Bellingham, Massachusetts

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Bellingham, Massachusetts
nickname =
motto =

imagesize =
image_caption =

mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location in Norfolk County in Massachusetts

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = Massachusetts
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Norfolk
established_title = Settled
established_date = 1713
established_title2 = Incorporated
established_date2 = 1719
established_title3 =
established_date3 =
government_type = Open town meeting
leader_title =
leader_name =
leader_title1 =
leader_name1 =
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 49.2
area_total_sq_mi = 19.0
area_land_km2 = 47.9
area_land_sq_mi = 18.5
area_water_km2 = 1.3
area_water_sq_mi = 0.5
population_as_of = 2007
settlement_type = Town
population_total = 15,908
population_density_km2 = 332.1
population_density_sq_mi = 859.9
elevation_m = 89
elevation_ft = 293
timezone = Eastern
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST = Eastern
utc_offset_DST = -4
latd = 42 |latm = 05 |lats = 12 |latNS = N
longd = 71 |longm = 28 |longs = 30 |longEW = W
website = []
postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 02019
area_code = 508 / 774
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 25-04930
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0618315
footnotes =

Bellingham is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 15,314 at the 2000 census. The town sits on the southwestern fringe of Metropolitan Boston, along the rapidly growing "outer belt" that is Route 495. It is formally a part of the Boston–Cambridge–Quincy metropolitan statistical area as well as the Providence metropolitan area.cite web|url=|title=Update of Statistical area Definitions and Guidance on Their Uses||accessdate=2007-06-11|pages=52,108,150] It is home to the new Dunkin' Donuts Northeast Distribution Center.

For geographic and demographic information on the census-designated place Bellingham, please see the article Bellingham (CDP), Massachusetts.


There is not much historical or archaeological evidence of established tribal communities in the land that became Bellingham. The area of the town south of the Charles River constituted the southwestern corner of the Dedham Grant, which sprouted much of what has become Norfolk County. The land was swampy, and the town of Dedham did not believe it worthy of settlement. The area north of the river would be purchased by Edward Rawson, and due to the settlement of borders with the surrounding communities, these two areas would eventually merge. By 1713, there were enough citizens to warrant village meetings in the area. By 1718, the village petitioned for separation, and the town officially incorporated on November 27, 1719. The village was originally named "Westham" (short for "West Dedham"), but at the time of incorporation, its name was changed to Bellingham without record of the benefactor. It is unclear whether it was named for the borough of Bellingham in London, or if it was named for Richard Bellingham, three-time governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the seventeenth century.

The town was founded with a Pilgrim meeting house, like all the towns in the colony at the time. However, this church would dissolve before the middle of the century, replaced with a Baptist church. The town grew slowly, given the terrain and the limited resources. During the Industrial Revolution, several man-made ponds were made to support industry in land that had been swamp. Today the northern part of the town is part of the economic boom along I-495, with the southern being mostly suburban. [ [ "History of the Town of Bellingham 1660-1780"] ]

Geography and Transportation

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 19.0 square miles (49.2 km²), of which, 18.5 square miles (47.9 km²) of it is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km²) of it (2.58%) is water. The town's mean elevation is 293 feet (89 m) above sea level.

Bellingham is located at the southwestern corner of Norfolk County, just northwest of the northeast corner of Rhode Island. It is bordered by Medway on the north, Franklin to the east, Wrentham to the southeast; Woonsocket, Rhode Island, on the south; and Blackstone, Hopedale and Mendon to the west, and Milford to the northwest. Bellingham is 23 miles (37 km) southeast of Worcester, 30 miles (50 km) southwest of Boston, and 20 miles (30 km) north of Providence, Rhode Island.

Interstate 495 runs across the north end of town, with only one exit in the town itself, Exit 18 at Hartford Avenue (Rte. 126). Exit 17 in Franklin is just about 3 miles (5 km) from the town line leading to the town center. State Route 126 runs north to south from the town of Medway to the Rhode Island border. State Route 140 runs east to west from Franklin to Mendon. The town went from having no traffic lights in the late 1980s to well over a dozen in 2006. The town is also known for having one of the best snow removal systems in the area.

The town currently has no mode of public transportation of its own. The nearest small craft airport is at the Hopedale Industrial Airpark, just over the town line along Route 140. The Worcester Regional Airport is twenty-eight miles away, and the nearest national air service can be reached at T. F. Green Airport, thirty miles away. The nearest international airport is Boston's Logan International Airport, 35 miles (56 km) away. There is no rail service in town; however, the MBTA's Forge Park/I-495 commuter rail line to Boston terminates just 2 miles (3 km) from the town line in Franklin, and approximately 5 miles (8 km) from the town center.

The neighboring city of Woonsocket, Rhode Island had proposed a plan to bring commuter rail service to the area which would require an extension of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's Franklin line, a direct route from Boston's South Station. Commuter rail service to the Greater Woonsocket area would essentially bring the rail line through the town of Bellingham, Blackstone, and terminating in Woonsocket, bringing an increased amount of tourism to the area, and increasing ridership in persons commuting to the city of Boston and Logan International Airport. A recent study was conducted in the year 2007 on whether or not it would be feasible to expand the MBTA's Franklin line westward; the results of which were determined that rehabilitaing the old abandoned rail line would cost too much money and not bring enough benefit to the area. However as the population grows in this general area, it is most likely that the MBTA will not drop plans for such an extension.


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 15,314 people, 5,557 households, and 4,284 families residing in the town. The population density was 827.8 people per square mile (319.6/km²). There were 5,642 housing units at an average density of 305.0/sq mi (117.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.93% White, 0.91% Black or African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.86% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.30% from other races, and 0.84% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.20% of the population.

There were 5,557 households out of which 37.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.6% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.9% were non-families. 18.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75 and the average family size was 3.15.

In the town the population was spread out with 26.8% under the age of 18, 5.6% from 18 to 24, 34.6% from 25 to 44, 23.3% from 45 to 64, and 9.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 96.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $64,496, and the median income for a family was $72,074. Males had a median income of $48,533 versus $33,476 for females. The per capita income for the town was $25,047. About 1.6% of families and 2.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.5% of those under age 18 and 6.0% of those age 65 or over.

As of current, there are 3 elementary schools (Stallbrook, South, and Clara Macy), 1 middle school (Bellingham Memorial), and 2 high schools (Bellingham High School and Paul J. Primavera Educational Center.) Currently, T.C. Mattocks serves as the Superintendent of Schools. Throughout his career in Bellingham, Mattocks has been notorious for rarely calling snowdays, particularly when surrounding towns such as Medway, Massachusetts, Milford, Massachusetts, and Woonsocket, Rhode Island have school cancelled due to snowy conditions.


The town had never experienced any large growth until 1993, when Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, opened a store along Hartford Avenue, near the 495 interchange. This opened the doors to an explosive growth, with major retailers like Home Depot, Barnes & Noble, Staples, Gap, Old Navy, Regal Cinemas, Chili's, Outback Steakhouse, and Linens 'N Things to sign long-term leases. After the closure of Newbury Comics, a Verizon Wireless and Coldstone Creamery opened in the Charles River Center. In December 2006, Decathlon Group closed its doors in the Crossroads Center, opening up 30,000 s.f. of available space, now occupied by Bob's Discount Funiture store. Most recently, the town has been in talks with S.R. Weiner of Chestnut Hill, MA to develop a 1,150,000 square foot (107,000 m²) "lifestyle center" to be called the "Shoppes at Bellingham" [] that would include upscale shops like Crate & Barrel or Williams Sonoma, restaurants, hotels, and office space on North Main Street behind Home Depot. The buildings will primarily be one level and encourage pedestrian traffic, have lush landscaping, and restaurants with outdoor dining facilities. While it is common for "lifestyle centers" to have accessible parking close to the stores, a large parking structure is planned for the rear of the property. Although not yet in development, planning is underway for a new highway interchange and rerouting of Route 126, and Phase One of the project is most likely to open in late 2008 or early 2009, pending approval from the Bellingham Planning Board. There have been numerous talks and meetings between the Bellingham Planning Board and the developers for the Shoppes, as concerns about traffic have been voiced by numerous residents and businesses. [] [] []

As of December 30th, 2006, the town created the Pulaski Boulevard Village Overlay District Subcommittee to develop the downtrodden southern portion of the town with a mix of retail shops, homes, and condominiums in a "downtown feel." After the Archdiocese of Boston closed and sold Assumption Parish in 2005, the town has looked at many different options to revitalize its southern end (and a stark contrast to its northern, where most of the development is located). The newest of development along this 2 mile (3 km) stretch of road (from the Rhode Island border to Crooks Corner) is the newly opened Stop & Shop along the Blackstone border. Public meetings and debate are currently underway to discuss the options for development, along with a revitalization plan for the Town Center, where construction continues to re-develop the route 140 and 126 intersection, where a Walgreens pharmacy opened in early 2007. []

Other developments are in the works, such as the new plaza along South Main Street with the towns third Dunkin' Donuts; a Cumberland Farms at the intersection of South Main Street and Elm Street; a fourth Dunkin' Donuts on Hartford Avenue; and a moderate sized development at the intersection of Mechanic Street (140) and Maple Street near the Franklin town border and the MBTA's Forge Park Station that will include a gas station, a fifth Dunkin' Donuts, a D'Angelo's, and a self-storage facility. At one time, a McDonald's was proposed at this very same location.

Notable residents

*William Taylor Adams, (1822-1897), author under the name "Oliver Optic"cite book | title = Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896 | publisher = Marquis Who's Who | location = Chicago | date = 1963]


External links

* [ Town of Bellingham]
* [http://Bellingham-MA.US/ Bellingham Guide and Planner]
* [ Mass. Online Page]
* [ Milford Daily News]
* [ Pulaski Boulevard Mixed Use Overlay District]

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