Norton is a town in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States, and contains the village of Norton Center. The population was 19,031 at the 2010 census. Home of Wheaton College, Norton hosts the Dell Technologies Championship, a tournament of the PGA Tour held annually on the Labor Day holiday weekend at the TPC Boston golf club.
Norton Town Common
Location in Bristol County in Massachusetts
|• Type||Open town meeting|
|• Total||29.8 sq mi (77.2 km2)|
|• Land||28.7 sq mi (74.4 km2)|
|• Water||1.1 sq mi (2.9 km2)|
|Elevation||105 ft (32 m)|
|• Density||640/sq mi (250/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (Eastern)|
|GNIS feature ID||0619436|
Norton was first settled in 1669 and was called North Taunton for its location on the northern border of Taunton, Massachusetts. The town was renamed "Norton"—after Norton, Oxfordshire, England, where many early settlers had originated—when the town was officially established on March 17, 1710. Parts of Norton were originally established as Easton on December 21, 1725, and as Mansfield on April 26, 1770.
Metacomet, the Wampanoag Indian sachem also known as "King Phillip", is said to have hidden in a cave here near the end of King Philip's War before meeting his death in Hockomock Swamp. According to one source, "Every Norton school child has been entertained with the legend of King Phillip's Cave."
The bandstand within the town center was originally erected using donated funds during the first Gulf War, in honor of the veterans who served from Norton.
Norton is a small but growing town. In elementary school, students were told the story of the "Devil's Foot Print", where James Wetherall sold his soul to the devil. The devil's foot print can be seen at Norton's Joseph C. Solmonese Elementary School. Every 26 years, the school unburies a time capsule, the last of which was buried in 1999. The time capsule will be opened next in 2026. The Sun Chronicle describes:
So it was in December 1997, when a traffic light was installed at the intersection of routes 123 and 140 in Norton. It was the town's first full traffic light and, in a manner of speaking, it declared "Norton isn't Mayberry anymore."
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 29.8 square miles (77 km2), of which 28.7 square miles (74 km2) is land and 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2), or 3.72%, is water. Norton is generally low and swampy. The waters of the area are fed by the Wading River and the Canoe River, both of which feed into the Taunton River downstream. The two largest bodies of water in town are the Norton Reservoir, north of the center of town, and Winnecunnet Pond on the east (on the north side of I-495), which is fed by the Canoe River and feeds into the Mill River.
The town, an irregular polygon generally oriented from northeast to southwest, is bordered by Easton to the northeast, Taunton to the southeast, Rehoboth to the south, Attleboro to the southwest, and Mansfield to the northwest. Norton is approximately 27 miles south-southwest of Boston, and 15 miles northeast of Providence, Rhode Island.
Norton is served by Interstate 495 and Massachusetts Routes 123 and 140, which meet at the center of town. There is an exit off of I-495 for Route 123 in the eastern part of town, and 140's exit to the interstate lies just north of the Mansfield town line. One route of the Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority (GATRA) runs through town, linking the two cities on either side. The Middleboro Subdivision passes through the town, with 4.5 miles (7.35 km) of railroad track crossing the southern quarter of town, linking lines in Attleboro and Taunton. The Providence/Stoughton_Line of the MBTA Commuter Rail system has stops in both Attleboro and Mansfield nearby, providing rail access to Providence and Boston. The nearest municipal airport is in neighboring Mansfield, with the nearest national and international flights being either from Boston's Logan International Airport or T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island.
The town is bisected southeast to northwest by Interstate 495, as well as Massachusetts Route 140 from north to south and Massachusetts Route 123 from southwest to northeast. Exit 10 off of I-495 links the highway with Route 123. Exit 9 (Bay Street, Taunton) and Exit 11 (Route 140, Mansfield) are just over the town lines. Route 140 and Route 123 intersect at the center of town, by the town green. Although it is not officially signed as such, many fans attending concerts and events at the Xfinity Center (formerly the Tweeter Center, and originally the Great Woods Center for the Performing Arts) reach the venue by driving along Route 123 to Route 140. The town is also a part of the Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority (or GATRA) bus line. The nearest MBTA station is in Mansfield.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
As of the census of 2000, there were 18,036 people, 5,872 households, and 4,474 families residing in the town. These residents are often referred to as either "Nortonites" or "Nortonians", though the term "Norts" is often used in colloquial context. The population density was 628.3 people per square mile (242.6/km²). There were 5,961 housing units at an average density of 207.7 per square mile (80.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 92.15% White, 1.16% African American, 0.13% Native American, 1.00% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 4.47% from other races, and 1.08% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.14% of the population.
There were 5,872 households out of which 42.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.8% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.8% were non-families. 19.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.79 and the average family size was 3.22.
In the town, the population was spread out with 27.0% under the age of 18, 12.6% from 18 to 24, 32.2% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 7.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.1 males.
According to a 2016 estimate, the median income for a household in the town was $80,806, and the median income for a family in 2016 was estimated at $104,176. Males had a median income of $51,133 versus $33,149 for females. The per capita income for the town was $23,876. About 2.2% of families and 4.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.9% of those under age 18 and 12.9% of those age 65 or over.
The town is a part of three separate state representative districts; precinct one belonging to the Fourth Bristol district (which includes all of Rehoboth, Seekonk and part of Swansea), precinct two belonging to the Fourteenth Bristol district (which includes parts of North Attleborough, Attleboro and Mansfield as well), and precincts three through five belonging to the First Bristol district (whose district includes Mansfield Center and Foxborough). The town is a part of the state senate district of the Bristol and Norfolk district, stretching from Dover to the north to Rehoboth and Seekonk to the south. James Timilty served as State Senator until 2017 for the Bristol & Norfolk district. State Representatives Steven S. Howitt and Frederick J. Barrows serve the Town. Norton is patrolled by Troop H (Metro Boston District), Third (Foxborough) Barracks of the Massachusetts State Police.
On the national level, the town is part of Massachusetts Congressional District 4, which is represented by Joseph P. Kennedy III. The state's senior Senator, newly elected in 2012, is Elizabeth Warren and the state's junior Senator is currently Ed Markey.
The town has an open town meeting form of government, with a town manager and a board of selectmen governing the town. The town is served by the central police station (next to the town hall on Route 123), three fire stations (Station 2 on Route 123, Station 1 in Chartley (currently closed), and Station 5 (Fire Alarm) in Barrowsville), and two post offices (Norton, next to the town center and Wheaton College; and Chartley, near the Attleboro line along Route 123). The town's public library is located next to the town hall, although the original still stands on Route 140 at the town green. There is also a senior center located along Route 123 near the high school.
Norton has its own public school system, Norton Public Schools. There are three elementary schools: L.G. Nourse Elementary School (K–3) on the east side, J.C. Solomonese Elementary School (PK–3) in Chartley, and H.A. Yelle Elementary School (4–5) near the center of town. The Norton Middle School (6–8) is located in Chartley. Norton High School (9–12) is located near the center of town, next to the H.A. Yelle School. The school colors are purple and white and their mascot is a lancer.
High school students may also attend Southeast Regional Vocational-Technical High School in Easton or Bristol County Agricultural High School, otherwise known as "Bristol Aggie", in Dighton free of charge. There are two private schools in town, Life Church, a Baptist school which serves grades K–12, and the Pinecroft School on 33 Pine Street. Many students also attend private or parochial schools in the surrounding communities. Norton is also home to Wheaton College.
Bay Road is a 17.2-mile (27.7 km) north-south road in southeastern Massachusetts. The road is in parts a very old road, dating to colonial times, when it was known as the King's Highway.
Two sections of the road, a portion in Easton (Foundry Street to the Norton town line) and the entire segment in Norton, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Norton section is listed as "Old Bay Road", while that in Easton is listed as "Bay Road". Some of the oldest houses in the region are found along the street, for example the Joseph White House in Norton, which may have been built as early as 1696 by one of the original colonial landowners of the area.Catherine Filene Shouse
Catherine Filene Shouse (June 9, 1896 – December 14, 1994) was a researcher and philanthropist. She graduated in 1918 from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. She worked for the Women's Division of the U.S. Employment Service of the Department of Labor, and was the first woman appointed to the Democratic National Committee in 1925. She was also the editor of the Woman's National Democratic Committee's Bulletin (1929–32), and the first woman to chair the Federal Prison for Women Board.
Finally, she was a strong supporter of the arts, and served as chair of the President's Music Committee's Person-to-Person Program (1957–1963). In 1966 she donated her personal property, Wolf Trap Farm, to the National Park Service. This farm would go on to become Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, where Shouse would serve as founder until her death in 1994.George L. Clarke
George Leonard Clarke (August 10, 1813 – February 11, 1890) was an American politician who served as the 10th mayor of Providence, Rhode Island from June 1869 until June 1870.George Leonard (Congressman)
George Leonard (July 4, 1729 – July 26, 1819) was an American lawyer, jurist, and politician from Norton, Massachusetts. Besides service on state court benches and in both houses of the state legislature, he represented Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives.John Jones Clarke
John Jones Clarke (February 24, 1803 – November 25, 1887) was an American politician, who served in both branches of the Massachusetts legislature and as the first Mayor of Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1846.Jonathan Eddy
Jonathan Eddy (c. 1726–1804) was a British-American soldier, who fought for the British in the French and Indian War and for the Americans in the American Revolution. After the French and Indian War, he settled in Nova Scotia as a New England Planter, becoming a member of the General Assembly of Nova Scotia. During the American Revolutionary War, he was strongly supportive of the rebellion against the Crown. He encouraged the residents of Nova Scotia to join in open revolt against King George III and England. He led a failed attempt to capture Fort Cumberland in 1776 and was forced to retreat to Massachusetts, the place of his birth. The following year, he led the defense of Machias, Maine during the Battle of Machias (1777). After the war, he established the community now known as Eddington, Maine in 1784, where he died.King Phillip's Cave (Massachusetts)
King Phillip's Cave is a cave in Norton, Massachusetts near Lake Winnecunnett. It may be accessed from Stone Run Drive off Plain Street near Bay Road and sits on a 7-acre (28,000 m2) parcel of land owned by the Land Preservation Society, an independent non-profit conservation organization chartered in 1970 by the State of Massachusetts.The cave is so named because Metacomet, the Wampanoag sachem also known as "King Phillip", is said to have hid here near the end of King Philip's War before meeting his death in the Great Misery Swamp in Bristol, RI.According to materials published by The Patriot Ledger:
The town forest, where King Philip's Cave is located, and Lake Winnecunnett are both popular recreation sites.
According to another source:
Every Norton school child has been entertained with the legend of King Phillip's Cave.Laban Wheaton
Laban Wheaton (March 13, 1754 – March 23, 1846) was a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts.Mary Lyon
Mary Mason Lyon (; February 28, 1797 – March 5, 1849) was an American pioneer in women's education. She established the Wheaton Female Seminary in Norton, Massachusetts, (now Wheaton College) in 1834. She then established Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (now Mount Holyoke College) in South Hadley, Massachusetts in 1837 and served as its first president (or "principal") for 12 years. Lyon's vision fused intellectual challenge and moral purpose. She valued socioeconomic diversity and endeavored to make the seminary affordable for students of modest means.Massachusetts Route 123
Route 123 is a west–east state highway in southeastern Massachusetts. It crosses northern Bristol and Plymouth counties, crossing several highways along the way.Massachusetts Route 140
Route 140 is a 107.8-mile (173.5 km) long state highway which passes through parts of southeastern and central Massachusetts. The highway follows a southeast-northwest trajectory, running from U.S. Route 6 in New Bedford just north of Buzzards Bay northwest to an intersection with Route 12 in Winchendon, a few miles south of the border with New Hampshire.The southern 19 miles (30 km) of Route 140 between New Bedford and Taunton is a freeway known as the Alfred M. Bessette Memorial Highway, or more commonly, the Taunton-New Bedford Expressway.Norman Johnson (mathematician)
Norman Woodason Johnson (November 12, 1930 – July 13, 2017) was a mathematician at Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts.Norton, New Brunswick
Norton (2016 population: 1,382) is a village in Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada. It was likely named for Norton, Massachusetts.Norton High School (Massachusetts)
Norton High School is Norton, Massachusetts' only public high school. Built in 1973, it underwent renovations that began in June 2011 and were completed in December 2013.Richard Henry Hall
Richard Henry Hall (November 7, 1830 – September 7, 1909) was an American politician who served as the Mayor of Taunton, Massachusetts.TPC Boston
TPC Boston is a private golf club in the northeastern United States, located in Norton, Massachusetts, approximately 25 miles (40 km) south of Boston.Wheaton College (Massachusetts)
Wheaton College is a private liberal arts college in Norton, Massachusetts. Wheaton was founded in 1834 as a female seminary. The trustees officially changed the name of the institution to Wheaton College in 1912 after receiving a college charter from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It remained one of the oldest institutions of higher education for women in the United States until men began to be admitted in 1988. It enrolls approximately 1,750 students.
Wheaton College is consistently ranked among the top liberal arts colleges by various publications. The student-faculty ratio is 10:1 and the average class size is between 15 and 20. It also has a reputation for athletics, ranking as one of the top NCAA Division III institutions in overall collegiate sports programs.Winnecunnet Pond
See also Winnacunnet (disambiguation).Winnecunnet Pond or Winneconnet Pond or Winnecunnett Pond, very often called Lake Winnecunnet or Lake Winneconnet or Lake Winnecunnett although it is a pond rather than a lake, is a body of water in Norton, Massachusetts, United States.The name also lends itself to the residential area around the pond. "Winnecunnett" (in its various spellings) may be an Algonquian word meaning "beautiful place in the pines".Winslow Farm
Winslow Farm is a nonprofit animal sanctuary located in Norton, Massachusetts, USA. It is home to about 300 animals that have been abandoned or neglected. These animals include horses, sheep, llamas, alpacas, goats, peacocks, chickens, ducks, geese, donkeys, mules, pheasants, cats, dogs, and emus. It is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
Municipalities and communities of Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States
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