Westport, Massachusetts

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Westport, Massachusetts
Town
Stone wall and field scene, Westport
Stone wall and field scene, Westport
Official seal of Westport, Massachusetts
Seal
Location in Bristol County in Massachusetts
Location in Bristol County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 41°38′20″N 71°03′00″W / 41.63889°N 71.05000°W / 41.63889; -71.05000Coordinates: 41°38′20″N 71°03′00″W / 41.63889°N 71.05000°W / 41.63889; -71.05000
CountryUnited States
StateMassachusetts
CountyBristol
Settled1670
Incorporated1787
Government
 • TypeOpen town meeting
Area
 • Total64.4 sq mi (166.8 km2)
 • Land50.1 sq mi (129.6 km2)
 • Water14.3 sq mi (37.1 km2)
Elevation50 ft (15 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total15,532
 • Density310.0/sq mi (120.0/km2)
Time zoneEastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST)Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code02790
Area code(s)508 / 774
FIPS code25-77570
GNIS feature ID0618287
Websitehttp://www.westport-ma.com
 
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Westport, Massachusetts
Town
Stone wall and field scene, Westport
Stone wall and field scene, Westport
Official seal of Westport, Massachusetts
Seal
Location in Bristol County in Massachusetts
Location in Bristol County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 41°38′20″N 71°03′00″W / 41.63889°N 71.05000°W / 41.63889; -71.05000Coordinates: 41°38′20″N 71°03′00″W / 41.63889°N 71.05000°W / 41.63889; -71.05000
CountryUnited States
StateMassachusetts
CountyBristol
Settled1670
Incorporated1787
Government
 • TypeOpen town meeting
Area
 • Total64.4 sq mi (166.8 km2)
 • Land50.1 sq mi (129.6 km2)
 • Water14.3 sq mi (37.1 km2)
Elevation50 ft (15 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total15,532
 • Density310.0/sq mi (120.0/km2)
Time zoneEastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST)Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code02790
Area code(s)508 / 774
FIPS code25-77570
GNIS feature ID0618287
Websitehttp://www.westport-ma.com

Westport is a town in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 15,532 at the 2010 census.[1]

The village of North Westport lies in the town. Other named areas of the town are "Westport Point" with the dock on the Westport River where Main Road meets the river, "Central Village" with town offices, retail stores and businesses, "Head of Westport" at the head of the east branch of the river and the area referred to either as "Acoaxet" or "Westport Harbor" which is between the west branch of the river and Rhode Island. This area is actually cut off from the rest of Massachusetts by water and Rhode Island.

History[edit]

Westport, so named because it was the westernmost port in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, was first settled in 1670 as a part of the town of Dartmouth by members of the Sisson family. The river, and the land around it, was called "Coaksett" in the original deed; the name, now spelled "Acoaxet," lives on in the southwestern community along the western branch of the Westport River. Like many areas in the region, Westport was affected by invading Wampanoag Indians during King Philip's War. Several small mills were built along the Westport River, and in 1787, the town, along with the town of New Bedford, seceded from Dartmouth.

There were several cotton mills along the river, the largest of which was at the junction of the river with Lake Noquochoke on the Dartmouth town line. The Macomber turnip traces its ancestry to turnips sowed in Westport shortly after 1876. During the Second World War, a coastal defense installation was raised on Gooseberry Island. The town is now mostly residential, with a large farming community. Horseneck Beach State Reservation, located to the north and west of Gooseberry Island, is a popular summer destination for many in the area.[2]

Geography[edit]

Westport River

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 64.4 square miles (167 km2), of which 50.1 square miles (130 km2) is land and 14.3 square miles (37 km2), or 22.27%, is water. The majority of that water area is from the Watuppa Ponds along the border with Fall River, as well as Westport Harbor, where the two branches of the Westport River meet before emptying into Buzzards Bay. Westport is bordered by Fall River to the northwest and west, Dartmouth to the east, Buzzards Bay to the south, and Little Compton and Tiverton, Rhode Island, to the west. Westport is approximately 30 miles (48 km) southeast of Providence, Rhode Island, and approximately 60 miles (97 km) south of Boston.

There are several unofficial localities within town: Acoaxet (also known as Westport Harbor), Head of Westport, South Westport, Westport Point, Central Village, and Westport Factory (also known as North Westport). Because of the west branch of the Westport River, Acoaxet is inaccessible by land except by passing through Adamsville, Rhode Island.

Weather/climate[edit]

Winter: Season effects begin in early December and end in mid March with snowy conditions. The snowiest times of the winter season in Westport are in January and February. Day temperatures: Highs in the 30's. Night temperatures: Lows in the 20's. The coldest time of the year in Westport occurs in January, during which residents can see a week-long stretch of temperatures in the 10's and can even hit 0 degrees (F) at night, which is rare. Spring: Seasonal effects of spring begin in the end of March and end in mid-May, with mostly rain in March and April and sun/rain in May. Day temperatures: Highs in the high 50's/ 60's. Night temperatures: Lows in the high 40's/ 50's. Summer: Seasonal effects begin in the end of May and end in mid-September, with mostly sunny conditions. Most rain comes at night, but there can be a few rain days. Hurricanes/ tropical storms usually hit or come close to Westport during late August and September. Day temperatures: Highs in the 80's. Nigh temperatures: Lows in the 60's and 70's. The hottest time of the year in Westport occurs in mid-July when residents can usually see one random day of high temperatures at or near 100 degrees (F) and get a one-week stretch of temperatures in the low 90's. Fall/ Autumn: Seasonal effects begin in the end of September and end in the end of November with mostly sunny crisp, cool days. Day temperatures: Highs in the 50's. Night temperatures: Lows in the high 30's and 40's.

Hurricanes: Tropical systems occasionally hit Westport or come close to Westport. The most favorable period for tropical systems in Westport are in mid to late August and in the month of September. The last tropical system to hit Westport was Hurricane Sandy on Monday, October 29, 2012, which hit the town at about 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) and brought powerful gusts and periods of heavy rain which knocked down many trees and tree branches. The storm disrupted power for many across the town, however, much of North Westport's service was restored within a day. The southernmost areas, including Westport Harbor, and neighboring Adamsville and Little Compton, Rhode Island, were without power for most of the week following the storm. Hurricanes are mainly the only national disasters to affect Westport.

Transportation[edit]

The Fontaine Bridge carries Route 88 over the Westport River.

The town is accessible via Interstate 195, U.S. Route 6, and Massachusetts Route 177, which has its eastern terminus at its intersection at Route 6, on the eastern edge of Westport. Massachusetts Route 88, the longest state highway in Massachusetts to be entirely located within one town, serves as an access from I-195 (at exit 10) to Horseneck Beach State Reservation.

There is bus service along Route 6 provided by the Southeastern Regional Transit Authority (SRTA). During the summer, service is extended to Horseneck Beach. Regional bus service can be reached in Fall River, and regional rail service can be reached in Providence. Recently, plans have been in the works to bring commuter rail service to Fall River; however, the plans have not yet been finalized. The nearest airport is New Bedford Regional Airport, 8 miles (13 km) away. National airline service can be reached at T. F. Green Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island, 36 miles (58 km) away.

TV & data coverage[edit]

In the past few years, Westport has come to many agreements to bring the best and most up-to-date TV, internet, and phone/cell phone data coverage. Westport's only cable television provider is Charter Communications which offers many TV, internet, and phone packages, including high definition TV. Westport has two satellite TV providers in DirecTV and Dish Network.

Wireless phone data coverage is now more reliable than in the past. Companies that provide wireless service to the Westport area include (in alphabetical order) AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. 4G LTE service is available as well.

Government[edit]

Westport Town Hall

On the state level, Westport is located in the Eighth Bristol state representative district, which includes parts of Fall River. The town is represented by Senator Michael Rodrigues (D-Fall River), Assistant Majority Leader in the state senate in the First Bristol and Plymouth district, which also includes Fall River, Freetown, Rochester, Somerset and Swansea. On the national level, the town is part of Massachusetts's 9th congressional district, which is represented by William R. Keating. The state's senior Senator, elected in 2012, is Elizabeth Warren. The other senator is Ed Markey, who elected in 2013. Westport is patrolled by the Westport Police Department along with the 3rd (Dartmouth) Barracks of Troop D of the Massachusetts State Police. In the November United States Election of 2012, 59% voted for Barack Obama, and 39% voted for Mitt Romney, with the new Massachusetts state senator, Elizabeth Warren edging out former Senator Scott Brown in the election.

Westport is governed by an open town meeting, led by a five-member board of selectmen. The police department is located directly south of the Town Hall, in Central Village. Westport has a full-time fire department, (which also has on-call firefighters). The two fire stations are located in the north end (on Briggs Rd.) and in the south end (on Hix Bridge Rd). The fire department also staffs two Advanced Life Support ambulances 24 hours a day. There are four post offices for the town's two ZIP codes; The main post office on Route 6, a smaller branch (on Old County Rd.) at the Head of Westport, and the branch (on Adamsville Rd.) in Central Village serve the ZIP code 02790, while the 02791 ZIP code (Westport Point) is served by the Central Village station and at the point itself, on Main Rd. The town's library, the Westport Free Public Library, is located next to Westport Middle School, directly west of the Head of Westport.

Education[edit]

Westport High School

Westport has its own school system. There are four schools: Alice A. Macomber School, in the north of town, provides pre-school (pre-kindergarten) and kindergarten classes; Westport Elementary School, near the Head of Westport, serves grades 1-4; Westport Middle School, next to Westport Elementary, serves grades 5-8; and Westport High School, which serves grades 9-12. Students who graduate from Westport with enough credits in certain fields of study will earn special academy certificates, in addition to their high school diplomas. This was modelled after University-style degrees. Their team name is the Westport Wildcats who have won multiple championships in the Mayflower League. The Wildcats are one of the few teams in the Mayflower League who have won multiple championships in every sport. Their mascot is the Wildcat, and their colors are brown, white and yellow (a legacy of when Westport was in a different league that used Ivy League colors - Westport using Brown University's brown and white). The school is a member of the Mayflower League, and competes against smaller schools in the region. Westport High School graduated 77% of its class in 2011.

Westport High School is also home to the only daily high school newspaper in the country, The Villager. Produced by the students of the high school, the publication is ranked as one of the best high school papers in the country and is often entered in competitions with college newspapers throughout the U.S.

In addition to their schools, high school students may choose to attend Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School in Fall River or Bristol County Agricultural High School in Dighton, free of charge. Juniors and Seniors may opt to take college classes at UMass Dartmouth in Dartmouth or Bristol Community College in Fall River to earn both high school and college credits. Internships and independent study are offered as well.

There is one private school in the town, Montessori School of the Angels, which serves grades 1-8, located in the Westport Factory neighborhood. It was formerly known as Saint Joseph's Montessori, and was located in Fall River; the school building itself was formerly Saint George's School, which closed due to lack of funding and declining attendance. Many students also attend private and charter schools in Fall River and Dartmouth, including Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River and Bishop Stang High School in Dartmouth.

Sports[edit]

Basketball and baseball are the most popular youth and high school sports in Westport, but many sports are offered at Westport High School. The school's Westport Wildcats have won many awards and trophies in the past fifty plus years. Westport High School has boys basketball, girls basketball, field hockey, boys soccer, boys golf, girls volleyball, baseball, softball, and tennis (boys and girls). While Westport High School does not have its own football team, students from WHS often go to Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River and play football, girls soccer, boys lacrosse, and track (boys and girls). Local youth and high school teams have a good record of success in competition and generally travel locally for games in Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod & Islands, Rhode Island, and sometimes the Boston area. Allen Levrault graduated from Westport High School in 1995. Levrault was a professional baseball player in the MLB from years 1996 to 2004.

Westport Middle School also has school sports teams such as boys and girls soccer, field hockey, boys basketball, girls basketball, baseball and softball. These teams also generally travel around Southeastern Massachusetts for games.

The town also has their own organized sports program, the Westport Youth Athletics Association (WYAA) which serves sports from as soon as three years old, all the way up until the 8th grade. The WYAA's goal is to give kids the chance to play any sport they want no matter what athletic standards they meet. The WYAA offers boys basketball, girls basketball, soccer, baseball and softball. Go to wyaa.net for more information.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
YearPop.±%
18502,795—    
18602,707−3.1%
18702,724+0.6%
18802,894+6.2%
18902,599−10.2%
19002,890+11.2%
19102,928+1.3%
19203,115+6.4%
19304,408+41.5%
19404,134−6.2%
19504,989+20.7%
19606,641+33.1%
19709,791+47.4%
198013,763+40.6%
199013,852+0.6%
200014,183+2.4%
201015,532+9.5%

Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]

As of the census[13] of 2010, there were 15,532 people, 5,386 households, and 4,082 families residing in the town. The population density was 283.4 people per square mile (109.4/km²). There were 6,143 housing units at an average density of 122.7 per square mile (47.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.01% White, 0.17% African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.49% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.37% from other races, and 0.79% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.69% of the population.

There were 5,386 households in Westport, of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.9% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.2% were non-families. 19.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the town the population was spread out with 21.6% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 29.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 96.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $55,436, and the median income for a family was $64,568. Males had a median income of $41,890 versus $30,921 for females. The per capita income for the town was $25,281. About 3.7% of families and 4.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.5% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.

Notable residents[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Westport town, Massachusetts". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved December 6, 2011. 
  2. ^ Westport Historical Society - Timeline
  3. ^ "TOTAL POPULATION (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010. 
  4. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  5. ^ "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. 
  6. ^ "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. 
  7. ^ "1950 Census of Population". 1: Number of Inhabitants. 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. 
  8. ^ "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. 
  9. ^ "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. 
  10. ^ "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. 
  11. ^ "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. 
  12. ^ "1850 Census". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]