Median home price: Single family,$255,500; condominiums, $240,000
Residential tax rate: $10.50
Average tax bill: $3,260
Choice location: Studley's Pond, known locally as Reed's Pond, offers a lovely stroll.
Cocktail party nugget: This was a 19th century shoemaking center, and, during the Civil War, half of the Union Army was shod in Rockland footwear.
SOURCES: Warren Group, Town of Rockland, US Census, Rockland Historical Society, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
THE GOODS This town had its start, as did so many other Massachusetts communities, as a small-scale farming community that gave way to large-scale industrialization in the mid 1850s.
Once part of Abington, the smallish town - 10 square miles - stepped out on its own in 1874. The town has quick access to Route 3 and has some mid-range hotels. Downtown is a walk-to neighborhood in need of an upgrade and business is found in a classic shopping mall and suburban parks scattered around town.
Residents care about their children and have volunteer-staffed teen center and a youth commission along with the usual collection of sports teams. Residents are also pushing for state help to upgrade middle and high schools.
Violent crime rate was below the state average.
THE PROS A surge of new construction in the 1990s has joined the older, working-class New England farmhouse-style homes lining downtown streets. Home ownership is more affordable here than surrounding South Shore towns and there are even mobile home communities here.
Capes, ranches, and some Victorians are found here and house size is generally under 2,000 square feet.
Condos include town homes and duplexes.
Rockland is part of South Field, the redevelopment of the former Weymouth Naval Air Station.
THE CONS Downtown Rockland is struggling to maintain its economic vitality, according to a recent state economic development study.
High school academic performance does reasonably well, but middle and elementary schools appear to be foundering, according to a Globe analysis of 2007 MCAS results.
JOHN R. ELLEMENT