Dartmouth is a coastal town in Bristol County, Massachusetts, and was
the first area of Southeastern
Massachusetts settled. Dartmouth itself
is part of the Farm Coast New England comprising a chain of historic
coastal villages, vineyards and farms. It celebrated its 350th
birthday June 8, 2014. It is also part of the
Coast. The local daily newspaper is The Standard-Times.
The northern part of Dartmouth has the town's large commercial
districts. Although it does not abut Buzzard's Bay, there are several
waterways including Lake Noquochoke, Cornell Pond, Shingle Island
River and Paskamansett River. There are several working farms in town
and vineyard. All vineyards in the town are part of the Coastal Wine
Tour. The town also has a thriving agricultural heritage and many of
the working farms are protected. The town's food staple is french
The southern part of Dartmouth borders
Buzzards Bay where a lively
fishing and boating community thrives; off its coast, the Elizabeth
Islands and Cuttyhunk can be seen. The New Bedford Yacht Club in
Padanaram hosts a bi-annual Regatta. With unique historic villages and
selection of coastal real estate, it has for many generations been a
summering community. Notable affluent sections within South Dartmouth
are Nonquitt, Round Hill, Barney's Joy, and Mishaum Point. Still it
has its fair share of year-round residents lending to thriving
seasonal activities all year.
Dartmouth is the third-largest town (by land area) in Massachusetts,
after Plymouth and Middleborough. 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 with boat shuttles traveling multiple times daily
to Martha's Vineyard and Cuttyhunk.
4.1 Local government
4.2 County government
7 Notable people
8 See also
9 In popular culture
11 Further reading
12 External links
Dartmouth was first settled in 1650 and was officially incorporated in
1664. Dartmouth's history was that of an agricultural and seafaring
community, but during the late 19th century its coastline became a
resort area for the wealthy members of New England society.
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
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 .
It was sold to the
Religious Society of Friends
Religious Society of Friends or Quakers, who wished
to live outside the stringent religious laws of the Puritans in
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.
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 Dartmouth Natural Resource Trust (DNRT) in South Dartmouth, holds
over 1,500 conserved acres of land with 35 miles of hiking trails,
ocean and river walks, photography tours, summer outdoor yoga series,
bird watching, and plant identification. It's summer evening Barn Bash
and winter fundraising auction are held annually.
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
Guinness Book of Records as the "world's greatest
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 Missile Early Warning System. MIT
continued to use Round Hill through 1964. It was then sold to the
Society of Jesus
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 is now a gated, mostly summer residential community on the
water featuring a nine-hole golf course.
MIT antenna atop Round Hill
According to the
United States Census
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. It is the third
largest town by area in Massachusetts.
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
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,
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.
Massachusetts Bioreserve actually extends its
protected forest lands into the
Freetown-Fall River State Forest
Freetown-Fall River State Forest and
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
ZIP code 02748).
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
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.
United States Census
United States Census records and Population Estimates Program
The village of Padanaram, with its bridge in the foreground
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 Ed Markey
and the state's senior (Class II) Senator, is Elizabeth Warren.
Dartmouth is governed by a representative town meeting form of
government, led by the Select Board. 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).
Southworth Library, South Dartmouth, 1899
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.
Dartmouth established public library services in 1895. 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.
The campus of University of
Dartmouth is governed by a single school department
(dartmouthps.schoolfusion.us) 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. The town currently has four elementary schools, Joseph P.
DeMello, George H. Potter, James M. Quinn, and Andrew B. Cushman. 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 which represents the Eastern Woodland Natives that first
inhabited the area.
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 private schools
including Bishop Stang, Friends Academy, Tabor Academy in neighboring
Marion, Ma and many other notable private schools in nearby Rhode
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
Massachusetts system in 1991, the school was known as
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
Naseer Aruri (1934-2015), internationally recognized scholar-activist
and expert on Middle East politics, U.S. foreign policy in the Middle
East and human rights.
Ezekiel Cornell (1732–1800), member of Continental Congress
Philip Sheridan (1831–1888), Union general in the American Civil War
who died at his summer home in Nonquitt.
Edward Howland Robinson Green
Edward Howland Robinson Green (1868–1936), businessman.
Henry H. Crapo, 14th Governor of Michigan.
William W. Crapo, U.S. House Representative representing
Massachusetts' 1st District.
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
Téa Leoni (b. 1966), film and television actress (summer resident).
Brian Rose (b. 1976), former Major League Baseball player.
Jordan Todman (b. 1990), football running back for the Houston Texans.
Arthur Lynch (b. 1990), former football tight end for the Miami
Edith Ellen Greenwood
Edith Ellen Greenwood (b. 1920), first female recipient of the
John George, Jr. (b. 1947), former
Massachusetts House Representative
found guilty of embezzling federal funds.
Lewis Lee Millett
Lewis Lee Millett Sr., recipient of Congressional Medal of Honor
Donald Eugene Webb
Donald Eugene Webb (1931-1999), longest fugitive on the FBI's Most
Wanted List and prime suspect in the murder of a Pennsylvania Police
Chief who made headlines in 2017 when his remains were discovered
buried in his wife's backyard.
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
In popular culture
The Terror Factor, a 2007 horror comedy film, is set in Dartmouth.
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^ "Facilities." Bristol County Sheriff's Office. Retrieved on January
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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"
^ Report of the Free Public Library Commission of Massachusetts. v.9
^ http://www.dartmouthpubliclibraries.org Dartmouth Public Libraries
^ 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 Archived
2012-01-23 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 2010-08-04
^ "John George To Be Sentenced Wednesday". 1420 WBSM. Retrieved
Resident and business directory of Dartmouth, Westport and Acushnet
Massachusetts, 1905, Hopkinton, Mass: A.E. Foss, 1905,
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