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Taunton, Massachusetts
—  City  —
War Memorials on Taunton Green

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Nickname(s): The Silver City, The Christmas City
Location in Bristol County, Massachusetts
Coordinates: 41°54′00″N 71°05′25″W / 41.9°N 71.09028°W / 41.9; -71.09028Coordinates: 41°54′00″N 71°05′25″W / 41.9°N 71.09028°W / 41.9; -71.09028
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Bristol
Settled 1637
Incorporated (Town) 1639
Incorporated (City) 1864
Government
 - Type Mayor-City Council
 - Mayor Charles Crowley
Area
 - Total 48.0 sq mi (124.2 km2)
 - Land 46.6 sq mi (120.7 km2)
 - Water 1.4 sq mi (3.5 km2)
Elevation 30 ft (9 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 55,976
 Density 1,201.1/sq mi (463.7/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 02718, 02780, 02783
Area code(s) 508 / 774
FIPS code 25-69170
GNIS feature ID 0613154
Website www.taunton-ma.gov
Mayflower Hill Cemetery
Taunton River at Weir Village, with the former F.B. Rogers Silver factory and the stacks of the TMLP in the distance. Those buildings have since been demolished.

Taunton is a city in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States. It is the seat of Bristol County and the hub of the Greater Taunton Area. The city is located 40 miles south of Boston, 18 miles east of Providence, 10 miles north of Fall River and 25 miles west of Plymouth. The City of Taunton is situated on the Taunton River which winds its way through the city on its way south to Mount Hope Bay, 10 miles away. Taunton is also considered to be a mill town with several mills in the city as well as in nearby Fall River, the two being the mill cities of the region.

As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 55,976. The current mayor is Charles Crowley.

Founded in 1637 by members of the Plymouth Colony, Taunton is one of the oldest towns in the United States. The city takes its name from Taunton, Somerset, in southwestern England. An English woman, Elizabeth Pole, from Taunton, was instrumental in the founding of the American Taunton. The native Americans called the region Cohannet before the arrival of the Europeans. Taunton is also known as the Silver City, as it was an historic center of the silver industry beginning in the 19th century when companies such as Reed & Barton, F. B. Rogers, Poole Silver, and others produced fine-quality silver goods in the city.

Since December 1914, the city of Taunton has provided a large annual light display each December on Taunton Green, also giving it the nickname of Christmas City.

Taunton once included many surrounding towns, including Norton, Easton, Mansfield, Dighton, Raynham, and Berkley. Possession of the latter is still noted by the naming of Taunton Hill in Assonet, which is now North Main Street, a street that heads into Berkley and Fall River.

Contents

History

Beginnings

Taunton was founded in 1637 by Elizabeth Poole, and officially incorporated as a town on September 3, 1639. Most of the town's settlers were originally from Taunton in Somerset, Britain, which led early settlers to name the settlement after that town. At the time of Taunton's incorporation, they explained their choice of name as being, in honour and love to our dear native country... and owning it a great mercy of God to bring us to this place, and settling of us, on lands of our own bought with our money in peace, in the midst of the heathen, for a possession for ourselves and for our posterity after us.[citation needed] Prior to 1640, the Taunton area was called Cohannet.

The British founders of Taunton took possession of the land from the native Wampanoags. The Taunton area was the site of battles (on its soil or the surrounding area) during various conflicts, including King Philip's War and the American Revolution. Taunton was re-incorporated as a city on May 11, 1864.

Industrial Legacy

During the 19th century, Taunton became known as the "Silver City", as it was home to many silversmithing operations, including Reed & Barton, F.B. Rogers, and Poole Silver.

In the 19th century, Taunton was also center of an important iron making industry, utilizing much bog iron from the numerous swamps in the surrounding area. The iron industry in Taunton produced a variety of goods including stoves (Weir Stove Company/Glenwood), tacks (Field Tack Company) and machinery. One of the more successful companies during this period was the Mason Machine Works, founded by William Mason which produced machinery for the textile industry, as well as steam locomotives. The Taunton Locomotive Works (begun in 1846) also operated in the city during this time.

Taunton was also home to several textile mills (Whittenton Mills) and other industries, such as felt (Bacon Felt) and brick making.

During the 19th century, Taunton was a major shipping point for grain from the inland rural farm areas of Massachusetts to the rest of the nation via Weir Village and the Taunton River. With the advent of the railroad, Taunton would also become an important transportation hub due to its central location.

The city formed the Taunton Municipal Light Plant (TMLP) in 1897, when it decided to purchase the floundering Taunton Electric Lighting Company, making it a publicly-owned electric utility. Today, TMLP provides electric service to 34,000 customers in Taunton, Berkley, Raynham, and sections of Dighton, Lakeville and Bridgewater. TMLP is governed by a three-member Board of Commissioners, which is elected by the citizens of Taunton.

Recent history

The Myles Standish Industrial Park in the Taunton's north end is currently one of the largest in New England. The National Weather Service operates a Regional Forecast Office there. Several major companies operate within the Industrial Park, and in other parts of the city.

In October 2005, the nearby Whittenton Pond Dam threatened to fail following a week that brought nine inches of rain to the city. Over 2,000 city residents were evacuated[1] and Mayor Robert Nunes issued a State of Emergency. It is estimated that if the dam had failed, the Mill River would have inundated the downtown area with up to six feet of water. In response, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney ordered an immediate inspection of high-risk dams throughout the Commonwealth.[2][3]

Geography

An abstract map of Taunton's watershed

Taunton is located at 41°54′05″N 71°05′37″W / 41.901491°N 71.093628°W / 41.901491; -71.093628 (41.901491, -71.093628).[4] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 48.0 square miles (124.2 km2), of which, 46.6 square miles (120.7 km2) of it is land and 1.4 square miles (3.5 km2) of it (2.81%) is water. This is the second largest city by area in Massachusetts.[citation needed] Only Boston, at 48.42 square miles (125.41 km2) of land, is larger.

Taunton has one major river, the Taunton River, alongside with its tributaries including the Mill River and the Three Mile River. These rivers are within the Taunton River Watershed.

There are nine designated historic districts within the city:

  • Bay Road Historic District, which is also known as Post Road. The road runs from Taunton to Boston (1300 acres (5.3 km2), 1 structure, 2 objects)
  • Bristol County Courthouse Complex (13 acres, 3 buildings)
  • Church Green Historic District is also known as Meetinghouse Common (160 acres, 18 buildings, 1 object)
  • Hopewell Mills District (120 acres, 13 buildings)
  • Old Bay Road Historic District is also known as The Post Road; The King's Highway (150 acres, 1 structure, 3 objects)
  • Reed and Barton Complex
  • Taunton Green Historic District (50 acres, 22 buildings, 3 objects)
  • Taunton State Hospital Historic District is also known as the Taunton Lunatic Asylum (1250 acres (5.1 km2), 38 buildings, 8 structures)

See also: List of Registered Historic Places in Taunton, Massachusetts

Municipalities (in grey) that were once part of Taunton

Due to the annexation of towns from the original town of Taunton, the city now is irregularly shaped, with it (along with neighboring Raynham) roughly making a triangle. The city is bordered by Norton to the northwest, Easton to the north, Raynham to the northeast, Lakeville to the east, Berkley and Dighton to the south, and Rehoboth to the west.

City neighborhoods include the Bird Lanes, Clearview Estates, East Taunton, Elliot's Corner, Herring Run Estates, Linden Estates, Matthews Landing, North Taunton, Oakland, Pine Crest Estates, Pine Hill Estates, Wades Corner, Weir Village, Westville, Whittenton, Whittenton Junction, Britannia Village, Willis Lake Village and Woodward Estates. Taunton is also home to almost the entirety of the Massasoit State Park in East Taunton, and a large portion of the Hockomock Swamp Wildlife Management Area in North Taunton.

Demographics

Historical Populations[citation needed]
Year Pop. Year Pop.
1790 1900 31,036
1800 1910 34,259
1810 1920 37,137
1820 1930 37,355
1830 1940 37,395
1840 1950 40,109
1850 1960 41,132
1860 1970 43,756
1870 1980 45,001
1880 1990 49,832
1890 2000 55,976

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 55,976 people, 22,045 households, and 14,483 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,201.1 people per square mile (463.7/km2). There were 22,908 housing units at an average density of 491.5/sq mi (189.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city is 91.67% White, 2.74% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.60% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 2.59% from other races, and 2.21% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.93% of the population.

The city of Taunton is also very multi-cultural with peoples of different orgins living within the city. The biggest ethnic groups are Portuguese,Irish,Puerto Rican and the French. Most of Taunton's immigration occured within the turn of the 1900's when immagrants would work in the citie's mills.

There are 22,045 households out of which 32.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.0% were married couples living together, 13.4% have a female householder with no husband present, and 34.3% were non-families. 28.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.9% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 33.2% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 92.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $42,932, and the median income for a family was $52,433. Males had a median income of $36,895 versus $27,686 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,899. About 8.0% of families and 10.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.9% of those under age 18 and 11.3% of those age 65 or over.

Government

Bristol County Superior Courthouse.

The city has a Mayor-Council form of government. Taunton also has a School Committee and many boards and commissions. As the seat of Bristol County, Taunton is home to the county's few administrative offices and several of its courthouses, which includes one that is currently under construction, including the Bristol County Superior Courthouse. The Massachusetts State Police's Troop D (Southeast District), 4th Barracks, patrols Taunton and is located in Middleborough.

Taunton is a part of three separate state representative districts: Third Bristol (entirely located in Taunton), Fifth Bristol (which includes Dighton, Somerset and part of Swansea), and 12th Bristol (including all or parts of Freetown, Lakeville, Middleborough and New Bedford). It is a part of the First [Plymouth County|Plymouth] and [Bristol County|Bristol] state senate district, which also includes the towns of Berkley, Bridgewater, Carver, Dighton, Marion, Middleborough, Raynham and Wareham. On the national level, the town is part of Massachusetts Congressional District 4, which is represented by Barney Frank. The state's senior (Class II) Senator is John F. Kerry. The state's junior (Class I) Senator is Scott Brown.

Politics

Many famous political or politically-controversial events occurred in Taunton's long history. This town was the first in Colonial America where a woman (Elizabeth Pole) was credited with its founding. Robert Treat Paine, a long-time Taunton resident, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the first Attorney-General of Massachusetts. Part of King Phillip's War was fought within Taunton's limits.

Former U.S. presidents, such as Presidents James K. Polk, William H. Taft, Franklin D. Roosevelt Harry S. Truman, and General Dwight Eisenhower, gave campaign speeches in Taunton. The city's former Camp Myles Standish during WWII was a prisoner-of-war camp, a welcoming area for about a million U.S. and Allied soldiers; and a candidate site for the U.N. Headquarters, soon after the military camp closed. Although the city hasn't been as much of a hotbed of politics as it once was, it still continues to be a politically active region of Massachusetts.

See also list of mayors of Taunton.

Economy

Taunton's economy has historically been based on silversmithing and shipbuilding. Reed & Barton produced the 1996 Summer Olympics medals and exclusively-used silverware for the White House. Also, the city produced the anchor for the USS Constitution. The nearby town of Raynham produced the anchor for the Civil War-era ironclad USS Monitor.

Today, the city's economy has many emphases on semiconductor, silicon, and electronics manufacturing. It is home to corporate headquarters of many leading corporations in various industries. Currently, the city is trying to attract biotechnology research companies to its industrial parks.

Silver City Galleria is a large shopping mall in Taunton catering to not just Taunton but also neighboring towns/cities of Easton, Raynham, Rehoboth, Dighton, Fall River, Middleboro, Norton and others.

Education

Education in Taunton ranges from preschool through post-secondary education.

Primary and secondary

Taunton has nine public elementary schools and four public middle schools.[6]

Elementary Schools

  • Edmund Hatch Bennett Elementary School
  • East Taunton Elementary School
  • Harold H. Galligan Elementary School
  • Hopewell Elementary School
  • Edward F. Leddy Elementary School
  • Joseph C. Chamberlain Elementary School
  • Lowell M. Maxham Elementary School
  • Elizabeth Pole Elementary School
  • Walker Elementary School

Middle Schools

  • Benjamin A. Friedman Middle School
  • Joseph H. Martin Middle School
  • Mulcahey Middle School
  • John F. Parker Middle School

The city also has three Catholic elementary schools and one Catholic middle school:[7]

  • Villa Fatima Pre School
  • Our Lady of Lourdes School
  • St. Mary's Primary School
  • Taunton Catholic Middle School

Taunton has two public high schools (Taunton High School and Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School) and one Catholic high school (Coyle and Cassidy High School).

Higher education

Taunton is home to a satellite campus of Bristol Community College, which meets at Taunton High School. In addition, the city houses career schools such as the RobRoy Academy beauty school.

Culture

St. Mary's Church

Public Spaces

The Taunton Green is the name of the city's central square. Early in its history, "The Green" was used as a training ground for militias in the American Revolution. Some say it was also the site of the historic "Liberty & Union"/"Taunton" flag raising in 1774 by the Sons of Liberty, prior to the American Revolution.[8] Since the early 20th century, Taunton Green has temporarily been transformed during the winter holiday season into a grand display of holiday lights, scenes, and extravagant events. This is where and how the city earned its unofficial nickname in the surrounding areas as the "Christmas City."

"The Green" continues to provide a centralized location for city-wide Christmas activities, other holidays, events, and parades for the citizens of Taunton. A fountain is located at the center of the Taunton Green. Always to be seen flapping together in emblematic unison, the "Liberty & Union" flag and the U.S. flag fly side-by-side on the flagpole at the city's center.

The city is served by a central public library, the Taunton Public Library, which opened in 1903 and has undergone several expansions and renovations since that time. Also of note is the Old Colony Historical Society, which archives the city and region's past.

The City is home to two state parks operated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts / Department of Conservation and Recreation, including Massasoit State Park in East Taunton and Watson Pond State Park in the north part of the city.

Religion

Numerous religious groups exist within the city, including Jewish, Roman Catholic, Protestant and other Christian denominations. The First Parish Church, a Unitarian Universalist church, located at Church Green at the east end of downtown was founded in 1637, before the Town of Taunton was even established. The current church dates from 1830. The Pilgrim Congregational Church on Broadway was formed in 1821, its current church built in 1851. The city's oldest Roman Catholic Parish, St. Mary's Church is located further north at the intersection of Broadway and Washington Street, known as Saint Mary's Square.

Architecture

The City of Taunton has a wide array of excellent architecture ranging from the Colonial Period to Modern Times. There are numerous pre-revolutionary war private homes within the city, the oldest of which is the Joseph Willis House on Worcester Street dating to about 1688. The City has over one-hundred buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Perhaps the most impressive structure in the city is the towering Bristol County Superior Courthouse, built in 1894 and designed by Frank Irving. With its tall copper dome, the Superior Courthouse is visible from many surrounding areas. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Currently, the Courthouse Complex is undergoing a major expansion and renovation program.

Other significant buildings in the City include some fine stone churches, including the First Parish Church (1830), the Pilgrim Congregational Church (1851) and St. Mary's Complex (1868) on Broadway.

Downtown Taunton has a number of historic commercial blocks along Main Street, Taunton Green and Broadway, built during the period from about 1840 to 1920.

Many large homes built by the wealthy industrialists and merchants of the late 19th and early 20th century line Route 44 both east (Dean Street) and west (Winthrop Steet) of the city center, while a majority of the city is occupied by more modest wood framed single and multi-family homes, many over 100 years old. Modern single-family subdivisions, mostly built since the 1950s, exist in the outskirts of the sprawling city.

The Central Fire Station at 50 School Street is recognized as the oldest functioning station house in the United States. The historic Taunton City Hall is located adjacent to Church Green.

Film

In March 2008, famed Hollywood director Martin Scorsese filmed a portion of the upcoming film Shutter Island on location at the Whittenton Mills Complex.[9] The Surrogates, starring Bruce Willis, was another movie partly filmed in the city, at the old Paul Dever school.[9]

Media

Taunton is served by several publications including the Silver City Bulletin, The Taunton Call, Brockton Enterprise, and the Taunton Daily Gazette. Regional papers of importance such as the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and Providence Journal, are also widely available.

Taunton has local cable television channels which include the Taunton Educational Network (channel 9), Taunton Community Access and Media, Inc. (channel 15), and Taunton Municipal Network (channel 17). Comcast's Taunton system carries all Providence and Boston stations as well and both markets are available over-the-air. The two radio stations based in Taunton are WVBF 1530 AM (Licensed to nearby Middleborough Center), which features local programming until noon followed by syndicated feed from the Reading for the Blind Network, and WSNE-FM 93.3, which primarily serves the Providence radio market and has its studios in the city of Providence.

From 1948 until 2007, Taunton was also served by local radio station WPEP 1570. However the station was silenced with the upgrade of Keating Wilcox's station also on 1570, in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Some of the major Internet providers in Taunton are Comcast, EarthLink, SBC Yahoo! Dial, and Verizon. The Taunton Municipal Lighting Plant (TMLP), Taunton's electric company, is also an Internet service provider for the city and its surrounding towns.

Healthcare and utilities

Morton Hospital

Taunton is home to the Morton Hospital and Medical Center, located on Washington Street, just north of the city center.

Taunton State Hospital is a psychiatric hospital located on Hodges Avenue. One of its historical old buildings had to be brought down after it was severely damaged by fire in 2006. This hospital is now one of the very few mental health hospitals in Massachusetts for longer term in-patient care of psychiatric patients.

Electricity is provided to residents by the Taunton Municipal Lighting Plant (TMLP), located in the south end. The City has a Municipal water system, with a treatment plant and water supply in nearby Lakeville, as well as a public sewer system with a treatment plant on West Water Street in the south end of the city, discharging into the Taunton River.

Transportation

The Taunton Railway began in 1838 (201 years after its founding by Elizabeth Pole from Dorchester, The Dorchester Company started in 1623 as part of the Sheffield Patent settling at Stage Point, Gloucester, Cape Ann) as the main rail transportation system both industrial and passenger connecting Taunton with points south, east, north, and west including New Bedford and Cape Cod, Fall River and Newport, Somerset and Providence, Attleboro and Providence, Mansfield and Boston, Stoughton and Boston, Raynham Middleborough and Wareham as time went on. Taunton is the central highway hub of southeastern Massachusetts. Much of the eastern part of the state's major highways intersect and/or runs through the city, especially at its center. US 44, MA 138, and MA 140 intersect at a square at Taunton's center, which is called the Taunton Green. MA 140 is also accessible from the eastern neighborhood of the city, popularly referred to as "East Taunton." Additionally, MA 24 and MA 140 intersect near East Taunton, and it is at that junction that Route 140 ceases to be a 2-lane divided freeway from the south and becomes a smaller state highway to the north. Interstate 495 runs through the northern portion of Taunton, unofficially referred to as "North Taunton", and parallel to Myles Standish Industrial Park, Taunton's main industrial park.

Various smaller routes run through other parts of the city. These include a small portion of MA 104, close to the Taunton-Raynham city limits, and MA 79, close to the Taunton-Berkley-Lakeville (Plymouth County) city-town-county limits. Taunton is the western terminus of MA 104. It merges into US 44 after entering the city.

Several freight rails pass through the city on their way towards Fall River, New Bedford and a link-up with the line in Middleborough. There are plans being worked on to link up parts of this rail with the Stoughton line of the MBTA commuter rail system to Boston. The Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority, or GATRA, provides bus mass transit.

Taunton also has its own municipal airport, serving mostly smaller craft and occasional commuter jets. The nearest airport with national airline service is at T.F. Green Airport in Rhode Island, and the nearest international service is at Logan International Airport in Boston.

Notable residents

Sister cities

Taunton shares a sister city status with:

References

  • History of Taunton, Massachusetts from Its Settlement to the Present Time by Samuel Hopkins Emery, published 1893.

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

TAUNTON, a city and one of the county-seats of Bristol (disambiguation)|Bristol county, Massachusetts, U.S.A., at the head of ocean navigation on the Taunton river, 17 m. above its mouth, about 35 m. S. of Boston, and about 14 m. N. of Fall River. Pop. (1890) 25,448; (1900) 31,036, of whom 9140 were foreign born, 2844 being Irish, 2366 French-Canadians, 1144 English, and 801 EnglishCanadians; (1910, U.S. census) 34,259. Taunton is served by the New York, New Haven & Hartford railroad (Old Colony Branch) and by interurban electric railways connecting with Fall River, New Bedford, Providence and Boston. The channel of the Taunton river has been deepened and widened by the Federal government, and in 1910 vessels of i 1 ft. draft could reach the city at high water (mean range of tide at Taunton, 3.4 ft.). Within the corporate limits of the city, which has a land area of 44.25 sq. m., there are six villages - Hopewell, Britanniaville, Oakland, Whittenton, East Taunton and the Weir. Taunton Green, a rectangular stretch of land fringed with lofty elms, the "common" of the New England town, about which is the business portion of the modern city, is i m. from the Weir, the port of the city.

The city contains interesting specimens of colonial or early 19th-century architecture. Among the modern public buildings are the handsome granite County Court House (1895), facing the Green, the Public Library building (given by Andrew Carnegie), the registry building, the county gaol, the city hall, the post office, an old ladies' home, an emergency hospital, the Morton Hospital, occupying the fine old residence of Governor Marcus Morton, and the Y.M.C.A. building. The Bristol County Law Library and Old Colony Historical Society (incorporated in 1853 and organized in 1854) possess valuable collections of hooks, and the latter has a collection of portraits and antiquities. Bristol Academy (1792; non-sectarian) is a well-known preparatory school, and there is also a commercial school - the Bristol County Business College. At Norton (pop. in 1910, 2544), directly N. of Taunton, and formerly within its boundaries, is Wheaton Seminary (1834) for girls. Among social clubs are the Winthrop Club, the Bristol Club, the Taunton Boat Club, the Yacht Club, and the Country Club. A good water-supply, owned by the city, is obtained from neighbouring lakes and ponds, along the shores of which are many summer cottages. Taunton was one of the first cities in the United States to own and operate its own electric lighting plant, which it acquired from a private corporation in 1897. Its industrial importance began with the establishment of ironworks in 1656; the plant then opened continued in active operation for about 225 years. Brick-making and shipbuilding were two of the early industries; the latter, formerly very important, haa now been abandoned. The manufactures to-day are extensive and varied. The aggregate value of the factory product in 1905 was $13,644,586, an increase of 18.2 per cent. over that of 1900. Of this amount the value of the cotton manufactured was $6,141,598, or 45 per cent. of the whole. Herring fisheries give occupation during a part of the year to a considerable number of workers. Taunton has a prosperous jobbing trade, and large shipping interests, the coastwise trade being particularly important.

Taunton was founded in 1638, when the territory was purchased from Massasoit by settlers from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and became the frontier town of Plymouth Colony. Myles Standish was engaged on the original survey. But there had been earlier settlers in the region - at "Tecticutt" (Titicut), which later became part of Taunton. The settlement at Taunton was at first known as Cohannet, but the present name - from Taunton, Somerset, England, the home of many of the settlers - was soon adopted. The town was incorporated in 1639. In 1671 it was the scene of a meeting between Gov. Thomas Prince and King Philip, at which a treaty was drawn up. During King Philip's War, Taunton was a base of operations for Plymouth Colony troops under Gov. Josiah Winslow. In 1686 Taunton was one of the towns which refused to comply with Sir Edmund Andros's demands for a tax levy. For some years Thomas Coram, the philanthropist and founder of the London Foundling Hospital, was engaged in the shipbuilding industry here. In 1774, after the passage of the Boston Port Bill, the people of Taunton showed their sympathy for Boston by raising on the Green a red flag on which were inscribed the words "Liberty and Union." The leader of the patriotic party at this time was Robert Treat Paine, to whose memory a bronze statue has been erected. During Shays's rebellion the Taunton court-house was twice besieged by insurgents, who were each time dispersed through the resolute action and firmness of Gen. David Cobb, one of the judges. The event is commemorated by a tablet on Taunton Green. In Berkley, which until 1735 was a part of Dighton (Taunton South Purchase, separated from Taunton in 1712), is the famous Dighton Rock, with inscriptions long erroneously supposed to have been made by Norse discoverers of America, but now known to be the work of Indians. Taunton was chartered as a city in 1864. In 1909 a new city charter was adopted, under which the mayor and nine councilmen (elected at large) were the only city officers elected at any city election; candidates for these offices are nominated by petition; the mayor appoints, subject to the approval of the council, a chief of police and a city solicitor.

See S. H. Emery, History of Taunton from its Settlement to the Present Time (Syracuse, N.Y., 1893); D. H. Hurd, History of Bristol County (Philadelphia, 1883); Quarter Millennial Celebration (Taunton, 1889).


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Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

Taunton is a city in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States. It is the seat of Bristol County and the hub of the Greater Taunton Area. The city is located 40 miles south of Boston, 18 miles east of Providence, 18 miles north of Fall River and 25 miles west of Plymouth. The City of Taunton is situated on the Taunton River which winds its way through the city on its way south to Mount Hope Bay.

As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 55,976. The current mayor is Charles Crowley.

Taunton is also known as the Silver City, as it was an historic center of the silver industry beginning in the 19th century when companies such as Reed & Barton, F. B. Rogers, Poole Silver and others produced fine quality silver goods in the city.

The city provides a large annual light display each December on Taunton Green, also giving it the nickname of Christmas City.

Taunton once included many surrounding towns, including Norton, Easton, Mansfield, Dighton, Raynham, and Berkley. Possession of the latter is still noted by the naming of Taunton Hill in Assonet, which is now North Main Street, a street that heads into Berkley.

Pilgrim History

Founded in 1637 by members of the Plymouth Colony, Taunton is one of the oldest towns in the United States. The city takes its name from Taunton, Somerset, England, the birthplace of its founder, Elizabeth Poole. The name Taunton means "town (or city) on the River Tone" or "Tone Town".

Taunton was founded in 1637 by Elizabeth Pole, and officially incorporated as a town on September 3, 1639. Most of the town's settlers were originally from Taunton, Somerset, England, which led early settlers to name the settlement after that town. At the time of Taunton's incorporation, they explained their choice of name as being, in honor and love to our dear native country... and owning it a great mercy of God to bring us to this place, and settling of us, on lands of our own bought with our money in peace, in the midst of the heathen, for a possession for ourselves and for our posterity after us.[citation needed] Prior to 1640, the Taunton area was called Cohannet.

The English founders of Taunton took possession of the land from the native Wampanoags. The Taunton area was the site of battles (on its soil or the surrounding area) during various conflicts, including King Philip's War and the American Revolution. Taunton was re-incorporated as a city on May 11, 1864.

Industrial Center History

During the 19th century, Taunton became known as the "Silver City", as it was home to many silversmithing operations, including Reed & Barton, F.B. Rogers, Poole Silver, and others.

In the 19th century, Taunton also was the center of an important iron making industry, utilizing much bog iron from the numerous swamps in the surrounding area. The iron industry in Taunton produced a variety of goods including stoves (Weir Stove Company/Glenwood), tacks (Field Tack Company) and machinery. One of the more successful companies during this period was the Mason Machine Works, founded by William Mason which produced machinery for the textile industry, as well as steam locomotives. The Taunton Locomotive Works (begun in 1846) also operated in the city during this time.

Taunton was also home to several textile mills (Whittenton Mills) and other industries, such as felt (Bacon Felt) and brick making.

During the 19th century, Taunton was a major shipping point for grain from the inland rural farm areas of Massachusetts to the rest of the nation via Weir Village and the Taunton River. With the advent of the railroad, Taunton would also become an important transportation hub due to its central location.

The city formed the Taunton Municipal Light Plant (TMLP) in 1897, when it decided to purchase the floundering Taunton Electric Lighting Company, making it a publicly-owned electric utility. Today, TMLP provides electric service to 34,000 customers in Taunton, Berkley, Raynham, and sections of Dighton, Lakeville and Bridgewater. TMLP is governed by a three-member Board of Commissioners, which is elected by the citizens of Taunton.

References

  • Wikipedia History of Taunton MA
  • Massachusetts Historical Commission Reconnaissance Survey Report on Taunton PDF format. Good Federally funded review of Taunton's history especially its industrial history. Published 1981. Google HTML version.
  • History of Bristol County, Massachusetts: With Biographical Sketches of Many Pioneers and Prominent Men. Part 1. Part 2. Taunton Chapter 58 page 728. By Duane Hamilton Hurd, published 1883.
Facts about Taunton, MassachusettsRDF feed

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Simple English

Taunton, Massachusetts
—  City  —
File:Taunton Flag (United States).svg
Flag
Nickname(s): The Silver city
Coordinates: 41°54′00″N 71°05′25″W / 41.9°N 71.09028°W / 41.9; -71.09028
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Bristol
Settled 1637
Incorporated 1639
Government
 - Type Mayor-City Council
 - Mayor Charles Crowley
Area
 - Total 48.0 sq mi (124.2 km2)
 - Land 46.6 sq mi (120.7 km2)
 - Water 1.4 sq mi (3.5 km2)
Elevation 30 ft (9 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 55,976
 Density 463.7/sq mi (1,201.1/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 02718, 02780, 02783
Area code(s) 508 / 774
FIPS code 25-69170
GNIS feature ID 0613154
Website / www.taunton-ma.gov

Taunton is a city in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States. It is the seat of Bristol County and the hub of the Greater Taunton Area. As of the 2000 census, Taunton had 55,976 people living in it. The United States Census Bureau says that the city has an area of 48.0 square miles.

Sister city

Taunton shares a sister city status with:

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