Dover, Massachusetts is a town in Norfolk County, about 15 miles outside of downtown Boston. First settled in 1635, it is primarily a residential town adjacent to Natick, Wellesley, Needham, Westwood, Walpole, Medfield, and Sherborn. Covering 15.4 square miles, it has a population of just over 5,500 residents.
The town was formed as part of the Dedham grants and first had the name Springfield for its wide open fields and bubbling springs. It was incorporated in 1836 and given the name Dover to honor the chairman’s ancestral English home. Dover enjoys a reputation as a beautiful and peaceful place to live. In 2003, it was voted as the best place to live and the healthiest town in the Greater Boston area by Boston Magazine.
As with many Massachusetts towns, farming was the primary industry in Dover. With Trout Brook and the Charles River nearby, industries including lumber, a grist mill, and an iron rolling businesses also took root here. Today Dover is a largely rural town. Though primarily residential now, the feel of rural farms persists. Zoning laws require that parcels be at least 1 acre, lending to the open feel. Trails and woods are ideal for walking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing welcome residents to enjoy their surroundings.
Education has always been important to the residents of Dover, and across Massachusetts. The public school system is consistently ranked as one of the top districts in the Commonwealth and in the country. The regional Dover-Sherborn High School was ranked 65th in the nation.
In many of Massachusetts’ historic towns, there are legends that have been passed down from the time of the Native Americans, the Revolutionary War, and other points of history. Dover, however, has a much more recent story that placed it on the international map. In 1977, a teenager driving through town spotted a creature he described as having large, glowing eyes and tendril-like fingers. Standing 4 feet tall, it had no nose or mouth. Two other teenagers spotted the same creature that evening in various locations around town. The creature garnered attention around the world, and was called the Dover Demon.
The area in which it was spotted has been known for unusual occurrences since the 1600s, including visions of Satan on horseback and hidden treasures. To this day, the Dover Demon remains a local and international mystery.
Dover, Massachusetts is a quintessential New England town. With large residential lots, wooded paths, an excellent education system, and a touch of mystery, this town is indeed one of the hidden gems of New England.