Cranberry Capital of the World
Location in Plymouth County in Massachusetts
|• Type||Open town meeting|
|• Total||72.2 sq mi (186.9 km2)|
|• Land||69.1 sq mi (178.9 km2)|
|• Water||3.1 sq mi (8.0 km2)|
|Elevation||141 ft (43 m)|
|• Density||320/sq mi (120/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (Eastern)|
|Area code(s)||508 / 774|
|GNIS feature ID||0618346|
The town was first settled by Europeans in 1661 as Nemasket, later changed to Middlebury, and officially incorporated as Middleborough in 1669. The name Nemasket came from a Native American settlement along the small river that now bears the same name. Nemasket may have meant "place of fish", due to the large amount of herring that migrate up the river each spring. There are no contemporary records that indicate the name Middlebury was taken from a place in England. The names Middlebury and Middleborough were actually derived from the city of Middelburg, Zeeland, the westernmost province of the Netherlands. Middelburg was an international intellectual center and economic powerhouse. The English religious dissenters known as the Brownists developed their governing institutions in Middelburg before emigrating on the Mayflower, and were the earliest settlers of Middleborough.
During King Philip's War (1675–76), the town's entire populace took shelter within the confines of a fort constructed along the Nemasket River. The site is located behind the old Memorial High School (now a kindergarten), and is marked by a state historical commission marker along Route 105. Before long, the fort was abandoned and the population withdrew to the greater shelter of the Plymouth Colony. In their absence, the entire village was burned to the ground, and it would be several years before the town would be reestablished.
Middleborough was once a large producer of shoes and is still home to the Alden Shoe Company, one of the last remaining shoe manufacturers in America. The local Maxim Motors manufactured fire engines from 1914-1989. Middleborough has since become the location of the corporate headquarters of Ocean Spray Cranberries.
Notable sights include the 1870s Victorian-style town hall and the Beaux Arts-style town library (1903). In the spring, the Nemasket River alewife and blueback herring run upstream to the Assawompset Ponds complex to spawn.
In 1994 the Middleborough All Stars of Little League Baseball reached the Little League World Series by defeating Milburn-Short Hills, New Jersey, to take the East Region title. The team finished third in the United States. They are one of only two Massachusetts Little League teams to win the East title (the other one being Andover Little League, 1988) before the splitting of the New England and Mid-Atlantic Regions in 2001.
On June 11, 2012, Middleborough made national headlines after residents approved an ordinance outlawing the use of profanity in public, making it punishable by a $20 fine. It passed 183-50 in the town of over 23,000 residents. Many legal experts say the law violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Dozens of residents on both sides of the issue attended a protest in front of the town hall. The Massachusetts attorney general will review the bylaw to determine if it is constitutional and adheres to state law. The Massachusetts state director for the American Civil Liberties Union said, "the Supreme Court has ruled that the government can't prohibit public speech just because it contains profanity."
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 72.2 square miles (186.9 km2), of which 69.1 square miles (178.9 km2) is land and 3.1 square miles (8.0 km2), or 4.27%, is water. Middleborough is the second largest municipality in Massachusetts in terms of area, smaller only than Plymouth.
Middleborough lies on the western border of Plymouth County. It is bordered by Bridgewater and Halifax to the north, Plympton and Carver to the east, Wareham and Rochester to the south, and Lakeville, Taunton and Raynham to the west. Despite its name, Middleborough is not located anywhere near the other 11 "-boroughs" in the state, lying south and east of all of them.
Middleborough's rivers and brooks feed in two directions. The Taunton River, Nemasket River and their tributaries flow southeastward as part of the Taunton River Watershed, which empties into Narragansett Bay. The other waterways of the town, including the Weweantic River, flow southward into Buzzards Bay. Along Middleborough's border with Lakeville lie the Assawompset, Pocksha and Great Quittacas ponds. Tispaquin Pond, Woods Pond, and several other ponds make up the town's other bodies of water. Middleborough has four wildlife management areas, as well as the Beaver Dam and Great Cedar and Little Cedar Swamps. The town is also the site of several cranberry bogs, especially in the southeastern part of town along the Carver town line. Ocean Spray's headquarters are just over the town line in Lakeville.
Interstate 495 runs through the town on its way to Cape Cod. The town is also crossed by U.S. Route 44, as well as Massachusetts routes 18, 28, 105, and a short, 1,000-foot (300 m) section of Route 58 which passes through the southeast corner of town. Route 79's eastern terminus is on the town line at Route 105. Routes 18, 28 and 44 meet at a two lane rotary adjacent to I-495 just west of the center of town. Two of I-495's four interchanges are located there. I-495's interchange with Route 24 is located just 1.5 miles (2.4 km) northwest of the town line.
Since the 1840s, Middleborough has served as a major rail transportation hub for southeastern Massachusetts; at one time, five rail lines radiated out from the town. Today, three rail lines extend from Middleborough, toward Boston, Taunton and Cape Cod. Two rail freight companies serve Middleborough: CSX Transportation, which serves the Boston, Taunton and a short portion of the Cape Cod lines; and the Massachusetts Coastal Railroad, which serves Cape Cod. The nearby Middleborough/Lakeville commuter rail station of the MBTA's commuter rail system provides frequent direct service to Boston's South Station, and seasonal service to Cape Cod via the CapeFLYER train. The nearest inter-city (Amtrak) passenger rail stations are Providence, Route 128 station in Westwood and Boston's South Station.
The nearest regional airports are Taunton Municipal Airport and Plymouth Municipal Airport; the nearest national and international airports are T. F. Green Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island, and Logan International Airport in Boston. From 1954 to 1959, a small runway called North Middleboro Airpark was constructed. It was a 3,000 foot-long paved runway, although it was not depicted in the November 1954 Boston Sectional Chart. Sometime between 1982-1994 it was closed, as it was depicted simply as "Landing Strip" on the 1994 USGS topographic map. A small grassy, unpaved field in South Middleborough is also used for recreational aircraft, but not for transportation.
|* = population estimate. |
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
As of the census of 2000, there were 19,941 people, 6,981 households, and 5,117 families residing in the town. The population density was 286.7 people per square mile (110.7/km²). There were 7,249 housing units at an average density of 104.2 per square mile (40.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.1% White, 1.3% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.4% Asian, <0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.6% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.8% of the population.
There were 6,981 households out of which 38.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.4% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.7% were non-families. 20.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.78 and the average family size was 3.23.
The population was spread out with 27.7% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 32.8% from 25 to 44, 22.3% from 45 to 64, and 10.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.1 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $52,755, and the median income for a family was $65,173. Males had a median income of $60,854 versus $40,570 for females. The per capita income for the town was $75,000.
Middleborough is represented in the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a part of three separate districts: the Tenth and Twelfth Bristol and Twelfth Plymouth. The town is represented in the Massachusetts Senate as a part of the First Plymouth and Bristol district, which also includes Berkley, Bridgewater, Carver, Dighton, Marion, Raynham, Taunton and Wareham.
The town is home to the Fourth Barracks of Troop D of the Massachusetts State Police. On the national level, Middleborough is a part of Massachusetts's 9th congressional district, and is currently represented by William R. Keating.
Middleborough is governed by the open town meeting form of government, which is led by a town manager and a board of selectmen. The town's services are centralized downtown, with the fire and police headquarters being southeast, and the central post office being northwest of it. The town library is also located downtown.
A second part-time fire department is operated further south along Route 28 in South Middleboro. A third, temporary station was built in the 2000s as the surrogate home for the downtown facility, which was closed for substantial renovations. This third station, near the rotary north of the center of town, has subsequently been closed.
Construction on a new police station began in July 2017, with an estimated budget of $9.14 million. The police station was finished early 2019 and is now in use.
Middleborough has its own school system, headed by a school committee and superintendent. There is one school for kindergarten children, the Memorial Early Childhood Center, housed in the old junior high (previously the old high school). It opened in September 2007 after a $13 million renovation. The Mary K. Goode Elementary and the Henry B. Burkland Elementary Schools serve grades 1 through 5. The John T. "Tiger" Nichols, Jr. Middle School (1999) serves grades 6 through 8, and the Middleborough High School serves grades 9 through 12. Middleborough High's mascot is the "Sachem", and their colors are black and orange. Other sports teams in town include the semi-pro football team the Middleborough Cobras and the middle school baseball team the Tigers.
Middleborough is also home to the Frederick L. Chamberlain School, a private institution that serves students from around the world struggling with learning disabilities.
In 1856, Middleborough-born, Baltimore businessman-wholesale hardware merchant, banker, and steamship line owner, Enoch Pratt, (1808-1896), established as one of his first philanthropies in The Pratt Free School, later adding additional bequests upon its incorporation in 1865. It later became a grammar school, preparing students for entering the Middleborough High School. Later in 1882-1886, he endowed the Enoch Pratt Free Library, the nation's first circulating, public library system (with a central library and five branches) and later further endowed a mental health institution, the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital.
The Middleborough campus of Massasoit Community College is also located here.
In November 2017, "Middleboro voters approved a $103 million dollar plan to construct a new Middleborough High School building and campus." The project started in February 2019 and is to be completed by 2021.
Assawompset Pond is a reservoir/pond within the towns of Lakeville and Middleboro, in southeastern Massachusetts. It shares its waters with Long Pond and is openly connected with Pocksha Pond. These lakes provide a source of drinking water to the city of New Bedford, the largest city in southeastern Massachusetts. At almost four square miles, it is the largest natural lake in Massachusetts.
It is known in Wampanoag as Place of the White Stones and is host for the largest alewife (herring) run in the eastern seaboard. In the early spring the Nemasket River runs black with fish heading for the spawning grounds. The area known as Betty's Neck was one of the summer encampments for Native Americans who would traverse the Taunton River and Nemasket River to enter the pond. The Nemasket, being known as Where the fish are, explains the significance as a food source.
The origins of the King Philip's War started with the discovery of John Sassamon's body and the subsequent trial of his suspected murderers. His body was slipped under the ice on the pond and found the following spring. The outcome of the trial sparked the beginning of hostilities.
The pond was dammed in 1894 at the Nemasket River, which raised the water level about five feet.Charles Jenney
Charles Francis Jenney (1860–1923) was an American politician from the U.S. state of Massachusetts. He served most notably as justice of the Massachusetts state supreme court from 1919 until 1923.Corey Carrier
Corey Thomas Carrier (born August 20, 1980) is an American former child actor, also known as just "Core." He is best known as playing Indiana Jones, aged 8–10, in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.
Carrier was born in Middleborough, Massachusetts to Thomas and Carleen. He has a younger sister named Bethany. He attended an acting school at The Priscilla Beach Children's Theatre Workshop. When he was a child, his hobbies included baseball, gymnastics, wrestling, fencing, guitar, ice skating and basketball.
He attended Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts as an undergraduate.Edmund Newell
Edmund Newell (July 27, 1857 – December 23, 1915), better known as General Grant Jr. or Major Edward Newell, was a 19th-century dwarf who gained fame as an associate of P. T. Barnum. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Edmund S. Newell and Sarah Ellen Jimmerson.
Edmund married Minnie Warren in July, 1877 in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. Minnie was also a dwarf, and so was her sister, Lavinia Warren, wife of General Tom Thumb. Minnie died in childbirth in 1878, and was buried in Nemasket Hill Cemetery, Middleborough, Massachusetts. After her death, Edmund moved to England and married Mary Ann Drake, a woman of normal stature, on April 5, 1888 in St. Giles, London, England. They had two children: Edmund Charles Jeffreys Newell and Daisy Louise Newell.Edmund died on December 23, 1915 in Marylebone, London, England.Fuller Street Pond
Fuller Street Pond is a 21-acre (85,000 m2) pond in Carver and Middleborough, Massachusetts. The pond gets its name from the name of the street along the pond's northern shore on the Carver side. The street name on the Middleborough side is Stone Street. The water quality is impaired due to non-native aquatic plants and non-native fish.Glenn Tufts
Glenn A. Tufts (born December 2, 1954 in Middleboro, Massachusetts) is currently a scout for the San Francisco Giants. Previously, he played professionally and managed in the minor leagues.Great Quittacas Pond
Great Quittacas Pond is a lake, reservoir, or pond within the towns of Lakeville, Middleboro, and Rochester, in southeastern Massachusetts. It shares its waters with Pocksha Pond and possibly nearby Little Quittacas Pond. These lakes provide a source of drinking water to the city of New Bedford, the largest city in southeastern Massachusetts.Howard A. Coffin
Howard Aldridge Coffin (June 11, 1877 – February 28, 1956) was a politician from the U.S. state of Michigan.Joseph Barker (Massachusetts)
Joseph Barker (October 19, 1751 – July 5, 1815) was an American Congregationalist minister who represented Massachusetts's 7th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from March 1805 to March 1809.
Born in Branford, Connecticut, Barker attended the common schools in Branford, studied for two years at Harvard College, and was graduated (with a degree in theology) from Yale College in 1771. He was licensed to preach on January 3, 1775, ordained to the ministry on December 5, 1781, and subsequently installed as pastor of the First Congregational Church of Middleboro, Massachusetts.
Barker was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the Ninth and Tenth Congresses and served from March 4, 1805 to March 3, 1809. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1808, but four years later served as a member of the state's House of Representatives in 1812 and 1813.
Joseph Barker continued in the ministry at Middleboro, Massachusetts until his death at the age of 63. Interment was in Cemetery at The Green.Lavinia Warren
Mercy Lavinia Warren Stratton (née Bump, October 31, 1842 – November 25, 1919) was an American proportionate dwarf, who was a circus performer and the wife of General Tom Thumb. She was known for her appearance in one silent film, The Lilliputians Courtship (1915).Middleborough Center, Massachusetts
Middleborough Center is a census-designated place (CDP) in the town of Middleborough in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 7,319 at the 2010 census.Middleborough High School
Middleborough High School is a public high school located in Middleborough, Massachusetts, established in 1873. The school is currently located at 71 East Grove Street. Middleborough High has an approximate student enrollment of 850 students in grades 9–12. The school's mascot is known as the "Sachem" and the school colors are black and orange.Minnie Warren
Huldah Pierce Warren (Bump) Newell (June 2, 1849 – July 23, 1878), better known as Minnie Warren, was a proportionate dwarf and an entertainer associated with P. T. Barnum. Her sister Lavinia Warren was married to General Tom Thumb. They were very well known in 1860s America and their meeting with Abraham Lincoln was covered in the press.Nemasket River
The Nemasket or Namasket River is a small river in southeastern Massachusetts. It flows north 11.2 miles (18.0 km) from Assawompset Pond in Lakeville and through Middleborough where it empties into the Taunton River.In Wampanoag Nemasket means Place where the fish are, because it is the largest alewife run on the eastern seaboard. The water is clear and there are several good places to put in, such as Old Bridge Street, Wareham Street and Oliver Mills on U.S. Route 44.
The Native American Wampanoag Indians would leave their winter encampments inland and navigate the Taunton River to the Nemasket River in the early spring to take advantage of the alewife run and relocate to their summer encampment on Betty's Neck on Assawompsett Pond. When Oliver Mills built the factory that spanned the river, it created contention with the Wampanoags by forcing them to portage around the facility.
The remnants of Camp Joe Hooker, a training camp for Massachusetts regiments during the American Civil War located on the left side of Staples Shore Road, and the tie-up for the side-paddle wheeler Assawompset can still be seen off the canal that cuts across the right hand side of the marsh between Bridge Street and Vaughn Street. This was a tourist destination (before the dam was erected) for folks that wanted to spend a day on Assawompset Pond.Pocksha Pond
Pocksha Pond is a lake/reservoir/pond within the towns of Lakeville and Middleboro, in southeastern Massachusetts. It shares its waters with Great Quittacas Pond and openly connected with Assawompset Pond. These lakes provides a source of drinking water to the city of New Bedford, the largest city in southeastern Massachusetts.Rick Fuller
Richard Fuller is an American professional wrestler. He is best known for his appearances as a jobber in World Championship Wrestling. He would later be featured in several video games including WCW Nitro and WCW/nWo Thunder.Sean Newcomb
Sean William Newcomb (born June 12, 1993) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball (MLB). He played college baseball at the University of Hartford. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim selected Newcomb in the first round of the 2014 MLB draft, and traded him to the Braves in 2015. He made his MLB debut in 2017.Tispaquin Pond
Tispaquin Pond is a 194-acre (0.79 km2) warm water pond in Middleborough, Massachusetts. The pond is in the Taunton River Watershed. The average depth of the pond is seven feet, and the maximum depth is eight feet. Transparency of the water is six feet. Shorts Brook and Woods Brook provide the inflow for the pond. The outflow is Fall Brook, a tributary of the Nemasket River. Camp Avoda and Camp Yomechas are located on the pond. Access to the southern shore of the pond is via Eldon Street off Rocky Gutter Street. An unpaved launch area is suitable for car top boats and canoes. It is a popular spot for recreational fishing, particularly for yellow perch and largemouth bass.Walt Uzdavinis
Walter Alfred Uzdavinis (June 9, 1911 – December 23, 1988) was an American football end who played one season with the Cleveland Rams of the National Football League. He played college football at Fordham University and attended Brockton High School in Brockton, Massachusetts.
Municipalities and communities of Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States
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