|• Type||Open town meeting|
|• Total||20.9 sq mi (54.0 km2)|
|• Land||20.5 sq mi (53.1 km2)|
|• Water||0.4 sq mi (0.9 km2)|
|Elevation||81 ft (25 m)|
|• Density||720/sq mi (280/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (Eastern)|
|GNIS feature ID||0618285|
Raynham (//) is a town in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States, located approximately 32 miles (51 km) south of Boston and 22 miles (35 km) northeast of Providence, Rhode Island. The population was 15,082 at the 2020 census. It has one village, Raynham Center.
The area that is now Raynham was settled in 1639 as a part of Taunton, and was founded by Elizabeth Pole, the first woman to found a town in America.
It was to that area three years earlier that Roger Williams, proponent of separation of church and state, of paying Indians for land acquired and abolishing slavery, had escaped, traveling 55 miles during a January blizzard. He was fleeing a conviction for sedition and heresy of the General Court of Salem, and it was here that the local Wampanoags offered him shelter at their winter camp. Their Sachem Massasoit hosted Williams for the three months until spring.
In 1652, bog iron was found along the Two Mile (Forge) River. Soon after, the Taunton Iron Works was established by residents James and Henry Leonard. It was the first successful iron works established in what was then Plymouth Colony, and operated from 1656 to 1876. It was not the "First Iron Works in America", as proclaimed on the Town's official seal, having been predated by the Saugus and Braintree iron works. The success of the Taunton Iron Works, however, led to the establishment of other iron works throughout the colonies.
Raynham played a key part in King Philip's War. The Leonards had forged a friendship before the war began with King Philip, who lived in the area. It is said that Philip agreed to spare the town from the mass destruction if the Leonards repaired his troops' weapons in their iron forge.
The eastern end of Taunton was separated from that town and incorporated as Raynham on April 2, 1731, named after the English village of Raynham in the county of Norfolk, England. Many ships' hulls were built along the Taunton River in Raynham, which were sailed down the river towards Fall River and Narragansett Bay for final fittings. The town also had other small manufacturing industries, but for the most part it was known for its rural and agrarian base.
The intersection of Interstate 495 and Massachusetts Route 24, a four-lane divided highway, is located at the town's border with Bridgewater. Additionally, U.S. Route 44, Massachusetts Route 104 and Route 138 pass through the town. Route 24 has one exit which gives access to the town, Exit 13 (Route 44), and there is also a Raynham exit on Interstate 495, Exit 8 (Route 138).
Raynham is one of the towns covered by the Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority (GATRA) bus service. The Middleborough-Lakeville line of the MBTA's commuter rail's nearest stop is in neighboring Bridgewater. Raynham is the site of a proposed commuter rail station, Raynham Place, on the Stoughton Branch option of the MBTA's South Coast Rail project. The station would be located next to the former Raynham-Taunton Greyhound Park. In March 2011, following the release of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Draft Environmental Impact Report, Gov. Deval Patrick's administration and the MBTA announced this alternative as the best option for achieving all the goals of the project.
The nearest local airport is in Taunton; commercial air service exists at Logan International Airport in Boston and at T. F. Green Airport in Providence, Rhode Island.
Source: United States census records and Population Estimates Program data.
As of the census of 2000, there were 11,739 people, 4,143 households, and 3,231 families residing in the town. The population density was 572.7 people per square mile (221.1/km2). There were 4,209 housing units at an average density of 205.3 per square mile (79.3/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.54% White, 1.04% African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.69% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.71% from other races, and 0.94% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.83% of the population.
There were 4,143 households, out of which 36.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.8% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.0% were non-families. Of all households 17.9% were made up of individuals, and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.80 and the average family size was 3.18.
In the town, the population was spread out, with 25.7% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 24.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.5 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $60,449, and the median income for a family was $68,354. Males had a median income of $46,954 versus $31,760 for females. The per capita income for the town was $24,476. About 3.2% of families and 4.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.7% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.
The town is part of the Eighth Plymouth state representative district, which includes Bridgewater and part of Easton. It is also part of the First Plymouth and Bristol state senate district, which includes Berkley, Bridgewater, Carver, Dighton, Marion, Middleborough, Taunton and Wareham. Raynham is patrolled by Troop D (Southeast District), 4th Barracks (located in Middleborough) of the Massachusetts State Police. On the national level, the town is part of Massachusetts Congressional District 4, which is represented by Jake Auchincloss. The state's senior (Class I) Senator is Elizabeth Warren, and the state's junior (Class II) Senator is Ed Markey.
Raynham is governed by an open town meeting and elects a board of selectmen, which directs a full-time town administrator. Marie Smith, Joseph Pacheco and Karen Donahue are the town elected selectmen. The acting Town Administrator is David Flaherty. The three members of the board of selectmen are elected at large on a staggered schedule. Basic services are centered around the town hall located at Raynham Center, including the police station and fire department. There are two post offices, located near Raynham Center and along Route 138 near North Raynham. The town also operates the Borden Colony Recreation Area, and there is a small State Forest in the town.
Raynham belongs to the Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School District. There are three schools in Raynham: L.B. Merrill Elementary School, housing Pre-Kindergarten through 1st Grade, LaLiberte Elementary School, housing 2nd through 4th grades, and Raynham Middle School, housing 5th through 8th grades. Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School, located in Bridgewater, houses 9th through 12th grades. The high school athletics teams are nicknamed the Trojans, and the primary colors are red and white, with blue trim. The BR School District Chairman is Ronald Pacy and the school committee consists of eight members. High school students may also attend Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School, located in Taunton, or Bristol County Agricultural High School in Dighton. Students may also select to attend private and parochial schools in the neighboring towns.
In recent years, discussions have taken place regarding the possibility of the withdrawal of Raynham's three pre-kindergarten-eighth grade schools from the Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School District. The town cites an unfair funding formula, as well as Bridgewater's inability to fully fund the district, as its reasons for the proposal. However, on November 17, 2010, the proposal was unanimously defeated by voters at a special town meeting, thereby maintaining the current regional system.
Raynham Park is located in Raynham and holds the world record for largest annual handle. All racing at the park was formally ended on January 1, 2010 after the state election banned all greyhound racing. The building remains to host simulcast racing. In 2011 the Wampanoag Indian tribe indicated an interest in establishing a "Racino"-style gaming casino at the Raynham dog track., but in August 2011 talks broke down. Raynham also has some of the best youth sports programs in the state. With the Raynham Giants football team winning three National Championships in 1999, 2001 and 2014. Also the youth baseball "RYBSA" and soccer programs are considered to be some of the better programs around.
Raynham is host to several religious organizations of various religious denominations. Among the largest is St. Ann's Roman Catholic Church, First Baptist Church on Church Street (Which is home to the Raynham Food Basket), Calvary Chapel contemporary evangelical church, Lutheran Church of the Way, First Congregational Stone Church, and Father's House Family Protestant Church. Raynham is also home to Wat Nawamintararachutis, opened in 2014 as the largest Thai Buddhist temple in the world outside of Thailand. Raynham is also home to a sizeable Jewish community.
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