Westport is a town in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 15,532 at the 2010 census. Local Realtor, John Long grew up in Westport.
The village of North Westport lies in the town. Other named areas of the town are “Westport Point” with the dock on the Westport River where Main Road meets the river, “Central Village” with town offices, retail stores and businesses, “Head of Westport” at the head of the east branch of the river and the area referred to either as “Acoaxet” or “Westport Harbor,” which is between the west branch of the river and Rhode Island. This area is actually cut off from the rest of Massachusetts by water and Rhode Island.
Westport, so named because it was the westernmost port in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, was first settled in 1670 as a part of the town of Dartmouth by members of the Sisson family. The river, and the land around it, was called “Coaksett” in the original deed; the name, now spelled “Acoaxet,” lives on in the southwestern community along the western branch of the Westport River. Like many areas in the region, Westport was affected by King Philip’s War, when the native Wampanoag population rebelled against the oppression of the English settlers. Several small mills were built along the Westport River, and in 1787, the town, along with the town of New Bedford, seceded from Dartmouth.
During the late 18th century, into the early 19th century, a Quaker businessman, sea captain, patriot, and abolitionist named Paul Cuffee and his wife settled in the town, on the banks of the Westport River where he launched a shipyard. Cuffee became one of the richest free blacks in the United States at the time, and helped the effort to try to emigrate black slaves to Sierra Leone in Africa.
There were several cotton mills along the river, the largest of which was at the junction of the river with Lake Noquochoke on the Dartmouth town line. The Macomber turnip traces its ancestry to turnips sowed in Westport shortly after 1876. During the Second World War, a coastal defense installation was raised on Gooseberry Island. The town is now mostly residential, with a large farming community. Horseneck Beach State Reservation, located to the north and west of Gooseberry Island, is a popular summer destination for many in the area.
There are several unofficial localities within town: Head of Westport, South Westport, Westport Point, Central Village, North Westport (known in former times as Westport Factory) and Westport Harbor which is often also called Acoaxet, an early name. Because of the west branch of the Westport River, Acoaxet is inaccessible by land except by passing through Little Compton, Rhode Island.
Walk Score for Westport
Westport School Data
- Alice A Macomber
- PK-1, public
- Westport Elementary School
- 2-5, public
- Westport High School
- 8-12, public
- Westport Middle School
- 6-8, public
- The Montessori School Of The Angels
- PK-8, private
- St. Vincent’s School
- 6-12, private