Rockland, Massachusetts

Rockland is a town in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 17,489 at the 2010 census.[1] As of December 31, 2009, there were 11,809 registered voters in the community.[2]

Rockland, Massachusetts
Union Street, Rockland
Union Street, Rockland
Official seal of Rockland, Massachusetts

Location in Plymouth County in Massachusetts
Location in Plymouth County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°07′50″N 70°55′00″W / 42.13056°N 70.91667°WCoordinates: 42°07′50″N 70°55′00″W / 42.13056°N 70.91667°W
CountryUnited States
 • TypeOpen town meeting
 • Total10.1 sq mi (26.2 km2)
 • Land10.0 sq mi (26.0 km2)
 • Water0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
140 ft (43 m)
 • Total17,489
 • Density1,748.9/sq mi (672.7/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s)339 / 781
FIPS code25-57775
GNIS feature ID0618351


Rockland was settled by European settlers, as a northeastern region of neighboring Abington in 1673. The town separated and incorporated as Rockland on March 9, 1874. It is named for the town's rocky nature, which was better suited for mills and industry than for farming. During King Philip's War, the town was the site of an encampment during his raids on the town of Scituate.[3]

During the twentieth century, the town was the site of a portion of the landing strips of the South Weymouth Naval Air Station. The airstrip closed in 1996 as a part of the fourth round of closures under the Base Realignment and Closure Act.

In recent years, a growing number of artists have moved into the community, attracted by former factory buildings as a place to work and meet.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 10.1 square miles (26 km2), of which 10.0 square miles (26 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2), or 0.79%, is water. Rockland ranks 307th out of 351 communities in the Commonwealth. Rockland is bordered by Weymouth to the northwest, Hingham to the northeast, Norwell to the northeast, Hanover to the east, Hanson to the south, Whitman to the southwest, and Abington to the west. Rockland is 8 miles (13 km) northeast of Brockton and 22 miles (35 km) south of Boston.

Rockland, as its name suggests, is dominated by rocky lands. There are several ponds throughout the town, including Accord Pond at the junction with Hingham and Norwell, and Studleys Pond (known to local residents as Reeds Pond) just south of Rockland Center, can be seen along Market Street. There are several brooks throughout town, one of which is sourced at the Abington-Rockland Reservoir near the northwest corner of town. Beech Hill lies at the south of town, and Wyman Fields lies to the north of it. There are several parks throughout the town, as well as a small town forest just south of the Naval Air Station.

A short stretch (2/3 of a mile long) of Massachusetts Route 3 crosses the northeast corner of town, granting access to Route 228, which terminates just south of the highway. Route 123 and Route 139 pass from west to east just south of the center of town, running coextensively for roughly 2/3 of a mile.

A spur of the Old Colony rail line formerly ran through the town; that line is now abandoned. The Old Colony Line does, however, pass through neighboring Weymouth, Abington and Whitman, as part of the Kingston-Route 3 line of the MBTA's commuter rail. There are stops in South Weymouth (alongside the Naval Air Station) and Abington (just south of Route 123), not far from the town line. There is no commercial air service in town; nearby national and international flights are available at Logan International Airport in Boston, or T. F. Green Airport in Rhode Island.


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 17,670 people, 6,539 households, and 4,583 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,763.1 people per square mile (680.9/km²). There were 6,649 housing units at an average density of 663.4 per square mile (256.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 90.81% White, 5.71% African American, 0.15% Native American, 1.08% Asian, 0.79% from other races, and 1.47% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.02% of the population.

There were over 9,000 households out of which 34.2% had children under the age of 18 living in them, 52.7% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.9% were non-families. 24.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.23.

In the town, the population was spread out with 26.5% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 32.0% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $50,613, and the median income for a family was $60,088. Males had a median income of $41,361 versus $31,907 for females. The per capita income for the town was $23,068. About 6.1% of families and 6.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.2% of those under age 18 and 6.2% of those age 65 or over.

Statistically, Rockland is the 103rd most populous community in the Commonwealth, just below the state average. Rockland is the 62nd most densely populated community in the Commonwealth, and the fourth most densely populated in Plymouth County.


On the national level, Rockland is a part of Massachusetts's 10th congressional district, and is represented by Bill Keating. The state's senior (Class I) member of the United States Senate, elected in 2012, is Elizabeth Warren. The state's junior member, elected in a special election following the appointment of John Kerry to United States Secretary of State, is Ed Markey.

On the state level, Rockland is represented in the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a part of the Fifth Plymouth district, which includes the towns of Hanover and Norwell. The town is represented in the Massachusetts Senate as a part of the Norfolk and Plymouth District, which includes Abington, Holbrook, Quincy, and part of Braintree.[12] The town is patrolled by the First (Norwell) Barracks of Troop D of the Massachusetts State Police.[13]

The town has its own police and fire department; the police department is located near the eastern junction of Routes 123 and 139 and the fire department is located along Union Street, the town's main street. The fire department also has its own ambulance service, which brings emergency cases to South Shore Hospital in Weymouth or Brockton Hospital in Brockton. The Rockland Memorial Library is a member of the Old Colony Library Network (OCLN) and the Southeastern Massachusetts Library System (SEMLS).

Rockland Library
Rockland Memorial Library

Rockland is governed by an open town meeting form of government. Its board of selectmen has five elected seats, currently filled by:

  • Edward Kimball, 2019 (Chairman)
  • Michael Mullen, 2018
  • Larry Ryan, 2019
  • Michael O’Loughlin, 2020
  • Deirdre Hall, 2020 (Vice-Chairman)
Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 15, 2008[14]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
Democratic 3,349 28.64%
Republican 1,231 10.53%
Unaffiliated 7,033 60.15%
Minor Parties 30 .26%
Total 11,692 100%


Rockland operates its own school system for the town's approximately 2,500 students. There are three elementary schools (Jefferson, Memorial Park and R. Stewart Esten) which serve students from kindergarten to fourth grade.

The John W. Rogers Middle School is located adjacent to Memorial Park, in a new facility completed in 2012 and connected to the high school. It serves fifth through eighth grades. A newly renovated Rockland Senior High School serves ninth through twelfth grade students.[15]

Rockland High's athletics teams are known as the Bulldogs (sometimes just 'Dogs), and their colors are navy blue and white. They compete in the South Shore League and their rival is Abington. The Bulldogs have a strong basketball tradition, with their most recent state championships in 2004 (boys) and 2000 (girls). The football team last won a Super Bowl in 2000 by defeating heavily favored Bishop Feehan High School, 20-3, at Bridgewater State College.

In addition to the high school, students may attend South Shore Vocational Technical High School in Hanover free of charge. The town also has two private schools, Calvary Chapel Academy and Holy Family School. Calvary Chapel Academy is a Christian school serving from kindergarten through twelfth grade. The Holy Family School is a Catholic parochial school which extends to eighth grade, and is associated with the Holy Family Church of Rockland.

Children living in Rockland are also eligible to attend South Shore Charter Public School. Located in neighboring Norwell, the school offers entrance to neighboring towns on the South Shore.

Many students and their families also choose to attend private high schools in the area, including Cardinal Spellman High School in Brockton, Notre Dame Academy in Hingham, Fontbonne Academy in Milton, Boston College High School in Boston, Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, and more.


The town serves as the headquarters for several major companies:


Town officials and citizens have moved forward with efforts to revitalize Rockland Center. The stretch of Union Street is plentiful with mix-use buildings that reflect the heritage of Rockland Center’s past vibrancy.[16]

A comprehensive study conducted by BSC Group and McCabe Enterprises made recommendations to guide the Center's redevelopment while retaining historic aspects.[17]

New sidewalks and crossing areas, paid for with a federal Community Development Block Grant, were installed in 2010.

Selectmen contracted the Iron Horse Preservation Society to remove the section of the Old Colony rail line that ran through town. Since the rails were removed, the line has been used for light recreation activities such as walking and bike riding.



In 1884, a local paper was founded and Hulda Barker Loud took the position of editor-in-chief, naming the paper The Independent.[18]

Today, the town shares a weekly newspaper with neighboring Abington, The Rockland Standard. The Patriot Ledger and The Brockton Enterprise serve the greater South Shore area.

Radio and television

WRPS (88.3 FM) is a radio station owned by Rockland High School. The station is operated by the students and staff of the school. In addition, the studio offers two public access cable channels.

Sites of interest

Historic buildings

Lower Union Street Historic District runs down southern Union Street from East Water to Market Streets. In addition, there are several buildings on the National Register of Historic Places:

Notable people


  1. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Rockland town, Plymouth County, Massachusetts". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved March 21, 2012.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Rockland Historical Commission - Chronology
  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 March 13, 2003. 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
  13. ^ Station D-1, SP Norwell
  14. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 15, 2008" (PDF). Massachusetts Elections Division. Retrieved 2010-05-08.
  15. ^ Rockland Senior High School
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Willard, Frances E., and Mary A. Livermore, eds. A Woman of the Century: Fourteen Hundred-Seventy Biographical Sketches Accompanied by Portraits of Leading American Women in All Walks of Life. Moulton, 1893, p. 474.

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.

Brian Duffy (astronaut)

Brian Duffy (born June 20, 1953, Boston, Massachusetts) is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and a former NASA astronaut. He flew aboard four Space Shuttle missions.

Grand Army of the Republic Hall (Rockland, Massachusetts)

The Grand Army of the Republic Hall is an historic building located at 34 School Street in Rockland, Massachusetts, in the United States. The hall was designed by local builder William Harrison Hebberd, andbuilt in 1899 by members of the GAR as a memorial to the Union Army veterans of the Civil War. It is a somewhat plainly decorated two-story wood frame building with a hip roof. Its most elaborate exterior feature is the main entry, a porch supported by clusters of narrow columns, and with brackets in its eaves. The interior is more elaborately decorated, and has retained most of its original Queen Anne details.On May 16, 1997, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

IRC flood

Flooding or scrolling on an IRC network is a method of disconnecting users from an IRC server (a form of Denial of Service), exhausting bandwidth which causes network latency ('lag'), or just disrupting users. Floods can either be done by scripts (written for a given client) or by external programs.

John R. Buckley

John R. Buckley (born January 1, 1932 in Rockland, Massachusetts) is an American politician who served as Massachusetts Secretary of Administration and Finance from 1975 to 1979, member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1965 to 1975, and Abington, Massachusetts Town Treasurer from 1961 to 1965. He was a candidate for state Democratic party chairman in 1971, but lost to State Treasurer Robert Q. Crane.

His son John R. Buckley, Jr. is the Plymouth County, Massachusetts Register of Deeds.

Jonathan Togo

Jonathan Frederick Togo (born August 25, 1977) is an American actor, best known for his role in CSI: Miami as Ryan Wolfe.

Josh Grispi

Josh Richard Grispi (born October 14, 1988) is an American former professional mixed martial artist. He has competed for the UFC, and WEC.

Maria Louise Pool

Maria Louise Pool (August 20, 1841 – May 18, 1898) was an American writer.

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 139

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

PJ Ladd

Patrick John Ladd (born January 11, 1983), professionally referred to as PJ Ladd, is an American professional skateboarder whose stance is regular. Ladd was labelled an "east coast legend" by fellow professional skateboarder and team manager John Rattray in May 2013.

Phoenix Building (Rockland, Massachusetts)

The Phoenix Building is a historic commercial building located at 315–321 Union Street in Rockland, Massachusetts.

Rockland Almshouse

The Rockland Almshouse is a historic almshouse at 198 Spring Street in Rockland, Massachusetts. The large ​2 1⁄2-story L-shaped building was built in 1876, and served as a communal poor house until 1979. It is a rare well-preserved example of a 19th-century almshouse. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. It is currently used as an educational facility.

Rockland High School (1909)

Rockland High School is a historic former high school building located at 349 Union Street in Rockland, Massachusetts. It was built in 1909 and served as the town's second high school until 1928. It was later converted to lower grades and was known as McKinley School. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.

The building is now a community center - housing day care, pre-school and meeting spaces for Girl Scouts. The building housed Rockland's senior center prior to the construction of a new senior center on Plain Street.

Rockland Senior High School

Rockland Senior High School is public high school located at 52 MacKinlay Way in Rockland, Massachusetts. The current high school building opened in 1957. Between 2010 and 2012 it underwent an $86 million renovation project.

Rockland Trust

Rockland Trust is a commercial bank based in Rockland, Massachusetts that serves Southeastern Massachusetts, Coastal Massachusetts, Cape Cod, and Boston's MetroWest. Established in 1907 as Rockland Trust Company. A wholly owned subsidiary of Independent Bank Corp., by October 2016, Rockland Trust had $7.5 billion in assets and employed around 1,000 people.

Steve Seymour (basketball)

Steve Seymour (born 18 May 1959) is an American basketball coach. From 1999 though 2001, he was the head coach at Drexel University. He has also held a variety of collegiate assistant coaching positions.

Studleys Pond

Studleys Pond, known locally as Reed's Pond, is a 29-acre (120,000 m2) pond in Rockland, Massachusetts. The pond is located south of Rockland Center on Route 123, 0.1-mile (0.16 km) west of Route 139. The French Stream flows through the pond. Gideon's Island, named after Gideon Studley, lies in the southern portion of the pond. Thomas V. Mahon Park, a park which is owned by the Town of Rockland and is accessible from Route 123, lies along the southern shore of the pond.


WRPS (88.3 FM) is a high school radio station licensed to serve Rockland, Massachusetts. The station is owned by Rockland Public Schools and operated by the staff and students of Rockland High School. It airs a combination high school/Hot AC music format in Stereo.The station was assigned the WRPS call letters by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and began operations in February 1974.

Municipalities and communities of Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States
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