Berkley, Massachusetts

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Berkley is a town in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 5,749 at the 2000 census, making it the least populated town in the county.



Berkley was first settled in 1638 and was officially incorporated in 1735. It was named for the philosopher and Bishop George Berkeley (1685–1753), who lived in Newport, Rhode Island from 1728 to 1731. The extra 'e' was apparently dropped by mistake when officially registered by the State House. The town was formerly part of Taunton, Massachusetts and Dighton, Massachusetts.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 17.4 square miles (45.0 km²), of which, 16.5 square miles (42.8 km²) is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km²) (4.72%) is water. The town is bordered by the Taunton River and Dighton to the west, Taunton to the north and northeast, Lakeville to the east, and the Assonet Bay and Freetown to the south. The town is located 35 miles (56 km) south of Boston, 22 miles (35 km) east of Providence, Rhode Island, and 30 miles (48 km) north west of the Cape Cod Canal.

The mostly rural town is also the home to Dighton Rock State Park, the home of Dighton Rock, a tidal boulder well known for its strange markings, which have been totally or partly attributed to Vikings, Wampanoags, or Portuguese explorer Miguel Corte-Real. At the southern tip of the "Berkley Neck" which hangs into the confluence of the Taunton River and the Assonet Bay, there is a small island, named "Conspiracy Island", whose name origin remains obscure.

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