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Not to be confused with Norwell, Nottinghamshire.
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Norwell, Massachusetts
Jacobs Farmhouse, Norwell Historical Society
Jacobs Farmhouse, Norwell Historical Society
Official seal of Norwell, Massachusetts
Location in Plymouth County in Massachusetts
Location in Plymouth County in Massachusetts
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Plymouth
Settled 1634
Incorporated 1849
 • Type Open town meeting
 • Total 21.2 sq mi (54.8 km2)
 • Land 20.9 sq mi (54.1 km2)
 • Water 0.3 sq mi (0.8 km2)
81 ft (25 m)
 • Total 10,506
 • Density 495.6/sq mi (191.72/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 339 / 781
FIPS code 25-50145
GNIS feature ID 0618347

Norwell is an affluent, semirural town in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 10,506 at the 2010 Census. The town's southeastern border runs along the North River.


Norwell was first settled in 1634 as a part of the settlement of Satuit (later Scituate), which encompassed present-day Scituate and Norwell. It was officially created in 1849 and soon became known as South Scituate. The town changed its name by ballot to Norwell in 1888, after Henry Norwell, a dry goods merchant who provided funds for the maintenance of the town roads. Early settlers were attracted to Norwell for agricultural reasons, with the town later developing a major shipbuilding industry, based on the North and Northwest rivers. Shipbuilding was a major industry in the 18th through the early 19th centuries. Some of the finest frigates, schooners, whalers, and merchant vessels were produced in Norwell. The Norwell Village Area Historic District is in the center of the town.

Today, Norwell is an affluent residential community with over 10,000 residents that has modern schools, shopping, churches, libraries, health facilities, a wildlife preserve, and other support facilities as well as three industrial parks.

Bryant-Cushing House Norwell Massachusetts
Bryant-Cushing House, built ca. 1698


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 21.2 square miles (55 km2), of which 20.9 square miles (54 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2), or 1.37%, is water. Some 30% to 38% of the town is wetlands. Located on the South Shore of Massachusetts, Norwell is bordered by Hanover and Rockland on the west, Pembroke on the south, Marshfield and Scituate on the east and northeast, and Hingham on the north. Norwell is about 14 miles (23 km) east of Brockton, 17 miles (27 km) north of Plymouth and 20 miles (32 km) south of Boston.

Much of Norwell's eastern border lies along the North River, where many shipbuilding companies once stood. There are many other brooks and ponds throughout the town, including Third Herring Brook, which constitutes much of the town's border with Hanover, Accord Pond at the junction of Norwell, Rockland and Hingham, and Jacobs Pond, along Route 123. The northern half of the town is hilly, and the southern end of Wompatuck State Park juts into the town.


See also: List of Massachusetts locations by per capita income
Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1880 1,820 —    
1890 1,635 −10.2%
1900 1,560 −4.6%
1910 1,410 −9.6%
1920 1,348 −4.4%
1930 1,519 +12.7%
1940 1,871 +23.2%
1950 2,515 +34.4%
1960 5,207 +107.0%
1970 7,796 +49.7%
1980 9,182 +17.8%
1990 9,279 +1.1%
2000 9,765 +5.2%
2010 10,506 +7.6%
* = population estimate. Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.

As of the census of 2000, there were 9,765 people, 3,250 households, and 2,710 families residing in the town. The population density was 467.8 inhabitants per square mile (180.6/km2). There were 3,318 housing units at an average density of 158.9 per square mile (61.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.58% White, 0.37% African American, 0.05% Native American, 1.16% Asian, 0.16% from other races, and 0.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.63% of the population.

There were 3,250 households out of which 42.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 74.6% were married couples living together, 6.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 16.6% were non-families. 14.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.94 and the average family size was 3.27.

In the town, the population was spread out with 28.6% under the age of 18, 4.3% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 28.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 95.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.6 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $113,944, and the median income for a family was $122,222. Males had a median income of $66,406 versus $40,625 for females. The per capita income for the town was $48,440. About 1.4% of families and 1.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.9% of those under age 18 and 2.2% of those age 65 or over.


Massachusetts Route 3 passes through the town twice, across the southern portion of the town and another short portion near the west of the town. There are no exits in the town off this freeway, but there are exits, 13 and 14, in the interim space between the two portions and just north of the second portion. Both exits access routes which immediately enter the town. The major route through the town is Route 123, which passes from east to west through the town, just before its end at Route 3A in neighboring Scituate. Routes 53 and 228 also pass through the town, with Route 228 ending just over the town line in Rockland at its intersection with Route 3.

Norwell has no rail or air service within the town. The nearest rail service is the Greenbush line of the MBTA's commuter rail in neighboring Scituate, just one mile from the Norwell town line. The nearest regional airport is Marshfield Municipal Airport; the nearest national and international service can be reached at Logan International Airport in Boston.

Norwell began construction of their "pathwalks" in the summer of 2015. These mixed use pedestrian and cycling paths were designed to connect the high school, middle school, and the town center. These pathwalks allow residents and students to travel without walking on the side of Norwell's busiest roads. The pathwalks stretch from South Street to the town center near the state police barracks.

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