What is it like to live in Rockland?

Buying Location, Location, Location
Downtown Rockland. David L. Ryan/Globe staff

Rockland may be a quiet town tucked away south of Boston, but if you look at it the right way, it’s in the middle of everything.

“You can drive 20 minutes in any direction and get to great places,’’ said Donna Roine, 70, a retired librarian who lives in a Colonial farmhouse in Rockland.

Traffic permitting, of course. But the town is just off Route 3, a gateway to Boston to the north and Plymouth to the south. And while Rockland doesn’t have a shoreline, it is just “one town from the ocean,’’ Roine said.

“People who come to my house and then go to Boston from here they say, ‘I can’t believe how close it is,’ ’’ she said.

Rockland was originally settled as the northeast corner of Abington in 1673. (It incorporated as its own town in the late 19th century.) For people who love old homes, the town has plenty to offer, Roine said.

“I don’t really know anybody in Rockland who lives in a new house,’’ she said. Roine moved into her home, which has been in her family since the early 19th century, in 1976. It had belonged to her grandparents, and Roine was born in the house next door.

“My grandson is now the seventh generation’’ to live in the home, Roine said, but then amended that. “Well, he doesn’t live here, but he is having a nap here right now.’’

Rockland’s shoe factories are long gone, but many are being repurposed.

Roine is vice president of 4th Floor Artists, a group that houses studio and gallery space in an old sandpaper factory and the former ET Wright shoe factory. Roine, a fiber artist, said the shoe factory is another connection to her past; her grandfather once worked there.

She said planners working with the town see arts and culture as critical to carrying Rockland forward in the 21st century. Art is being featured around town in galleries, restaurants, and the rotunda of the library, Roine said.

“We’re trying to revitalize Rockland, not necessarily to how it was before, but how we might imagine it to be,’’ she said.

Hingham Street Reservoir. —David L. Ryan/Globe staff



The length, in miles, of the recreational trail that follows the path of the Hanover Branch of the Old Colony Line and connects Rockland and Abington. The nonprofit Iron Horse Preservation Society cleared the path of its rails, and the two towns have been paving the trail in stages.


The number of itinerant travelers served by Rockland’s “tramp house’’ in the year 1900. It is one of five such surviving structures in the state. The houses, often along rail lines, were an early form of social welfare, offering shelter and sometimes food for vagabonds looking for work.


The year First Congregational Church in Rockland burned down — during an attempt to remove paint from its exterior by burning it off. (The church was rebuilt between 1891 and 1894.)


The number of “subscribers’’ to the original East Abington Fire Department, formed in 1833. (East Abington would later become Rockland.) They paid $200 apiece, and the money was used to buy a fire engine.




Relatively affordable but still close to Boston

The median listed price for homes was $329,000 in mid-February, compared with $415,000 statewide, according to Zillow. Route 3 passes through the northeast corner of town, and several commuter rail stations on the Kingston/Plymouth Line are just over the town line in Weymouth, Abington, and Whitman.


No supermarket

You have to go only a little ways to fill up your cart, though, with supermarkets in many of the surrounding towns.

Brian J. White, a multiplatform editor at the Globe, can be reached at Subscribe to our newsletter at