(Typically pronounced Wear-ham.) is a town located in Plymouth County, Massachusetts
. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 20,335.
For geographic and demographic information about specific parts of the town of Wareham, please see the articles about Onset, Wareham Center, West Wareham, and Weweantic.
Wareham was first settled in 1678
as part of the towns of Plymouth and Rochester. It was officially incorporated in 1739
and named for the town of Wareham, England
. Because of its geography, Wareham's early industry revolved around shipbuilding and the related industries. It also served as a resort town, with many smaller resorts scattered around the town, especially in Onset. Like Sandwich, its waterways, especially Buttermilk Bay, were considered as possible pathways for the Cape Cod Canal
. Although the Canal proper goes through Bourne and Sandwich, the southern approach to Buzzards Bay
passes just south of the peninsulas that make up the topography of the town. Today, the town is mostly residential, and still has a strong summer tourism industry. It is also known today for its retail centers, along Routes 6 and 28. The newest of these, Wareham Crossings, is almost complete; apart from a few large stores, the shopping center, located at the intersection of Route 28 and Interstate 195, is now open, further spreading the retail area of the town.
The Wareham Gatemen of the Cape Cod Baseball League play at Clem Spillane Field at Wareham High School every summer from mid-June to early August.
Wareham is home of the Tremont Nail Factory, the oldest nail manufacturer in the United States. The factory was established in 1819.
According to the United States Census Bureau
, the town has a total area of 46.3 square miles
), of which, 35.8 square miles (92.7 km²) of it is land and 10.5 square miles (27.1 km²) of it is water. The total area is 22.64% water. Wareham is bordered by Marion
to the southwest, Rochester
to the west, Middleborough
to the northwest, Carver
to the north, and Bourne
to the east. The town's localities are numerous; the most important being East Wareham, Onset, Point Independence, Wareham Center, and West Wareham. The town is just west of Cape Cod
, and is 18 miles east of New Bedford
, approximately 45 miles east of Providence, Rhode Island
and 55 miles south-southeast of Boston
Wareham is the innermost town on the north shore of Buzzards Bay. The Weweantic River empties in the southwest corner of town, with the Sippican River and other brooks emptying into it. The Wareham River, which is formed at the confluence of the Wankinco and Agawam Rivers, flows into the harbor east of the Weweantic, and also has other brooks and the Mill Pond River as tributaries. To the east lie Onset Bay and Buttermilk Bay, both of which empty into the head of the bay, at the right-of-way of the Cape Cod Canal. Between these rivers and bays lie several points and necks, including Cromesett Point, Swift's Neck, Long Beach Point, Indian Neck, Stony Point, Cedar Island Point, Codman's Point, Sias Point and Whittemore's Point. The southern boundary of the Myles Standish State Forest is concurrent with the town line between Wareham and Plymouth.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 20,335 people, 8,200 households, and 5,338 families residing in the town. The population density
was 568.1 people per square mile (219.3/km²). There were 10,670 housing units at an average density of 298.1/sq mi (115.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 87.42% White
, 2.92% African American
, 0.54% Native American
, 0.44% Asian
, 0.05% Pacific Islander
, 5.20% from other races
, and 3.43% from two or more races. 1.44% of the population were Hispanic
of any race.
There were 8,200 households out of which 29.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.4% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.9% were non-families. 29.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.02.
In the town the population was spread out with 24.5% under the age of 18, 6.3% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 24.5% from 45 to 64, and 16.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 91.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.9 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $40,422, and the median income for a family was $45,750. Males had a median income of $37,601 versus $28,306 for females. The per capita income for the town was $21,312. 10.7% of the population and 8.1% of families were below the poverty line. 16.6% of those under the age of 18 and 13.5% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
Wareham is represented in the Massachusetts House of Representatives
as a part of the Second Plymouth district, which also includes Carver and part of Bourne. The town is represented in the Massachusetts Senate
as a part of the First Plymouth and Bristol district, which also includes Berkley, Bridgewater, Carver, Dighton Marion, Middleborough, Raynham and Taunton. The town is patrolled by the Seventh (Bourne) Barracks of Troop D of the Massachusetts State Police
On the national level, Wareham is the eastern-most town 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.
Wareham is governed by the open town meeting form of government, which is led by a town administrator and a board of selectmen. There is a central police station located along Route 28. The Wareham Fire District (career /on-call) has stations located in Wareham Center, East Wareham, West Wareham and in White Island, near Glen Charlie Pond in the northeast corner of town. The Onset Fire District (paid / on-call) has fire stations located in Onset Village and off Route 28 / Cranberry Highway near the intersection of Main Ave. Wareham EMS has a station located on Sandwich Road (Route 6). There are four post offices for the town's four ZIP codes, located in East Wareham (02538), West Wareham (02576), Wareham Center (02571) and a branch office in Onset (02558). The southeast portion of Wareham is also covered by 02532 of Buzzards Bay. The town's public library, located across the street from the town hall, is part of the SAILS library network.
Wareham has a public school system.
There are five elementary schools (John W. Decas, East Wareham, Ethel E. Hammond, Minot Forest Elementary and West Wareham) serving the town, as well as Wareham Middle School and Wareham High School.
A Johns Hopkins University study called Wareham High School a "dropout factory", on the grounds that less than 60% of each incoming class remained in the school by its fourth year; the Wareham school superintendent disputed this figure, arguing that the study's methodology was flawed and Wareham High School's graduation rate is 82.2%.
Wareham High competes in the South Coast Conference for athletics. Their nickname is the "Vikings," and their colors are Blue, White, and Gold. Wareham competes with Bourne High School in their annual Thanksgiving Day football game.
High school students may also choose to attend Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School in Bourne.
There are no private schools in the town, with the nearest being Tabor Academy
. The nearest Catholic high school is Bishop Stang High School
The town has always been a vital transportation point, as the Bay Colony Railroad
crosses through the town on its way to Cape Cod. Interstates 495
both terminate in the western part of town, with I-495's highway route continuing on as Route 25
, which passes through town and around Buttermilk Bay before ending at the Bourne Bridge
. Additionally, U.S. Route 6
and Route 28
meet in East Wareham, and continue on towards Cape Cod. Route 58's
southern terminus is at Route 28 in Rochester abutting the town line. The town line sign, however, is on the wrong side of the intersection, making one believe that the intersection is actually in Wareham.
Freight rail service is provided by the Massachusetts Coastal Railroad
. There is currently no passenger rail service in Wareham, but an extension of the MBTA's Middleborough/Lakeville commuter rail line
to Wareham and Buzzards Bay is under consideration. The nearest inter-city (Amtrak
) passenger rail stations are Providence
and Boston's South Station
. The nearest MBTA commuter rail
station is the Middleborough/Lakeville station
Bonanza Bus Lines
stops at the Mill Pond Diner daily.
Wareham residents who want to travel only in the town of Wareham can use the Owl Link trolley ride for a minimal fee of 50 cents.
The nearest national and international flights can be reached at Logan International Airport
and also T. F. Green Airport
in Providence, RI
Wareham is home to the Wareham Gatemen
, an amateur baseball team and a member of the Western Division of the Cape Cod Baseball League
. Wareham currently plays its home games at Clem Spillane Field
, located within the town. Thay are the only member of league that is not on the Cape Cod island.
Points of interest
Lopes Park - A playground and park in Onset Village, including swing sets, basketball court, and a play area.
Wareham Free Library - The Wareham public library, containing a large variety of books and meeting rooms available for the public to reserve.
Town Greens - A monument for the soldiers from Wareham who bravely gave their lives in war.
- Stephen Cooper (b. 1979), football player
- Geena Davis (b. 1956), Academy Award and Golden Globe-winning actress
- Paul Fearing (1762–1822), a delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives from the Territory Northwest of the River Ohio
- John Kendrick (1740-1794), sea captain and explorer of the Pacific Northwest
- Eugene Thomas Maleska, (1916-1993) New York Times crossword puzzle editor, had a home in town
- Donald W. Nicholson, (1888-1968), congressman
- Skipp Sudduth (b. 1956), actor
- Samuel T. Wellman (1847–1919) steel industry pioneer, industrialist, and prolific inventor
- Patrick Schultz-MMA fighter (The Ultimate Fighter 7-Spike TV)