Freetown, in southeastern Massachusetts, is a scenic rural community in Bristol County. Located between Rhode Island and Cape Cod, each popular summer beach destinations, Freetown is home to its own small summer colony. Just 37 miles south of Boston and 23 miles east of Providence, Freetown is strategically situated for commuters to... Show all »
Freetown, in southeastern Massachusetts, is a scenic rural community in Bristol County. Located between Rhode Island and Cape Cod, each popular summer beach destinations, Freetown is home to its own small summer colony. Just 37 miles south of Boston and 23 miles east of Providence, Freetown is strategically situated for commuters to the main economic centers of Southern New England.
Freetown's early settlers in the 17th century engaged primarily in agriculture, but the water power from the Assonet River eventually spurred the development of grist, saw and fulling mills by the 18th century. In addition to this small-scale industry, the towns economy also based itself in fishing. One of the states' first trout hatcheries was established in Freetown and this product found its way onto the tables of luxury trains and ocean liners through the 19th century.
Freetown also had shipbuilding among its industries. The shipyards built sloops and schooners. The last ship was launched in Freetown in 1848, when the demand for larger ships outgrew the depth of the Assonet River and the extension of the railroads killed off coastal freighting. The local economy shifted back to small market gardening, dairy production and lumbering, and by the end of the 19th century, much of the land had reverted to forest as Freetown regained some of its pre-colonial, unspoiled landscape.
Today, Freetown's 9700 residents live throughout 35 square miles of town. Some of the town's municipal services include a fire department of both full-time and volunteer firefighters, a police department, public works and a recreation department. Freetown also shares a regional school district with neighboring towns.
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