Westport, Massachusetts

Westport is a town in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 15,532 at the 2010 census.[1]

The village of North Westport lies in the town. Other named areas of the town are "Westport Point," which has a dock on the Westport River where Main Road meets the river; "Central Village" with town offices, retail stores and businesses; "Head of Westport" at the head of the east branch of the river; and the area referred to either as "Acoaxet" or "Westport Harbor," which is between the west branch of the river and Rhode Island. This area is cut off from the rest of Massachusetts by water and Rhode Island.

Westport, Massachusetts
Stone wall and field scene, Westport
Stone wall and field scene, Westport
Official seal of Westport, Massachusetts

Location in Bristol County in Massachusetts
Location in Bristol County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 41°38′20″N 71°03′00″W / 41.63889°N 71.05000°WCoordinates: 41°38′20″N 71°03′00″W / 41.63889°N 71.05000°W
CountryUnited States
 • TypeOpen town meeting
 • MayorJoseph Andrade
 • Total64.4 sq mi (166.8 km2)
 • Land50.1 sq mi (129.6 km2)
 • Water14.3 sq mi (37.1 km2)
50 ft (15 m)
 • Total15,532
 • Density310.0/sq mi (120.0/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s)508 / 774
FIPS code25-77570
GNIS feature ID0618287


Westport was so named because it was the westernmost port in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was first settled by English colonists in 1670 as a part of the Town of Dartmouth by members of the Sisson family. The river, and the land around it, was called "Coaksett" in the original deed; the name, now spelled "Acoaxet," now refers to the southwestern community along the western branch of the Westport River.

Like many areas in the region, Westport was affected by King Philip's War, when the native Wampanoag population rebelled against the oppression of the English settlers. Several small mills were built along the Westport River, adding to its prosperity. In 1787, the growing town, along with the town of New Bedford, seceded from Dartmouth.

During the late 18th century, into the early 19th century, Paul Cuffee and his wife settled in the town. He was a Quaker businessman, sea captain, patriot, and abolitionist who developed a shipyard on the banks of the Westport River. Of Wampanoag and Ashanti ancestry, Cuffee became one of the richest free men of color in the United States at the time. He later helped the effort to resettle freed blacks to Sierra Leone in West Africa.

Several cotton mills operated along the river, the largest of which was at the junction of the river with Lake Noquochoke on the Dartmouth town line. The Macomber turnip traces its ancestry to turnips sowed in Westport shortly after 1876. During the Second World War, a coastal defense installation was raised on Gooseberry Island. The town is now mostly residential, with a large farming community. Horseneck Beach State Reservation, located to the north and west of Gooseberry Island, is a popular summer destination for many in the area.[2]


Westport Harbor winter
Westport River

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 64.4 square miles (167 km2), of which 50.1 square miles (130 km2) is land and 14.3 square miles (37 km2), or 22.27%, is water. The majority of that water area is from the Watuppa Ponds along the border with Fall River, as well as Westport Harbor, where the two branches of the Westport River meet before emptying into Buzzards Bay. Westport is bordered by Fall River to the northwest and west, Dartmouth to the east, Buzzards Bay to the south, and Little Compton and Tiverton, Rhode Island, to the west. Westport is approximately 30 miles (48 km) southeast of Providence, Rhode Island, and approximately 60 miles (97 km) south of Boston.

There are several unofficial localities within town: Head of Westport, South Westport, Westport Point, Central Village, North Westport (known in former times as Westport Factory) and Westport Harbor which is also often called Acoaxet, an early name. Because of the west branch of the Westport River, Acoaxet is inaccessible by land except by passing through Little Compton, Rhode Island.


Winter: Seasonal effects begin in mid-December and end in mid-March. The snowiest times of the winter season are in January and February. Temperatures average highs in the 30s and lows in the 20s. The coldest time of the year in Westport occurs during January, in which residents can see temperature plummet into the teens and single digits.

Spring: Seasonal effects of spring begin in the end of March and end in mid-May, with mostly rain in March and April and sun/rain in May. Temperatures average with highs in the 50s/60s, and lows in the 40s/50s.

Summer: Seasonal effects begin in the end of May and end in mid-September, with mostly sunny conditions. Hurricanes/tropical storms usually hit or come close to Westport during late August and September. Temperatures average with highs in the 80s, and lows in the 60s and 70s. The hottest time of the year in Westport occurs in mid-July where temperatures can climb to highs in the 90s.

Fall/ Autumn: Seasonal effects begin in the end of September and end in the beginning of December with mostly sunny crisp, cool days. Temperatures range from 50s during the day, and 30s/40s at night.

Hurricanes: Tropical systems occasionally hit Westport or come close to Westport. The most favorable period for tropical systems in Westport are in mid to late August and during the month of September. The last tropical system to hit Westport was Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012, which hit the town at about 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) and brought powerful gusts and periods of heavy rain to the area. The storm disrupted power for many across the town, however, much of Westport's service was restored within a day.


Normand Edward Fontaine Bridge
The Fontaine Bridge carries Route 88 over the Westport River.

The town is accessible via Interstate 195, U.S. Route 6, and Massachusetts Route 177, which has its eastern terminus at its intersection at Route 6, on the eastern edge of Westport. Massachusetts Route 88, the longest state highway in Massachusetts to be entirely located within one town, serves as an access from I-195 (at exit 10) to Horseneck Beach State Reservation.

There is bus service along Route 6 provided by the Southeastern Regional Transit Authority (SRTA). During the summer, service is extended to Horseneck Beach. Regional bus service can be reached in Fall River, and regional rail service can be reached in Middleborough/ Lakeville, and in Providence. Plans have been in the works to bring commuter rail service to Fall River, and New Bedford, and is set to be completed in 2024. The nearest airport is New Bedford Regional Airport, 8 miles (13 km) away. National airline service can be reached at T. F. Green Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island, 36 miles (58 km) away.


Westport MA Town Hall 1
Westport Town Hall, I. T. Almy, architect
Westport Massachusetts- A right to Farm Community
Westport is a Right-to-Farm Community

On the state level, Westport is located in the Eighth Bristol state representative district, which includes parts of Fall River and is represented by Representative Paul Schmid (D-Westport). The town is also represented by Senator Michael Rodrigues (D-Fall River), Assistant Majority Leader in the state senate in the First Bristol and Plymouth district, which also includes Fall River, Freetown, Rochester, Somerset and Swansea. On the national level, the town is part of Massachusetts's 9th congressional district, which is represented by William R. Keating. The state's senior Senator, elected in 2012, is Elizabeth Warren. The other senator is Ed Markey, who elected in 2013. Westport is patrolled by the Westport Police Department along with the 3rd (Dartmouth) Barracks of Troop D of the Massachusetts State Police. In the November United States Election of 2012, 59% voted for Barack Obama, and 39% voted for Mitt Romney, with the new Massachusetts state senator, Elizabeth Warren edging out former Senator Scott Brown in the election.

Westport is governed by an open town meeting, led by a five-member board of selectmen. The police department is located directly East of the fire department on hixbridge rd. Westport has a full-time fire department, (which also has on-call firefighters). The two fire stations are located in the north end (on Briggs Rd.) and in the south end (on Hix Bridge Rd). The fire department also staffs two Advanced Life Support ambulances 24 hours a day. There are four post offices for the town's two ZIP codes; The main post office on Route 6, a smaller branch (on Old County Rd.) at the Head of Westport, and the branch (on Adamsville Rd.) in Central Village serve the ZIP code 02790, while the 02791 ZIP code (Westport Point) is served by the Central Village station and at the point itself, on Main Rd. The town's library, the Westport Free Public Library, is located next to Westport Middle School, directly west of the Head of Westport.


Westport MA High School
Westport High School

Westport has its own school system. There are three schools: Alice A. Macomber School, which provides pre-school (pre-kindergarten), kindergarten, first grade, and second grade; Westport Elementary School, near the Head of Westport, which serves grades 3-6; and Westport Junior/Senior High School, which serves grades 7-12. Students who graduate from Westport Junior/Senior High School with enough credits in certain fields of study will earn special academy certificates, in addition to their high school diplomas. This was modelled after University-style degrees.

Their team name is the Westport Wildcats who have won multiple championships in the Mayflower League. The Wildcats are one of the few teams in the Mayflower League who have won multiple championships in every sport. Their mascot is the Wildcat, and their colors are brown, white and yellow (a legacy of when Westport was in a different league that used Ivy League colors – Westport using brown and white after Brown University). The school is a member of the Mayflower League, and competes against mostly division 3 and 4 schools in the region.

Westport High School graduated 94% of its class in 2013.

In addition to their schools, incoming high school students may choose to attend Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School in Fall River or Bristol County Agricultural High School in Dighton, free of charge. Juniors and Seniors may opt to take college classes at UMass Dartmouth in Dartmouth or Bristol Community College in Fall River to earn both high school and college credits. Internships and independent study are offered as well.

There is one private school in the town, Montessori School of the Angels, which serves grades 1-8, located in the Westport Factory neighborhood. It was formerly known as Saint Joseph's Montessori, and was located in Fall River; the school building itself was formerly Saint George's School, which closed due to lack of funding and declining attendance. Many students also attend private and charter schools in Fall River and Dartmouth, including Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River and Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth.


Historical population

Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14]

As of the census[15] of 2010, there were 15,532 people, 5,386 households, and 4,082 families residing in the town. The population density was 283.4 people per square mile (109.4/km²). There were 6,143 housing units at an average density of 122.7 per square mile (47.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.01% White, 0.17% African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.49% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.37% from other races, and 0.79% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.69% of the population.

There were 5,386 households in Westport, of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.9% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.2% were non-families. 19.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the town, the population was spread out with 21.6% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 29.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $55,436, and the median income for a family was $64,568. Males had a median income of $41,890 versus $30,921 for females. The per capita income for the town was $25,281. About 3.7% of families and 4.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.5% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people


  1. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Westport town, Massachusetts". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  2. ^ Westport Historical Society - Timeline
  3. ^ "General Climate Summary Tables". Western Regional Climate Center. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  4. ^ "Climate Statistics for Provincetown, Massachusetts". Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  5. ^ "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
  6. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  7. ^ "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. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  8. ^ "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.
  9. ^ "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). 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.
  10. ^ "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: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ "1870 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  13. ^ "1860 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  14. ^ "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  15. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  16. ^ 'Edwin Slade-obituary,' Sheboygan Herald, June 1, 1901

External links

Bailey Flat

Bailey Flat is a small barren island within Westport Harbor in Westport, Massachusetts, USA. The island is just north of the northwestern point of Horseneck Point on Horseneck Beach and far west of the Bascule Bridge on Route 88.

Bar Rock (Bristol County, Massachusetts)

Bar Rock is a small barren rock within Rhode Island Sound, in Westport, Massachusetts, USA. The rock is off the connector of Horseneck and Gooseberry Neck at the Horseneck Beach State Reservation. It's just north of the state reservation's campground.

(Coordinates: Lat. = 41.494'N, Lon. = 71.040'W)

Bayard Tuckerman Jr.

Bayard Tuckerman Jr. (April 19, 1889 – April 14, 1974) was an American jockey, businessman, and politician.

Bernard Trafford

Bernard Walton Trafford (July 2, 1871 – ) was an American college football and baseball player. Trafford was a prominent fullback for the Harvard Crimson football team from 1889 to 1892, captain of the 1891 and 1892 teams. He kicked five field goals in a game against Cornell in 1890, a season in which Harvard was national champion. Trafford scored 64 points in a game against Wesleyan in 1891, and led the nation in scoring that year with 270 points. His teammate Everett Lake led the nation in touchdowns the same season. Trafford was captain of the first team to employ the flying wedge blocking scheme. Trafford helped coach the 1893 team. After college, he was employed at the Bell Telephone System, then as a banker in Boston.

Big Pine Island (Massachusetts)

Big Pine Island is a forested island located in the East Branch of the Westport River in Westport, Massachusetts.

Cadman–White–Handy House

The Cadman–White–Handy House, also known as the Handy House, is a historic house museum at 202 Hixbridge Road in Westport, Massachusetts. The house, built in stages between about 1710 and 1825, provides a window into architectural trends of 18th-century southern Massachusetts. The house is operated as a museum by the Westport Historical, and is open on some Saturdays between June and October. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.

Gooseberry Island (Massachusetts)

Gooseberry Island (or Gooseberry Neck) is a small, historical island off the coast of Westport in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States. The island is a part of Westport, and is the town's most southern point.

Horseneck Beach State Reservation

Horseneck Beach State Reservation is a public recreation area comprising more than 800 acres (320 ha) on the Atlantic Ocean in the southern portion of the town of Westport, Massachusetts. The reservation is one of the state’s "most popular facilities ... welcom[ing] hundreds of thousands of visitors per year." It is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Louis C. Mosher

Louis Clinton Mosher (April 26, 1880 – September 29, 1958) was a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army and a Medal of Honor recipient for his actions in the Philippine–American War.

Michael Rodrigues (politician)

Michael J. Rodrigues (born May 30, 1959) is a Democratic member of the Massachusetts Senate representing the 1st Bristol and Plymouth district. He is a resident of Westport who has served since January 2011. From 1996 to 2011 he was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from the 8th Bristol district. Prior to serving in the Massachusetts legislature, he was a member of the Westport Democratic Town Committee and chairman of the Westport Finance Committee.

Normand Edward Fontaine Bridge

The Normand Edward Fontaine Bridge is a 1,025 feet (312 m)-long bascule bridge at 41.517258°N 71.06799°W / 41.517258; -71.06799Coordinates: 41.517258°N 71.06799°W / 41.517258; -71.06799 in Westport, Massachusetts, USA. Four lanes of Route 88 pass over the bridge from Westport Point and Wood Point in the Westport Point section of town to the Horseneck Beach State Reservation, connecting with Cherry & Webb Lane and, eventually, John Reed Road when Route 88 officially ends 0.3 miles south of the bridge's southern end.

The bridge, whose bascule channel spans 75 feet (23 m), crosses over the East Branch of the Westport River, just east of where that branch begins. The branch itself also branches at this point, with the main portion of the river turning north around Wood Point, and the Horseneck Channel to The Let leading southeastward.

The bridge, originally known as the Westport River Bridge, was built in 1958 to carry Route 88 to the Horseneck Beach State Reservation. It was renamed in 1983 for Specialist 4th Class Normand Edward Fontaine, a Westport resident who was killed in the line of duty during the Vietnam War. The rehabilitation and resurfacing of the bridge began in 2003, taking several years.

North Westport, Massachusetts

North Westport is a census-designated place (CDP) in the town of Westport in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 4,571 at the 2010 census.

Paul Cuffe Farm

The Paul Cuffe Farm is a National Historic Landmark on 1504 Drift Road in Westport, Massachusetts. The house was traditionally believed to be owned by Paul Cuffe (1759-1815), a prominent farmer and merchant of African American and Native American ancestry. Cuffe was active in promoting the idea of returning African Americans to Africa, making a voyage to what is now Sierra Leone in 1811 to support a fledgling colony there. The farm was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974.

Paul Schmid

Paul A. Schmid III has served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from the 8th Bristol district since 2011. In the 189th session (2015–2016), he assumed a leadership position as the Chairperson, Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, a committee he joined in 2011.

He was previously a member of the Board of Selectmen in the town of Westport from 2009 to 2011. Prior to that, he served 5 1/2 years on the Finance Committee, serving as chair for three years.

His family operates River Rock Farm in South Westport, which raises grass-fed Angus beef cattle. The farm has been certified organic for four years.He served in the U.S. Marine Corps with the rank of sergeant.

The Herald News

The smaller of the two main newspapers in Massachusetts' South Coast, The Herald News is a daily newspaper based in Fall River, Massachusetts. Its coverage area includes Fall River and the nearby towns of Dighton, Freetown, Somerset, Swansea and Westport, Massachusetts; and Little Compton and Tiverton, Rhode Island.The Herald News, formerly owned by Journal Register Company, was sold in December 2006 to GateHouse Media, which owns several daily and weekly newspapers in Massachusetts.

Watuppa Ponds

The Watuppa Ponds are two large, naturally occurring, spring-fed, glacially formed ponds located in Fall River and Westport, Massachusetts. Watuppa is a native word meaning "place of boats". The two ponds were originally one body of water (originally one lake), connected by a narrow rocky straight called "The Narrows" located on a thin strip of land between the two ponds which forms part boundary of between Fall River and Westport. The border between Fall River and Westport is also divided between the two ponds. Together, the ponds have an overall north-south length of about 7.5 miles (or 8 miles including the pond swamps), and have an average east-west width of about a mile. The ponds are drained by the Quequechan River, and flows in a westerly direction through the center of Fall River from South Watuppa Pond to Mount Hope Bay.

Westport High School (Massachusetts)

Westport High School is located in Westport, Massachusetts. It services students in grades 7-12. It is part of the Westport Community Schools.

Westport River

The Westport River lies between Narragansett Bay and Buzzards Bay in Westport, Massachusetts.

Westport Town Farm

Westport Town Farm is a 40-acre (16 ha) open space preserve and historic farm complex located in Westport, Massachusetts along the bracken East Branch of the Westport River. The property, owned by the town of Westport and managed by the land conservation non-profit organization The Trustees of Reservations through contract since 2007, was once the town's poor farm and local infirmary.

The preserve includes hiking trails, working farmland, salt marsh frontage, an antique farmhouse, dairy barn, corn crib, and stone walls dating back to Colonial times. It is open to hiking, picnicing, cross country skiing, canoeing, and kayaking. The preserve trailhead is located on Drift Road in Westport.

Climate data for Westport, Massachusetts
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 66
Average high °F (°C) 37.6
Daily mean °F (°C) 30.6
Average low °F (°C) 23.5
Record low °F (°C) −9
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.98
Source #1: Western Regional Climate Center (normals 1958-1992)[3]
Source #2: The Weather Channel (extremes)[4]
Municipalities and communities of Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States
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