Talk:New England town

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I thank everyone who has made this such a rich article.

I think though, that it has become such a hodgepodge that it needs restructuring and forking rather badly. Stuff and information all over the place.

My first idea is to break off a new article "Vermont town." The information would remain here to avoid disrupting editors tranquility. I could link this new article from every Vermont town which are in the hundreds. I can't really so that to here now, because they'd be getting a lot more than they bargained for. But from this new article, I would link "New England town" into it.

In the best of all possible worlds, the other 5 would fork as well, including taking their unique properties with them, such as "plantation," "borough", neither of which apply to Vermont. And what might be left here is a high level discussion of what pertains to all six states.

It's just an interesting junk pile now. It needs to be reorganized and split up. Maybe plantation should be split out to it's own article, for example. And others. Student7 (talk) 12:16, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Agreed completely. --TimothyDexter (talk) 23:58, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
If you have a way to make it better, be our guest. Please note, however, that we already have the article List of towns in Vermont, which could perhaps be expanded. Looking at other similar articles, for example Counties of Georgia redirects to List of counties in Georgia (U.S. state), which actually has a lot more than just a list, it also has much of the historical and legal basis for the county system in Georgia. My opinion is that, while I agree that having more information on the differences between the different NE states vis a vis their town systems, that information may be best in the existing "List of Towns" articles, which could use some more background and prose anyways. --Jayron32 02:37, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
Another idea to use something like Local government in New Jersey as a model. Local government in Vermont does not exist yet. --Jayron32 02:40, 9 September 2010 (UTC)


For what it is worth, I have started on my separate article. The problem for those who don't understand that there is one: there are 8 in-line footnotes and 16 pages of information. The info mostly sounds WP:OR "observations." Not totally inaccurate or anything, just with no academic perspective. It mostly sounds top-of-the head and non-encyclopedic.

The article should be split up drastically. There should be "New England Municipality", and (maybe) New England Town. But the state articles should all be broken out. "Massachusetts city," "New Hampshire plantation", etc. each under their own state. There is nothing wrong with a high level article kind of like this one, showing similarities.

But this is such a jumble. No one is going to wade through it. It is very obvious a committee wrote it - it can't stick to a topic for two sentences. It starts talking about towns, winds up with cities, unincorporated villages, gores, blah, blah. On and on and on. It is truly awful.

For those that contributed - thanks. Time to move on. Stuff needs footnoting badly if you choose to stay. Maybe some genius can reorganize it "in place" without starting a bunch of articles. But this seems to invite mergers and slop-over which this article has in spades. Jimminy. Try reading it, as I just did, from beginning to end. Whoosh! And try to put yourself in the position of some poor reader coming here for a reason and trying to get something out of it! Student7 (talk) 02:02, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

Image request[edit]

This talk page has an image request template, but I don't see what image could be taken to improve this article. Can someone suggest more detail or should the request be removed? RJFJR (talk) 04:00, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

One could always add a picture of a town hall. (I'll go do that right now.) If anyone has a free image of a town meeting in progress, that would be good, too. --Ken Gallager (talk) 12:25, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

Connecticut towns[edit]

This statement: "Put into terms that are equivalent to the other New England states, 20 are cities/boroughs and 149 are towns. (As discussed in the Cities section of Other types of municipalities in New England above, the relationship between towns and cities in Connecticut is different from the other New England states: is not supported by a source. The Census Bureau source cited at the end of the sentence says nothing about the distinction between Connecticut towns and towns in other New England states. What it does say is: "In Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, the towns are different from the incorporated places called towns in most other States." Please clarify the convoluted wording in this paragraph and find a reliable source for it. (talk) 18:39, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

See Tables 8.3 and 8.4 of GARM Chap. 8 and also "Relationship of towns to incorporated places in New England". In Connecticut, the town is always present. Cities and boroughs are found within towns although due to consolidation, almost all cities are now areally coextensive and governmentally consolidated with the underlying town. Functionally, consolidated city-towns are no different than other cities in New England but that distinction between towns and cities in Connecticut is there. --Polaron | Talk 18:50, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

BS. CT is not like New England and we are nothing like them and New England itself is nothing special or distinct. Why do people keep acting as if it is a separate country or as if it has any meaning? CT itself is unique within the UNITED STATES, being that it has no county governments. CT is also in metropolitan New York City and we are not concerned with New England and THEIR way of life. They are not on our minds and we do not view them as our region or kin. Get that through your heads! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Connecticut is very much like the rest of New England, being in New England itself. It's not unique in having no county governments, since Rhode Island, another New England state, also has no county governments. Massachusetts, another New England state like Connecticut, has also abolished over half of its county governments. Connecticut, being a New England state like every other New England state, also has New England towns, a form of government specific to New England. Nor is all of Connecticut in the New York metropolitan area--only the southwestern part of the state is. The northeastern part of the state (like parts of fellow New England states Rhode Island and New Hampshire) borders or is part of Greater Boston, the largest city in New England. The governor of the New England state of Connecticut, Daniel Malloy, says this on his campaign page: "Long Island Sound also supports sensitive ecosystems, critical habitat, and contributes immeasurably to the aesthetic beauty and classic New England character of our coastal towns."[1] He, like other New England governors and many governors of the New England state of Connecticut before him, attends the New England Governors' Conference every year. He also attends the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers' Annual Conference, which shouldn't be a surprise, since he's a New England governor of a New England state (Connecticut). Moreover, Connecticut has been a part of New England for nearly 400 years--has something changed in the meantime? Or am I confused? For example, the New England city of Hartford, which is the capital of the New England state of Connecticut, boasts that "Hartford is one of the most historic cities in New England."[2] Please don't take this the wrong way, but I think that you may be mistaken in your beliefs... --TimothyDexter (talk) 01:31, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
Exactly! And towns in Vermont and New Hampshire are named after towns in CT, as the new settlers immigrated from CT up the CT River (and not England, where the names often originated). A River which once tied CT, Mass, NH & Vt together, but is now tied by I-91, US Rte 5, and the railroad, which deliberately parallel the River. All leading now, to the second center of NE, Hartford. A large plurality of the people in Western NH and Eastern VT, are descended from those CT immigrants. The Big E is one small indication of the dominance of Hartford as a modern agricultural (and cultural) center for Western New England. There are many others. Student7 (talk) 18:46, 26 December 2014 (UTC)
Yep! It goes both ways, too--New Haven, one of Connecticut's most important cities, and perhaps the one that best demonstrates Connecticut's divide between New York City and New England, was founded by settlers from Boston. :) --TimothyDexter (talk) 02:55, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

Relation to townships of NW Territory[edit]

   Could it be fruitful to have a section, perhaps linking to a "complete article", on the matter of the contrasts and comparisons between the New England town and the Northwest Ordinance township? IIRC, the major concern was to give a pre-structured framework for the making of homesteading land grants, perhaps in a way that would also support emergence of local governments with less of the tendency to grow "like Topsy", (at the expense of neighboring areas turning into satellites rather than equals), that might then develop as legally subordinate to earlier-settled ones. (Or have i not just looked carefully enuf at what we already have?)
--Jerzyt 04:56 & 09:55, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

As someone pointed out to me, it was southern New England that developed like that. Indeed, Vermont, and to a lesser extent, NH and Maine were "pre-laid" out. So a buyer arrived on site, having bought a land within a township, and got the location from talking to the owner or surveyor, so he could find his property within that set town. When the town became populated enough (some never did!), they applied for charters from the state which normally recognized their original surveyed boundaries, regardless of how surrounding areas had developed.
This, of course, was impossible in the 17th century. The Pilgrims didn't even have a good map of the Cape, much less Massachusetts. And the form of government hadn't quite been worked out yet. It took them awhile to outgrow Plymouth, arrive at the necessity for a provincial government which met the needs of towns. Bottom up government, the reverse of the European System. This could not even have been anticipated.
If you can find an article which talks about this (WP:RS), it would be nice to place it here. If it covered the Northwest ordinance, that would be fine too, for that article. But I don't think a separate article is needed. Student7 (talk) 16:44, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
These might be of some interest the Michigan Manual on Local Government and the Michigan Townships Association on the origins of township government. olderwiser 17:30, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

Massachusetts cities, towns, and cities that call themselves towns[edit]

Here's the deal on the confusion about towns and cities in Massachusetts. There is a clear statutory understanding about what a city form of government is, and there is actually no confusion about that, within the state government. A number of municipalities, despite a city form of government under Massachusetts General Laws, sometimes elect to call themselves using the style "The Town of ___", sometimes termed by the Secretary of the Commonwealth as "Cities known as The Town of ___".

There are two key aspects of how a city is actually distinguished from a town in Massachusetts.

1. Under Massachusetts statutes, cities can pass ordinances (the equivalent of bylaws for towns), without a review and approval by the Massachusetts Attorney General. Towns, in all cases, must have newly approved by town-meeting bylaws reviewed and approved by the AG. Yes, bylaws do get rejected by the AG. See the citation below.

2. Cities do not have town meeting, they have a legislative body of a very limited number of members, typically called "city council", or "board of alderman". The Town legislative body is the town meeting, or the representative town meeting wherein each neighborhood district might elect say five to fifteen representatives (as indicated in the town bylaws or town charter) to the town meeting.

A general reference, in mass media. Mass General Laws citations and other reference works to eventually follow.

-- Yellowdesk (talk) 20:50, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

"Of the 351 municipalities, the number that are cities and the number that are towns is a matter of some ambiguity. Depending on which source is consulted, anywhere from 39 to 53 are cities." This statement should not be in the article. There is only one authoritative source, and that is the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It's not relevant that consulting unreliable sources is confusing. There is no ambiguity when bogus sources are excluded. The writer may be confused by bad information, but that's not relevant to Wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:34, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

"For purposes of determining the 'largest town', 'smallest city', in this article, only the 42 municipalities that title themselves as cities are recognized as cities." Why? Why is this made-up classification used, rather than the clear legal distinction. "The same classification is used for identifying Massachusetts cities on the list of New England towns and its attendant pages with historical census population statistics." Once again, why? Some Massachusetts municipalities are cities, while others are towns. The distinction has nothing to do with the formal name of the municipality, so that irrelevant information should not be used in the article, except perhaps to note that there is no legal basis for distinguishing cities from towns based on their formal names. When you eliminate the false assumption that the cities must contain "City" in their names, any imagined ambiguity or confusion vanishes. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:40, 13 May 2014 (UTC)


I'm curious--why are the unincorporated townships of northern Piscataquis County not shown on the map, when the unincorporated townships elsewhere are? The big blank area looks misleading to me. (See for comparison.) (talk) 13:32, 10 October 2014 (UTC)


I find the overall tone of this article extremely distasteful and disrespectful of the institution it describes. The overall vibe is that New England is the 'weird' part of the country for a) not calling every podunk, one-stoplight municipality a 'city', b) having the audacity to let citizens of small towns govern themselves, rather than hosting a ludicrous farce of an 'election' for 'representatives' of the aforementioned sort of podunk burgh, c) not leaving vast swathes of territory in the ludicrous category of 'unincorporated space' to be administered by the stupid, pointless, redundant, and altogether hokey-sounding 'county government'. I assure you, it is the rest of the country, all of which has VASTLY less history of Anglo-American settlement, that is 'weird', and this article's tone should reflect that. New England is normal, New England is the standard by which America should be measured. The other 44 upstart states are the problem. Trilobright (talk) 19:46, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

Anyone else feel this way? I don't detect any such "weird vibe" at all. --Ken Gallager (talk) 20:28, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
Sounds fine to me! New England evolved much differently than the rest of the East Coast. Puritan influence and therefore more democratic. Student7 (talk) 19:27, 22 November 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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In many cases, the house numbers on rural roads in New England reset to zero upon crossing a town line.[edit]

Is there any example of this to support this claim? House numbers are usually highest at the edges of town, and lowest in the center of town, so they do not "reset to zero" at a town line. And the number "zero" is very rare in New England house numbers. This whole sentence in the article isis, basically, worthless. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:23, 28 November 2016 (UTC)

Framingham is now a city[edit]

On January 1, Framingham was incorporated as a city. I think the most populous town in New England is now West Hartford, CT. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:15, 4 January 2018 (UTC)

External links modified (February 2018)[edit]

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