|— Town —|
|• Type||Open town meeting|
|• Total||36.4 sq mi (94.2 km2)|
|• Land||33.9 sq mi (87.9 km2)|
|• Water||2.5 sq mi (6.4 km2)|
|Elevation||29 ft (9 m)|
|• Density||135.0/sq mi (52.1/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||Eastern (UTC-4)|
|Area code(s)||508 / 774|
|GNIS feature ID||0618350|
Rochester was settled in 1679 on the lands called "Sippican" by the local Wampanoags, along the coast of Buzzards Bay. ("Sippican" was the name of the local tribe.) It originally included the lands of Mattapoisett, Marion and parts of Wareham (which was lost when Wareham was founded in 1739). The town was officially incorporated on June 4, 1686 as Rochester, and was renamed for Rochester, England, from which early settlers to the town came. The town originally thrived with the early shipbuilding and whaling trade in Mattapoisett Harbor. However, in 1852 and 1853 the towns of Marion and Mattapoisett, respectively, were separated and incorporated as separate towns, thus landlocking the town. Since that time, the town has become mostly rural-residential, with some farms located in town.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 36.4 square miles (94.2 km²), of which, 33.9 square miles (87.9 km²) of it is land and 2.5 square miles (6.4 km²) of it (6.76%) is water. Rochester is located along the western border of Plymouth County, and is bordered by Lakeville and Middleborough to the north, Wareham and Marion to the east, Mattapoisett to the south, and Acushnet and Freetown to the west. The town's localities include Bisbee Corner, East Rochester, North Rochester and Varella Corner. The town is about 10 miles northeast of New Bedford, 40 miles east of Providence, Rhode Island and 60 miles south of Boston.
The Mattapoisett and Sippican Rivers flow through the town, emptying into Buzzards Bay. Most of the town's brooks also flow into these two rivers. The source of the Mattapoisett, the Quittacas Ponds, lie on the border between the town and Lakeville. Other ponds include Snipatuit Pond, Snow's Pond, Hartley's Mill Pond, Mary's Pond, Leonards Pond, Mill Pond and Hathaway Pond, as well as several smaller bodies of water. The town has two wildlife management areas and a fish hatchery, as well as a small recreation area along Mary's Pond and two parks near the town center. The town is also the site of the Sippican Rod & Gun Club, near the Haskell Wildlife Management Area.
A small, quarter-mile stretch of Interstate 495 passes through the northeast corner of town, just before its exit on Route 58, which terminates along the town line at Route 28. Along with those two roads, Route 105 travels through town, passing through the town center. The town can also be accessed via Exits 19B (North Street, Mattapoisett) and 20 (Route 105, Marion) along Interstate 195.
The nearest regional bus and air service can be found in New Bedford. The nearest national air service is at T.F. Green Airport in Rhode Island, and the nearest international airport is Logan International Airport in Boston. A freight rail line operated by the Massachusetts Coastal Railroad passes through the northeast corner of town. The nearest inter-city (Amtrak) passenger rail station is in Providence; however, the terminus of the Middleborough-Lakeville line of the MBTA's commuter rail is nearby, providing direct service to Boston.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,581 people, 1,575 households, and 1,294 families residing in the town. The population density was 135.0 people per square mile (52.1/km²). There were 1,634 housing units at an average density of 48.2/sq mi (18.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.64% White, 0.63% African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 1.16% from other races, and 1.03% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.37% of the population.
There were 1,575 households out of which 38.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 72.6% were married couples living together, 6.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.8% were non-families. 13.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.91 and the average family size was 3.20.
In the town the population was spread out with 26.8% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 29.6% from 25 to 44, 28.8% from 45 to 64, and 8.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 100.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.7 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $63,289, and the median income for a family was $67,031. Males had a median income of $47,989 versus $31,196 for females. The per capita income for the town was $24,630. About 2.4% of families and 3.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.4% of those under age 18 and 4.4% of those age 65 or over.\
Rochester is represented in the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a part of the Tenth Bristol district, which also includes Fairhaven, Marion, Mattapoisett and a portion of Middleborough. The town is represented by state SenatorJoan M. Menard (D-Fall River), Assistant Majority Leader in the Massachusetts Senate as a part of the First Bristol and Plymouth district, which also includes Fall River, Freetown, Lakeville, Somerset, Swansea and Westport. The town is patrolled by the Seventh (Bourne) Barracks of Troop D of the Massachusetts State Police.
On the national level, Rochester 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.
The town uses the open town meeting form of government, led by a board of selectmen. The town hall is located at the Town Common along Route 105. The town's police department, post office and the Joseph H. Plumb Memorial Library (a part of the SAILS library network) are located nearby. The volunteer fire department is located closer to the geographic center of town. The town's Highway Department is located near Varella Corner, and is responsible for snow removal and road upkeep.
Rochester is a member of the 2,700-student Old Rochester Regional School District. The town, along with Marion and Mattapoisett, operate as a single school system with each town having its own school subcommittee. The town operates Rochester Memorial School for kindergarten through sixth-grade students. Seventh- and eighth-grade students attend Old Rochester Regional Junior High School, and high school students attend Old Rochester Regional High School. Both regional schools are located on Route 6 in Mattapoisett, just over the Marion town line. The high school, affectionately known as "O.R.R.," competes in the South Coast Conference for athletics. Their mascot is the bulldog, and their colors are red and white. The town's Thanksgiving Day football rival is Apponequet Regional High School, in Lakeville.
In addition to public schools, high school students may also choose to attend Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School, located in North Rochester. Their mascot is the Couger and they compete in the Pilgrim Conference for athletics. The curriculum includes shops such as welding, cosmetics, auto, wood work, and many more. The nearest private school is Tabor Academy in Marion.
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