Southbridge, Massachusetts

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Southbridge, Massachusetts
City
Southbridge Town Hall
Southbridge Town Hall
Official seal of Southbridge, Massachusetts
Seal
Nickname(s): The Eye of the Commonwealth,[1] Friendly town, Honest town
Location in Worcester County in Massachusetts
Location in Worcester County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°04′30″N 72°02′02″W / 42.07500°N 72.03389°W / 42.07500; -72.03389Coordinates: 42°04′30″N 72°02′02″W / 42.07500°N 72.03389°W / 42.07500; -72.03389
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Worcester
Settled 1730
Incorporated 1816
Government
 • Type Council-manager
 • Town Manager Open
 • Town Council Denise Clemence
David Langevin (Chairman)
Darlene Marcucci(vice-Chairman)
Esteban Carrasco
Shaun Moriarty
Catherine E. Nikolla
Amelia Peloquin
Monique Manna
Conrad L. Vandal
Area
 • Total 20.9 sq mi (54.0 km2)
 • Land 20.4 sq mi (52.7 km2)
 • Water 0.5 sq mi (1.3 km2)
Elevation 489 ft (149 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 16,719
 • Density 800/sq mi (310/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 01550
Area code(s) 508 / 774
FIPS code 25-63270
GNIS feature ID 0618383
Website http://www.ci.southbridge.ma.us/

The Town of Southbridge is a city[2] in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 16,719 at the 2010 census. Southbridge is one of fourteen Massachusetts municipalities that have applied for, and been granted, city forms of government but wish to retain "The town of” in their official names.[3]

History[edit]

View of Southbridge c. 1905

The area was initially inhabited by the Nipmuck and Mohegan tribes, with the Quinebaug River dividing their territories. As early as 1638, John Winthrop, Jr. purchased a tract for mining lead at what is now Leadmine Road in Sturbridge (it was thought at the time that where there was lead, there should be silver nearby).

Southbridge was first settled by Europeans in 1730 and incorporated in 1816; among the first settlers was Moses Marcy, who owned a home on the site of what is now Notre Dame church and was elected to Congress, and the Dennison family. Water power from the Quinebaug River made Southbridge a good location for sawmills and gristmills in the 18th century, and textile mills in the 19th century. After the Civil War, many immigrants of Irish and French Canadian descent came to work and live there; by the 1930s they had been joined by Poles, Greeks, Italians and others.

Southbridge has a long history of manufacturing optical products, earning it the unofficial title "Eye of the Commonwealth", in reference to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Under the Wells family, the American Optical Company ("AO") became the world's largest manufacturer of ophthalmic products, and at its height employed more than 6,000 people around the world. Many of its workers were exempted from the draft during World War II since they were doing vital defense work, including making Norden bombsights and even some work on the atomic bomb.

By the early 1960s, the mill town had a movie theatre, an AM radio station (WESO), and an airport. New immigrants from Puerto Rico, Laos, and Vietnam began arriving in the 1970s and 1980s, and the town now has a significant Hispanic and Puerto Rican population. The American Optical Company shut down in 1984, and Southbridge is still struggling from the loss of these and other manufacturing jobs.

Geography[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.9 square miles (54 km2), of which 20.4 square miles (53 km2) is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2), or 2.40%, is water. Southbridge is drained by the Quinebaug River.

The principal road in Southbridge is Route 131, known as Main Street through downtown and East Main Street past the "AO Rotary" and through Sandersdale, a village on the town's east side. North-south roads include Eastford Road and Elm Street (Route 198), and Worcester Street-Mechanic Street-North Woodstock Road (Route 169).

Southbridge was formed out of portions of three of its neighboring towns: Sturbridge to the west, Charlton to the north, and Dudley to the east. The other neighboring towns are Woodstock, Connecticut, and Eastford, Connecticut to the south.

Demographics[edit]

As of the census[14] of 2010, there were 16,719 people, 7,077 households, and 4,522 families residing in the city. The population density was 858.9 people per square mile (326.4/km²). There were 7,511 housing units at an average density of 368.9 per square mile (142.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 81.2% White, 2.6% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 1.9% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, and 2.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 26.6% of the population.

There were 7,077 households out of which 31.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.6% were married couples living together, 15.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.1% were non-families. 29.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.4% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 30.3% from 25 to 44, 20.7% from 45 to 64, and 15.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 92.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,913, and the median income for a family was $41,863. Males had a median income of $36,008 versus $25,685 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,514. About 13.0% of families and 15.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.8% of those under age 18 and 10.2% of those age 65 or over.

Government[edit]

County-level state agency heads
Clerk of Courts: Dennis P. McManus (D)
District Attorney: Joseph D. Early, Jr. (D)
Register of Deeds: Anthony J. Vigliotti (D)
Register of Probate: Stephen Abraham (D)
County Sheriff: Lew Evangelidis (R)
State government
State Representative(s): Peter Durant (R)
State Senator(s): Richard T. Moore (D)
Governor's Councilor(s): Jen Caissie (R)
Federal government
U.S. Representative(s): Richard E. Neal (D-1st District),
U.S. Senators: Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)


Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 15, 2008[15]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
  Democratic 4,590 38.48%
  Republican 1,132 9.49%
  Unaffiliated 6,096 51.11%
  Minor Parties 109 0.91%
Total 11,927 100%
Southbridge public library, 1915

Library[edit]

The Southbridge Public Library was founded in 1870.[16][17] In fiscal year 2008, the town of Southbridge spent 1.03% ($426,025) of its budget on its public library—some $25 per person.[18]

The Jacob Edwards Library[19] is the public library for the town of Southbridge. It is a member of Central Massachusetts Regional Library System (CMRLS) and C/W MARS.

Education[edit]

Southbridge has three public elementary schools, formerly "neighborhood schools" serving grades K-5. Since the 1988-1989 school year, however, all kindergarten and 1st grade classes have been at Eastford Road School; all of grades 2-3 at Charlton Street School; and all of grades 4-5 at West Street School. Grades 6-8 are at Mary E. Wells Junior High School, the former high school building. Grades 9-12 are at Southbridge High School, which includes the old Cole Trade School building. Southbridge residents can also attend Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School in Charlton.

In addition to the public schools, a parochial private school, Trinity Catholic Academy, serves pre-k through eighth grade.

Transportation[edit]

Southbridge is served by Southbridge Municipal Airport(3B0), a public owned airport managed through a contract with Jim's Flying Service. Runway 02/20 has a 3501 x 75 feet asphalt surface.

Sites of interest[edit]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Seen in the official town seal.
  2. ^ Although it is called the "Town of Southbridge," it is a statutory city of Massachusetts. See Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
  3. ^ http://www.sec.state.ma.us/cis/cisctlist/ctlistalph.htm
  4. ^ "TOTAL POPULATION (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010. 
  5. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  6. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts". US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  7. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts". US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  8. ^ "1950 Census of Population". 1: Number of Inhabitants. Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  9. ^ "1920 Census of Population". Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  10. ^ "1890 Census of the Population". Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  11. ^ "1870 Census of the Population". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  12. ^ "1860 Census". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  13. ^ "1850 Census". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  14. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  15. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 15, 2008" (PDF). Massachusetts Elections Division. Retrieved 2010-05-08. 
  16. ^ C. B. Tillinghast. The free public libraries of Massachusetts. 1st Report of the Free Public Library Commission of Massachusetts. Boston: Wright & Potter, 1891. Google books
  17. ^ Jacob Edwards Library. Retrieved 2010-11-10
  18. ^ July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008; cf. The FY2008 Municipal Pie: What’s Your Share? Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Board of Library Commissioners. Boston: 2009. Available: Municipal Pie Reports. Retrieved 2010-08-04
  19. ^ http://www.jacobedwardslibrary.org/

External links[edit]