The Town of Weymouth is the second oldest town in the Commonwealth, dating from 1622 when it was founded as “Wessagusset”. Renamed Weymouth in 1635, the Town was boosted in that year by the arrival of 100 settlers from its namesake in England. The early settlement was incorporated into the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and slowly grew as a fishing and agricultural community. By the time of the American Revolution, the colonial settlement had a population of 1,470 people.
The American Revolution was shortly followed by the industrial revolution, and Weymouth was an active participant. The impact on the Town was clear when enough natural bog iron was discovered to support a local factory in 1837, the Weymouth Iron Works. Later, after competition from Pennsylvania closed the ironworks, the shoe industry came to the economic forefront, employing three-quarters of the local residents and, with some other manufacturing ventures, supporting those residents up until World War II. After World War II, several significant changes in local demographics and regional economies profoundly affected the Town. Rising incomes led to the explosion in automobile ownership, and the Federal and State governments responded with aggressive highway improvement programs. With the large population growth and movement to the suburbs from out of the urban centers, the Town quickly expanded its population. The Town added some 21,000 new residents in the fifteen years between 1945 and 1960. Bisecting the Town in 1956, Route 3′s opening, combined with the elimination of commuter rail service, was a major impact on Weymouth and the South Shore. With the advent of the expressway and other new road construction, the majority of residents commuted to other locations for their jobs. The shoe factories closed and the local economy became largely based on smaller service, retail and some wholesale operations to support the new neighborhoods. Weymouth was increasingly serving as a suburb in the Boston region, where better paying jobs in the city and a good road system to get there allowed a segment of the population to achieve their desire to live in relative comfort.
Weymouth is a ‘mature’ community. This means that compared to other municipalities, Weymouth has been almost completely developed in terms of land area. But, that has not, and will not, prevent the redevelopment of sites with new uses or infill development on the few sites that remain. Some examples of this are the redevelopment of Mammoth Mart into Lechmere’s, which itself is in the process of being redeveloped as Wal-Mart; Stetson Shoe being redeveloped into non-industrial use as Stetson Place, an office complex; and the transformation of the former Nike Missile Base into Webb State Park. The most obvious example of this trend continuing is in the redevelopment of the Naval Air Station
Weymouth is located 12 miles southeast of Boston. It is bordered by Braintree and Holbrook on the west, Abington and Rockland on the south, Hingham on the east, and the Fore River, Back River, and Hingham Bay on the north.
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