Middleboro, Massachusetts
—  Town  —
Town Hall
Official seal of Middleboro, Massachusetts
Motto: Cranberry Capital of the World
Location in Plymouth County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 41°53′22″N 70°53′39″W / 41.88944, -70.89417Coordinates: 41°53′22″N 70°53′39″W / 41.88944, -70.89417
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Plymouth
Settled 1660
Incorporated 1669
 • Type Open town meeting
 • Total 72.3 sq mi (187.3 km2)
 • Land 69.6 sq mi (180.1 km2)
 • Water 2.8 sq mi (7.1 km2)
Elevation 141 ft (43 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 19,941
 • Density 286.7/sq mi (110.7/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 02346
Area code(s) 508 / 774
FIPS code 25-40850
GNIS feature ID 0618346

Middleborough is a town in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 21,117 as of 2008[1].

For geographic and demographic information on the village of Middleborough Center, please see the article Middleborough Center, Massachusetts.

Middleborough is frequently written as Middleboro.

In the summer of 2007, Middleborough became the proposed location for a future resort casino, sponsored by the Wampanoag Tribe of Mashpee, Massachusetts.[2]


The town was first settled by Europeans in 1661 as Nemasket, later changed to Middlebury, and officially incorporated as Middleborough in 1669. The name Nemasket came from a Native American settlement along the small river that now bears the same name. Nemasket may have meant "place of fish" due to the large amount of herring that migrate up the river each spring. The name Middlebury was taken from a place in England, and changed to the more modern Middleborough.

During King Philip's War (1675–76), the town's entire populace took shelter within the confines of a fort constructed along the Nemasket River. (The site is located behind the old junior high school (now a kindergarten), and is marked by a state historical commission marker along Route 105.) Before long, the fort was abandoned and the population withdrew to the greater shelter of Plymouth colony; in their absence, the entire village was burned to the ground, and it would be several years before the town would be refounded. Western Middleborough broke away in 1853 and formed the town of Lakeville, taking with it main access to the large fresh water lakes there, including Assawompset Pond.

Once the shoe capital of the world , Middleborough has since become the cranberry capital of the world, hosting the corporate headquarters of Ocean Spray Cranberries. Middleborough is also the second-largest town in Massachusetts in terms of area. Notable sights include the 1870s Victorian-style town hall, the Greek revival-style town library (1903), and in the spring, the Nemasket River Alewife & Blueback herring run upstream to the Assawompset Ponds complex to spawn.

In recent history, Middleborough has made its mark through the prowess of its Little League program. In 1994 the Middleborough All Stars reached the Little League World Series by defeating Milburn-Short Hills, New Jersey to take the East Region title. The team would finish 3rd in the United States. They are one of only two Massachusetts Little League teams to win the East title (Andover Little League, 1988) before the splitting of the New England and Mid-Atlantic Regions in 2001. In 1999, the team again won the Massachusetts State title and fell in the East Region final to Toms River, New Jersey - the eventual U.S. runner-up.

Since 2000, the team has reached the State semi-finals 4 times finishing 3rd in the state in 2000 and 2003, and 2nd in 2002 and 2008. The 2002 team was only beaten by U.S. runner-up, Jesse Burkett Little League of Worcester.


The crossing of Center Street and Main Street in downtown Middleborough is on the parallel of latitude the Forum Romanum (Roman Forum) in Rome, Italy, at North latitude 41 degrees, 53 minutes, 32.7 seconds.

The Assawompset Ponds complex, which largely separates Middleborough from Lakeville, and includes the inter-connected ponds of: Assawamset Pond, Pocksha Pond, Long Pond, and the Great and Little Quittacus Ponds, is the largest natural body of fresh water in Massachusetts.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 72.3 square miles (187.3 km²), of which, 69.6 square miles (180.1 km²) of it is land and 2.8 square miles (7.1 km²) of it (3.80%) is water. Middleborough is the second largest municipality in Massachusetts, smaller only than Plymouth.

Middleborough lies on the western border of Plymouth County. It is bordered by Bridgewater and Halifax to the north, Plympton and Carver to the east, Wareham and Rochester to the south, and Lakeville, Taunton and Raynham to the west. Despite its name, Middleborough is not located anywhere near the other 11 "-boroughs" in the state, lying south and east of all of them. The town is approximately fifteen miles west of Plymouth, thirty miles east of Providence, Rhode Island and 40 miles south of Boston.

Middleborough's rivers and brooks feed in two directions; the Taunton River, Nemasket River and their tributaries flow southeastward as part of the Taunton River Watershed, which empties into Narragansett Bay. The other waterways of the town, including the Weweantic River, flow southward into Buzzards Bay. Along Middleborough's border with Lakeville lie the Assawompset, Pocksha and Great Quittacas Ponds. Tispaquin Pond, Woods Pond, and several other ponds make up the town's bodies of water. Middleborough also has four wildlife management areas, as well as the Beaver Dam, Great Cedar and Little Cedar Swamps, the swamps being located in the north of town. The town is also the site of several cranberry bogs, especially in the southeastern part of town along the Carver town line. (In fact, Ocean Spray's headquarters are just over the town line in Lakeville.)


Interstate 495 runs through the town on its way to Cape Cod. The town is also crossed by U.S. Route 44, as well as Routes 18, 28 and 105, as well as a short, 1,000-foot section of Route 58 which passes through the southeast corner of town. Route 79's eastern terminus is on the town line at Route 105; the "Entering Middleborough" sign is barely fifty feet from the end of the road. Routes 18, 28 and 44 meet at a rotary adjacent to I-495 just west of the center of town. Two of I-495's four interchanges are located there. Also, I-495's interchange with Route 24 is located just 1-1/2 miles northwest of the town line.

Railroad station c. 1908

Since the 1840s Middleborough has served as a major rail transportation hub for southeastern Massachusetts, with at one time five rail lines radiating out from the town. Today three rail lines radiate from Middleborough, toward Boston, Taunton and Cape Cod. Two rail freight companies serve Middleborough: CSX Transportation, which serves the Boston, Taunton and a short portion of the Cape Cod lines; and Massachusetts Coastal Railroad, which serves Cape Cod. The nearby Middleborough/Lakeville commuter rail station of the MBTA's commuter rail system provides frequent direct service to Boston's South Station. The nearest inter-city (Amtrak) passenger rail stations are Providence, Route 128 station in Westwood and Boston's South Station.

The nearest regional airports are Taunton Municipal Airport and Plymouth Municipal Airport; the nearest national and international airports are T. F. Green Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island and Logan International Airport in Boston.


As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 19,941 people, 6,981 households, and 5,117 families residing in the town. The population density was 286.7 people per square mile (110.7/km²). There were 7,249 housing units at an average density of 104.2/sq mi (40.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.12% White, 1.26% African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.44% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.57% from other races, and 1.31% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.78% of the population.

There were 6,981 households out of which 38.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.4% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.7% were non-families. 20.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.78 and the average family size was 3.23.

In the town the population was spread out with 27.7% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 32.8% from 25 to 44, 22.3% from 45 to 64, and 10.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 96.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.1 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $52,755, and the median income for a family was $65,173. Males had a median income of $60,854 versus $40,570 for females. The per capita income for the town was $75,000.00


Middleborough is represented in the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a part of three separate districts, the Tenth and Twelfth Bristol and Twelfth Plymouth. The town is represented in the Massachusetts Senate as a part of the First Plymouth and Bristol district, which also includes Berkley, Bridgewater, Carver, Dighton, Marion, Raynham, Taunton and Wareham.[4] The town is home to the Fourth Barracks of Troop D of the Massachusetts State Police.[5].

On the national level, Middleborough is a part of Massachusetts's 4th congressional district, and is currently represented by Barney Frank. 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.

Middleborough is governed by the open town meeting form of government, which is led by a town manager and a board of selectmen. The town's services are centralized downtown, with the fire and police headquarters being just to the north of the town hall, and the central post office being northwest of it. The town library is also located downtown.

A second part-time fire department is operated further south along Route 28 in South Middleboro. A third, temporary station was built in the 2000s as the surrogate home for the downtown facility, which was closed for substantial renovations. This third station, near the rotary north of the center of town, has subsequently been closed.


Middleborough has its own school system, headed by a school committee and superintendent. There is one school for kindergarten children, the Memorial Early Childhood Center, housed in the old junior high. It opened in September 2007 after a $13 million dollar renovation. The Mary K. Goode Elementary School serves grades 1 and 2 and the Henry B. Burkland Intermediate School serves grades 3 through 5. The John T. "Tiger" Nichols, Jr. Middle School (1999) serves grades 6 through 8, and the Middleborough High School serves grades 9 through 12. Middleborough High's mascot is the "Sachems," and their colors are black and orange. Other sports teams in town including the semi-pro football team the Middleborough Cobras and the middle school baseball team Tigers. The school's main rival is Carver High School.

Middleborough is also home to the Frederick L. Chamberlain School, a private institution that serves students from around the world struggling with learning disabilities.

Notable residents[]

Gen. Tom Thumb House in 1914

  • Joseph Barker, minister and congressman
  • Samuel Breck, general
  • Wayne Maurice Caron, sailor - Medal of Honor winner
  • Corey Carrier, child actor
  • Howard A. Coffin, congressman
  • Jeff Corwin, television host and conservationist
  • Isaac Backus, Baptist pastor and founding father during Revolution
  • Rick Fuller, professional wrestler
  • Daniel J. Kelleher, banker and businessman
  • Erik Lindgren, composer
  • Count Primo Magri, also a dwarf celebrity with P. T. Barnum
  • Gabriel Mercier, soccer player
  • Enoch Pratt, businessman, industrialist, banker and school founder
  • Patrick Regan, army officer
  • Deborah Sampson, cross-dressing soldier during Revolution
  • Cephas Thompson, portrait painter
  • General Tom Thumb, stage name of Charles Sherwood Stratton, dwarf celebrity with P. T. Barnum
  • Glenn Tufts, football player and scout
  • Lavinia Warren, dwarf with P.T. Barnum who married Gen. Tom Thumb and later Count Primo Magri
  • Minnie Warren, dwarf with P.T. Barnum


External links[]

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