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Mattapoisett is a town in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 6,268 at the 2000 census.
For geographic and demographic information on the village of Mattapoisett Center, please see the article Mattapoisett Center, Massachusetts.
History and General Information
Mattapoisett was settled in 1750 and officially incorporated in 1857. Originally a part of Rochester, the area had most likely been visited by European traders and sailors. There is also evidence of prior Wampanoag Indian settlements, including burial grounds, throughout the town. In fact, the word Mattapoisett is Wampanoag for "a place of resting."
Early industry included logging and farming, but Mattapoisett became best known as a center for shipbuilding and whaling. Some 400 ships were built in the town's shipyards from 1740 until the 1870s, including the Acushnet, the ship that Moby-Dick author Herman Melville sailed on and later deserted. The town supplied many of the whalers used on the East Coast in the first half of the nineteenth century. The last one, the Wanderer, was built in 1878, shortly after the discovery of oil in Pennsylvania.
With the decline of whaling and associated shipbuilding, Mattapoisett transitioned into a popular summer vacation spot for prominent New York and Boston residents, including Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Today, the town is largely a suburban community, with most residents commuting to jobs in greater New Bedford, Providence or Boston, or operating businesses targeting summer tourism.<ref>Mattapoisett Town History - Mattapoisett Historical Society</ref>
A fictitious future Mattapoisett features largely into the 1976 novel Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy. Mattapoisett, Massachusetts is the only known town in the world with the name Mattapoisett. A campsite at nearby Camp Cachalot shares the name.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 23.3 square miles (60.4 km²), of which, 16.5 square miles (42.7 km²) is land and 6.8 square miles (17.7 km²)is water. The Mattapoisett River begins in Rochester and flows through town, emptying into Mattapoisett Harbor, an arm of Buzzards Bay. Mattapoisett is home to Haskell Swamp in the Tinkham Hill area in the northern part of town. There is also a state-managed wildlife area, commonly known as Nunes Farm, along the waterfront near the Fairhaven line. There are four beaches, as well as two parks along the waterfront. The town is home to the Fin, Fur and Feather Club, a hunt club and shooting range located along the Mattapoisett River off Crystal Spring Road.
Mattapoisett is the southwestern-most town of Plymouth County. It is bordered by Fairhaven to the southwest, Acushnet to the northwest, Rochester to the north, and Marion to the east. Buzzards Bay lies to the south. The town is nine miles east of New Bedford, Massachusetts, 38 miles east-southeast of Providence, Rhode Island and 60 miles south of Boston.
Interstate 195 runs through the town, and U.S. Route 6, which is the main road through town. I-195 has an exit for the town, Exit 19A/B, "Mattapoisett/N. Rochester," which accesses North Street.
Regional bus service can be reached in New Bedford, as can regional air service. The nearest rail service is either in Providence or at the terminus of the Middleborough-Lakeville line of the MBTA's commuter rail service to Boston. The nearest national airline service can be found at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island, and the nearest international service can be reached at Logan International Airport in Boston.
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,268 people, 2,532 households, and 1,769 families residing in the town. The population density was 380.4 people per square mile (146.9/km²). There were 3,172 housing units at an average density of 192.5/sq mi (74.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.51% White, 0.62% African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.65% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.10% from other races, and 0.96% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.57% of the population.
There were 2,532 households out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.7% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.1% were non-families. 25.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.97.
Age distribution figures show 23.9% of the population under the age of 18, 4.5% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 29.0% from 45 to 64, and 16.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 92.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.9 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $58,466, and the median income for a family was $68,246. Males had a median income of $48,100 versus $35,938 for females. The per capita income for the town was $28,050. About 2.8% of families and 3.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.5% of those under age 18 and 3.2% of those age 65 or over.
thumb|right|250px|Mattapoisett Town Hall Mattapoisett is represented in the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a part of the Tenth Bristol district, which also includes Fairhaven, Marion, Rochester and a portion of Middleborough. The town is represented in the Massachusetts Senate as a part of the Second Bristol and Plymouth district, which also includes Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven and New Bedford.<ref>Index of Legislative Representation by City and Town, from Mass.gov</ref> The town is patrolled by the Seventh (Bourne) Barracks of Troop D of the Massachusetts State Police.<ref>Station D-7, SP Bourne</ref>
On the national level, Mattapoisett is a part of Massachusetts's 4th congressional district, and is currently represented by Barney Frank. The state's senior (Class I) member of the United States Senate, re-elected in 2006, is Ted Kennedy. The junior (Class II) Senator, up for re-election in 2008, is John Kerry.
Mattapoisett uses the open town meeting form of government, led by a board of selectmen. The town hall is located on Main Street, between Route 6 and the harbor. The town has its own police department and on-call fire department, both headquartered on Route 6. The Mattapoisett Free Public Library, located on Barstow Street, is a member of the Southeastern Massachusetts Library System (SEMLS) and the Massachusetts Library Internet Network (MLIN). The nearest hospitals are Saint Luke's Hospital in New Bedford and Tobey Hospital in Wareham, both of which are members of the Southcoast Hospitals Group.
Mattapoisett is a member of the 2,700-student Old Rochester Regional School District. The town, along with Marion and Rochester, operate a single school system with each town having its own school subcommittee. Mattapoisett operates the Center School for prekindergarten through third grade students, and the Old Hammondtown School for grades 4-6. Seventh- and eighth-grade students attend Old Rochester Regional Junior High School, and high school students attend Old Rochester Regional High School. Both regional schools are located on Route 6 in Mattapoisett, near the Marion town line. The high school, commonly known as "O.R.R.," competes in the South Coast Conference for athletics. Their mascot is the bulldog, and their colors are red and white. The town's Thanksgiving Day football rival is Apponequet Regional High School in Lakeville.
In addition to public schools, high school students may also choose to attend Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School, located in Rochester. The nearest private schools are Tabor Academy in Marion and Bishop Stang High School in Dartmouth.
- Robert Brink, violinist (b. 1924)
- Jim Craig, Olympic hockey goalie, 1980
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., United States Supreme Court justice
- Eunice Randall, broadcast radio pioneer
- Irving Vermilya, broadcast radio pioneer
Woman on the Edge of Time