Hanson was first settled in 1632 as the western parish of Pembroke. The town was officially incorporated in 1820, and was named for Maryland newspaper publisher and U.S. Senator Alexander Contee Hanson. The town’s early industry revolved around farming, as well as bog iron and quarrying. Mills also popped up along the rivers during the nineteenth century. Today the town is mostly residential, with some farming and cranberry farming. Ocean Spray was first started by several bogs in Hanson.
Hanson is governed by the open town meeting form of government, and is led by Town Administrator and a five member Board of Selectmen. The town hall is located on the shore of Wampatuck Pond, at the town center. In the same area are the Fire Department headquarters and the Hanson Public Library, which is a member of the Southeastern Area Internet Library Sharing (SAILS) network. The Hanson Police Department headquarters, built in 2007, is located on Main Street (Rte. 27). There is a branch firehouse along Route 27 near the train station, and the town’s post office is located near the intersection of Routes 27 and 58. The town also operates a Memorial Hall, where town meetings and other town functions are held.
Hanson shares the Whitman-Hanson Regional School District with neighboring Whitman. The town of Hanson operates two elementary schools, Indian Head and Maquan, both of which are located on either side of the School Street. Maquan serves students from kindergarten through second grade, and Indian Head serves students from third through fifth grades. Hanson Middle School also serves students in grades six through eight. The two towns send their students to Whitman-Hanson Regional High School, which recently was rebuilt part of a $50 million project. It is located behind the previous, (which has been torn down and replaced with new athletic fields including a synthetic turf football field) along Route 27 on the town line.
The town lies along the Kingston-Plymouth line of the MBTA’s commuter rail service, with a stop along Route 27. There is a small airport, Cranland Air.
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