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Dartmouth, Massachusetts
—  Town  —
Dartmouth Town Hall
Dartmouth Town Hall
Dartmouth ma highlight
Location in Bristol County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 41°36′52″N 70°58′11″W / 41.61444, -70.96972Coordinates: 41°36′52″N 70°58′11″W / 41.61444, -70.96972
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Bristol
Settled 1650
Incorporated 1664
 • Type Representative town meeting
 • Total 97.5 sq mi (252.6 km2)
 • Land 60.9 sq mi (157.8 km2)
 • Water 36.6 sq mi (94.8 km2)
Elevation 125 ft (38 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 34,032
 • Density 559/sq mi (215.7/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 02747, 02748, 02714
Area code(s) 508 / 774
FIPS code 25-16425
GNIS feature ID 0618279

Dartmouth is a town in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States established in 1664. The population was 34,032 at the 2010 census.[1] compared with 30,666 residents during the 2000 census. Dartmouth is the location of University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, the Dartmouth Mall, and the former amusement park, Lincoln Park.

Dartmouth is the third-largest town (by land area) in Massachusetts, after Plymouth and Middleborough.[2] The distance from Dartmouth's northern most border with Freetown to Buzzards Bay in the south is approximately 16 miles (26 km).

The villages of Hixville, Bliss Corner, Padanaram, Smith Mills, and Russells Mills are located within the town. Dartmouth shares borders with Westport to the west, Freetown and Fall River to the north, Buzzards Bay to the south, and New Bedford to the east.


Dartmouth was first settled in 1650 and was officially incorporated in 1664. It was named for the town of Dartmouth, Devon, England, from where the Puritans originally intended to depart for America. The land was purchased with trading goods from the Wampanoag chiefs Massasoit and Wamsutta by elders of the Plymouth Colony; reportedly thirty yards of cloth, eight moose skins, fifteen axes, fifteen hoes, fifteen pairs of shoes, one iron pot, and ten shillings' worth of assorted goods .[3] It was sold to the Religious Society of Friends or Quakers, who wished to live outside the stringent religious laws of the Puritans in Plymouth. There are still Quaker meeting houses in town, including the Smith Neck Meeting House, the Allens Neck Meeting House, and the Apponegansett Meeting House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The town's borders were originally named in the charter (and set by King Philip) as the lands of "Acushnea, Ponagansett, and Coaksett." This includes the land of the towns of Westport, Fairhaven, and Acushnet, and the city of New Bedford. In 1789, the towns of Westport and New Bedford, which included Fairhaven and Acushnet, separated and were incorporated as towns themselves.

In 1780, seven black residents of Dartmouth petitioned the town's legislature for the right to vote, claiming a lack of representation despite the fact that they paid taxes and fought in the Revolutionary War.[4]

Dartmouth's history was that of an agricultural community, but during the late 19th century its coastline became a resort area for the wealthy members of New Bedford society.

Round Hill was the site of early-to-mid 20th century research into the uses of radio and microwaves for aviation and communication by MIT researchers. It is also the site of the Green Mansion, the estate of "Colonel" Edward Howland Robinson Green, a colorful character in his own right, who was son of the even more colorful and wildly eccentric Hetty Green, said to be the richest woman in the world in her time, who is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the "world's greatest miser". In 1936, the Colonel died, and the estate fell into disrepair as litigation between his wife and his sister continued for eight years over his vast fortune. Finally, Mrs. Hetty Sylvia Wilks, the Colonel's sister, was ruled the sole beneficiary. In 1948, she bequeathed the entire estate to MIT, which used it for microwave and laser experiments. The giant antenna, which was a landmark to sailors on Buzzards Bay, was erected on top of a 50,000-gallon water tank. (After all efforts were made to preserve the structure, it was demolished on November 19, 2007.) Another antenna was erected next to the mansion and used in the development of the Ballistic Early Warning System. MIT continued to use Round Hill through 1964. It was then sold to the Society of Jesus of New England and was used as a retreat house. The upper floors were divided into 64 individual rooms. The main floor was fitted with a chapel, a library and meeting rooms. In 1970 the Jesuits sold the land and buildings to Gratia R. Montgomery. In 1981, Mrs. Montgomery sold most of the land to a group of developers who have worked to preserve the history, grandeur and natural environment. The property now is a gated community featuring a nine-hole golf course.

The town's retail area has grown steadily since the 1960s, centering around the village of Smith Mills, but many of those stores have closed down now. Business is now branching northward towards Faunce Corners and along US Route 6. The Dartmouth Mall is also located on Route 6.

The Lloyd Center for Environmental Studies, located in South Dartmouth, is a non-profit organization that provides educational programs on aquatic environments in southeastern New England. It is across the mouth of the Slocums River from Demarest Lloyd State Park, a popular state beach known for its shallow waters.

The town was also once the home of Lincoln Park, (1894-1987) a former amusement park which dated from the late 19th century as a park-stop along the trolley line (and US Route 6) from Fall River to New Bedford just east of the junction of Lake Noquochoke and the Westport River. The park closed in 1986 due to sagging attendance and lack of funds. Much of the park was burned to the ground in several incidents of arson, and today there are plans to turn the former park's lands into a housing development with accompanying stores.


Round hill telescope

The former MIT antenna atop Round Hill

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 97.5 square miles (252.6 km2). 60.9 square miles (157.8 km2) of it is land and 94.8 square kilometres (36.6 sq mi) of it, 37.53%, is water.[1] It is the third largest town by area in Massachusetts.[2]

The town is accessible by Interstate 195 and U.S. Route 6, which run parallel to each other through the northern-main business part town from New Bedford to Westport on an east-west axis within a mile or two apart from one another. Massachusetts Route 140 and Massachusetts Route 24 are located just inside the boundaries in New Bedford and Fall River respectively providing access to Boston and points north of the area and is accessible by Interstate 195 and US Route 6. Massachusetts Route 177 also begins on the edge of town (in Dartmouth) on the border with Westport, accessible by US Route 6 near Lake Noquochoke, the Westport River's source. Route 177 runs west into Rhode Island linking Tiverton and Little Compton, and Aquidneck Island (The Newport area/Newport County) with the Fall River-New Bedford area. Both Tiverton, RI and Little Compton, RI are geographically part of Massachusetts and are separated from the rest of Rhode Island by direct interstate highway access so smaller routes connect to the area (RI 138, MA/RI 24, RI 177/MA 177, and MA 81, and MA 88). Route 24 lies an average of 15 to 20 miles away in Tiverton, RI and Little Compton, RI, Massachusetts Routes 177 and Massachusetts Route 140 and Massachusetts Route 24 are based upon old Indian routes and trails. Dartmouth includes the Southeastern Massachusetts Bioreserve that extends from Fall River into many protected forests of North Dartmouth in the Collins Corner, Faunce Corner, and Hixville sections of town. The Southeastern Massachusetts Bioreserve actually extends its protected forest lands into the Freetown-Fall River State Forest and beyond.

There are many rivers that flow north-south in Dartmouth, such as the Copicut River, Shingle Island River, Paskamanset River, Slocums River, Destruction Brook, and Little River. Dartmouth is divided into two primary sections: North Dartmouth (USPS ZIP code 02747) and South Dartmouth (USPS ZIP code 02748). The use of "North" and "South" is no longer official, only colloquial.

The town is bordered by Westport to the west, New Bedford to the east, Fall River to the north, and Buzzards Bay/the Atlantic Ocean to the south.

The highest point in the town is near its northwest corner, where the elevation rises to over 256 feet (78 m) above sea level north of Old Fall River Road.[5]


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1850 3,868
1860 3,883 +0.4%
1870 3,367 −13.3%
1880 3,430 +1.9%
1890 3,122 −9.0%
1900 3,669 +17.5%
1910 4,378 +19.3%
1920 6,493 +48.3%
1930 8,778 +35.2%
1940 9,011 +2.7%
1950 11,115 +23.3%
1960 14,607 +31.4%
1970 18,800 +28.7%
1980 23,966 +27.5%
1990 27,244 +13.7%
2000 30,666 +12.6%
2010 34,032 +11.0%

Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.[6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15]
Padanaram Bridge

The village of Padanaram, with its bridge in the foreground

As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 30,666 people, 10,555 households, and 7,821 families residing in the town. The population density was 498.1 inhabitants per square mile (192.3/km²). There were 11,283 housing units at an average density of 183.3 per square mile (70.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 90.77% Caucasian, 1.06% African American, 0.20% Native American, 1.18% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 5.12% from other races, and 1.64% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.50% of the population.

There were 10,555 households out of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.3% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.9% were non-families. 22.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the town the population was spread out with 20.4% under the age of 18, 14.1% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 24.2% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 97.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.0 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $50,742, and the median income for a family was $60,401. Males had a median income of $39,788 versus $28,033 for females. The per capita income for the town was $24,326. About 2.8% of families and 4.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.6% of those under age 18 and 8.3% of those age 65 or over.


Local government[]

Dartmouth is located in the Ninth Bristol state representative district, which includes all of Dartmouth as well as parts of Freetown, Lakeville, and New Bedford. The town is represented in the state senate in the Second Bristol and Plymouth district, which includes the city of New Bedford and the towns of Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, and Mattapoisett. Dartmouth is the home of the Third Barracks of Troop D of the Massachusetts State Police, which recently relocated from Route 6 to just north of the retail center of town along Faunce Corner Road. On the national level, the town is part of Massachusetts Congressional District 9, which is represented by William R. Keating. The state's junior (Class I) Senator is Elizabeth Warren and the state's senior (Class II) Senator, up for re-election in 2014, is John F. Kerry.

Dartmouth is governed by a representative town meeting form of government, led by a board of selectmen. The Town Hall is located in the former Poole School, which also served as Dartmouth High School for several years. The town is patrolled by a central police department, located in the former Town Hall near the village of Padanaram. There are five fire stations in the town divided among three fire districts, all of which are paid-call departments. There are two post offices (North Dartmouth, under the 02747 zip code, and South Dartmouth, under the 02748 zip code).

1899 SouthDartmouth public library Massachusetts

Southworth Library, South Dartmouth, 1899

County government[]

The Bristol County Sheriff's Office maintains its administrative headquarters and operates several jail facilities in the Dartmouth Complex in North Dartmouth in Dartmouth. Jail facilities in the Dartmouth Complex include the Bristol County House Of Correction and Jail, the Bristol County Sheriff's Office Women’s Center, and the C. Carlos Carreiro Immigration Detention Center.[17]


Dartmouth established public library services in 1895.[18][19] Today there are two libraries, the Southworth (Main) Library in South Dartmouth, and the North Dartmouth Library. In fiscal year 2008, the town of Dartmouth spent 1.5% ($865,864) of its budget on its public libraries—some $25 per person.[20]


UMass Dartmouth campus

The campus of University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Dartmouth is governed by a single school department ( whose headquarters are in the former Bush Street School in Padanaram. The school department has been experiencing many changes in the past decade, with the opening of a new high school, the moving of the former Middle School to the High School, and two venerable elementary schools - Job S. Gidley (the town's longest serving school) and Andrew B. Cushman - closing in 2007. The town currently has three elementary schools, Joseph P. DeMello, George H. Potter, and James M. Quinn. Potter and DeMello both were opened in 1955 and are mirror images of each other, with Quinn, currently one of the largest elementary schools by population in Massachusetts, opening in 2002 in the former middle school building. All three elementary schools serve students from kindergarten through fifth grade, with Quinn also serving pre-kindergarten students. The town has one middle school (located in the 1955-vintage High School building) next to the Town Hall, and one high school, the new Dartmouth High School, which opened in 2002 in the southern part of town. Its colors are Dartmouth green and white, and its fight song is "Glory to Dartmouth;" unlike the college, however, the school still uses the "Indians" nickname, with a stylized brave's head in profile as the logo.

DHS's most prominent group is the Dartmouth High School Marching Band. They have won numerous state and regional titles in marching band field show and indoor percussion show competitions dating back to the 1970s, first under the direction of Gilbert A. Madrigale and currently under the direction of William R. Kingsland. The assistant band director, Thomas Aungst, was the former percussion caption head for The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps until 2008, and the music department has also had ties to the Boston Crusaders in the past. The band has appeared in the Tournament of Roses Parade (1996), the National Cherry Blossom Festival parade, the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival parade and field show competition (which it won for three consecutive years, 1990–92), as well as several other festivals and Disney Magic Music Days at Walt Disney World. The Indoor Percussion ensemble has also captured four WGI (Winter Guard International) championships and has placed in the top three since 1998. The Dartmouth High School Orchestra has also come to local prominence in recent years under the direction of Heather Church-Yarmac, traveling to and performing in the Azores, Ireland, and most recently Canada. Dartmouth High school also has a large drama department. The school also has competitive MIAA Division I athletics, having won several state titles in different sports and given rise to former major league pitcher Brian Rose and former North Carolina Tar Heel basketball player Jess Gaspar along with UCONN Football star Jordan Todman and Georgia's Arthur Lynch.

In addition to DHS, students may also attend Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational-Technical High School or Bristol County Agricultural High School. The town is also home to Bishop Stang High School, named for the first Bishop of the Diocese of Fall River, William Stang, and Friends Academy, a private K-8 school affiliated with the Religious Society of Friends.

Since the 1960s, Dartmouth has been home to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth campus, located on Old Westport Road, just southwest of the Smith Mills section of town. The campus was the result of the unification of the Bradford Durfee College of Technology in Fall River and the New Bedford Institute of Textiles and Technology in New Bedford in 1962 to form the Southeastern Massachusetts Technological Institute. The campus itself was begun in 1964 and its unique Brutalist design was created by Paul Rudolph, then the head of Yale's School of Architecture. From 1969 until its inclusion into the University of Massachusetts system in 1991, the school was known as Southeastern Massachusetts University, reflecting the school's expansion into liberal arts. The campus has expanded over the years to its current size, with several sub-centers located in Fall River and New Bedford.

Notable residents[]

  • Ezekiel Cornell, (1732–1800) member of Continental Congress 1780-1782
  • Philip Sheridan (1831–1888), career U.S. Army officer and a Union general in the American Civil War
  • Benjamin Tucker, (1854–1939), Individualist anarchist and Egoist; English translator of the works of Max Stirner.
  • Arthur Golden (b. 1956), author, Memoirs of a Geisha (summer resident)
  • Téa Leoni (b. 1966), film actress (summer resident)
  • Brian Rose (b. 1976), former Major League baseball player
  • Jordan Todman (b. 1990) American football running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars.


  1. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Dartmouth town, Bristol County, Massachusetts". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved February 5, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved February 5, 2013. 
  3. ^ Philbrick, Nathaniel. Mayflower. Penguin, 2006. p.171 ISBN 978-0-14-311197-9
  4. ^ Zinn, Howard. A People's History of the United States. Perennial, 2003. p.89 ISBN 0-06-052837-0
  5. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Fall River, MA 7.5 by 15-minute quadrangle, 1985.
  6. ^ "TOTAL POPULATION (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010. 
  7. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  8. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts". US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  9. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts". US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  10. ^ "1950 Census of Population". 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. 
  11. ^ "1920 Census of Population". 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. 
  12. ^ "1890 Census of the Population". 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. 
  13. ^ "1870 Census of the Population". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  14. ^ "1860 Census". 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. 
  15. ^ "1850 Census". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c.. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  16. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  17. ^ "Facilities." Bristol County Sheriff's Office. Retrieved on January 30, 2012. "400 Faunce Corner Road, Dartmouth, MA 0274" and "Bristol County House Of Correction and Jail 400 Faunce Corner Road North Dartmouth, MA 02747" and "Bristol County Sheriff's Office Women’s Center 400 Faunce Corner Road North Dartmouth, MA 02747" and "C. Carlos Carreiro Immigration Detention Center: 400 Faunce Corner Road North Dartmouth, MA 02747"
  18. ^ Report of the Free Public Library Commission of Massachusetts. v.9 (1899).
  19. ^ Dartmouth Public Libraries Retrieved 2010-11-11
  20. ^ July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008; cf. The FY2008 Municipal Pie: What’s Your Share? Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Board of Library Commissioners. Boston: 2009. Available: Municipal Pie Reports. Retrieved 2010-08-04
  • Resident Eric LaVoie a Paranormal investigator since 1988 called D.A.R.T. "Dartmouth Anomaly Research Team". Eric has been seen on the Bio Channel for an episode of MY Ghost Stories. He has also been seen in many local books and magazines on the paranormal within the last few years. He has worked with ABC for a pilot in 2009 with Medium Maureen Hancock and Fox news has also followed Eric on in investigation at the Yankee Pedlar Inn in C/T in 2010. This was a location for the movie movie called "The Inn Keepers". They also have a web sight and a Facebook page.

Further reading[]

External links[]

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