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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.
Country  United States
State  Massachusetts
County Norfolk
Settled 1635
Incorporated 1836
 • Type Open town meeting
 • Total 39.9 km2 (15.4 sq mi)
 • Land 39.7 km2 (15.3 sq mi)
 • Water 0.2 km2 (0.1 sq mi)
46 m (150 ft)
 • Total 5,923
 • Density 148.45/km2 (384.6/sq mi)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 508 / 774
FIPS code 25-17405
GNIS feature ID 0618319

Dover is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 5,923 at the time of the 2020 United States Census. With a median income of more than $250,000, Dover is one of the wealthiest towns in Massachusetts.

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, and 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 home to 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 been a home for 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 Dover Historical Society. 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 in the Historical Society 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) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km2) of it (0.52%) is water. It is bordered by the towns of Natick, Wellesley, Needham, Dedham, Westwood, Sherborn, Walpole, and Medfield.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1850 631 —    
1860 679 +7.6%
1870 645 −5.0%
1880 653 +1.2%
1890 727 +11.3%
1900 656 −9.8%
1910 798 +21.6%
1920 867 +8.6%
1930 1,195 +37.8%
1940 1,374 +15.0%
1950 1,722 +25.3%
1960 2,846 +65.3%
1970 4,529 +59.1%
1980 4,703 +3.8%
1990 4,915 +4.5%
2000 5,558 +13.1%
2010 5,589 +0.6%
2020 5,923 +6.0%
* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.

At the 2000 census, 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.

Historic places


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. 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 (grades Pre-K–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 6. In 1970, Caryl School was gutted by fire. It was rebuilt and remained open until finally being closed in 2001 after the expansion of Chickering.

Notable people

Soldiers' monument (Dover, Massachusetts) - DSC09485
Soldiers' monument, first dedicated on June 18, 1910
  • Mark Albion, author, social entrepreneur, Harvard professor and faculty founder of Net Impact
  • Ian Bowles, environmentalist, businessman, politician, and former Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs
  • Katherine Doherty, child actress
  • Joseph F. Enright, submarine captain in the United States Navy, commanded the USS Archer-Fish and sank the Japanese aircraft carrier Shinano
  • Kenny Florian, UFC fighter, Fox/UFC analyst
  • Carl J. Gilbert, United States trade representative from 1969 to 1971
  • Jeffrey Harrison, poet
  • Mark Hollingsworth, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio
  • Brian Hoyer, Quarterback of the New England Patriots
  • Bob Lobel, local news sportscaster
  • Don MacTavish, stock car driver and winner of the 1966 NASCAR Sportsman Series Championship
  • Melinda McGraw, actress
  • Dorothy Morkis, Olympic medal-winning equestrian
  • Chris Murray, minor league ice hockey player
  • Bohdan Pomahač, plastic surgeon who led the team that performed the first full face transplant in the United States
  • Matthew A. Reynolds, Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs
  • Leverett Saltonstall, U.S. Senator
  • George P. Sanger, lawyer, editor, judge, and businessman
  • Francis W. Sargent, Governor
  • Brian Scalabrine, former player of the Boston Celtics
  • Milt Schmidt, former player, coach and general manager of the Boston Bruins, member of the Hockey Hall of Fame
  • Ronald B. Scott, journalist, biographer of W. Mitt Romney, and author of the novel Closing Circles: Trapped in the Everlasting Mormon Moment
  • Jeff Serowik, former player of the Boston Bruins
  • John Smith, American football placekicker
  • Karen Stives, Olympic medal-winning equestrian
  • Dominique Wilkins, former professional basketball player and NBA Hall of Famer

See also

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