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For geographic and demographic information on the census-designated place Bridgewater, please see the article Bridgewater (CDP), Massachusetts.

Bridgewater, Massachusetts
—  City  —
Bridgewater Town Hall
Bridgewater Town Hall
Flag of Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Official seal of Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Bridgewater MA lg
Location in Plymouth County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 41°59′25″N 70°58′32″W / 41.99028, -70.97556Coordinates: 41°59′25″N 70°58′32″W / 41.99028, -70.97556
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Plymouth
Settled 1650
Incorporated 1656
 • Type Town Council
 • Total 28.2 sq mi (73.1 km2)
 • Land 27.5 sq mi (71.2 km2)
 • Water 0.7 sq mi (1.9 km2)
Elevation 104 ft (32 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 25,185
 • Density 916.2/sq mi (353.7/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 02324
Area code(s) 508 / 774
FIPS code 25-08085
GNIS feature ID 0619466

The Town of Bridgewater is a city[1] in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States, 28 miles (43 km) south of Boston. At the 2000 Census, the population was 25,185. It is named after Bridgwater, Somerset, England.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.2 square miles (73 km2), of which, 27.5 square miles (71 km2) is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) (2.62%) is water. Bridgewater is 99th out of the 351 communities in the Commonwealth, and eighth out of the twenty-seven municipalities in Plymouth County in terms of land area. The city is bordered by West Bridgewater to the northwest, East Bridgewater to the northeast, Halifax to the east, Middleborough to the south, and Raynham to the west. Bridgewater is approximately seven miles south of Brockton, ten miles northeast of Taunton, and twenty-seven miles south of Boston.

Neighborhoods in Bridgewater include Stanley, Scotland, Pratt Town (Paper Mill Village), and South Bridgewater.

Bridgewater lies along the Taunton River, which has several other rivers and brooks which branch off of the main waterway. There are also several ponds, the largest of which is Lake Nippenicket along the western edge of the city. There is also a state forest, a town forest, several conservation areas and a large portion of the Hockomock Swamp Wildlife Management Area, in the western part of town. Parts of this swamp give rise to the so-called Bridgewater Triangle, a small area of concentrated reports of strange Fortean phenomena, colonial "dark days," Bigfoot and mysterious black panthers, UFO sightings, and other weird encounters, a phrase coined by Loren Coleman, author of Mysterious America, often compared to the Bermuda Triangle.[2]


As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 25,185 people, 7,526 households, and 5,584 families residing in the town. The population density was 916.2 people per square mile (353.7/km²). There were 7,652 housing units at an average density of 278.4/sq mi (107.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 87.28% White, 4.04% Black or African American, 2.23% Native American, 1.08% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 6.23% from other races, and 1.12% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.75% of the population.

There were 7,526 households out of which 38.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.5% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.8% were non-families. 19.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.27.

In the town the population was spread out with 22.9% under the age of 18, 14.7% from 18 to 24, 32.9% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 8.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 110.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 111.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $65,318, and the median income for a family was $73,953. Males had a median income of $48,438 versus $32,383 for females. The per capita income for the town was $23,105. About 1.9% of families and 3.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.6% of those under age 18 and 6.1% of those age 65 or over.

Statistically, Bridgewater is the 71st largest town in the Commonwealth by population, and 110th by population density. In the county, Bridgewater ranks third in population and seventh in density.


In the late 1960s the economy of Bridgewater was dependent upon the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Bridgewater and the Bridgewater Teacher's College (Bridgewater State University). Donald Cabana, who served as a prison guard at Bridgewater prison and later became the superintendent of Mississippi State Penitentiary, said that the community promoted the fact that it was home to the United States's first normal school, while the prison was "often mentioned in less glowing terms."[4]


Local government[]

Bridgewater was formerly governed on the local level by the open town meeting form of government, led by a board of selectmen until January 2011. Bridgewater is now led by seven precinct councilors, 1 per precinct, and 2 at large councilors, with an appointed town manager, assessor, tax collector, for a total of 9 councilors.[1] This is from the majority Yes vote on #1 at the April 24, 2010 annual town election, to change from a 5 person elected board of selectmen to a 9 person town council, and thus abolishing the annual town meeting.[1][5] Town facilities are located at the center of town, with the police department headquarters being just west of the square along Route 104. There are two fire departments in town, next to the college and in the eastern part of town. There is one post office, located just north of the town center along Route 18. The town's public library is just south of the town center, and is a part of the Southeastern Area Internet Library Services (SAILS) network.[6][7]

State representation[]

On the state level, Bridgewater is represented in the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a portion of the Eighth Plymouth district, which includes Raynham and a small portion of Easton. In the Massachusetts Senate, the town is a part of the First Plymouth and Bristol district, which includes Berkley, Carver, Dighton, Marion, Middleborough, Raynham, Taunton and Wareham.[8] The town is patrolled by the Fourth (Middleborough) Barracks of Troop D of the Massachusetts State Police.[9]

The Massachusetts Department of Correction operates several correctional facilities in the Bridgewater Correctional Complex in Bridgewater.[10] The prisons in the complex include Bridgewater State Hospital,[11] Massachusetts Alcohol and Substance Abuse Center,[12] Massachusetts Treatment Center,[13] and Old Colony Correctional Center.[10]

Federal representation[]

On the national level, Bridgewater is a part of Massachusetts's 9th congressional district, which has been represented since 2001 by Stephen Lynch. The state's senior (Class II) member of the United States Senate, re-elected in 2008, is John Kerry. The junior (Class I) senator, elected in 2010, is Scott Brown. The town also has a National Guard armory along Route 18.


Boyden Hall BSC

Boyden Hall, on the Bridgewater State University campus.

Bridgewater shares its school district with neighboring Raynham, with both towns operating their own elementary and middle schools, and sending their students to a common high school. Bridgewater has one elementary school, George H. Mitchell Elementary (south and west of the town center, formerly known as Bridgewater Elementary), which serves students from kindergarten through grade three. All the fourth,fifth,and sixth graders attend M.G. Williams Intermediate School, while seventh and eighth graders attend Bridgewater Middle School. The Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School is located in Bridgewater, west of the town center. B-R's athletics teams are nicknamed the Trojans, and their colors are red and white. The athletic teams of the Bridgewater Middle School use the Spartans nickname.

Bridgewater is home to the Southbrook School, a private school which serves students from kindergarten through sixth grade. There are also private schools in nearby Taunton and Brockton. Bridgewater was formerly the site of the Bridgewater Academy, a private high school located on the town common.

The town is also home to Bridgewater State University, a public liberal arts university that was originally founded as a teachers school in 1840. It is the largest of the state's nine state universities outside of the University of Massachusetts system. As of 2005, approximately 7,000 undergraduate students and 1,800 postgraduate students are enrolled at the college.[14]


Bridgewater is the site of the intersection of Interstate 495 and Route 24, with only a one mile stretch of the interstate running through the southwestern corner of town. Just north of this intersection along Route 24 are two large service areas, both of which have restaurants and a gas station. They are the only two such full service areas along Route 24, or, for that matter, anywhere along the highways of Southeastern Massachusetts (aside from a stop along U.S. Route 6 in Barnstable; that stop, however, is considered to be off the highway). At the center of town, Route 18, Route 28 and Route 104 meet at the town common. Routes 18 and 28, both north-south routes, are coextensive from this point south to the road's intersection with U.S. Route 44 in Middleborough. Route 104 passes from east to west, with ramp access to Route 24 in the west. A short portion of Route 106 passes along the town line in the northeast of town; Route 104 's eastern terminus is at that route, just along the East Bridgewater line.

The Middleborough-Lakeville line of the MBTA's commuter rail passes through the town, with a stop at the southern end of Bridgewater State University's campus. The stop is just south of the university's main parking lots at the southern campus. There is a small air strip in nearby Taunton, and the nearest national air service can be found at T. F. Green Airport outside Providence and at Logan International Airport in Boston.

Notable residents[]

  • Nathaniel Ames, (1708–1764), born in Bridgewater, publisher of the first annual almanac.[15]
  • George Leonard Andrews, (1828–1899), born in Bridgewater, noted United States Army officer, engineer, and educator,[15]
  • Love Brewster, a passenger on the Mayflower and a founder of the town of Bridgewater.
  • Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Mickey Cochrane was born in Bridgewater in 1903.[16]
  • Marc Colombo (29th pick in 2001 NFL Draft by Chicago Bears), currently starting right tackle for the Dallas Cowboys[17]
  • Drew Bledsoe, NFL quarterback for the New England Patriots and his wife Maura Healy once resided in Bridgewater during his time as the team's QB.


  • Brockton Enterprise
  • The Bridgewater Independent, published every Wednesday.
  • Boston Globe
  • Boston Herald
  • Bridgewater Cable Access
  • WBIM-FM 91.5 Bridgewater State University radio station
  • Comment Bridgewater State University student newspaper


  1. ^ a b c "Chapter 52 of the Acts of 2010". Boston: Massachusetts General Court. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  2. ^ Mysterious America by Loren Coleman (NY: Simon and Schuster, 2007)
  3. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ Cabana, Donald. Death at Midnight: The Confession of an Executioner. University Press of New England, 1998. 21. Retrieved from Google News on August 16, 2010. ISBN 1555533566, 9781555533564.
  5. ^ Legere, Christine (November 14, 2010). "Bridgewater holds its last Town Meeting with a nod to its first". Boston Sunday Globe. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  6. ^ "Bridgewater Public Library". SAILS Library Network. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  7. ^ "Member Libraries". SAILS Library Network. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  8. ^ Index of Legislative Representation by City and Town, from
  9. ^ Station D-4, SP Middleborough
  10. ^ a b "Old Colony Correctional Center." Massachusetts Department of Correction. Retrieved on August 16, 2010.
  11. ^ "Bridgewater State Hospital." Massachusetts Department of Correction. Retrieved on August 16, 2010.
  12. ^ "Massachusetts Alcohol and Substance Abuse Center." Massachusetts Department of Correction. Retrieved on August 16, 2010.
  13. ^ "Massachusetts Treatment Center." Massachusetts Department of Correction. Retrieved on August 16, 2010.
  14. ^ "BSC Fast Facts: Office of Institutional Research and Assessment" (page),, webpage: [1]
  15. ^ a b Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Marquis Who's Who. 1967. 
  16. ^ "Mickey Cochrane Statistics". The Baseball Cube. Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  17. ^ "Marc Colombo Bio/Statistics". Retrieved 2007-12-27. 

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