Brockton, Massachusetts Town Information
Brockton is a city in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States; the population was 95,314 in the 2015 Census. Brockton, along with Plymouth, are the county seats of Plymouth County. Brockton is the seventh largest city in Massachusetts and is sometimes referred to as the "City of Champions", due to the success of native boxers Rocky Marciano and Marvin Hagler, as well as its successful Brockton High School sports programs. Two of the villages within the city are Montello and Campello, both have the distinction of having their own MBTA Commuter Rail Stations and post offices. Campello is the smallest neighborhood in the city, but also the most populous. Brockton hosts a baseball team, the Brockton Rox. Brockton is one of the windiest cities in the United States, with an average wind speed of 14.3 mph.
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. 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.
- 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.
- World Records
- On November 23, 2010, Brockton set the world record for the most Santa Hat wearers in one place at one time with 872 people participating in the event.
- On November 20, 2011 Brockton doubled the city's Santa Claus hat-wearing record with 1792 people in downtown Brockton wearing hats.
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) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (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 25 miles south of Boston, and 30 miles northeast of Providence, Rhode Island.
Brockton is mostly an urban setting, lying along the Salisbury Plain 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.
As of the census of 2010, there were 93,810 people, 35,552 households, and 22,764 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,398.4 people per square mile (1,695.9/km2). There were 34,837 housing units at an average density of 1,622.8 per square mile (626.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 46.7% White (42.9% non-Hispanic white), 31.2% African American, 0.36% Native American, 2.3% 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 10.0% of the population. The African-American population in Brockton has grown significantly in the early 2000s.
2013 estimates state Brockton's demographics as: 42.8% White, 43.1% African American, 0.4% Native American, 2.0% Asian, 0% Pacific Islander, 10.3% from other races, 3.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.8% of the population.
Brockton has the largest population of Cape Verdean ancestry in the United States, with 9.0% of its population reporting this ancestry. Brockton also reportedly has one of the largest communities of Angolans in the United States.
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.
Data is from the 2009-2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.
On the national level, Brockton is a part of Massachusetts's 8th congressional district, and has been represented since 2001 by Stephen Lynch.
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 In addition to the Brockton Police department the city is patrolled by the Fourth (Middleborough) Barracks of Troop D of the Massachusetts State Police. Brockton also has several citizen anti-crime groups including the Guardian Angels and Operation Archangel.
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 his term 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. Balzotti was defeated in 2013 by Bill Carpenter who won the election only by 44 votes. In 2009, 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.
Brockton has three hospitals, Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital on the east side, Good Samaritan Medical Center - a Steward Family Hospital (formerly Caritas Good Samaritan, and before that Cardinal Cushing) 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 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.
Brockton has a community health center that serves individuals with low income and poor access to health care at Brockton Neighborhood Health Center.
The city of Brockton is protected around the clock by 174 paid, professional firefighters of the city of Brockton Fire Department. The Brockton Fire Department currently operates out of six fire stations, located throughout the city, and maintains a fire apparatus fleet of five engines, three ladders, one squad, one tactical rescue unit and several other special, support, and reserve units. The fire department does not provide EMS services; ambulance coverage is handled by American Medical Response. As of July 1, 2015 Brewster Ambulance of Hyde Park, Massachusetts will take over as the city's EMS provider.
In 1905, local newspapers recounted many heroic acts by Brockton firefighters during the Grover Shoe Factory disaster. On March 10, 1941, thirteen Brockton firefighters died when the roof collapsed as they were fighting a fire at the Strand Theatre. That fire resulted in one of the worst firefighting tragedies in American history.
Law enforcement and public safety
The City of Brockton Police Department has roughly 181 sworn members and 31 non-sworn employees. The officers are assigned to the Patrol Division, and Operations Division which includes; Detectives, Narcotics, Gang Unit, Special Weapons And Tactics, K-9, Quality of Life, GREAT Program, Elderly Affairs, and Community Education Units. In addition the city has a volunteer chapter of the Guardian Angels who patrol the city several nights per week.
Brockton operates its own school system for the city's approximately 15,600 students. There are two early education schools (Gilmore and Barrett Russell), ten elementary schools (Angelo, Arnone, Baker, Brookfield, Downey, George, Hancock, Huntington, John F. Kennedy and Raymond), the Davis K-8 school, six middle/junior high schools (North, East, West, South, Ashfield and the Plouffe Academy), Brockton High School and four alternative schools (Goddard, Edison, Champion and B.B. Russell). Brockton High's athletics teams are called the Boxers (after the city's undefeated heavyweight boxing champion, Rocky Marciano).
Brockton was 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 Colman's school, one Christian school (South Shore Christian and the Brockton Christian School closed in 2010), and Cardinal Spellman High School, a Catholic high school named for Francis Cardinal Spellman, Brockton area native and former Archbishop of New York. Students may also choose to attend tuition-free Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School (in South Easton).
Brockton is the site of Massasoit Community College and the Eastern Nazarene College offers Adult Studies/LEAD classes in Brockton.
Massachusetts Route 24, a six-lane divided motorway, 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 (MBTA subway end-of-line), Stoughton and a connecting bus stop in Montello to the Braintree Station (MBTA subway end-of-line).
The Middleborough/Lakeville 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.
Awards and honors
100 Best Communities for Young People
Brockton was named one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People in the United States in 2005, 2008, 2010, and 2011. This prestigious award is given out by America's Promise Alliance in recognition of those communities that are taking action to reduce dropout rates and provide supportive services to youth. Despite the challenges it has had over the years, Brockton has made the success of its youth a high priority and was honored for its continued commitment to education, mentoring and volunteerism. Through the collaborative efforts of the Plymouth County District Attorney's Office, the Mayor's Office, the Superintendent and Police Department, along with area nonprofits and parents, the community has flourished with a host of resources for its young people.
Brockton is home to the Brockton Symphony Orchestra, a community orchestra founded in 1948. The orchestra performs five or six concerts per season at local venues such as Brockton's West Middle School Auditorium and the Oliver Ames Auditorium in the neighboring town of Easton. The orchestra comprises 65 musicians from the greater Brockton area and its musical director since 2007 is James Orent, a guest conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops.
Based at Campanelli Stadium the Brockton Rox play in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL). From 2003 through 2011 the team was a member of the independent professional Can-Am League but in 2012 decided to join the amateur FCBL. Collegiate players on FCBL teams, who are looking for more experience and scouting exposure, are offered non-paid playing opportunities.
National Historic Places and points of interest
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.
- Asiaf Skating Rink
- Audubon Conservation Area
- Brockton Airport – formerly, now the South Side Shopping Center
- Brockton City Hall ... (NRHP)
- Brockton Edison Electric Illuminating Company Power Station ... (NRHP)
- Brockton Fair
- Brockton Fire Museum
- Brockton High School
- Brockton Public Library ... (NRHP)
- Campanelli Stadium - home field of the Brockton Rox
- Central Fire Station ... (NRHP)
- Curtis Building ... (NRHP)
- Dr. Edgar Everett Dean House ... (NRHP)
- D.W. Field Park ... (NRHP)
- D.W. Field Golf Course
- Forest Avenue School ... (NRHP)
- Franklin Block ... (NRHP)
- Fuller Craft Museum
- Gardner J. Kingman House ... (NRHP)
- (The) Gilmore School (founded 1915; named for Edward Gilmore)
- Goldthwaite Block ... (NRHP)
- Howard Block ... (NRHP)
- Lyman Block ... (NRHP)
- Manning Pool
- Moses Packard House ... (NRHP)
- Old Post Office Building ... (NRHP)
- Petronelli Way
- Rocky Marciano Park
- Sacco & Vanzetti Museum
- Shoe Museum
- Sky-View Drive-In – formerly, now a 55+ community
- Snow Fountain and Clock ... (NRHP)
- South Street Historic District ... (NRHP)
- Thorny Lea Golf Club
- W.B. Mason World Headquarters
- Westgate Lanes
- Westgate Mall (Brockton)
- The YMCA
- Kristian Alfonso, actress
- Jo Baker, singer and songwriter; niece of Mary E. Baker
- Mary E. Baker, the first African-American to work at Brockton City Hall; civic leader. Mary E. Baker School named after her, being the first woman and the first African-American to be so honored by the city.
- Steve Balboni, professional baseball player
- Ronnie Bardah, professional poker player
- Stanley Bauman, professional photographer
- Chris Bender, R&B singer
- John Cariani, actor, playwright
- Patrick Condon, author and professor of urban design
- Robert Cottle, host of the The Ruff & Reddy Show (1962), and The Nature World of Captain Bob on WCVB-TV
- Jim Corbett, NFL player
- William Damon, psychologist and author
- Al Davis, owner of the Oakland Raiders
- John Doucette, actor
- Bonnie Dumanis, District Attorney of San Diego County
- James Edgar, first Department Store Santa
- Shawn Fanning, creator of Napster
- Kenneth Feinberg, attorney
- George Wilton Field, marine biologist
- Edward Gilmore, first Democrat elected to US Congress from Plymouth County (1915)
- Scott Gordon, former professional hockey player and current head coach of the New York Islanders
- Noel Gourdin, singer
- Marvin Hagler, professional middleweight boxing champion
- Pooch Hall, actor
- Rudy Harris, professional football player
- Josephine Hasham, women's professional baseball player (and Baseball Hall of Fame Member)
- Josh Hennessy, professional hockey player
- George V. Higgins, author
- Pete Hughes, Oklahoma Sooners Head Baseball Coach
- George Hurley, drummer for punk rock band Minutemen
- Al Louis-Jean, NFL player
- Joe Lauzon, professional MMA fighter
- Jimmy Luxury, rapper, performance artist
- Ken MacAfee, professional football player, finished 3rd in Heisman at the University of Notre Dame
- Jim Mann, professional baseball player
- Rocky Marciano, undefeated Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World
- Bill McGunnigle, inventor of the baseball glove
- Greg McMurtry, professional football player
- Arthur Mercante, boxing referee
- Christy Mihos, entrepreneur, politician
- Ed Nelson (basketball), professional basketball player, 2004 Men's NCAA Champion (Uconn Huskies)
- Leo Paquin, football player at Fordham University
- Goody Petronelli, boxing trainer
- Cory Quirk, professional hockey player
- Jodie Rivera, online personality
- Evelyn Scott, actress
- Robbie Sims, middleweight boxer
- Kevin Stevens, professional hockey player
- Jason Vega, professional football player
- Wyatt Tee Walker, civil rights leader
- Dave Wedge, author, journalist
- Art Whitney, professional baseball player
- Herbert Warren Wind, writer
- The Spark
- Brockton's Promise
- Brockton Historical Society & Museum
- Brockton Area Transit Authority
- The Brockton Enterprise
- Answer Book/Brockton: “Everything you need to know”
- 1st Department Store Santa