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Brockton, Massachusetts
—  City  —
Brockton City Hall

Nickname(s): The City of Champions
Location in Plymouth County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°05′00″N 71°01′08″W / 42.0833333°N 71.01889°W / 42.0833333; -71.01889Coordinates: 42°05′00″N 71°01′08″W / 42.0833333°N 71.01889°W / 42.0833333; -71.01889
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Plymouth
Settled 1700
Incorporated 1821
 - Type Mayor-council city
 - Mayor Linda Balzotti (D)
 - Total 21.6 sq mi (55.9 km2)
 - Land 21.5 sq mi (55.6 km2)
 - Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation 112 ft (34 m)
Population (2007)
 - Total 93,092
 Density 4,329.9/sq mi (1,674.3/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 02301
Area code(s) 508 / 774
FIPS code 25-09000
GNIS feature ID 0617571

Brockton is a city in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States. The population size was recorded as 94,304 in the 2000 census. The city and Plymouth are the county seats of Plymouth County.[1] Brockton is the 6th largest city in Massachusetts and is sometimes referred to the "City of Champions", mainly due to the success of native boxers Rocky Marciano and Marvin Hagler, as well as its successful Brockton High School sports programs.



In 1649, Ousamequin (Massasoit) sold the surrounding land, then known as Saughtucket, to Myles Standish as an addition to Duxbury. Brockton was part of this area, which the English renamed Bridgewater, until 1821, when it became the town of North Bridgewater. Its name changed in 1874, after a contentious process finally decided on naming it after Isaac Brock, after a local merchant heard of Brockville, Ontario, on a trip to Niagara Falls. The town of Brockton became a city on April 9, 1881. During the American Civil War, Brockton was America's largest producer of shoes, and until the latter parts of the 20th century Brockton had a large shoe and leather products industry.

Headlines posted in street-corner window of newspaper office (Brockton Enterprise), 60 Main Street, Brockton, Massachusetts, December 1940.

Historical firsts

Template:Unref sect

World firsts
  • On October 1, 1883, Brockton became the first place in the world to have a three wire underground electrical system when Thomas Edison threw a switch to activate it.
  • The City Theater opened on October 24, 1894, the first theater in the world to be tied into the three wire electrical system.
US firsts
  • On December 30, 1884, the first electrically operated fire station in the United States opened in Brockton.
  • The department store Santa Claus appeared in Brockton in December 1890, when James Edgar, of Edgar's Department Store, suited up for the first time.
  • Brockton became the first city in the country to abolish grade crossings in 1896.


Brockton is located at 42°4′57″N 71°1′18″W / 42.0825°N 71.02167°W / 42.0825; -71.02167 (42.082500, -71.021788).[2] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 21.6 square miles (56 km2), of which, 21.5 square miles (56 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.56%) is water. Brockton is the 162nd largest city by land area in the Commonwealth, and the twelfth largest of the twenty-seven towns in Plymouth County. Brockton is bordered by Stoughton to the northwest, Avon to the north, Holbrook to the northeast, Abington to the northeast, Whitman and East Bridgewater to the southeast, West Bridgewater to the south, and Easton to the west. Brockton is approximately twenty miles south of Boston, and thirty miles northeast of Providence, Rhode Island.

Children in the tenement district, December 1940.

Brockton is mostly an urban setting, lying along the Salisbury River, which once powered the many shoe factories of the city. To the northeast lies the Beaver Brook Conservation Land, attached to the southern end of the Ames Nowell State Park in Abington. There are several parks throughout the city, but the largest is D.W. Field Park, an Olmsted-inspired park which includes ponds, Waldo Lake and Brockton Reservoir in Avon, as well as a golf course.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1830 1,953
1840 2,616 33.9%
1850 3,939 50.6%
1860 6,584 67.1%
1870 8,007 21.6%
1880 13,608 70.0%
1890 27,294 100.6%
1900 40,063 46.8%
1910 56,878 42.0%
1920 66,254 16.5%
1930 63,797 −3.7%
1940 62,343 −2.3%
1950 62,860 0.8%
1960 62,628 −0.4%
1970 72,813 16.3%
1980 95,172 30.7%
1990 92,788 −2.5%
2000 94,304 1.6%
Est. 2007 93,092 −1.3%

As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 94,304 people, 33,675 households, and 22,764 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,392.8 people per square mile (1,695.9/km2). There were 34,837 housing units at an average density of 1,622.8/mi2 (626.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 61.49% White, 17.83% African American, 0.36% Native American, 2.19% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 10.32% from other races, and 7.78% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.01% of the population.

Brockton has experienced dramatic demographic change in the past six years. Its population continues to boom, as does the rest of Southeastern Massachusetts, which is Massachusetts's fasting growing region. The African-American population in Brockton has nearly doubled in the last six years.

2006 estimates state Brockton's demographics as: 49.8% White, 32.7% African American, 0.2% Native American, 2.9% Asian, 0% Pacific Islander, 10.3% from other races, 4.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.0% of the population.[4]

Brockton has the largest population of Cape Verdean ancestry in the United States, with 9.0% of its population reporting this ancestry.[5]

As of 2000, there were 33,675 households out of which 35.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.0% were married couples living together, 19.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.4% were non-families. 26.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.74 and the average family size was 3.35.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.8% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 92.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $39,507, and the median income for a family was $46,235. Males had a median income of $34,255 versus $26,886 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,163. About 12.1% of families and 14.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.4% of those under age 18 and 12.6% of those age 65 or over.

Statistically, Brockton is the most populous and most densely populated community in Plymouth County. It is the sixth largest community in the commonwealth, the largest of the sub-100,000 person cities. However, it is only the twenty-seventh most densely populated community in the Commonwealth.


On the national level, Brockton is a part of Massachusetts's 9th congressional district, and has been represented since 2001 by Stephen Lynch. 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.

On the state level, Brockton is represented in three districts in the Massachusetts House of Representatives: the Ninth Plymouth, Tenth Plymouth (which includes West Bridgewater and a small portion of Easton), and the Eleventh Plymouth (which includes most of Easton). The city is represented in the Massachusetts Senate as a part of the Second Plymouth and Bristol district, which includes Halifax, Hanover, Hanson, Whitman and portions of East Bridgewater and Easton[6] In addition to the Brockton Police department the city is patrolled by the Fourth (Middleborough) Barracks of Troop D of the Massachusetts State Police.[7]

Brockton has a city government led by a mayor and city council. The city elects a mayor for two year terms. Previous mayors include Winthrop H. Farwell, Jr., John T. Yunits, Jr., David Crosby, Carl Pitaro, Richard Wainwright, John E. Sullivan, Alvin Jack Sims, Joseph H. Downey and Paul Studenski. James Harrington was elected Mayor in 2005 and began serving in January 2006. He was re-elected November 6, 2007, for another two-year term. He had previously served 16 years as a City Councilor. In the fall of 2009, City Councilor Linda Balzotti defeated Harrington to become the city's first female mayor. Also, community activist Jass Stewart was elected to councilor-at-large becoming the first African American to serve in Brockton's city council. The city council consists of 4 Councilors-at-Large and 7 ward Councilors, one for every ward in the city. There is a central police station on Commercial Street, six fire stations, and three post offices (the main building, plus branches in Montello and Campello). The city supports three buildings within the Brockton Public Library system. The main library is a Carnegie building and is located at 304 Main Street, and there are two branch libraries.


Brockton also has three hospitals, Brockton Hospital on the east side, Caritas Good Samaritan Hospital to the northwest, and the Brockton Veterans Administration Hospital to the southwest. The VA Hospital is the sponsoring institution for the Harvard South Shore Psychiatry program. It also serves as a teaching facility for residents of various medical specialties from Boston University, physician assistant students from Northeastern University, nursing students from the University of Massachusetts Boston and pharmacy students from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

Fire department

The Brockton Fire Department provides fire suppression, fire prevention, and rescue services, and has a Class 2 rating from Insurance Services Office.[8] The city has 7 fire stations, 6 of which are currently operational and a frontline fire apparatus fleet of seven engines, three ladders, one rescue, and one tactical rescue. The fire department does not provide EMS services; ambulance coverage is handled by American Medical Response.[9]

In 1905, local newspapers recounted many heroic acts by Brockton firefighters during the Grover Shoe Factory disaster.[10]

On March 10, 1941, thirteen Brockton firefighters lost their lives when the roof collapsed as they were fighting a fire at the Strand Theatre.[11] That fire resulted in one of the worst firefighting tragedies in U. S. history.

Police department

The City of Brockton Police Department presently has 181 sworn members and 31 non-sworn employees. The officers are assigned to the Patrol Division, and Operations Division which includes; Detectives, Narcotics, Quality of Life, GREAT Program, Elderly Affairs, and Community Education Units

The Brockton Police Department is committed to providing the highest quality of police services by empowering our members and the community to work in partnership with the goal of improving the quality of life within the City of Brockton, while at the same time maintaining respect for individual rights and dignity

The Brockton Police Department answered over 125,000 calls for service in 1998.


Public schools

Brockton operates its own school system for the city's approximately 15,600 students. There are two early education schools (Howard and Keith), twelve elementary schools (Angelo, Arnone, Baker, Brookfield, Downey, George, Hancock, Huntington, John F. Kennedy, Plouffe, and Raymond), the Davis School (which is a K-8 school), five middle/junior high schools (North, East, West, South and the Gilmore Academy), Brockton High School and two alternative schools (Lincoln and B.B. Russell). The Ashfield School and Plouffe Schools are slated to become middle schools in the future, and the Raymond School will be a K-8 school next year. Brockton High's athletics teams are called the Boxers (after the city's undefeated heavyweight boxing champion, Rocky Marciano), their mascot is a boxer dog and their colors are red and black. Brockton is known for its excellent athletics program, having won many state championships, as well as its facilities, including Campanelli Stadium (baseball) and Rocky Marciano Stadium (multi-purpose), the latter being a fieldturf stadium used for high school championship games. Brockton traditionally plays New Bedford High School and B.M.C. Durfee High School of Fall River as part of the "Big Three," representing the three largest cities in southeastern Massachusetts. Their traditional rival for Thanksgiving Day football games is Waltham High School, although the school has played twelve different teams throughout its 106 years of playing on that day, including several out of state high school teams and, most frequently after Waltham, Weymouth high.

The Brockton High School Marching Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band and Choruses have won numerous awards for their performances in various competitions throughout the country.

Private schools

Brockton was also home to three parochial schools (Sacred Heart, Saint Casimir and Saint Edward) which merged in 2007 to form two schools. Trinity Lower Campus at the former Saint Edwards school site, and Trinity Upper Campus located on the former site of the Saint Colemans school, two Christian schools (Brockton Christian and South Shore Christian), and Cardinal Spellman High School, a Catholic high school named for Francis Cardinal Spellman, Brockton area native and former Archbishop of New York. There is also a charter high school, Champion Charter School. Students may also choose to attend Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School in South Easton free of charge.

Higher education

Brockton is the site of Massasoit Community College and Sullivan and Cogliano Training Centers. The Eastern Nazarene College offers Adult Studies/LEAD classes in Brockton.[12]


Major highways

Massachusetts Route 24, a six-lane divided freeway, passes through the west side of the city, with exits at Route 27 to the north and Route 123 to the south. The two routes pass through the center of the city, crossing at that point. Massachusetts Route 28 passes from north to south through the center of the city, The western end of Route 14 (at its intersection with Route 27) and the southern end of Route 37 (at its intersection with Route 28) both are in the city.


Brockton has its own bus services, operated by the Brockton Area Transit Authority (BAT). Each bus has a designated route running through a section of Brockton, i.e. Montello, Campello, Cary Hill, etc. There are also buses that have routes outside the city. i.e. Bridgewater Industrial Park, Ashmont Station, Stoughton. Montello Station is the destination of MBTA bus #230.


The Middleborough/Lakeville Line line of the MBTA's commuter line passes through the city on the eastern side, with stops in the Montello and Campello neighborhoods, as well as in the city center, providing service to points south and South Station in Boston north of the city.

National Historic Places and points of interest

Asiaf Skating Rink
Audobon Conservation Area
Battle of East Brockton
Brockton City Hall
Brockton Edison Electric Illuminating Company Power Station
Brockton Fair
Brockton Fire Museum
Campanelli Stadium
Central Fire Station
Curtis Building
Dr. Edgar Everett Dean House
D.W. Field Park
D.W. Field Golf Course
Forest Avenue School
Franklin Block
Fuller Craft Museum
Gardner J. Kingman House
Goldthwaite Block
Howard Block
Lyman Block
Main Library
Moses Packard House
Old Post Office Building
Petronelli Way
Rocky Marciano Park
Sacco & Vanzetti Museum
Shoe Museum
Snow Fountain and Clock
South Street Historic District
Thorny Lea Golf Club
West Gate Lanes
West Gate Mall

Notable residents

  • Matthew Overstreet, film director, writer, & producer

See also


  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ Brockton city, Massachusetts - Fact Sheet - American FactFinder
  5. ^ Cape Verdean ancestry by city - ePodunk
  6. ^ Index of Legislative Representation by City and Town, from
  7. ^ Station D-4, SP Middleborough
  8. ^ City of Brockton website - Fire Department
  9. ^ American Medical Response website - Locations
  10. ^ Canavan, Derek A. "Remembering Brockton's Greatest Tragedy". "The men of the Campello firehouse were heroes that day. As hundreds of workers and residents of the Campello neighborhood ran from the fire, the Campello firefighters charged into the inferno looking for workers whose cries for help were barely audible over the roar of the flames." 
  11. ^ Valencia, Milton J. "A memory painful and indelible". The Boston Globe. "Outside, the flames roaring through the walls and ceiling were clearly visible. But to the firefighters inside, on the balcony, the flames were hidden." 
  12. ^ "ENC's Adult and Graduate Studies Program expands into satellite locations around the state". Nazarene Communications Network. December 18, 2008. 

External links

Simple English

Brockton is a town in Plymouth County in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. It and the town of Plymouth are the county seats of Plymouth County.


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