Obama, a Democrat, in the general election 56% to 43% in Dover.[15][16] In 2016, however, the town flipped with Democrat Hillary Clinton defeating Republican Donald Trump 57% to 32%.[17]


Consistently over the last decade, Dover's public schools are considered among the best in Massachusetts. According to research conducted by Boston Magazine in the years 2013, 2014 and 2015, the town's schools scored No. 1 in the State.[18] Dover has three public schools—Chickering Elementary School (grades K-5), Dover-Sherborn Middle School (grades 6-8), and Dover-Sherborn High School (grades 9-12). The private, independent Charles River School (Pre-K-grade 8) is located in the town's center.

Located near Caryl Park and the entrance to Noanet Woodlands (also known as Miss Peabody's Woods), Chickering School is under the elected Dover School Committee, while the two secondary schools are the responsibility of the regional school system, under the elected Dover-Sherborn Regional School Committee, with costs and governance shared with the neighboring town of Sherborn. The Regional schools share a campus on Farm Street in Dover, near the borders with Sherborn and Medfield.

Dover Sherborn High School has impressive results with regards to graduation rates, college admission rates and standardized and Advanced Placement exam scores. DSHS was ranked 3rd in Cost Efficiency and 7th in Academic Performance by Boston Magazine. U.S. News & World Report named Dover-Sherborn High School a Gold Medal School, ranking them 65th in the nation.

Dover used to have two elementary schools, Chickering for grades K to 3, and Caryl Elementary School for grades 4 to 8. In 1970, Caryl School was gutted by fire.[19] It was rebuilt and remained open until finally being closed in 2001 after the expansion of Chickering.[19]

Notable people

Soldiers' monument (Dover, Massachusetts) - DSC09485
Soldiers' monument, first dedicated on June 18, 1910

Historic places

Popular culture

Dover Demon sketch by Bill Bartlett, 1977
Representation of William Bartlett of the Dover Demon, very similar with the other illustrations done

The town is known for the sighting of a humanoid since the 1970s on Farm Street, which gives access to it. According to information, all were 6 unrelated sightings so far. The creature that according to the reports would have a large and long head, epidermis without fur beyond feet and long hands that fix on the surface, came to be baptized Dover Demon, by one of the cryptozoologists who investigated the case. Although some believe due to the format being a alien, to others it is no more than an animal like a primate, for example. The legend is still known, but new reports, at least notorious are unknown.[20]


  1. ^ Town Clerk's Office, Town of Dover, Massachusetts
  2. ^ "Population and Housing Occupancy Status: 2010 - State -- County Subdivision, 2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-07-10.
  3. ^ a b "The Sawin Museum". 1907-05-14. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
  4. ^ "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
  5. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  6. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  7. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  8. ^ "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  9. ^ "1920 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  10. ^ "1890 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  11. ^ "1870 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  12. ^ "1860 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  13. ^ "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  14. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ US Election Atlas Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ "The Best Schools in Boston 2013 - Boston Magazine". Retrieved 2013-10-29.
  19. ^ a b "History of Chickering and Caryl Schools". Chickering Reports. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  20. ^ "12 Creepy Facts About The Dover Demon". Thought Catalog. 2018-07-31. Retrieved 2019-02-17.

External links

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Charles W. Smith

Charles W. Smith (April 5, 1850 – July 1916) was treasurer of Norfolk County, Massachusetts. He also served as Town Clerk and Selectman in Dover, Massachusetts. He was appointed to the treasurer post following the death of Chauncey C. Churchill and was succeeded by Henry D. Humphrey in 1907. On November 14, 1876, he married Mary H. Humphrey and together they had six children.

Chase Woodlands

Chase Woodlands is a nature reserve located in Dover, Massachusetts. The property was acquired by The Trustees of Reservations in 1993. The reservation includes 2.5 miles of trails and is located across Farm Street from the Peters Reservation.

Dover Demon

The Dover Demon is a creature reportedly sighted in the town of Dover, Massachusetts on April 21 and April 22, 1977.

Elm Bank Horticulture Center

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Peters Reservation

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Municipalities and communities of Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States


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