Walpole is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States and also encompasses the entirely distinct entity of Walpole (CDP), with its much smaller area of 2.9 square miles and smaller population of 5,198 at the 2010 census. Walpole Town, as the Census refers to the actual town, is located about 13 miles (21 km) south of Downtown Boston and 23.5 miles (37.8 km) north of Providence, Rhode Island. The population was 24,070 at the 2010 census. Walpole was first settled in 1659 and was considered a part of Dedham until officially incorporated in 1724. The town was named after Sir Robert Walpole, de facto first Prime Minister of Great Britain.
Location in Norfolk County in Massachusetts
|• Type||Representative town meeting|
|• Total||21.0 sq mi (54.4 km2)|
|• Land||20.5 sq mi (53.2 km2)|
|• Water||0.5 sq mi (1.2 km2)|
|Elevation||150 ft (46 m)|
|• Density||1,174.1/sq mi (452.4/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (Eastern)|
02081 or 02032 or 02071
|Area code(s)||508 / 774|
|GNIS feature ID||0618331|
It started out as a territory that was claimed by the Neponset Native American tribe. The Neponset tribe officially claimed the area that is now Walpole, and some of its surrounding territory in 1635. The town of Dedham was not included in this claim, so they began to negotiate with the Neponset tribe to gain land. In 1636, a deal was made between the town of Dedham and the Neponsets to grant Dedham lands that now comprise the towns of Walpole, Norwood, Westwood, Medfield, Norfolk and Dover as well as Dedham. The land given to Dedham in this deal currently includes parts of 16 different towns.
After the territory was bought from Dedham, the saw mill industry began to rise in the area. The first saw mill in Walpole was built near what is now School Meadow Brook and the Neponset River. It was located in the area that is now the Walpole Town Forest. The mill was built and later owned by Joshua Fisher and Major Eleazer Lusher, two wealthy men of Dedham.
Walpole soon wanted to sever its ties with Dedham, so its residents began to petition at Dedham town meetings to become a completely separate town. The request was granted by the town of Dedham in 1724, and the town was officially named Walpole, after Sir Robert Walpole.
After its incorporation, Walpole had a role in the events leading up to the American Revolutionary War. The citizens agreed that the taxes imposed by the British government were unfair. They sent a representative, Joshua Clapp, to the state meetings at Faneuil Hall in Boston. These meetings were to discuss how Massachusetts was going to keep its residents safe and peaceful during the events of the American Revolutionary War. In 1775, Walpole sent 157 men to the Battle of Lexington and Concord. These men were led by Captain Seth Bullard. In December 1777, a British fleet of ships came into Narragansett Bay and anchored in Newport Harbor in Rhode Island. Walpole sent two groups of minutemen, consisting of 65 men in total, to help with the situation. These men were led by Joshua Clapp, and Oliver Clapp. They stayed in Rhode Island to defend the port for three weeks.
Walpole began to grow after the Revolutionary War. By 1860, the town had 1,935 residents. Starting around this time, several mills began to be built, largely on the Neponset River in order to harness the power of falls. Over the years, these mills grew and mainly manufactured products such as cotton, lumber, and paper in its many mills. The most notable of these was the Bird Company, which comprised a large complex on the river in East Walpole. After the company ceased operations at the site in 1980, most of the buildings were razed over the years; a housing development now occupies a large portion of the old mill site and only a few remnants of the area's former use are still evident. The Neponset River was also used for transport between the close towns of Sharon, Foxborough and Medfield. It was also used as a water supply and for water power. The Norfolk County railroad also connected the town. It was also part of a railroad network that connected Walpole to Boston and New York City. Many churches were formed in Walpole at this time, including Trinitarian, Unitarian and Methodist ones: Union Congregational Church est. 1877, etc.
Walpole's first public library was founded in 1872. It was founded by Walpole resident Miss Mary R. Bird. The first library in Walpole was actually founded in 1816 by a group known as "The Ladies' Literary, Moral Society." It was not public, and was built to provide books to Walpole that may, in the words of the society, "afford useful information to the mind and improvement to the heart."
The town grew considerably throughout the 1900s, with an increase of over 3,000 by the 1920s. At a town meeting in 1922, local resident Maude R. Greeves said:
In 1929, Harriet Nevins donated $50,000 for the erection of a public building as a memorial for her parents George Blackburn and Nancy H. Blackburn. Her father, a merchant from Bradford, England, had once lived and done business in Walpole. Blackburn Memorial Building (more commonly known as "Blackburn Hall") was designed by the architectural firm of Putnam & Cox Company of Boston, built by the F.J. Tetreault Company of Walpole, and dedicated in 1932. The red brick building, which features a neo-classical façade with whitewashed pillars, is still owned by the Town of Walpole and is used for a variety of activities throughout the year including children's theater production. To the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Harriet Nevins also left $2500 to fund the construction of a fountain for horses and dogs. The fountain is now dry yet still stands on School Street in Walpole opposite the Town Hall.
|* = population estimate. |
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
At the census of 2010, there were 24,070 people, 8,060 households, and 5,972 families residing in the town. The population density was 429.0/km² (1077.3/sq mi). There were 8,229 housing units at an average density of 400.7 per square mile (154.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.41% White, 1.59% Black or African American, 0.11% Native American, 1.13% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.12% from other races, and 0.64% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.02% of the population. The Census of 2010 shows very little variance in these figures. Only the Asian population has seen somewhat of a change.
There were 8730 households out of which 35.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.2% were married couples living together, 8.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.9% were non-families. 22.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.23.
In the town, the population was spread out with 25.8% under the age of 18, 5.2% from 18 to 24, 30.6% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 14.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.5 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $74,757, and the median income for a family was $84,458. Males had a median income of $54,243 versus $39,516 for females. The per capita income for the town was $32,117. About 1.5% of families and 2.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.8% of those under age 18 and 4.7% of those age 65 or over.
Under the Köppen climate classification, Walpole has a humid continental climate (Dfa/Dfb), which is the predominant climate for Massachusetts and New England. Walpole's inland location causes it to experience cooler winter temperatures than many coastal locations in New England. Summers are typically hot and humid, while winters are cold, windy and often snowy.
Walpole's warmest month is July, with an average high temperature of 82.8 °F (28.2 °C) and an average low of 61.6 °F (16.4 °C). The coldest month is January, with an average high temperature of 36.0 °F (2.2 °C) and an average low of 17.7 °F (−7.9 °C).
Much like the rest of the Northeastern seaboard, Walpole receives ample amounts of precipitation year-round. On average, summer months receive slightly less precipitation than winter months. Walpole averages about 46 in (116.8 cm) of rainfall a year. Walpole, like other Massachusetts towns, is very vulnerable to Nor'easter weather systems. The town is sometimes vulnerable to Atlantic hurricanes and tropical storms, which infrequently threaten the New England region during the early autumn months.
Walpole’s school system, the Walpole Public Schools, is run by a school committee made up of seven members. The committee appoints a superintendent, who then appoints individual principals in each of Walpole’s public schools. The current school superintendent is Lincoln Lynch, III. Walpole has seven public schools, which include four elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school.
The four elementary schools in Walpole include Old Post Road School, Elm Street School, Boyden School, and Fisher School. Old Post Road school is located in East Walpole. It has about 500 students attending and serves students in from kindergarten through grade five. Currently, there are three modular classrooms for the fourth grade to accommodate the growing student population. Fisher School was the first to be established, on North Street, in 1790. It was a one-room schoolhouse until 1914, when a modern building was built on Main Street. In 2007, the school was attended by about 470 students. Boyden Elementary School was founded in 1854 by Jeremiah Boyden. It was first named South Primary School until 1902, when the town decided to name it after Boyden. It was closed between 1981 and 1988 and was used as a school for troubled boys. It reopened in 1990 and currently has about 460 students and 50 teachers. Elm Street school is Walpole's newest school, which was opened in 1999, and renovated in 2004. It has about 520 students.
In exchange for tax revenue, the town provides its residents with public schooling, recreation, police and fire protection, and other general municipal services. For separate quarterly payments, the town provides water and sewer services.
Laws are enforced by the Walpole Police Department. In 2005, no murders were committed in Walpole. Despite having no homicides, nonviolent crime in the town rose in 2005 compared to 2004. In 2005, there were 58 violent crimes per 100,000 people, a drop from 89 in 2004. There were 13 total violent crimes committed in Walpole in 2005. Eight of these were aggravated assault, one was a robbery, and four were forcible rapes. There were 1,216 non-violent crimes in Walpole per 100,000 people in 2005, which was a rise from 1,158 in 2004. There were 223 thefts, 27 burglaries, 23 motor vehicle thefts, and one arson.
It is only partially accurate to say that Walpole is the location of Massachusetts Correctional Institution – Cedar Junction, a maximum security prison for males that was originally named "MCI — Walpole" until town residents successfully lobbied in the mid-1980s for the change. In reality, only part of the facility actually lies in Walpole. The southwest part of it lies in the neighboring town of Norfolk, but as Norfolk already has a prison (MCI Norfolk), Cedar Junction was originally known as MCI Walpole.
Walpole has many parks and athletic fields, which are mostly active during the spring and summer months due to the cold winter climate of Walpole and the surrounding area. Francis William Bird Park is located in Walpole. It is an 89-acre (360,000 m2) landscaped park, owned and maintained by The Trustees of Reservations. Over three miles (5 km) of walking and biking paths wind through the park, traversing streams across old granite bridges and passing through rolling, grassy meadows punctuated with mature shade trees, tree groves, and ponds.
Facilities at the park include bike racks, benches, trash receptacles, public restroom (open seasonally), a "tot lot" with children's play equipment, four tennis courts, a basketball backboard, and an outdoor stage.
Bird Park was created and endowed in 1925 by local industrialist Charles Sumner Bird, Sr. and his wife Anna in memory of their eldest son, Francis William Bird who had died seven years earlier in the influenza epidemic of 1918. Landscape architect and town planner John Nolen designed the park. A social reformer, Nolen believed that parks were critical to the health of urban residents and should be designed to provide a place of respite and relaxation in nature. In his original design plan, Nolen wrote that this park should be
"...a sequestered breathing place in the heart of East Walpole...a combination of broad, sun-swept meadow lands, speckled with shadowed glades, higher tree-screened knolls for the lover of shade, the whole set to the music of a babbling stream."
For most of its history, the park was owned and maintained by the Francis William Park Trust. By the later decades of the 20th century, parts of the park suffered badly from vandalism and neglect. The Trustees of Reservations gained possession of this property in 2002. Today the park is in excellent condition and several young ornamental trees such as Cherry and Japanese Maple have been added to the landscape, as have flower beds.
From the 60s until the 90s, Walpole embraced the "Rebel" identity by associating themselves with the Confederate States of America, and specifically the Confederate flag. For many years, up until 1994, the song "Dixie" was commonly sung at football games, and even incorporated into the cheerleaders' cheers. During the height of the Confederate identity, the football coach, Coach Lee, was known as General Lee, and, in 1971, the face of the school yearbook was decorated with the confederate flag. Since 1994, the school has condemned the confederate identity. For many years, a metal Confederate flag, placed on the property of Joseph Finneran, overlooked the Walpole High School Football field. After the death of Mr. Finneran and his wife in 2015, family members removed the flag.
The Confederate flag is still a divisive issue in Walpole with a minority of townspeople still supporting its use.
Walpole is served by The Walpole Times, a weekly newspaper owned by GateHouse Media New England. Walpole Community Television, established in 1984, airs programming of local interest to all Walpole cable subscribers.
The 34E bus route also runs through Walpole, terminating in the center of town.
Walpole is bordered by: Dover to the North, Westwood, Canton and Norwood to the Northeast, Sharon to the East, Foxboro to the South, Norfolk and Medfield to the West.
Edward F. "Butch" Songin (May 11, 1924 – May 12, 1976) was a quarterback for the Boston College Eagles, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Rugby Union, and for the American Football League's Boston Patriots and the New York Titans. He also was an All-American defenseman for the BC Eagles ice hockey team.Charles Farrell
Charles Farrell (August 9, 1900 – May 6, 1990) was an American film actor of the 1920's silent era and into the 1930's, and later a television actor. Farrell is probably best recalled for his onscreen romances with actress Janet Gaynor in more than a dozen films, including 7th Heaven, Street Angel, and Lucky Star , and on TV in the sitcom My Little Margie (1952–55), playing Vern Albright, long-suffering father of the title character (played by Gale Storm).Charles Metcalf Allen
Charles Metcalf Allen (1871 in Walpole, Massachusetts – 1950 in Holden, Massachusetts) was a hydraulic engineer known particularly for his inventions and development of the Allen Salt-Velocity Method for measuring water discharge in situations where other methods or instruments could not be easily used. In 1936, Allen received the ASME Warner Medal, and in 1949, he received the John Fritz Medal. From 1906 to 1945, Charles Metcalf Allen served as professor of hydraulic engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. During that period he also performed research at the Alden Hydraulic LaboratoryCharles O. Gill
Charles Otis Gill (March 4, 1868 – June 2, 1959) was an American Congregationalist clergyman. With Gifford Pinchot he co-authored two influential books on the state of rural churches in the United States.
Gill played American football for Yale University from 1885 to 1889. He was Captain of the Yale team and was on the first College Football All-America Team in 1889.He was the head coach of the California (1894) and New Hampshire (1908) college football programs.Francis William Bird Park
Francis William Bird Park is an 89-acre (36 ha) landscaped and waterscaped park located in Walpole, Massachusetts. The Trustees of Reservations owns and maintains the park. Features include over 3 miles (4.8 km) of walking and bicycle paths that wind through the park, traversing streams across granite bridges and passing through rolling lawns punctuated with mature shade trees, groves, and ponds.
Facilities at the park include bike racks, benches, trash receptacles, public restroom (open seasonally), a "tot lot" with children's play equipment, four tennis courts, a basketball backboard, and an outdoor stage. As of June, 2010 the "tot lot" no longer features a children's play area. A parking lot is located on Polley Lane in East Walpole.Frank Carrone
Francesco Carrone, also known as "Buzzy" or "Buzz", was an Italian-American Gambino crime family associate (1938 - 1975 Walpole, Massachusetts). He was a close friend of Thomas Agro and Peter Calabrese.George Arthur Plimpton
For his grandson, the author and journalist, see George Plimpton.George Arthur Plimpton (July 13, 1855 – July 1, 1936) was an American publisher and philanthropist.Joe Morgan (manager)
Joseph Michael Morgan (born November 19, 1930) is a retired American infielder, manager, coach and scout in Major League Baseball.Joseph N. Welch
Joseph Nye Welch (October 22, 1890 – October 6, 1960) was an American lawyer who served as the chief counsel for the United States Army while it was under investigation for Communist activities by Senator Joseph McCarthy's Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, an investigation known as the Army–McCarthy hearings. His confrontation with McCarthy during the hearings, in which he famously asked McCarthy "At long last, have you left no sense of decency?" is seen as a turning point in the history of McCarthyism.Kevin Faulk
Kevin Troy Faulk (born June 5, 1976) is a former American football running back who spent his entire 13-year professional career playing for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Patriots in the second round of the 1999 NFL Draft. He played college football at Louisiana State University.
Dubbed the Patriot's "Swiss Army knife" because of his multitude of tools and versatility, he played a wide variety of roles on the team. Besides his primary position as running back, he also played some as a wide receiver, special teams as a gunner and a return specialist. He was rarely the team's feature back, but was adept at catching the ball, blocking, and running as needed. In 2016, he was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame.Massachusetts Correctional Institution – Cedar Junction
The Massachusetts Correctional Institution—Cedar Junction (MCI-Cedar Junction), formerly known as MCI-Walpole, is a maximum security prison with an average daily population of approximately 800 adult male inmates under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Department of Correction. It was opened in 1956 to replace Charlestown State Prison, the oldest prison in the nation at that time. MCI-Cedar Junction is one of two (the other one being Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center) maximum security prisons for male offenders in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. MCI-Cedar Junction also houses the Departmental Disciplinary Unit (DDU). During the 1970s, Cedar Junction (then known as Walpole) was one of the most violent prisons in the United States. It is located on both sides of the line between the towns of Walpole and Norfolk, and has a South Walpole mailing address. (South Walpole is not a political entity.)
In 1955, Richard Cardinal Cushing, Archbishop of Boston, built Our Lady of the Ransom Chapel at the center of the prison.
As of June 2009, MCI-Cedar Junction is now the Department of Correction's reception and diagnostic center which receives all new male court commitments within the Commonwealth.Perkins Bass
Perkins Bass (October 6, 1912 – October 25, 2011) was an American elected official from the state of New Hampshire, including four terms as a U.S. Representative from 1955 to 1963.Philip K. Allen
Philip Kirkham "P.K." Allen (born January 3, 1910 in Walpole, Massachusetts, died March 1, 1996 in Westwood, Massachusetts
) was an American educator and politician who represented the 4th Essex District in the Massachusetts Senate from 1947 to 1949 and served as Chairman of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee from 1961 to 1963.Roger Turner
Roger Felix Turner (March 3, 1901 – October 29, 1993) was an American figure skater.
He was born in Milton, Massachusetts and died in Walpole, Massachusetts.
Turner was the seven time (1928–1934) U.S. National Champion and two time (1930–1931) World silver medalist. He is tied with Dick Button for having the most consecutive wins at the U.S. Championships (men's singles). Turner was inducted into the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1994. He was a member of the Skating Club of Boston.
At the 1928 Winter Olympics he finished tenth in the singles competition. Four years later at the Lake Placid Games he finished sixth in the singles event.Todd Collins (quarterback)
Todd Steven Collins (born November 5, 1971) is a former American football quarterback. He was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 1995 NFL Draft. He played college football at Michigan.
Collins played for the Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins. After beginning his career as the heir apparent to Jim Kelly and largely failing in that position, he spent the rest of his NFL career as a backup quarterback, spending several years serving behind Elvis Grbac and Trent Green of the Chiefs. He holds the NFL record for longest gap between starts in post-merger history, ten years and two days. Collins is now the Offensive Coordinator for the Walpole High School varsity football team.Union Station (Walpole, Massachusetts)
Union Station, also known as Walpole station, is an MBTA Commuter Rail station in Walpole, Massachusetts. It is located at the crossing of Franklin Branch and Framingham Secondary just west of downtown Walpole. The station has one side platform on the Franklin Branch serving the Franklin Line service. Unlike most MBTA stations, Walpole station is not accessible.
Railroad service to Walpole began with the Norfolk County Railroad on April 23, 1849. Walpole became a railroad junction when the Mansfield and Framingham Railroad opened in 1870, and an interlocking tower was built in 1882 to control the junction. The next year, the separate stations on the two lines were replaced with a union station at the junction. The structure burned in 1883 and was replaced with a Victorian eclectic depot with Richardsonian Romanesque influences - one of the few such buildings in the state constructed from wood rather than stone. By 1898, both lines were controlled by the New Haven Railroad, with the ex-Norfolk County Railroad as the Midland Division.
Passenger service on the Mansfield-Framingham line ended in 1933, and intercity service on the Midland Division ended in 1955. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) began funding commuter rail service on the line in 1966, and increased service levels during the 1970s. The 1893-built signal tower was decommissioned in 1994. In 2016, Union Station was added to the National Register of Historic Places.WDIS
WDIS (AM 1170) was a radio station licensed to Norfolk, Massachusetts. It served the suburban communities south of Boston and north of Providence, Rhode Island. It had a daytime-only 1,000-watt signal that reached as far west as Worcester, Mass., giving it a coverage area of almost a half-million people. As of June 13, 2014, WDIS is silent. The FCC cancelled the license and deleted the call sign for WDIS on October 13, 2015.Walpole High School
Walpole High School is a public high school in Walpole, Massachusetts, educating grades 9 through 12. It is a part of Walpole Public Schools.
The high school is mainly focused on college preparatory subjects, with over 90 percent of its graduates typically going on to higher education and is accredited is by the New England Association of Secondary Schools. Walpole High School offers a large array of extra curricular activities including varsity level sports, a student council, a robotics team, a film program, a dance company, a best buddies program, a speech team, T.V. broadcasting, during and after school orchestra, band and singing programs and an after school theatre program.
As of 2013, the school has about 1,300 students and over 90 faculty and staff members.
WHS was founded in 1870; the current building was originally built in 1907 and underwent a major renovation/addition in 2000-2002 thereby adding many new classrooms, labs, a new library and cafeteria as well as a general modernization of the interior. The campus is located one mile from downtown Walpole on Common Street.Walpole Public Schools
Walpole Public Schools is a school district serving Walpole, Massachusetts.
In 2012 voters approved a budget override. Jean Kenney, the assistant superintendent, stated in 2015 that the district would have closed its middle school foreign languages program if the override did not pass, and that parents who wanted foreign language instruction to remain had passed the override.
|Climate data for Walpole, Massachusetts (1981–2010 normals)|
|Average high °F (°C)||36.3
|Daily mean °F (°C)||27.3
|Average low °F (°C)||18.2
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||3.76
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||15.0
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||11.0||9.5||11.6||11.8||12.3||11.3||10.2||9.4||8.9||10.1||11.3||11.1||128.5|
|Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||7.3||5.9||4.8||1.1||0||0||0||0||0||.2||1.2||5.2||25.7|
Municipalities and communities of Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States
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