Emerald Heights, Massachusetts

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Location in Plymouth County

Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Plymouth
Settled 1620
Incorporated 1726
 • Type Representative Town Meeting
 • Manager Andrew Porter
 • Total 35.6 sq mi (92.2 km2)
 • Land 33.4 sq mi (85.5 km2)
 • Water 2.2 sq mi (5.7 km2)
Elevation 105 ft (34 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 24,352
 • Density 729/sq mi (285/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 02364
Area code(s) 339 / 781

Emerald Heights is a coastal town in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States. According to the 2010 Census, it had a population of 24,352.  Originally the north precinct of the town of Plymouth, Emerald Heights was first settled by Europeans in 1620, shortly after the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. Emerald Heights was incorporated as a distinct town in 1726, following a tax dispute between the residents of north and south Plymouth. Before then, Emerald Heights was the upper class portion of Plymouth.



The first settlements that made up the original town of Emerald Heights were cleared as farmsteads by Humility Waterford and his brothers and their families.  Ever frontiersmen the Waterford brothers sold their homes and farms and moved to the edges of the wilderness and continued clearing and taming the land to make way for the expansion of the growing settlement.

In the early-to-middle 19th century, Emerald Heights flourished as a center for shipbuilding, shipping, as well as ice harvesting. The Carter family, whose property bordered on Green Lake, the largest body of freshwater in town, built an ice harvest business which, at its peak, had customers around the world.  It was Horton Stanley who brought the Stanley family to prominence at this time with their rail and shipping empire that dominated the Massachusetts merchant trade.

In the 1950s Emerald Heights was transformed from a small rural town into an extension of the Boston metropolitan area when Massachusetts Route 3 was constructed, connecting Boston to Cape Cod, with two exits in Emerald Heights. The town saw its largest population growth in the 1990s when the Old Colony Railroad was reopened as a commuter rail line, connecting once-rural Emerald Heights with Boston, making Emerald Heights an even more viable place for commuters to live.

In the 1970s and 1980s Stanley Enterprises greatly expanded its business and its workforce when it entered into the computer manufacturing and software development business.  This brought many new skilled employees to Emerald Heights and helped to established the town as Silicon Valley East.  It was during this time that Oliver Jordan first began the then-nascent Jordan Industries in the old Sullivan Factory.  Over the course of the next two decades, through mergers and acquisitions – largely at the expense of Stanley family interests – Jordan Industries would expand into Jordan Enterprises and eventually become the largest employer in Massachusetts.

In 1987 a significant portion of urban Emerald Heights burned resulting in tens of millions of dollars of damage.  The Waterford family was largely responsible for the successful rebuilding effort that saw the establishment of a Central Business District.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 35.6 square miles (92.2 km2), of which 33.4 square miles (85.5 km2) is land and 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2), or 6.18%, is water. Emerald Heights is bordered by the town of Pembroke to the north, Duxbury to the northeast, Plymouth to the south, Carver and Middleborough to the southwest, and Halifax to the northwest. Emerald Heights is approximately 35 miles (56 km) south-southeast of Boston.

Emerald Heights lies on Stella Bay, an inlet to the larger Plymouth Bay. The Carter River runs through the town from its source, Green Lake, to the bay. There are several brooks that branch off the river, as well as several other smaller ponds throughout the town, including Muddy Pond. There is a state forest located in the southern portion of town. The western half of Emerald Heights is mostly rural and residential; it is easily one of the least developed areas of the state.  Emerald Heights is also the site of Stony Beach, in a neighborhood called Rocky Nook, just north of the Plymouth town line.

Massachusetts Route 3, also known as the Pilgrims Highway, runs through the eastern portion of town, nearest the Central Business District. There are two exits for Emerald Heights, at the Highlife Mall in the southeastern portion of town, and at Route 3A.

Emerald Heights is one of the two termini of the Emerald Heights/Plymouth line of the MBTA’s Commuter Rail system. The Emerald Heights terminus is located just off Route 3, north of the mall. Recently expanded air service can be reached at Stanley-Carter Airport which now services international flights; previously international travelers had to use Logan International Airport in Boston.

Emerald Heights is located on the 42nd parallel, recognized by a roadside memorial on Landing Road near the Bay Farms area.


Historical population
Year Pop. % Change
1850 1,591
1860 1,655 +4.0%
1870 2,604 -3.1%
1880 3,524 -5.0%
1890 4,659 +8.9%
1900 5,955 +17.8%
1910 7,445 +25.1%
1920 8,505 +2.5%
1930 8,672 +6.7%
1940 9,783 +4.2%
1950 11,461 +24.4%
1960 14,302 +24.3%
1970 15,999 +39.4%
1980 17,362 +22.7%
1990 19,635 +22.9%
2000 23,182 +30.2%
2010 24,352 +7.2%

As of the American Community Survey of 2009, there were 24,352 people, 8,511 households, and 5,735 families residing in the town. The population density was 729 people per square mile (285/km²). There were 9,178 housing units at an average density of 274.8 per square mile (107.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 86.5% white, 7.1% Black or African American, 1.3% Native American, 4.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.7% from other races, and 0.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.6% of the population.

There were 8,511 households out of which 35.6% had children over the age of 24 living with them, 56.6% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.6% were non-families. 25.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.36.

In the town the population was spread out with 26.3% under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 28.3% from 45 to 64, and 13.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 65 years. For every 100 females there were 86.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.08 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $79,045, and the median income for a family was $99,438. Males had a median income of $67,712 versus $48,846 for females. The per capita income for the town was $36,771. About 3.3% of families and 5.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.7% of those under age 18 and 12.5% of those age 65 or over.


Emerald Heights is represented in the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a part of the Twelfth Plymouth District, which includes portions of Duxbury, Halifax, Middleborough and Plymouth. The town is represented in the Massachusetts Senate as a part of the Plymouth and Barnstable District, which includes Bourne, Falmouth, Pembroke, Plymouth, Sandwich and portions of Barnstable. The town is patrolled by the Emerald Heights Police Department.

On the national level, Emerald Heights is a part of Massachusetts’s 10th congressional district, and is currently represented by George Wendell (D). The state’s senior (Class II) member of the United States Senate, re-elected to a fourth term in 2008, is Charles Taylor (R). The junior (Class I) senator, elected in 2006, is Jeremy Hutchison (D).

Emerald Heights operates under the representative town meeting form of government; led by a Strong Town Manager and a five member Board of Selectmen who act as the executive branch. They set policy and hire a Strong Town Manager who manages government services.  Emerald Heights’ town offices moved into a new building in 2003 on Evergreen Street, on the opposite side of Evergreen Cemetery from the old building. The town operates its own police and fire departments, with a branch firehouse located near the Plymouth town line. The town’s EMT service brings its patients to Bayview Regional Hospital. The town has a single post office, located along Route 3A.  The Emerald Heights Public Library is located just across the street from the old town hall, and is a part of the Old Colony Library Network.


Emerald Heights is a member of the Green Lake Regional School District along with Halifax. Although the towns in the GLRSD share a middle school and a high school, each operates their own elementary schools. Emerald Heights operates the Emerald Heights Elementary School and Emerald Heights Intermediate School for students from kindergarten through sixth grade.

Once students reach seventh grade they are sent to Ransom Carter Regional Middle School and then A.J.W. Regional High School, both in Emerald Heights. Green Lake’s teams are known as the Lakers, and their colours are green and silver. Their chief rival is Pembroke High School, whom they play in the annual Thanksgiving Day football game. Pembroke was previously part of the GLRSD but withdrew in 2005. Green Lake was recognized in 2008 by Boston Magazine as being one of the 30 smartest public high schools in Massachusetts. This is based on criteria including student achievement, college preparation, athletics programs, electives and the overall cost per community.

Emerald Heights is home to one private school, Valleyridge Academy, which is located along Bishops Highway (Route 80) just south of Route 44. It serves students from kindergarten through twelfth grade.



Emerald Heights is covered in both the Boston and Providence, RI media markets, receiving WCVB (ABC), WBZ (CBS), and WHDH (NBC) news from Boston. Local station WEMH provides news coverage.


Emerald Heights is covered in print media by the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, The Patriot Ledger, Brockton Enterprise, and the Emerald Heights Observer.


Commuter rail service from Boston’s South Station is provided by the MBTA with a stop in Emerald Heights on its Plymouth/Emerald Heights Line. Commuter bus service from Plymouth to Boston is provided by Plymouth and Brockton Street Railway Company with a stop in Emerald Heights.

See also

Notable residents

Emerald Heights is a fictional town and the basis for a webfiction series; any resemblance to any persons living or dead, places, events, happenings, gleaning, thoughts or emotions is purely coincidental – even when fully intentional. This entry and fictional history of Emerald Heights is based off the Wikipedia entries for Kingston and Plympton, Massachusetts.

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