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Harwich, Massachusetts

Harwich is a town on Cape Cod, in Barnstable County in the state of Massachusetts in the United States. Barnstable County is coextensive with Cape Cod. The town is a popular vacation spot, located near the Cape Cod National Seashore. Harwich's beaches are on "the Sound side" of Cape Cod; the shores that face Nantucket Sound. Harwich has 3 active harbors. Saquatucket, Wychmere and Allen Harbors are all in Harwich Port.

The town is known for its many cranberry salt bogs, which produce cranberries that are commercially farmed. Harwich also contains the largest lake on the Cape, called Long Pond, which serves as a private airport for planes with the ability to land on water.

In the summer, the town is host to the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod Baseball League. The team plays at Whitehouse Field.

For geographic and demographic information on specific parts of the town of Harwich, please see the articles on East Harwich, Harwich Center, Harwich Port, North Harwich and West Harwich.

History

Harwich was first settled in 1670 as the eastern parish of the town of Yarmouth. The town was officially incorporated in 1694, and originally included the lands of the current town of Brewster. Early industry involved fishing and farming. The town is considered by some to be the birthplace of the cranberry industry, with the first commercial operation opened in 1846. There are still many bogs in the town, although the economy is now more centered on tourism and as a residential/retirement community. The town is also the site of the start/finish line of the "Sail Around the Cape," which rounds the Cape counter-clockwise, returning via the Cape Cod Canal.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 33.2 square miles (85.9 km²), of which, 21.0 square miles (54.5 km²) of it is land and 12.1 square miles (31.4 km²) of it (36.53%) is water. The villages of Harwich are: North Harwich, East Harwich, South Harwich, Harwich Center, Harwich Port and West Harwich..

Harwich is on the southern side of Cape Cod, just west of the southeastern corner. It is bordered by Brewster to the north, Orleans and Chatham to the east, Nantucket Sound to the south, and Dennis to the west. Harwich is approximately twelve miles east of Barnstable, twenty-eight miles east of the Cape Cod Canal, thirty-five miles south of Provincetown, and eighty miles southeast of Boston.

Cape Cod's largest inland body of water, Long Pond, lies on the Brewster border as well as several other smaller bodies of water. The shore is home to several harbors and rivers, including the Herring River, Allens Harbor, Wychmere Harbor, Saquatucket Harbor, and the Andrews River. The town is also the home to the Hawksnest State Park, as well as a marina and several beaches, including two on Long Pond.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 12,386 people, 5,471 households, and 3,545 families residing in the town. The population density was 588.6 people per square mile (227.3/km²). There were 9,450 housing units at an average density of 449.1/sq mi (173.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.41% White, 0.71% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 2.03% from other races, and 1.40% from two or more races. 0.96% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 5,471 households out of which 21.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.4% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.2% were non-families. 29.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.72.

In the town the population was spread out with 18.3% under the age of 18, 4.2% from 18 to 24, 22.1% from 25 to 44, 25.8% from 45 to 64, and 29.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 49 years. For every 100 females there were 84.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $41,552, and the median income for a family was $51,070. Males had a median income of $38,948 versus $27,439 for females. The per capita income for the town was $23,063. About 2.9% of families and 5.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.4% of those under age 18 and 4.1% of those age 65 or over.

Government

Harwich is represented in the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a part of the Fourth Barnstable district, which includes (with the exception of Brewster) all the towns east and north of Harwich on the Cape. The town is represented in the Massachusetts Senate as a part of the Cape and Islands District, which includes all of Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket except the towns of Bourne, Falmouth, Sandwich and a portion of Barnstable. The town is patrolled by the Second (Yarmouth) Barracks of Troop D of the Massachusetts State Police.

On the national level, Harwich is a part of Massachusetts's 10th congressional district, and is currently represented by Bill Delahunt. 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.

Harwich is governed by the open town meeting form of government, led by a town administrator and a board of selectmen. Harwich has its own police and fire departments, with three firehouses in Harwich Port, East Harwich and next to police headquarters in Harwich Center. There are four post offices, in Harwich Center, Harwich Port, South Harwich and West Harwich. There are three libraries in the town; the Brooks Free Library in Harwich Center is the largest, and there are also the Chase Library on Route 28 at the Dennis town line, and one in Harwich Port. All are connected to the Cape Libraries Automated Materials Sharing (CLAMS) network. Harwich is also the site of the Long Pong Medical Center, which serves the southeastern Cape region.

Education

Harwich operates its own school system for its approximately 1,400 students. Harwich Elementary School serves students from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, Harwich Middle School serves grades 6-8, and Harwich High School serves grades 9-12. Harwich's teams are known as the Rough Riders, and their colors are blue and gold. Harwich is known for its excellent girls basketball, girls field hockey and baseball teams.

In addition to public schools, Harwich is also the site of Cape Cod Regional Vocational Technical High School, which serves most of Cape Cod. The town is also home to Holy Trinity Regional School, a Catholic school which serves pre-kindergarten through fifth grades.

Transportation

Roadways

Two of Cape Cod's major east-west routes, U.S. Route 6 and Route 28, cross the town. The town is also the southern termini of Routes 39 and 124 as well as a portion of Route 137, pass through the town.

Cape Cod Rail Trail

A portion of the Cape Cod Rail Trail, as well as several other bicycle routes, are in town. There is no rail service in town.

Air Travel

Other than the occasional sea plane landing on the pond, the nearest airport is in neighboring Chatham; the nearest regional service is at Barnstable Municipal Airport; and the nearest national and international air service is at Logan International Airport in Boston.

CCRTA Bus Connections

In recent years parts of Cape Cod have introduced bus service, especially during the summer to help cut down on traffic.

  • The Flex Harwich Port - North Truro (Off Season Schedule) or Provincetown (Summer Schedule) via Brewster, Eastham, Orleans & Routes 137, 6 & 6A.
  • _Hyannis_to_Orleans Hyannis, MA - Orleans, MA via West Dennis, Harwich Port, Chatham & Route 28

Notable Residents

  • James Hamilton - MLB Baseball prospect; outstanding baseball, football and basketball player at Harwich High; graduated in 2007.
  • Shawn Fanning - Creator and Owner of MP3 music downloading application, Napster. Graduated from Harwich High School in 1998.

References

External links

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