Stoughton /ˈstoʊtən/ (official name: Town of Stoughton) is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 26,962 at the 2010 census. The town is located approximately 17 miles (27 km) from Boston, 25 miles (40 km) from Providence, and 35 miles (56 km) from Cape Cod.
"Birthplace of American Liberty"
Location in Massachusetts
|• Type||Representative town meeting|
|• Total||16.3 sq mi (42.1 km2)|
|• Land||16.0 sq mi (41.5 km2)|
|• Water||0.2 sq mi (0.6 km2)|
|Elevation||236 ft (72 m)|
|• Density||1,685.1/sq mi (649.7/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (Eastern)|
|GNIS feature ID||0618330|
Stoughton was settled in 1713 and officially incorporated in 1726, from the southwestern portion of the large town of Dorchester. At its founding, it included the current towns of Sharon (which separated in 1765), Canton (which separated in 1797) and Avon (which separated in 1888). It was named after William Stoughton, who was the first chief justice of Colonial Courts and the notorious chief justice of the Salem Witch Trials.
The Suffolk Resolves were written in Old Stoughton (current day Milton, Massachusetts) at Doty's Tavern. They are thought to be the basis for the Declaration of Independence. The meeting included the Rev. Samuel Dunbar and Paul Revere; the site was chosen by Samuel Adams and Dr. Joseph Warren.
The oldest choral society in the United States is located in Stoughton. Founded in 1786 as The Stoughton Musical Society, it is now known as the Old Stoughton Musical Society. It has the oldest constitution of any musical society in the United States, written in 1787, only a few weeks after the United States Constitution. In 1893, this musical society distinguished itself by performing several concerts at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, heard by an audience of several thousand people. In 1986, the musical society celebrated its bicentennial with a series of concerts and special events.
In 1940 artist Jean Watson painted the mural, A Massachusetts Countryside as a project of the WPA. The artwork is currently on display in the attic at the Stoughton Historic Society.
The Save Our Stoughton campaign attracted national attention in the 1980s for their work picketing a local adult book store. Most recently, Stoughton became the first municipality in Massachusetts to declare itself a "No Place for Hate" town.
Stoughton's train station was built in 1888, and is the only one in Massachusetts to house a clock tower. The station is unique in many ways as it was built out of stones from a West Street quarry that belonged to Stoughton resident Myron Gilbert. In 1974 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Over a million dollars was raised to restore the station to its original luster in time for the 100th anniversary. In 2009, however, the MBTA permanently closed the station, which stood at the terminus of the Stoughton Branch of the MBTA's Providence/Stoughton Line. The building still stood but remained closed to the public as of 2015. In 2015, members of Town Meeting voted to purchase the train station from the state. Plans for use of the property are being developed by the Community Preservation Committee.
On August 15, 1908, Stoughton was hit by a moderate earthquake. Although the Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory was affected, the shockwaves did not reach to Boston. On May 9, 2013, a weak, brief, and unexpected tornado touched down in Stoughton, with minor damage occurring. The tornado was ranked as an EF-0 on the Enhanced Fujita scale after the National Weather Service office in Taunton, Massachusetts confirmed this tornado in a damage survey on May 10.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 16.3 square miles (42 km2), of which 16.0 square miles (41 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) (2.41%) is water. Stoughton borders Canton to the north, Randolph to the northeast, Avon to the east, Brockton to the southeast, Easton to the south, and Sharon to the west. The highest point in Stoughton, approximately 350 feet (106.7 m) above mean sea level, is an unnamed hill in the south west region of town between Ames Pond and Briggs Pond (Easton).
|* = population estimate. |
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
As of the 2010 Census, there were 26,962 people, 10,295 households, and 7,099 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,654.1 inhabitants per square mile (638.7/km2). There were 10,818 housing units at an average density of 663.7 per square mile (256.3/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 80.2% White, 11.1% African American, 0.2% Native American, 2.3% Asian, 1.3% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.2% of the population.
There were 10,295 households out of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.5% were married couples living together, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 25.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.13.
In the town, the population was spread out with 81.5% of age 16 years and over, 78.7% of age 18 years and over, 75.7% of age 21 years and over, 20.1% of age 62 years and over, and 16.4% of age 65 years and over. The median age was 42.9 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.3 males.
Stoughton has a history of manufacturing and an emerging cluster of regional retail, as well as a substantial base of land zoned for commercial and industrial purposes. The major commercial and industrial areas in town are located adjacent to Route 24 and along routes 138, 139 and 27, but smaller areas are interspersed with residential zones due to the community’s industrial past. The town has significant protected open space resources, including the Bird Street Sanctuary, water department lands, recreational fields and a municipal golf course. Additional privately owned, but not protected, undeveloped lands are an important factor in the character of the community. Stoughton has good access to the regional roadway network, being served by several state routes and 3 interchanges on Route 24. Stoughton also has access to regional transit, being served by bus from Brockton and MBTA Commuter rail at the station in downtown Stoughton.
The Town is governed by a Selectmen-Manager plan with a representative Town meeting. Stoughton's Annual Town Meeting meets in May, and is chaired by the Town Moderator. The current Town Moderator is Adam Dawkins. The Board of Selectmen of the town consists of five members, all of whom are elected at large for a term of three years. The Selectmen appoint a Town Manager, who is the chief administrative officer in the executive branch of government. The Town Manager carries out the policies and plans set forth by the Selectmen. Robert O'Regan is the current Chairman of the Board of Selectmen. The other Selectmen are Michael T. Sullivan, Christine Howe, Richard Hill, and Stephen Cavey. The Town Manager is Michael Hartman. The Stoughton Fire Department provides fire suppression, rescue and EMS services to Stoughton. The Stoughton Fire Department operates out of two stations. Station #1 is located at 30 Freeman Street and Station #2 is located at 1550 Central Street. The Freeman Street Fire Station was opened on June 13, 1927 and has received updates throughout the years and is still open today.
Stoughton Public Schools operates public schools. There is one public high school in Stoughton, one public middle school, five elementary schools and several parochial and private schools in nearby towns. The town is currently in the construction stage for construction of a new high school.
At the joint meeting of the Board of Selectman, the Stoughton School Committee and the SHS Building Committee on Tuesday November 17, 2015, there was a unanimous vote to endorse the building project by both the Board of Selectman and the Stoughton School Committee.
The Stoughton High School Building Committee voted on Thursday, November 12, 2015 to recommend to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) that the Town construct option C2A, to build a new Stoughton High School. The preliminary cost analysis for the total project is estimated to be $126,137,847. The projected state reimbursement is estimated at $54,598,291. The Town’s protected share of the cost is estimated to be $71,539,557.
|Stoughton High School||http://shs.stoughtonschools.org/|
|O'Donnell Middle School||http://oms.stoughtonschools.org/|
Several organizations exist in the town for recreation and sports.
Stoughton Youth Soccer League (SYSL) offers both in-town and travel soccer programs for spring and fall season in divisions ranging from u5 and u6 (co-ed) to u16 and even u18, when there is sufficient participation. The league is based at the Kolz Soccer Complex on West Street, where the league maintains three fields, a concession stand and bathroom facilities. All in-town and home travel games are played at the Kolz Complex. Practices are held there and at other locations around town. SYSL participates in the South Shore Soccer League for travel soccer programs.
Stoughton Youth Baseball is affiliated with Cal Ripken Baseball and Babe Ruth Baseball. It offers skills programs for 5-year old kids; t-ball and instructional leagues for ages 6 and 7; and divisions for 8 and 9 year olds and 10, 11 and 12 year olds.
Stoughton Lacrosse offers programs and leagues for both boys and girls in four divisions, u9, u11, u13 and u15.
The Total Value of all taxable Real Property was $4,021,541,014 in 2018, an increase of 6% compared to the previous year, due to "improved market values and conditions improved and included growth in construction of new residential, commercial, industrial dwellings and personal property." In the year 2018, property tax accounted for 55% of the town's operating budget.
The town has a total of 167 licenced food establishments, most of them being located in Stoughton Center which continues to be a hub of business activity and income for both private businesses and the town.
An annual 4th of July fireworks display takes place at the high school. Other Stoughton attractions include local drama groups, summer-time outdoor concerts, and annual parades to honor veterans. Every year on the 4th of July, Stoughton has a parade. Stoughton also has annual parade on Veterans Day. Stoughton has held a Christmas parade on December 18, which started in 1986. The town of Stoughton organizes swimming programs at the Ames Long Pond and provides basketball courts and horseshoe pits at the local parks. The town of Stoughton also offers barbecue spots and picnic areas.
Ahavath Torah is a Conservative congregation in Stoughton, Massachusetts. Formed as a merger of two older congregations founded in the 1890s, it is the oldest synagogue in Stoughton.Congregation Ahavath Achim was formed in Stoughton in 1893. Congregation Talmud Torah was formed in Stoughton soon after, in 1895. Both congregations worshiped in various houses. In 1918, the congregations merged with the Hebrew Benevolent Society to form Ahavath Torah Congregation, with 25 members, and Rev. M. L. Graham as its spiritual head. That year the congregation began construction of its first synagogue building on Porter Street, which was dedicated on October 14, 1919. The congregation was, however, only officially incorporated on September 5, 1930.In 1954, Ahavath Achim opened its religious school. In need of a larger synagogue building, it purchased and moved into the former Congregational Church at 30 Pearl Street in 1958. As Stoughton's Jewish population grew, membership increased to 72 families, and land was purchased in three stages for a new synagogue. The present building at 1179 Central Street was dedicated in 1970. Further growth led to a significant renovation and expansion of the synagogue building, which was completed in 1987.The synagogue has hosted many notable guest speakers, including Geert Wilders, Wafa Sultan, and Dr. Mordechai Kedar, as well as entertainment from singer Sam Glaser, and a Bob Lazarus memorial show.Congregational rabbis have included Henry Gerson, David Oler, Harold Schechter, and Steven Conn. As of 2010, the rabbi is Jonathan Hausman.Arthur Brides
Arthur E. Brides (October 31, 1885 – September 26, 1937) was an American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1909 to 1910 and at Massachusetts Agricultural College—now the University of Massachusetts Amherst—from 1912 to 1915, compiling a career college football record of 20–23–4.
Brides was born on October 31, 1885 in Brockton, Massachusetts. He died on September 26, 1937 in Stoughton, Massachusetts of a heart attack.Darin Jordan
Darin Godfrey Jordan (born December 4, 1964) is a former American football linebacker who played four seasons in the National Football League with the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fifth round of the 1988 NFL Draft. He played college football at Northeastern University and attended Stoughton High School in Stoughton, Massachusetts. He has also been a member of the Los Angeles Raiders.Elmer Hewitt Capen
Elmer Hewitt Capen (April 5, 1838 – March 22, 1905) was the third president of Tufts College (now Tufts University), serving from 1875 to 1905. He was born in Stoughton, Massachusetts. Capen graduated from Tufts in 1860, and while there he was a founding member of the Kappa Charge of Theta Delta Chi. Also, while still an undergraduate, he was elected to, and served in, the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He relinquished his seat after one term in order to finish his studies and graduate with his class. After his graduation from Tufts, he studied at Harvard Law School, practiced law for a short time, and then became a Universalist minister.
Capen presided over the continued expansion of course and program offerings at Tufts, and the beginning of co-education (over his own objections) in 1892. He died in office on March 22, 1905. A bronze bust of Capen remains in Tufts' Goddard Chapel. The residence he constructed for himself and his family while president, at 8 Professors Row, is still known as Capen House. His wife was Mary Leavitt Edwards (1860-1944; married to Sumner Robinson following Elmer Capen's death). Elmer and Mary's only son, Samuel Paul Capen (1878-1956) also graduated from Tufts, and made significant contributions to the field of higher education; he became the first Director of the American Council on Education.Forrest Bird
Forrest Morton Bird (June 9, 1921 – August 2, 2015) was an American aviator, inventor, and biomedical engineer. He is best known for having created some of the first reliable mass-produced mechanical ventilators for acute and chronic cardiopulmonary care.Henry Turner Eddy
Henry Turner Eddy (born Stoughton, Massachusetts, 9 June 1844; died 11 December 1921) was a United States science and engineering educator. He was president of the University of Cincinnati and the Rose Polytechnic Institute.John Bailey (Massachusetts)
John Bailey (1786 – June 26, 1835) was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts.
Born in Stoughton, Massachusetts (in that part of Stoughton which later became Canton). Bailey graduated from Brown University in 1807. Bailey worked as a tutor and librarian in Providence, Rhode Island from 1807 until 1814. Bailey was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives and served from 1814 to 1817; he served as a clerk in the Department of State in Washington, D.C. from 1817 until 1823.
Bailey was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1816.Bailey presented credentials as a Member-elect to the Eighteenth Congress, but his election was contested on residency requirements. A House resolution on March 18, 1824 declared he was not entitled to the seat.
Upon returning to Canton, Bailey was elected as an Adams-Clay Republican; his subsequent re-elections allowed him to serve the Nineteenth and Twentieth Congresses. During his tenure Bailey chaired the Committee on Expenditures in the Department of State.
Bailey ran as an Anti-Jacksonian in the Twenty-first Congress but was not a candidate for renomination in 1830. He was a member of the Massachusetts State senate, 1831–1834 and ran as the unsuccessful Anti-Masonic candidate for Governor of Massachusetts in 1834. He died in Dorchester, Massachusetts the following year.John F. Thornell Jr
John Francis Thornell, Jr (April 19, 1921 – September 3, 1998) was a career officer in the United States Air Force and a World War II flying ace. He flew P-51 Mustangs and P-47 Thunderbolts with the 328th Fighter Squadron of the 352nd Fighter Group. He was the third highest scoring ace of 352nd Fighter Group, and one of the top USAAF aces of the European Theater of Operations and Eighth Air Force, with 17.25 aerial victories and 2 ground victories.Kenny Wormald
Kenneth Edgar Wormald (born July 27, 1984) is an American dancer, reality television star and actor. His best known role to date is perhaps as Ren McCormack in the 2011 remake of 1984's Footloose. Wormald was a regular on the MTV reality television series Dancelife in 2007.Kerry Keating
Kerry Keating (born (1971-07-15)July 15, 1971) is an American college basketball coach and the former head men's basketball coach at Santa Clara University.Lori McKenna
Lori McKenna (née Giroux; born December 22, 1968) is an American folk, Americana, and country music singer, songwriter, and performer. In 2016, she was nominated for the Grammy Award for Song of the Year and won Best Country Song for co-writing the hit single "Girl Crush" performed by Little Big Town. In 2017, she again won Best Country Song at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards for writing "Humble and Kind" performed by Tim McGraw.
McKenna along with Lady Gaga, Natalie Hemby and Hillary Lindsey wrote the second single off the soundtrack to the 2018 film, A Star Is Born called "Always Remember Us This Way" and performed backing vocals along with Lindsey and Hemby.Louis Kafka
Louis L. Kafka (born November 28, 1945 in Boston, Massachusetts) is an American politician who represents the 8th Norfolk District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.Massachusetts Route 139
Route 139 is nominally a west–east state highway in southeastern Massachusetts.Matt Nagle
Matthew Nagle (October 16, 1979 – July 24, 2007) was the first person to use a brain-computer interface to restore functionality lost due to paralysis. He was a C3 tetraplegic, paralyzed from the neck down after being stabbed.Ryan LaCasse
Ryan LaCasse (born February 6, 1983) is a former American football linebacker for the Indianapolis Colts, primarily as a special teams player. He was drafted in the 7th round in 2006 NFL draft by the Baltimore Ravens but was traded to the Indianapolis Colts. He played for the Colts on their Super Bowl XLI championship team that beat the Chicago Bears.Sidney Fay Blake
Sidney Fay Blake (1892–1959) was an American botanist.Supply Belcher
Supply Belcher (29 March 1751 – 9 June 1836) was an American composer, singer, and compiler of tune books. He was one of the members of the so-called First New England School, a group of mostly self-taught composers who created sacred vocal music for local choirs. He was active first in Lexington, Massachusetts, then eventually moved to Farmington, Maine. Like most of his colleagues, Belcher could not make music his main occupation, and worked as tax assessor, schoolmaster, town clerk, and so on; nevertheless he was considerably well known for his musical activities, and even dubbed 'the Handell [sic] of Maine' by a local newspaper. Most of his works survive in The Harmony of Maine, a collection Belcher published himself in Boston in 1794.Thomas H. Collins
Thomas Hansen Collins (born June 25, 1946) is a former United States Coast Guard admiral who served as the 22nd Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard from May 2002 to May 2006.William Stoughton (judge)
William Stoughton (1631 – July 7, 1701) was a colonial magistrate and administrator in the Province of Massachusetts Bay. He was in charge of what have come to be known as the Salem Witch Trials, first as the Chief Justice of the Special Court of Oyer and Terminer in 1692, and then as the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Judicature in 1693. In these trials he controversially accepted spectral evidence (based on supposed demonic visions). Unlike some of the other magistrates, he never admitted to the possibility that his acceptance of such evidence was in error.
After graduating from Harvard College in 1650, he continued religious studies in England, where he also preached. Returning to Massachusetts in 1662, he chose to enter politics instead of the ministry. An adept politician, he served in virtually every government through the period of turmoil in Massachusetts that encompassed the revocation of its first charter in 1684 and the introduction of its second charter in 1692, including the unpopular rule of Sir Edmund Andros in the late 1680s. He served as lieutenant governor of the province from 1692 until his death in 1701, acting as governor (in the absence of an appointed governor) for about six years. He was one of the province's major landowners, partnering with Joseph Dudley and other powerful figures in land purchases, and it was for him that the town of Stoughton, Massachusetts was named.
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