Norwell, Massachusetts

Norwell is a town in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 10,506 at the 2010 Census.[2] The town's southeastern border runs along the North River.

Norwell, Massachusetts
Jacobs Farmhouse, Norwell Historical Society
Jacobs Farmhouse, Norwell Historical Society
Official seal of Norwell, Massachusetts

Location in Plymouth County in Massachusetts
Location in Plymouth County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°09′42″N 70°47′40″W / 42.16167°N 70.79444°WCoordinates: 42°09′42″N 70°47′40″W / 42.16167°N 70.79444°W
CountryUnited States
IncorporatedFebruary 14, 1849
 • TypeOpen town meeting
 • Town
Peter Morin[1]
 • Board of
Jason Brown, Chair; Ellen Allen, Vice Chair; Peter Smellie, Clerk; Alison Demong; Gregg McBride
 • Total21.2 sq mi (54.8 km2)
 • Land20.9 sq mi (54.1 km2)
 • Water0.3 sq mi (0.8 km2)
81 ft (25 m)
 • Total10,506
 • Density500/sq mi (190/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s)339 / 781
FIPS code25-50145
GNIS feature ID0618347


Norwell was first settled in 1634 as a part of the settlement of Satuit (later Scituate), which encompassed present-day Scituate and Norwell. It was officially created in 1849 and soon became known as South Scituate. The town changed its name by ballot[3] to Norwell in 1888, after Henry Norwell, a dry goods merchant who provided funds for the maintenance of the town roads. Early settlers were attracted to Norwell for agricultural reasons, with the town later developing a major shipbuilding industry, based on the North and Northwest rivers. Shipbuilding was a major industry in the 18th through the early 19th centuries. Some of the finest frigates, schooners, whalers, and merchant vessels were produced in Norwell. The Norwell Village Area Historic District is in the center of the town.

Today, Norwell is an affluent residential community with over 10,000 residents that has modern schools, shopping, churches, libraries, health facilities, a wildlife preserve, and other support facilities as well as three industrial parks.

Bryant-Cushing House Norwell Massachusetts
Bryant-Cushing House, built ca. 1698


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 21.2 square miles (55 km2), of which 20.9 square miles (54 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2), or 1.37%, is water. Some 30% to 38% of the town is wetlands. Located on the South Shore of Massachusetts, Norwell is bordered by Hanover and Rockland on the west, Pembroke on the south, Marshfield and Scituate on the east and northeast, and Hingham on the north. Norwell is about 14 miles (23 km) east of Brockton, 17 miles (27 km) north of Plymouth and 20 miles (32 km) south of Boston.

Much of Norwell's eastern border lies along the North River, where many shipbuilding companies once stood. There are many other brooks and ponds throughout the town, including Third Herring Brook, which constitutes much of the town's border with Hanover, Accord Pond at the junction of Norwell, Rockland and Hingham, and Jacobs Pond, along Route 123. The northern half of the town is hilly, and the southern end of Wompatuck State Park juts into the town.


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

As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 9,765 people, 3,250 households, and 2,710 families residing in the town. The population density was 467.8 inhabitants per square mile (180.6/km2). There were 3,318 housing units at an average density of 158.9 per square mile (61.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.58% White, 0.37% African American, 0.05% Native American, 1.16% Asian, 0.16% from other races, and 0.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.63% of the population.

There were 3,250 households out of which 42.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 74.6% were married couples living together, 6.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 16.6% were non-families. 14.2% 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 2.94 and the average family size was 3.27.

In the town, the population was spread out with 28.6% under the age of 18, 4.3% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 28.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.6 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $113,944, and the median income for a family was $122,222. Males had a median income of $66,406 versus $40,625 for females. The per capita income for the town was $48,440. About 1.4% of families and 1.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.9% of those under age 18 and 2.2% of those age 65 or over.


On the national level, Norwell is a part of Massachusetts's 9th congressional district, and is currently represented by Bill Keating. The state's senior (Class II) member of the United States Senate, elected in 2013, is Ed Markey. The junior (Class I) senator, elected in 2012, is Elizabeth Warren.

On the state level, Norwell is represented in the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a part of the Fifth Plymouth district, which includes the neighboring towns of Hanover and Rockland. The town is represented in the Massachusetts Senate by Robert Hedlund as a part of the Plymouth and Norfolk district, which includes the towns of Cohasset, Duxbury, Hingham, Hull, Marshfield, Scituate and Weymouth.[12] The town is home to the First Barracks of Troop D of the Massachusetts State Police.[13]

Norwell is governed on the local level by the open town meeting form of government, and is led by a Town Administrator and a board of selectmen. The town operates its own police and fire departments. In 2015 a new police headquarters building was added to the Fire Department Headquarters, originally built in 1999, located on Route 53 on the West side of town. Emergency Communications have been consolidated with the towns of Hingham, Cohasset, and Hull in a Hingham location. Norwell has an emergency services division within the Fire Department; all emergency room visits are brought to South Shore Hospital. The town has its own post office, located at the town's center.

There are three libraries throughout the town, two of which are independent. The Norwell Public Library is behind the high school near Assinippi, and belongs to the Old Colony Library Network (OCLN). The James Library and Center for the Arts is located near the town center, and is associated with the First Parish Church of Norwell. The James Library was founded by Josiah Leavitt James of Chicago, a former resident of South Scituate, who was persuaded by Rev. William Hamilton Fish, minister of First Parish Church, to fund a town library.[14] The South Shore Natural Science Center, located next to Jacobs Pond, also has a small nature library.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 15, 2008[15]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
Democratic 1,829 23.89%
Republican 1,543 20.15%
Unaffiliated 4,263 55.68%
Minor Parties 21 0.27%
Total 7,656 100%


Norwell has a school department for its approximately 2,300 students. There are two elementary schools for students from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade — the Grace F. Cole Elementary School in the western part of town and the William G. Vinal Elementary School in the east. The Norwell Middle School, near the Town Hall on Route 123, serves grades 6-8. It has two teams (sets of teachers) for each grade: Orange (6th), Purple (6th), Green (7th), Gold (7th), Red (8th) and Blue (8th).

Norwell High School is near Assinippi and serves students from ninth through twelfth grade. All high school and middle school students are provided with iPads by the district for school use.[16] Norwell High School is a competitive school, known for its academic excellence.

Norwell High's teams are known as the Clippers, and their colors are blue and gold. The school's major rival is Hanover High School, whom the football team plays in their annual Thanksgiving Day game. At the high school, Norwell is very well known nationwide for their FIRST robotics team 348, which consistently performs well and won second place overall at the Florida Regionals in March 2015 in addition to other awards in the past few seasons. Norwell is also known for its extremely successful math team and award-winning theater company, the Fourth Wall Players. Norwell girls' lacrosse is well known on the South Shore, having won three Division II state championships. Norwell’s girls soccer team and boys soccer team also perform consistently well, with the boys team finishing as finalists in the Division III state tournament in 2017, and the girls soccer team winning their first Division III Massachusetts state title in November 2018.

Norwell is also home to the South Shore Charter Public School, a charter school that serves students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. There are no private schools in the town. High school students have the option of attending South Shore Regional Vocational Technical High School in neighboring Hanover free of charge. The nearest college is Massasoit Community College in Brockton.


Massachusetts Route 3 passes through the town twice, across the southern portion of the town and another short portion near the west of the town. There are no exits in the town off this freeway, but there are exits, 13 and 14, in the interim space between the two portions and just north of the second portion. Both exits access routes which immediately enter the town. The major route through the town is Route 123, which passes from east to west through the town, just before its end at Route 3A in neighboring Scituate. Routes 53 and 228 also pass through the town, with Route 228 ending just over the town line in Rockland at its intersection with Route 3.

Norwell has no rail or air service within the town. The nearest rail service is the Greenbush line of the MBTA's commuter rail in neighboring Scituate, just one mile from the Norwell town line. The nearest regional airport is Marshfield Municipal Airport; the nearest national and international service can be reached at Logan International Airport in Boston.

Norwell began construction of their "pathwalks" in the summer of 2015. These mixed use pedestrian and cycling paths were designed to connect the high school, middle school, and the town center. These pathwalks allow residents and students to travel without walking on the side of Norwell's busiest roads. The pathwalks stretch from South Street to the town center near the state police barracks.[17]

Notable people

References and footnotes

  1. ^ "Town Administrator - Town of Norwell MA". Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Norwell town, Plymouth County, Massachusetts". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved March 21, 2012.
  3. ^ The townspeople had five names to choose from, under a measure of the state of Masacheustts, Norwell, Standish, Deane, Cushing or Hatherly
  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. 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: 1900, 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.
  12. ^ Index of Legislative Representation by City and Town, from Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Station D-1, SP Norwell Archived November 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "History of First Parish Church of Norwell". Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  15. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 15, 2008" (PDF). Massachusetts Elections Division. Retrieved 2010-05-08.
  16. ^ "Norwell Public Schools". Norwell Public Schools. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  17. ^ "Norwell town meeting OKs 'pathwalks'". The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, MA. Retrieved 2016-03-16.

External links

Accord Pond

Accord Pond (pronounced Ah-cord with a long A) is a 100-acre (0.40 km2) reservoir in Hingham, Norwell and Rockland, Massachusetts. The reservoir is located off Route 228 at its terminus with Route 3. The reservoir is visible from Route 3 northbound at Exit 14, the Route 228 off-ramp. The reservoir is a Class A source of water supply for the town of Hingham and Hull Ma. The outflow of the reservoir is Accord Brook, a tributary of the Weir River. Accord, a village in Hingham on the Hingham/Norwell town line, lies on the northeastern shore of the reservoir along Route 53.

Avedis Zildjian Company

The Avedis Zildjian Company, simply known as Zildjian (), is an American-based cymbal manufacturer. The company was founded in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul, Turkey) by Avedis Zildjian in the 17th century, and is now based in Norwell, Massachusetts. Being nearly 400 years old, Zildjian is one of the oldest companies in the world. Zildjian also sells drum-related accessories, such as drum sticks and cymbal carriers. It is the largest cymbal manufacturer in the world.On December 20, 2010, it was announced that Avedis Zildjian Company had merged with Vic Firth, Inc. According to the announcement, both companies will continue to run autonomously.

Dan Wetzel

Dan Wetzel is an author, screenwriter, and national columnist for Yahoo Sports and

David DeCoste

David F. DeCoste is a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. DeCoste is a Republican who first represented the Fifth Plymouth District (Hanover, Rockland, and his hometown of Norwell) in 2014.

Jacobs Pond (Norwell, Massachusetts)

Jacobs Pond is a 59-acre (240,000 m2) pond in Norwell, Massachusetts. The pond is located alongside Assinippi, a village in neighboring Hanover. Route 123 runs along the southern shore of the pond. The pond is the headwaters of Third Herring Brook, a tributary of the North River which is the town line between Norwell and the eastern boundary of Hanover. The water quality is impaired due to non-native aquatic plants and non-native fish in the pond. The South Shore Natural Science Center is located near this pond.

Jan Brett

Jan Brett (born December 1, 1949) is an American illustrator and writer of children's picture books. She is known for colorful, detailed depictions of a wide variety of animals and human cultures ranging from Scandinavia to Africa. Her best-known titles include The Mitten, The Hat, and Gingerbread Baby. She has adapted or retold numerous traditional stories such as the Gingerbread Man and Goldilocks and has illustrated some classics such as "The Owl and the Pussycat".

Jeff Corwin

Jeffrey Corwin (born July 11, 1967) is an American biologist and wildlife conservationist, known for hosting Disney Channel's Going Wild with Jeff Corwin, The Jeff Corwin Experience on Animal Planet, and ABC's Ocean Treks with Jeff Corwin.

John R. Stilgoe

John Robert Stilgoe (born 1949) is a historian and photographer who is the Robert and Lois Orchard Professor in the History of Landscape at the Visual and Environmental Studies Department of Harvard University, where he has been teaching since 1977. He is also a fellow of the Society of American Historians. He was featured on a 60 Minutes episode in 2004 entitled "The Eyes Have It".

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 53

Route 53 is a south–north state highway in southeastern Massachusetts.

North River (Massachusetts Bay)

The North River is a river, approximately 12 miles (19 km) long, in eastern Massachusetts, the United States. It is primarily a tidal river, formed by the confluence of the Indian Head River and Herring Brook. The North River forms the boundary between the towns of Norwell and Pembroke, Massachusetts, and downstream, the boundary between Scituate and Marshfield. The river flows into Massachusetts Bay at New Inlet, where it also converges with the mouth of the South River.

Norwell Village Area Historic District

The Norwell Village Area Historic District encompasses the village center of Norwell, Massachusetts. It is centered on the town common, first laid out in the 1640s, around which a number of public buildings are located, and radiates away along Main, Central, West, River, and Dover Streets. There are 34 buildings in the district, predominantly residential and representing a cross-section of architectural styles from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. Prominent buildings include the 1830 First Parish Church, the 1874 Italianate-style James Library building, and the 1934 Colonial Revival Cushing Memorial Town Hall.The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Stetson–Ford House

The Stetson–Ford House is a historic First Period house at 2 Meadow Farms Way in Norwell, Massachusetts. The oldest portion of this 2-1/2 story wood frame house was built c. 1674 by Thomas Stetson, the son of one of the area's first English settlers. It was rebuilt and enlarged in the 1780s by the family of Michael Ford, who were leading shipbuilders of the area. The house was in Ford family hands into the 20th century, and is now owned by the town.The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.

Susan Tedeschi

Susan Tedeschi (; born November 9, 1970) is an American singer and guitarist. A multiple Grammy Award nominee, she is a member of the Tedeschi Trucks Band, a conglomeration of her band, her husband Derek Trucks's the Derek Trucks Band, and other musicians.

Tedeschi served as a judge for the 7th annual Independent Music Awards.

The Tack Factory

The Tack Factory was a historic industrial facility at 49 Tiffany Road in Norwell, Massachusetts, United States. With its oldest portion dating to 1834, it was the last surviving 19th-century mill building in Norwell prior to its destruction by fire in 1983. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. For most of its history it was used in the manufacture of horse tack equipment.

Tom Larson

Lanny Lee Larason, known professionally as Tom Larson, is a retired Boston sportscaster and television host. He is currently 79–80 years old.


WWDP, virtual channel 46 (VHF digital channel 10), is a dual Shop LC/Evine-affiliated television station serving Boston, Massachusetts, United States that is licensed to Norwell. The station is owned by WRNN-TV Associates. WWDP maintains studios on Bert Drive, and its transmitter is located off Pleasant Street, both in West Bridgewater.

William G. Vinal

William Gould Vinal (November 29, 1881 – July 9, 1976) was an American football coach and conservationist. He served as the head football coach at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia for one season, in 1908, compiling a record of 0–6. After his time at Marshall, he became a noted conservationist. Gould was a conservation professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst from 1937 to 1951. Vinal died on July 9, 1976, at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, Massachusetts.

Wompatuck State Park

Wompatuck State Park is a state-owned, public recreation area of about 3,500 acres (1,400 ha) in size located primarily in the town of Hingham with portions in the neighboring towns of Cohasset, Norwell, and Scituate, Massachusetts, in the United States. In addition to a large campground and an extensive trail system, the park is noted for the free spring water that can be obtained at Mt. Blue Spring, which has been in operation since the mid-19th century. The park is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and protects forests of the northeastern coastal forests ecoregion.

Municipalities and communities of Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States
Major cities
Cities and towns
Cities and towns
Cities and towns

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