Norwell is an affluent suburban community in Plymouth County which still retains some of its past rural character. Bounded by the North River, Norwell attracted settlers for its agricultural land and its water power potential. Colonists built grist and sawmills on the river as well as boatyards, and shipbuilding was a major industry in Norwell until the draft of boats being built outstripped the depth of the river.

Poultry farming became the largest business in town and flourished until a virus killed off the flocks, wiping out many of the producers. The farmers had to sell off their land to developers, triggering a period of residential development and growth for the town. The end of the Second World War brought the G.I. Bill which provided low-interest loans for veterans and created a building boom that almost doubled the town's population between 1950 and 1955. This brought people with a diversity of backgrounds to what had been a homogeneous English and Scottish town. The new immigrants, unlike those which came to other area towns for mill jobs in the 19th century, are generally executives in the companies which occupy surrounding office parks.

Real estate on South Shore, MA riverfrontNorwell now has a suburban residential character which residents feel has not detracted from its charm as a small, friendly, rural town.

It is located in eastern Massachusetts, bordered by Hanover and Rockland on the west, Pembroke on the south, Marshfield and Scituate on the east and northeast, and Hingham on the north. Norwell is about 14 miles east of Brockton, 17 miles north of Plymouth, 20 miles south of Boston, and 222 miles from New York City.

Narrative compiled by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

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