Holbrook, Massachusetts

Holbrook is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. At the 2010 census, the town population was 10,791.[1]

Holbrook, Massachusetts
Town Hall
Town Hall
Official seal of Holbrook, Massachusetts

Location in Norfolk County in Massachusetts
Location in Norfolk County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°09′18″N 71°00′33″W / 42.15500°N 71.00917°W
CountryUnited States
 • TypeRepresentative town meeting
 • Town
Timothy J. Gordon
 • Total7.4 sq mi (19.2 km2)
 • Land7.4 sq mi (19.0 km2)
 • Water0.1 sq mi (0.1 km2)
212 ft (65 m)
 • Total10,791
 • Density1,500/sq mi (560/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s)781
FIPS code25-30455
GNIS feature ID0618322


Before European settlement, the area now known as Holbrook, Massachusetts, like all of New England, had long been inhabited by Algonquian-speaking peoples.[2]

Holbrook was first settled by Europeans (mostly British colonists) in 1710 as the southern part of Old Braintree, and was officially incorporated on February 29, 1872, the last town created from the former lands of Braintree. It was formerly known as East Randolph, being divided from Randolph by track from the Old Colony Railroad line.

Holbrook's development is typical of suburban Greater Boston. In the 18th and 19th centuries, farming and cottage trades, particularly shoe production, dominated the economy. Slowly, the town evolved into a primarily residential community with many residents commuting to work in Boston proper and the primary employment within the town being in service industries.

As was true of many towns in Massachusetts, its residents served during the United States Civil War. Some members of the famed 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry are buried in Union Cemetery. The impact of the War came not only from the residents' direct participation in the conflict, but was also from the need for production of boots for soldiers. It was during the Civil War that shoe production became a significant component of the town's economic life, and production moved decidedly from the home and into factories.

The story of Holbrook's split from Randolph begins in 1871, when pressure had been building in East Randolph for an independent town. After a little "misunderstanding" (according to Randolph brethren, the Eastern group used rather stronger language) about the placement of a cupola on top of Stetson Hall as a vent for the gas lighting, the pot boiled over and East Randolph petitioned to be incorporated as a separate town. [1]

Deacon Elisha Holbrook and Sarah Thayer Holbrook, attributed to Ammi Phillips (1788-1865)
Deacon Elisha Holbrook and Sarah Thayer Holbrook. Elisha Holbrook was deacon of the old East Randolph church from 1819 to 1856, and deacon of the Winthrop Church from 1856 to 1865. His son Elisha Niles Holbrook provided the town with the funds for the town hall and library.

The town was named for benefactor Elisha N. Holbrook, who provided the town with the funds for the town hall and library upon incorporation.

Holbrook residents again took up arms in the First and Second World Wars. The latter had a great impact on the life of the community. After 1945, demobilization created a building boom and altered the economy and lifestyle across the United States. Holbrook experienced a housing boom and became a largely residential community, in which some service industry provides local jobs, but from which most residents commute to work in Greater Boston.

Holbrook once held the Baird and McGuire chemical plant, which in 1982 was added to the EPA National Priorities list. Listed as the nation’s 14th worst Superfund site, cleanup work began immediately. As of June 17, 1997, the EPA concluded primary cleanup operations at the site. Efforts included the incineration of 248,000 tons of soil, including sediment dredged from the Cochato River. Total cost was approximately 133 million dollars, including the construction of a water treatment plant that is still in operation. [2]

In February 2009, the Boston Globe listed the Holbrook Town Forest as the choice location in Holbrook.[3]

Holbrook Junior-Senior High School has been named three times as one of the ten most improved schools in Massachusetts on MCAS, the statewide tests taken by all public school students in Massachusetts. Principal Jill Delsignore who served the community of Holbrook for over 30 years as teacher, Holbrook Education Association officer, department head, assistant principal and principal was the administrator when Holbrook was noted in early 2000 on two occasions and Superintendent/Principal Joseph Baeta was the leader when Holbrook was again recognized in 2010.


Holbrook is located at 42°8′54″N 71°0′37″W / 42.14833°N 71.01028°W (42.148351, -71.010375).[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 7.4 square miles (19.2 km²), of which, 7.3 square miles (19.0 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.69%) is water.

Holbrook borders Braintree to the north, Weymouth to the east, Abington to the southeast, Brockton to the southwest, Randolph and Avon to the west.


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

At the 2000 census,[11] there were 10,785 people, 4,076 households, and 2,853 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,466.7 per square mile (566.5/km²). There were 4,153 housing units at an average density of 564.8 per square mile (218.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 91.87% White, 3.99% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 1.50% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.11% from other races, and 1.34% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.38% of the population.

There were 4,076 households of which 29.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.2% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.0% were non-families. 25.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.19.

The age distribution was 23.0% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 31.0% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.0 males.

The median household income was $54,419, and the median family income was $62,532. Males had a median income of $43,134 versus $35,305 for females. The per capita income for the town was $23,379. About 4.3% of families and 6.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.3% of those under age 18 and 8.9% of those age 65 or over.


Holbrook is situated in the Greater Boston Area, which has rail, air and highway facilities. Route 128 and Interstate 495 divide the region into inner and outer zones, which are connected by numerous "spokes" providing direct access to the airport, port, and intermodal facilities of Boston.

Principal highways are Routes 37 and 139, which intersect at the center of the town.

Commuter rail service to South Station, Boston, is available on the Middleboro line from the Holbrook/Randolph Rail Station located on the Holbrook/Randolph Town line and Union Street (Route 139). The MBTA Red Line is accessible in Braintree and Quincy.

Holbrook is a member of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) which provides fixed bus route service to Quincy Center and Braintree Stations. Holbrook is served by the 230 Bus from Quincy Center Station. The MBTA also provides THE RIDE, a paratransit service for the elderly and disabled.

Norwood Memorial Airport, a Reliever (RL) facility, is easily accessible. It has 2 asphalt runways 4,001'x 150' and 4,007'x 150'. However the majority of Holbrook residents use Logan International Airport for Air transportation as Norwood is a General Aviation only facility.

Notable people


  1. ^ a b "Population and Housing Occupancy Status: 2010 - State -- County Subdivision, 2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-06-26.
  2. ^ http://holbrookhistoricalsociety.org/hhs_history.html
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  4. ^ "TOTAL POPULATION (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  5. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on November 3, 2011. 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. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 7, 2013. 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). 1: Number of Inhabitants. 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. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.

External links

Allan R. McKinnon

Allan Robert McKinnon is a former Massachusetts politician who served as a member of the Massachusetts State Senate from 1971 to 1985, Deputy Secretary of Transportation from 1985 to 1988, and Chairman of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority from 1988 to 1996. He retired in 1996.

He was raised by his Mother, Sue (Farrar) McKinnon, in Weymouth, the youngest of 9 children. His father, Joseph McKinnon, died when he was 8 years old in 1938. He resided in Weymouth throughout his career with his wife, Anne (McLaughlin) McKinnon (1933–2001). He has four children; Kerin (1959-), Kevin (1964–2010), Sean (1967-) and Megan (1972-).

After graduating from Tufts in 1955, McKinnon taught history and government in Weymouth and Holbrook, Massachusetts. He served as Weymouth's Public Works Commissioner from 1958 to 1963 and was a member of the town's Board of Assessors from 1963 to 1975.McKinnon was the State Senator from the Norfolk and Plymouth District from 1971 to 1985. While serving in the senate he continued teaching American History in the evenings at Quincy Junior College. He was known as a political opponent of Senate President William M. Bulger, an opponent of the death penalty, and a supporter of forced busing in Boston. McKinnon decided not to run for reelection in 1984 and was appointed Deputy Secretary of Transportation.In 1987 he was appointed by Governor Michael Dukakis to serve as Chairman of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority. As Turnpike Chairman, he oversaw repairs to the Callahan and Sumner tunnels, increased the amount of Jersey barriers on state highways, and established highway litter patrols and wildflower programs. During his tenure, Massachusetts had the fewest fatalities on major turnpikes in the United States.

Andrew Card

Andrew Hill Card Jr. (born May 10, 1947) is an American politician who was White House Chief of Staff under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2006, as well as head of Bush's White House Iraq Group. Card served as United States Secretary of Transportation under President George H. W. Bush from 1992 to 1993.

Card announced his resignation as Chief of Staff on March 28, 2006, effective April 14, 2006. Card was the Acting Dean of The Bush School of Government and Public Service, at Texas A&M University while Ryan Crocker fulfilled his U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan responsibilities before stepping down in July 2013.

In 2014, he became the president of Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire, serving until he retired from that post in the summer of 2016.

Arthur Holbrook Wellman

Arthur Holbrook Wellman (October 30, 1855 – 1948) was a member of the Massachusetts General Court and a professor at Boston University School of Law.

Charles A. Coffin

Charles Albert Coffin (31 December 1844 – 14 July 1926) was the cofounder and first President of General Electric corporation.

Elihu Adams

Elihu Adams (May 29, 1741 – August 10, 1775) was a soldier in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He was born in Braintree to John Adams, Sr. and Susanna Boylston; his elder brothers were John Adams, the second President of the United States, and Peter Boylston Adams, who also served as a militia captain during the Revolution. He married Thankful White in 1765, and had at least two children - Susanna, born in 1766, and John, born in 1768.Adams served as captain of the Braintree Company at the Siege of Boston, and as a minuteman who fought on the Concord Green in 1775. He died of dysentery on August 10, 1775, at the age of 34, and was buried at what is today known as the "Old Section" of Union Cemetery in Holbrook, Massachusetts (then still a part of Braintree).

George Mason Lovering

George Mason Lovering (January 10, 1832 – April 2, 1919) was a Union Army soldier who received the Medal of Honor for meritorious service during the American Civil War.

Holbrook Square Historic District

The Holbrook Square Historic District encompasses the historic institutional center of Holbrook, Massachusetts. It includes three buildings: the Gothic Revival town hall, built 1878-79, the Stick style Winthrop Congregational Church (1878–80), and the 1881 Central Fire Station. These three buildings are arrayed along Mary Wales Holbrook Park, aka Holbrook Square. The square is located north and west of the junction of North Franklin Street (Massachusetts Route 37) and Union Street (Massachusetts Route 139). The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.

Jim Mann

James Joseph Mann (born November 17, 1974) is a former professional baseball pitcher. He was born in Brockton, Massachusetts.

A right-hander, Mann grew up in Holbrook, Massachusetts. During his senior year in 1992, Mann led the town's high school baseball team to an appearance in the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) tournament. He subsequently attended Massasoit Community College and starred on the school's 1993 NJCAA Division II National Championship baseball team. He was inducted into the school's athletics hall of fame in 2015.Mann was selected in the 54th round (1468th overall) of the June 1993 amateur entry draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. Mann was selected by the New York Mets in the 1999 Rule 5 draft, returned to the Blue Jays and then reacquired via trade in March 2000. He made his major league debut in May of that year against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He later pitched for the Houston Astros during parts of the 2001 and 2002 seasons and for the Pittsburgh Pirates during part of the 2003 season.

Joe Pernice

Joe Pernice (born July 17, 1967) is an American indie rock musician and writer, who has fronted several bands, including the Scud Mountain Boys, Chappaquiddick Skyline, The New Mendicants and the Pernice Brothers.Originally from Holbrook, Massachusetts, he is currently based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where he is married to Canadian musician Laura Stein, formerly of the band Jale.Pernice received his BA in English Literature and his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Massachusetts Route 139

Route 139 is nominally a west–east state highway in southeastern Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Route 37

Route 37 is a short south–north highway in eastern Massachusetts.

Michael Sullivan (U.S. Attorney)

Michael J. Sullivan (born October 3, 1954) is an American lawyer and politician who served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts (2001–2009) and Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (2006–2009). His work as U.S. Attorney largely focused on national security and health-care fraud. A native of the Holbrook–Abington region, Sullivan served earlier in his career as the District Attorney for Plymouth County, Massachusetts, and as a Republican member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Richard J. Schneiderhan

Richard Joseph Schneiderhan (c. 1934 – September 16, 2015) was a former Massachusetts State Police Lieutenant in the Attorney General's Organized Crime Unit. He was convicted of conspiracy and obstruction of justice stemming from his relationship with gangster Stephen Flemmi and the Winter Hill Gang. Schneiderhan had warned an associate of fugitive mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger that Bulger's brothers' phones were being monitored by the FBI.

Roberts School

The Roberts School is a historic school building at 320 Union Street (Massachusetts Route 139) in Holbrook, Massachusetts. The one-room schoolhouse was built in 1873; it is a 1-1/2 story wood frame structure, with two doorways providing access to separate vestibules, as well as the singular classroom. It was the first school building the town built after incorporating, and was used as a schoolhouse until 1979. It has since 1980 been home to the Holbrook Historical Society.The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

Valenti Modified Racing Series

The Valenti Modified Racing Series, also known as the Modified Racing Series, is a modified stock car racing sanctioning body based out of Canaan, New Hampshire. The series sanctions modified races throughout New England. The cars are similar to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour modifieds, allowing competitors from the Whelen Modified Tour to race in the Valenti Modified Racing Series. The series draws a large number of fans and drivers to each race, earning itself a well known reputation between track owners, fans, and drivers.

Vater Percussion

Vater Percussion is an American drumstick and percussion accessory manufacturing company. It was founded by Jack Adams, and is now run by his three grandsons Alan, Ron and Pedro Vater. Although the company began producing sticks in 1956, it did not officially become Vater Percussion until much later.

William J. Phelan

William J. Phelan is an American attorney, town administrator, and politician. He served as Mayor of Quincy, Massachusetts from 2002 to 2008 when he was defeated by challenger Thomas P. Koch in November 2007 and town administrator of Holbrook, Massachusetts from 2011 to 2015.

Municipalities and communities of Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States
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