Somerset is a town in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 18,165 at the 2010 census. It is the birthplace and hometown of Clifford Milburn Holland (1883–1924), the chief engineer and namesake of the Holland Tunnel in New York City.
Brightman Street Bridge, taken from the Somerset side of the Taunton River
Location in Bristol County in Massachusetts
|• Type||Open town meeting|
|• Total||12.0 sq mi (31.0 km2)|
|• Land||8.1 sq mi (21.0 km2)|
|• Water||3.9 sq mi (10.0 km2)|
|Elevation||50 ft (15 m)|
|• Density||1,500/sq mi (590/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (Eastern)|
|Area code(s)||508 / 774|
|GNIS feature ID||0619438|
Somerset was first settled in 1677 on the Shawomet lands, and was officially incorporated in 1790. It was named for Somerset Square in Boston, which was, in turn, named for the county of Somerset in England. It was once a vital shipping point, and after the War of 1812 it was one of America's chief distribution points. In 1872, it became the site of a major coal port, and in the early 20th century a large cannery existed in the town. However, as neighboring Fall River's industry grew, it absorbed much of Somerset's, and the town took on more of a suburban character. In fact, the town's population grew during the Great Depression, as many people from Fall River and other localities moved to the suburb. Today, the town's major industry (other than suburban services) is power generation, with the Montaup Electric Company plant upriver (founded in 1923) and the Brayton Point Power Station at the town's southern tip (founded in 1963). Brayton Point has been the target of much criticism for its pollution problems from burning coal. It closed May 31, 2017.
Historically, the town has had a connective relationship with Fall River. Originally, Slade's Ferry ran across the Taunton River to connect the two towns since the late 18th century. In the late 19th century, the Slade's Ferry Bridge connected the two towns, from the current southern terminus of Brayton Avenue in Somerset to Brownell Street in Fall River, and was double-decked, with a railroad section on the top level. The bridge was dismantled after closing in 1970 due to its rapid deterioration and its low height. (The path of the old bridge is still somewhat visible; two large sets of power lines cross the river at the same point.) The Brightman Street Bridge just to the north was opened in 1908. A new bridge, named the Veterans Memorial Bridge, was partially completed prior to a dedication ceremony held on September 11, 2011. At first, only the westbound side of the bridge was open to traffic. Since then, both lanes of the bridge have been opened for traffic.
Somerset is located at  According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 12.0 square miles (31 km2), of which 8.1 square miles (21 km2) is land and 3.9 square miles (10 km2), or 32.30%, is water. It borders on Mount Hope Bay and Narragansett Bay, and its east border is formed by the Taunton River, an arm of that bay.(41.748502, -71.153188).
Somerset is bordered by Swansea on the west, Dighton on the north, Fall River on the east (across the Taunton River), and Bristol, Rhode Island, to the south. The border with Bristol is located in the middle of the bay. Cities close to Somerset include Fall River, New Bedford, and Providence, and the town is one hour's drive south of Boston.
The town is accessed via Interstate 195, which enters the town via the Braga Bridge from Fall River and has an exit at Route 103. It is also connected via the Veterans Memorial Bridge, the fourth bridge to cross the Taunton River between the town and city. The Veterans Memorial Bridge carries U.S. Route 6 and Route 138 across the river. Route 6 heads east-west towards Swansea, with several shopping plazas along the route. Route 138 travels north from the bridge along County Street, the town's main north-south thoroughfare, towards Dighton. Route 103's eastern terminus lies at the former intersection of Routes 6 and 138 just south of the new bridge. It heads south-southeast for three-quarters of a mile before turning west-northwest towards Swansea, crossing into that town at a bridge over Lee's River. Due to the controversy in Fall River over the proposed building of an LNG terminal, town officials have consider keeping the old Brightman Street Bridge open, as the tankers would not fit through it, and the terminal's proposed site is upriver of the bridges. However, as of the opening of the new bridge, the bridge is closed, as the old roads leading to it on the Fall River side have been removed to make way for the new bridge's ramp system.
Somerset has bus service along Route 6 provided by the Southeastern Regional Transit Authority (SRTA). The nearest regional bus service is in Fall River, and the nearest rail service is in Providence. There are plans in the works to bring commuter rail service to Fall River by 2023, which would give the town rail access to Boston. The town's nearest regional airport is in New Bedford, 18 miles (29 km) away. Until the late 1990s, the nearest airport was in Fall River; however, the airport closed due to various issues. The nearest national airport is T. F. Green Airport in Rhode Island, 27 miles (43 km) away. The nearest international airport is Logan International Airport, 55 miles (89 km) away in Boston.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
As of the census of 2000, there were 18,234 people, 6,987 households, and 5,261 families residing in the town. The population density was 2,248.6 people per square mile (868.1/km²). There were 7,143 housing units at an average density of 880.9 per square mile (340.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.22% White, 0.16% Black or African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.53% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.15% from other races, and 0.79% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.49% of the population.
There were 6,987 households out of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.4% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.7% were non-families. 21.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the town, the population was spread out with 20.4% under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 26.2% from 45 to 64, and 21.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.6 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $51,770, and the median income for a family was $60,067. Males had a median income of $42,036 versus $29,851 for females. The per capita income for the town was $22,420. About 3.2% of families and 4.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.8% of those under age 18 and 8.7% of those age 65 or over.
On the state level, Somerset is represented as part of the Fifth Bristol state representative district, which includes Dighton and parts of Swansea and Taunton. In the state senate, Somerset is part of the First Bristol and Plymouth district, which includes Fall River, Freetown, Lakeville, Rochester, Swansea and Westport. Representative Patricia Haddad (D-Somerset) represents Somerset in the State House of Representatives. Senator Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport) represents Somerset in the state senate. On the national level, the town is part of Massachusetts's 4th congressional district, which is represented by Joseph Kennedy III. The state's senior Senator is Elizabeth Warren. The state's junior Senator is Ed Markey.
The town's library is located north of the town hall in the center of town, and was expanded for more resource and meeting areas in 2000. The town's historical society is located in the north end of town, and also operates a museum in that location (in the former Village School building). The old Town Hall, to the north of the library, is still in use for various public gatherings. The town is served by one centralized police and fire headquarters, along with a smaller branch fire station in the Brayton Point area which is also trained to handle emergencies at the Brayton Point Power Plant. The town's zip codes are 02725 and 02726, although both are now located in the central post office in the heart of town. The town maintains five parks (Buffington Park, Ashton Field, Waterfront Park, Rock Park, and South Complex Baseball/softball fields), as well as a town beach, Pierce Beach, located next to Pierce Playground along the Taunton River in the north end of town. A sixth park, Slade's Ferry Park, was closed by eminent domain for the right-of-way of the new Brightman Street Bridge being built.
Somerset is served by its own public school system. It has three elementary schools, from north to south they are the North Elementary School, the Chace Street School, and the South Elementary School. A fourth elementary school, Wilbur Elementary School, closed in June 2014 following a majority vote by the school board. Somerset Middle School (formerly known as Somerset Junior High School) is located adjacent to South Elementary along Brayton Avenue, and handles grades 6 through 8. Somerset Berkley Regional High School is located along County Street (Route 138). The school's mascot is the "Blue Raider", and its colors are dark blue and white. The school is known locally for having two former baseball players play professionally, Greg Gagne and Jerry Remy. The town is a member of the Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School system in Fall River, and high school students may also attend Bristol County Agricultural High School in Dighton.
Many students of all grades attend private schools in Fall River, including Bishop Connolly High School. There are no private schools in the town.
The new (and renamed) regional school opened in late August 2014. Projected costs for the new Somerset-Berkley Regional High School are now at $81.5 million to $83.8 million, notably higher than earlier estimates after planners found that more costs than they had believed wouldn’t be reimbursed by the state. The school was built just behind the old high school, atop the former location of the soccer fields and tennis courts. The football field and running track were completely refurbished and completed before the start of the school year. The first graduating class will be the class of 2015. The original high school building was set to be demolished in late 2014, and on its former site will be a new series of fields for student use.
Alice G. DeCambra (August 18, 1921 – June 19, 1988) was an infielder and pitcher who played from 1946 through 1950 in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Listed at 5 ft 3 in (1.60 m), 126 lb., DeCambra batted and threw right-handed. She was dubbed Moose. Her younger sister, Lillian DeCambra, joined the league in 1947.Alice DeCambra was a versatile player during her five years in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. She provided a solid defense at second base, juggling positions on the field as a pitcher and at shortstop. In 1948 she tied with Kenosha Comets' Elizabeth Fabac for the best fielding average at second base (.963). She was also a smart baserunner, averaging at least 21 stolen bases per season while collecting a .198 average and a .263 on-base percentage.A native of Somerset, Massachusetts, DeCambra was one of ten children who grew up in a household devoted to athletic activity. She excelled in baseball, while playing for the St. Patrick's Rhode Island All-Stars before joining the league in 1946.DeCambra pitched for the Fort Wayne Daisies and the Peoria Redwings during her first two years in the league and then was used strictly as an infielder. She joined her sister, Lillian, with the Daisies during the 1947 spring training held at Havana, Cuba. The younger sister played in exhibition training games but never appeared in a regular season game.DeCambra played for Peoria through 1950, when she was traded to the Kalamazoo Lassies during the midseason. In that year, she posted a career-high .244 average in just 69 games.During her playing career, DeCambra worked for Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in the off-season. After her baseball days, she continued to work at Firestone for a long time. Besides, in her spare time she enjoyed playing basketball, bowling and swimming.Alice DeCambra died in her homeland of Somerset, Massachusetts at the age of 66. In November 1988, five months after her death, she became part of Women in Baseball, a permanent display based at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, which was unveiled to honor the entire All-American Girls Professional Baseball League rather than individual baseball personalities.Blaise Daniel Staples
(Blaise) Daniel "Danny" Staples (13 July 1948 – December 2005) was a Classical mythologist; a native of Somerset, Massachusetts, he received a B.A. in Comparative Religion and a Ph.D. in Classical Studies from Boston University. He lived in Hull, Massachusetts with his spouse, Carl A.P. Ruck.
He co-authored with Ruck The World of Classical Mythology: Gods and Goddesses, Heroines and Heroes, which has become a standard textbook. The book The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries claims that the psycho-active ingredient in the secret kykeion potion used in the Eleusinian mysteries was most likely the ergotism causing fungus Claviceps purpurea. For this book Staples translated the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and contributed with R. Gordon Wasson, Jonathan Ott and Ruck to the chapter in which the term "entheogen" was coined as an alternative for terms such as "psychedelic", "hallucinogen" and "drug" that can be misleading in certain contexts. The Apples of Apollo: Pagan and Christian Mysteries of the Eucharist explores the role that entheogens in general, and Amanita muscaria in particular, played in Greek and biblical mythology and later on in Renaissance painting, most notably in the Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grünewald.
Staples was also the author of numerous articles in his field.Clifford Milburn Holland
Clifford Milburn Holland (March 13, 1883 – October 27, 1924) was an American civil engineer who oversaw the construction of a number of subway and automobile tunnels in New York City, and for whom the Holland Tunnel is named.
Holland was born in Somerset, Massachusetts. He was the only child of Edward John Holland and Lydia Frances Hood. He graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in 1905 and a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1906. On November 5, 1908 he married Anna Coolidge Davenport (1885–1973). They had four daughters.
Holland began his career in New York City working as an assistant engineer on the construction of the Joralemon Street Tunnel, after which he served as the engineer-in-charge of construction of the Clark Street Tunnel, 60th Street Tunnel, Montague Street Tunnel and 14th Street Tunnel.Holland was the first chief engineer on the Hudson River Vehicular Tunnel project. Holland died of a heart attack at a health center in Battle Creek, Michigan, at the age of 41, having been sent there following a nervous breakdown caused by the long hours and stress caused by working in the compressed air of the tunnel. The project was renamed the Holland Tunnel in his memory by the New York State Bridge and Tunnel Commission and the New Jersey Interstate Bridge and Tunnel Commission on November 12, 1924.Greg Gagne (baseball)
Gregory Carpenter Gagne (; born November 12, 1961) is a former shortstop in Major League Baseball. He played 10 seasons for the Minnesota Twins from 1983 to 1992, including both of the Twins' World Series championship teams in 1987 and 1991. He was considered one of the American League's best defensive shortstops during his time with Minnesota.Jerry Remy
Gerald Peter Remy, commonly known as Jerry Remy, (born November 8, 1952) is an American Major League Baseball broadcaster and former Major League Baseball second baseman. Remy grew up in Somerset, Massachusetts. An all-star second baseman originally drafted by the California Angels in 1971, he was traded to his hometown Boston Red Sox in 1977. He retired from the sport in 1985 after a series of injuries and ventured into a career in broadcasting. He has served as a color commentator for NESN's Red Sox broadcasts since 1988, only taking some occasional time off for health problems.Joan Menard
Joan M. Menard (born September 6, 1935 in New York City) is a retired American politician who also served as the vice president for work force development, lifelong learning, grant development and external affairs at Bristol Community College.From 1979 to 2000, Menard represented the 5th Bristol District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. In 1991, she served as the House Assistant Majority Whip and in 1984 and again from 1992 to 1996, she was the Majority Whip.From 1993 to 2000, Menard served as the Chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.
In 1999, Menard was elected to the Massachusetts Senate; filling the vacancy caused by Thomas C. Norton's appointment to the Massachusetts Low-level Radioactive Waste Management Board. She represented the 1st Bristol and Plymouth District until her retirement in 2011. From 2003 to 2011, Menard was the Senate Majority Whip.According to the Massachusetts Open Checkbook list of state pensions, Menard is currently receiving a pension from Massachusetts at a rate of $99,297 annually.Lees River
The Lees River or Lee's River, shown on federal maps as the Lee River, is a 2.9-mile-long (4.7 km) tidal river that forms part of the boundary between Swansea and Somerset, Massachusetts. It flows south to drain into Mount Hope Bay.
The first documented local shipyard was established on the river between 1707 and 1712 by Samuel Lee. Today the river is designated as a Class A, "outstanding resource" water.Lillian DeCambra
Lillian DeCambra (November 21, 1925 – October 1, 2003) was an infielder who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Listed at 5' 2", 102 lb., DeCambra batted and threw right handed. Her eldest sister, Alice DeCambra, also played in the league.Born in Somerset, Massachusetts, DeCambra played basketball and ice skating at a young age, and later she showed her interest in softball. She was assigned to the Fort Wayne Daisies in 1947, but never played a regular season game.Lillian joined her sister Alice at spring training games held at Havana, Cuba. Afterwards, she played in exhibition games with the Daisies before the start of the season.The AAGPBL folded in 1954, but there is a permanent display at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum at Cooperstown, New York since November 5, 1988, that honors the entire league rather than any individual figure.Lillian DeCambra died in 2003 in Somerset, Massachusetts, at the age of 77.Nancy Pimental
Nancy Marie Pimental (born May 31, 1965) is an American actress and film and television writer.Oliver Chace
Oliver Chace (August 24, 1769 – May 21, 1852) was an American 18th & 19th century businessman. He was the founder of several New England textile manufacturing companies in the early 19th century, including the Valley Falls Company, the original antecedent of Berkshire Hathaway, which as of today is one of the largest and most valuable companies in the world.Pamela Bustin
Pamela "Pam" Bustin (born April 24, 1967 in Somerset, Massachusetts) is a former field hockey defender from the United States, who was a member of the US women's team that finished fifth at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. Bustin served as the head coach for the University of Louisville field hockey team in Louisville, Kentucky from 1998 through the 2010 season.
Bustin was hired as the field hockey head coach at Duke University in December 2010. In her 5 seasons at Duke, Bustin has led the Blue Devils to two Final Four appearances and participated in one National Championship game in 2013. In 2013, Bustin was named NFHCA South Region Coach of the Year.In 2015, Bustin lead her team to the Final Four in Michigan, there falling short to UNC. The Duke Field Hockey team had a great run in 2016, ending as ACC regular season champions and ranked #1 in the NCAA poll. That year, Bustin has earned 2016 ACC Coach of the year and 2016 NFHCA South Region Coach of the year.Prior to Duke, Bustin was the assistant coach at Temple University from 1990 to 1992 and Michigan State from 1992 to 1997. In the fall of 1997 she was the head coach at Hofstra, but soon moved on to coach at the University of Louisville from 1998 to 2010. At Louisville Bustin earned MAC Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2004, and Big East Coach of the Year in 2008. Bustin moved on to be the head coach at Duke in 2001.Patricia Haddad
Patricia A. Haddad (born May 7, 1950 in Fall River, Massachusetts) is an American politician who represents the 5th Bristol district in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and is the current Speaker pro Tempore of the House.Prior to serving in the General Court, Haddad spent 14 years as a teacher in Somerset, Massachusetts and was a member of that town's school committee from 1993–2001.RV Tioga
R/V Tioga is a coastal research vessel operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Tioga is a fast coastal vessel designed to quickly take advantage of weather windows and breaking events, such as the 2004 Harmful Algae Bloom (Red Tide) outbreak.
Currently Tioga is heavily involved in the tagging and studying of the endangered right whales and the maintenance of the Martha's Vineyard Coastal Observatory.
Tioga is capable of many missions such as education, autonomous vehicle operations, coring, water sampling, diving, whale tagging, mooring deployments and recoveries, instrument deployments and is a cost-effective way to test and troubleshoot equipment before longer cruises on larger vessels.
She is the third of the Challenger class research vessels. Her sisters include the 50 foot Gulf Challenger, operated by the University of New Hampshire, the 55 foot Fay Slover, operated by the Old Dominion University, and the 81 foot Rachel Carson operated by the University of Maryland.Rhoda Leonard
Rhoda Leonard (January 31, 1928 – October 21, 2015) was an American infielder and outfielder who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Listed at 5' 5", 115 lb., Leonard batted and threw right handed. She was nicknamed 'Nicky' by her friends and teammates.Born in Somerset, Massachusetts, Leonard attended Somerset High School, where she graduated and later earned Somerset Athletic Hall of Fame honors in 1946. This prompted an invitation to an AAGPBL tryout and she made the grade, but she did not get much of a chance to play in her only season in the league.
Leonard joined the Fort Wayne Daisies in 1946 and was used sparingly at second base and outfield, collecting a batting average of .095 (2-for-21) in nine game appearances.After baseball, Leonard married Edmund Linehan and had two children, Mark and Maggie. She then graduated from Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Massachusetts in 1950, and after raising her family served for many years as a teacher for the Norwood Public Schools system for a long time. Some of her most cherished teaching moments came during her years of work with students at St. Catherine's School.Following her retirement, she became an avid golfer and member of the WGAM. She also was awarded a lifetime membership to the Walpole Country Club after serving as their club secretary for several years, while enjoying many years as a lifetime member of the AAGPBL Players Association.The AAGPBL folded in 1954, but there is now a permanent display at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum at Cooperstown, New York since November 5, 1988 that honors those who were part of this unique experience. Leonard, along with the rest of the league's girls, is included at the display exhibition.Nicky Leonard died in 2015 in Norwood, Massachusetts at age 87, following complications from Alzheimer's disease.Slade's Ferry Bridge
The Slade's Ferry Bridge was a steel swing double layered truss bridge that spanned the Taunton River between Somerset, Massachusetts and Fall River, Massachusetts. It carried rail traffic on top and included a swing span to allow river traffic through. It was built in 1875 and removed in 1970. The alignment of the bridge carried it from Remington Street in Fall River to the junction of Riverside Avenue, Brayton Avenue and Wilbur Avenue in Somerset. Originally, Route 103 continued across the river to the junction of Davol Street and Brownell Avenue, where it terminated at Route 138 and Route 6. Today Route 103 continues north up Riverside Avenue until it meets the two routes in Somerset. There is also a house located on the footing of the bridge on the Somerset side today.Somerset Power Plant
Somerset Power Plant, or Somerset Power LLC, was a coal- and oil-fired power plant located in Somerset, Massachusetts, USA. The plant was closed in 2010, and was owned by Asset Recovery Group of New Jersey but was auctioned off and purchased by William Thibeault in 2013. The plant was slated for eventual demolition and redevelopment of the site but since it has been under new ownership, its final purpose has yet to be decided.South Coast (Massachusetts)
The South Coast of Massachusetts (sometimes stylized Southcoast) is the region of southeastern Massachusetts consisting of southern Bristol and Plymouth counties bordering Buzzards Bay, and includes the cities of Fall River, New Bedford, the southeastern tip of East Taunton and nearby towns. The term is recent, dating to the 1990s, and sometimes confused with the South Shore (a region southeast of Boston that includes Norfolk, Northern Bristol and eastern Plymouth counties).Stephen Rebello
Stephen Rebello is an American writer, screenwriter, journalist and former clinical therapist.WSAR
WSAR is an AM radio station licensed to Fall River, Massachusetts. Its studios and transmitter are located in Somerset, Massachusetts, broadcasting on 1480 kHz. Its transmitter power output is 5,000 watts unlimited hours using two towers at the Somerset site. On January 28, 2015 WSAR was granted a U.S. Federal Communications Commission construction permit to increase day power to 25,000 watts by adding a third tower that is about one half the height of the current two towers.
Municipalities and communities of Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States
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