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Berkley Info

Berkley, Massachusetts

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Berkley was first settled in 1638 and was officially incorporated in 1735. It was named for the philosopher and Bishop George Berkeley (1685–1753), who lived in Newport, Rhode Island from 1728 to 1731. The extra 'e' was apparently dropped by mistake when officially registered by the State House. The town was formerly part of Taunton, Massachusetts and Dighton, Massachusetts.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 17.4 square miles (45.0 km²), of which, 16.5 square miles (42.8 km²) is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km²) (4.72%) is water. The town is bordered by the Taunton River and Dighton to the west, Taunton to the north and northeast, Lakeville to the east, and the Assonet Bay and Freetown to the south. The town is located 35 miles (56 km) south of Boston, 22 miles (35 km) east of Providence, Rhode Island, and 30 miles (48 km) north west of the Cape Cod Canal.

The mostly rural town is also the home to Dighton Rock State Park, the home of Dighton Rock, a tidal boulder well known for its strange markings, which have been totally or partly attributed to Vikings, Wampanoags, or Portuguese explorer Miguel Corte-Real. At the southern tip of the "Berkley Neck" which hangs into the confluence of the Taunton River and the Assonet Bay, there is a small island, named "Conspiracy Island", whose name origin remains obscure.

The town can be accessed by two state routes, Route 24 and Route 79. Route 24, a four-lane divided freeway, bisects the town, and includes one exit for the town at Padelford Street. Route 79 passes along the town's border with Lakeville, and meets Route 140 just across the town line in Taunton. The town is also known for the Berkley-Dighton Bridge, which crosses the Taunton River to Dighton. The one-lane bridge, designed in 1896 was built in the 1890s, is the only bridge to cross the river between the Brightman Street Bridge between Fall River and Somerset, and the Plain Street Bridge in Taunton, a distance of 12.5 miles (20.1 km). The construction on a temporary bridge began in the summer of 2009. The project expects the original bridge to be torn down and replaced by a new bridge to be completed in 2013.


As of the census of 2000, there were 5,749 people, 1,843 households, and 1,566 families residing in the town. The population density was 347.6 people per square mile (134.2/km²). There were 1,885 housing units at an average density of 114.0/sq mi (44.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 99.9% White, 0.001% African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.06% from other races, and 1.11% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.0% of the population.

There were 1,843 households out of which 47.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 73.8% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 15.0% were non-families. 10.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.11 and the average family size was 3.35.

In the town the population was spread out with 30.5% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 36.0% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 6.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 98.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $66,295, and the median income for a family was $69,222. Males had a median income of $45,154 versus $31,639 for females. The per capita income for the town was $21,652. About 0.7% of families and 2.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0.6% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.


Town government

Executive Branch: Three-member Board of Selectmen with three-year staggered terms.
Legislative Branch: Open Town Meeting.

State government

Representative in General Court

  • David B. Sullivan (D-Fall River), 6th Bristol District

Senator in General Court

  • Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton), 1st Plymouth and Bristol District

Governor's Councillor

  • Carole A. Fiola (D-Fall River), 1st District

Federal government

Representative to the United States House of Representatives

  • Barney Frank (D-Newton) (4th Massachusetts District)

Senators in the United States Senate

  • John Kerry (D)
  • Scott Brown (R)


  • Berkley Community School - Grades Pre-K through 4 : South Main Street
  • Berkley Middle School - Grades 5 through 8  : North Main Street
  • High School: Currently, Berkley has a tuition agreement with Somerset High School. However, as of 2006 there has been talk within the town of the feasibility of building a town high school. A more likely scenario is a longer term tuition agreement or regionalization with Somerset. As of 2006, there are 255 high school-aged students in the town, a number which is projected to grow to over 300 within the next 5–10 years.

High school students may also attend Bristol County Agricultural High School in Dighton, Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School in Taunton, or local private and parochial schools; the closest Catholic high school is Coyle and Cassidy High School in Taunton.

Local attractions

Bridge Village Heritage Park is a park created by the Berkley Historical Commission. It is at 70 Elm Street at the south-east abutment to the Berkley-Dighton Bridge. Opened October 2006, this 0.5-acre (2,000 m2) area is aimed at canoeing and kayaking. Motor boats and boats in tow are prohibited. It is also an ideal place for fishermen, picnickers, historians, and children.

Dighton Rock State Park is a park that holds the Dighton Rock, a boulder with petrogylphs of uncertain age and authorship, in a museum on an 85-acre (340,000 m2) site on the Taunton river. Trails and a stage for theatre productions highlight the park.

Famous natives and residents

Tony Gaffney, basketball player. Gaffney played college ball at Boston University and UMass, and played with the Los Angeles Lakers on their 2009 summer league squad. Tony also signed with the Boston Celtics for their post-season in April 2010.




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