Dover, Massachusetts

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Dover, Massachusetts
The Dover Church
The Dover Church
Official seal of Dover, Massachusetts
Town of Friendship
Dover is one of the smallest towns in Norfolk county.
Dover is one of the smallest towns in Norfolk county.
Coordinates: 42°14′45″N 71°17′00″W / 42.24583°N 71.28333°W / 42.24583; -71.28333
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Norfolk
 • TypeOpen town meeting
 • Total39.9 km2 (15.4 sq mi)
 • Land39.7 km2 (15.3 sq mi)
 • Water0.2 km2 (0.1 sq mi)
46 m (150 ft)
 • Total6,279[1]
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s)508 / 774
FIPS code25-17405
GNIS feature ID0618319

Dover is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 6,279 in 2016, with 2,008 households and 4,296 registered voters.

Located about 15 miles (24 km) southwest of downtown Boston, Dover is a residential town nestled on the south banks of the Charles River. Almost all of the residential zoning requires 1-acre (4,000 m2) or larger. As recently as the early 1960s, 75% of its annual town budget was allocated to snow removal, as only a mile and a half of the town's roads are state highway.

Dover is bordered by Natick, Wellesley and Needham to the north, Westwood to the east, Walpole and Medfield to the south, Sherborn to the west.

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

The "Dover Demon" is a creature reportedly sighted on April 21 and April 22, 1977.


The first recorded settlement of Dover was in 1640. It was later established as the Springfield Parish of Dedham in 1748, and incorporated as District Dedham in 1784. Dover was officially incorporated as a town in 1836.

The Benjamin Caryl House at 107 Dedham St. dates from about 1777 and was the home of Dover's first minister, Benjamin Caryl, his son George, who was the town's first doctor, and their descendants until 1897. It has been owned by the town and operated by the Historical Society since 1920. The house retains its architectural integrity and has been carefully restored to reflect life in the 1790s when the first two Caryl families lived and worked there together.

The Sawin Building has housed thousands of Dover relics, books, photographs and artifacts since the beginning of the 20th century. Benjamin and Eudora Sawin willed land and funds into the Dover Historical Society along with their old household goods so that the building could be erected, and it was dedicated on May 14, 1907, by members and friends of the society.[3] In the early years, it was used for meetings and to house Dover's historical memorabilia, but eventually members became disenchanted with the society and the building was seldom opened. In the 1960s, there was a renewed interest which led to the general overhaul and refurbishing of the building. The Sawin Museum, located at the corner of Centre and Dedham Streets in Dover Center, is owned and operated by the Dover Historical Society and is open to the public free of charge.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 15.4 square miles (39.9 km2), of which 15.3 square miles (39.7 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km2) (0.52%) is water. It is bordered by the towns of Natick, Wellesley, Needham, Dedham, Westwood, Sherborn, Walpole and Medfield.


Historical population
* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13]

At the 2000 census,[14] there were 5,558 people, 1,849 households and 1,567 families residing in the town. The population density was 362.6 per square mile (140.0/km2). There were 1,884 housing units at an average density of 122.9 per square mile (47.5/km2). The racial makeup was 95.18% White, 0.41% Black or African American, 0.04% Native American (2 people), 3.63% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.05% from other races, and 0.67% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.19% of the population (approximately 105 people).

There were 1,849 households of which 46.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 77.0% were married couples living together, 5.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 15.2% were non-families. 12.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.01 and the average family size was 3.29.

31.6% of the population were under the age of 18, 3.7% from 18 to 24, 23.9% from 25 to 44, 29.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.8 males.

The median household income was $141,818 and the median family income was $157,168. Males had a median income of $100,000 and females $56,473. The per capita income was $64,899. About 2.3% of families and 3.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.5% of those under age 18 and 7.1% of those age 65 or over.


Dover is one of the few communities in metropolitan Boston to have more registered Republicans than Democrats. In 2012, Mitt Romney, a Republican, defeated Barack Obama, a Democrat, in the general election by 56% to 43% in Dover.[15] In 2016, however, the town flipped with Democrat Hillary Clinton defeating Republican Donald Trump by 57% to 32%.[16]


Dover's public schools are considered among the best in Massachusetts. According to research conducted by Boston magazine in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, the town's schools scored No. 1 in the state.[17] Dover has three public schools —Chickering Elementary School (grades K-5), Dover-Sherborn Middle School (grades 6-8) and Dover-Sherborn High School (grades 9-12). The private, independent Charles River School (Pre-K-grade 8) is located in the town's center.

Located near Caryl Park and the entrance to Noanet Woodlands (also known as Miss Peabody's Woods), Chickering School is under the elected Dover School Committee, while the two secondary schools are the responsibility of the regional school system, under the elected Dover-Sherborn Regional School Committee, with costs and governance shared with the neighboring town of Sherborn. The regional schools share a campus on Farm Street in Dover, near the borders with Sherborn and Medfield.

Dover-Sherborn High School has impressive results with regards to graduation rates, college admission rates and standardized and Advanced Placement exam scores. DSHS was ranked third in cost efficiency and seventh in academic performance by Boston magazine. U.S. News & World Report named Dover-Sherborn a Gold Medal School, ranking it 65th in the US.

Dover used to have two elementary schools, Chickering for grades K to 3, and Caryl Elementary School for grades 4 to 8. In 1970, Caryl School was gutted by fire.[18] It was rebuilt and remained open until finally being closed in 2001 after the expansion of Chickering.[18]

Notable people[edit]

Soldiers' monument, first dedicated on June 18, 1910

Historic places[edit]

Popular culture[edit]

Representation of William Bartlett of the Dover Demon, very similar to the other illustrations done

The town is known for the sighting of a humanoid since the 1970s on Farm Street, which gives access to it. There have been six unrelated sightings so far. The creature has a large and long head, epidermis without fur beyond feet and long hands that fix on the surface. It was named the Dover Demon by one of the cryptozoologists who investigated the case. Although some believe it is an alien, to others it is no more than an animal like a primate. There have been no modern reports.[19]


  1. ^ Town Clerk's Office, Town of Dover, Massachusetts
  2. ^ "Population and Housing Occupancy Status: 2010 - State -- County Subdivision, 2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2011.
  3. ^ a b "The Sawin Museum". Dover Historical Society. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  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" (PDF). 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" (PDF). 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" (PDF). 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" (PDF). 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" (PDF). 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" (PDF). 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" (PDF). 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" (PDF). 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. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  15. ^
    - "President - 2012 Massachusetts Election Results".
  16. ^ "Presidential General Election Results Comparison - Norfolk County Dover Town". US Election Atlas.
  17. ^ "The Best Schools in Boston 2013". Boston. Archived from the original on November 11, 2013. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
    - "Best Public Schools in Boston 2014 – Sortable Chart". Boston. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
    - "Best Public Schools in Boston 2015 — Sortable Chart". Boston. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
    - "Ranking: Best Public High Schools in Greater Boston". Boston. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
    - "The Best School Districts in Greater Boston". Boston. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
    - "The Best Public High Schools in Greater Boston". Boston. Retrieved October 16, 2019.-
    - "The Best Public High Schools in Greater Boston". Boston. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  18. ^ a b "History of Chickering and Caryl Schools". Chickering Reports. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
  19. ^ "12 Creepy Facts About The Dover Demon". Thought Catalog. July 31, 2018. Retrieved February 17, 2019.[unreliable source?]

External links[edit]