Arlington, Massachusetts

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Arlington, Massachusetts
Spy Pond Ice Harvesting from a 1854 print.jpg
Ice Harvesting on Spy Pond, from an 1854 Print.
Arms of Arlington, Massachusetts.svg
Libertatis Propugnatio Hereditas Avita(Latin)
"The Defense of Liberty Is Our Ancestral Heritage"
Middlesex County Massachusetts incorporated and unincorporated areas Arlington highlighted.svg
Location in Massachusetts
USA Massachusetts location map.svg
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Usa edcp location map.svg
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North America laea location map.svg
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Coordinates: 42°24′55″N71°09′25″W / 42.41528°N 71.15694°W / 42.41528; -71.15694 Coordinates: 42°24′55″N71°09′25″W / 42.41528°N 71.15694°W / 42.41528; -71.15694
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Middlesex
  Type Representative town meeting
   Town Manager Sandy Pooler
  Select BoardStephen W. DeCourcey
Lenard Diggins
Eric D. Helmuth
John V. Hurd
Diane M. Mahon
  Total5.495 sq mi (14.235 km2)
  Land5.048 sq mi (13.077 km2)
  Water0.447 sq mi (1.158 km2)
46 ft (14 m)
  Density9,173.53/sq mi (3,541.18/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Codes
02474, 02476
Area code 339 / 781
FIPS code 25-01605
GNIS feature ID0619393
Robbins Farm Park Robbins Farm Park.jpg
Robbins Farm Park

Arlington is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The town is six miles (10 km) northwest of Boston, and its population was 46,308 at the 2020 census.



Patriots' Grave in the Old Burying Ground Patriots' Grave, Old Burying Ground, Arlington, Massachusetts.JPG
Patriots' Grave in the Old Burying Ground

European colonists settled the Town of Arlington in 1635 as a village within the boundaries of Cambridge, Massachusetts, under the name Menotomy, an Algonquian word considered by some to mean "swift running water", though linguistic anthropologists dispute that translation. [1] A larger area, including land that was later to become the town of Belmont, and outwards to the shore of the Mystic River, which had previously been part of Charlestown, was incorporated on February 27, 1807, as West Cambridge, replacing Menotomy. In 1867, the town was renamed Arlington, in honor of those buried in Arlington National Cemetery; the name change took effect that April 30.

The Massachusett tribe, part of the Algonquian group of Native Americans, lived around the Mystic Lakes, the Mystic River and Alewife Brook. When the tribal chief, Nanepashemet, was killed by a rival tribe in about 1619, Nanepashemet's widow, known to history only as "Squaw Sachem of Mistick", became the acknowledged leader of the tribe. In 1639 she deeded the land of what was then Cambridge and Watertown to the colonists. She lived her last years on the west side of the Mystic Lakes near what is now Medford, Massachusetts, where she died sometime between 1650 and 1667. [2]

The Jason Russell House. Jason Russell House - Arlington, Massachusetts.JPG
The Jason Russell House.

A stream called Mill Brook flows through the town, which historically figured largely into Arlington's economy. In 1637, Captain George Cooke built the first mill in this area. Subsequently, seven mills were built along the stream, including the Old Schwamb Mill, which survives to this day. The Schwamb Mill has been a working mill since 1650, making it the longest working mill in the country.

Paul Revere's famous midnight ride to alert colonists took him through Menotomy, [3] now known as Arlington. Later on that first day of the American Revolution, more blood was shed in Menotomy than in the battles of Lexington and Concord combined. Minutemen from surrounding towns converged on Menotomy to ambush the British on their retreat from Concord and Lexington. All in all, 25 colonials were killed in Menotomy (half of all Americans killed in the day's battles), as well as 40 British troops (more than half their fatalities).

1852 Map of Boston area showing Arlington, then called West Cambridge. (The former Middlesex Canal is highlighted.) 1852 Middlesex Canal (Massachusetts) map.jpg
1852 Map of Boston area showing Arlington, then called West Cambridge. (The former Middlesex Canal is highlighted.)

The Jason Russell House, a yellow colonial, is today a museum which remembers those twelve Americans, including Russell himself, who were killed in and around this pictured dwelling on April 19, 1775. Bullet holes are visible in the interior walls to this day.

In its early years, Arlington was a thriving farming community and had its own lettuce that was quite popular. [4]

Arlington had a large ice industry on Spy Pond from the mid-19th century until the last ice house burned down in 1930; much of its ice was sent to the Caribbean and India by "Ice King" Frederic Tudor.

Arlington's population grew by over 90 percent during the 1920s. [5]

In 1979, the first spreadsheet software program, VisiCalc, was developed by Bob Frankston and Dan Bricklin in the attic of the Arlington apartment rented by Bob Frankston. [6]

Arlington was the site of the accident which claimed the life of top professional cyclist Nicole Reinhart, a two-time Pan American Games winner. She was killed on September 17, 2000, when she was thrown from her bicycle during a National Calendar criterium bicycle race.

An 1875 map of Arlington Middlesex county 1875 - arlington - p101 500.jpg
An 1875 map of Arlington


Arlington covers 3,517.5 acres (14 km2), or 5.5 square miles, of which 286.2 acres (1.2 km2), or 0.4 square miles, are covered by water. [7] There are 210.52 acres (0.9 km2) of parkland. Elevation ranges from 4 feet (1.2 m) above sea level (along Alewife Brook) to 377 feet (114.9 m) near Park Avenue and Eastern Avenue.

Arlington borders on the Mystic Lakes, Mystic River, and Alewife Brook. Within its borders are Spy Pond, the Arlington Reservoir, Mill Brook, and Hills Pond.


Arlington Center in 2019 Arlington Center - Arlington, MA - DSC07462.jpg
Arlington Center in 2019

Zip Codes

Adjacent municipalities

Arlington is located in eastern Massachusetts and is bordered by the cities of Medford to the northeast, Somerville to the east, Cambridge to the southeast, and the towns of Winchester to the north, Lexington to the west, and Belmont to the south.


Historical population
1850 2,202    
1860 2,681+21.8%
1870 3,261+21.6%
1880 4,100+25.7%
1890 5,029+22.7%
1900 8,603+71.1%
1910 11,187+30.0%
1920 18,665+66.8%
1930 36,094+93.4%
1940 40,013+10.9%
1950 44,353+10.8%
1960 49,953+12.6%
1970 53,524+7.1%
1980 48,219−9.9%
1990 44,630−7.4%
2000 42,389−5.0%
2010 42,844+1.1%
2020 46,308+8.1%
* = population estimate. Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data. [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16]

At the 2010 census, [17] there were 42,844 people, 18,969 households and 10,981 families residing in the town. The population density was 8,239.2 inhabitants per square mile (3,181.2/km2). There were 19,974 housing units at an average density of 3,841.2 per square mile (1,483.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 83.6% White, 2.3% African American, 0.1% Native American, 8.3% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.3% of the population.

There were 19,007 households, of which 27.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.1% were married couples living together, 2.0% had a male householder with no wife present, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.0% were non-families. 35.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.93.

Of the 42,844 people in the population, 21.4% were under the age of 18, 5.8% were 15 to 19 years of age, 5.3% were 20 to 24 years of age, 30.3% were 25 to 44 years of age, 28.7% were 45 to 64 years of age, and 15.8% were 65 years and over. The median age was 41.7 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.8 males. For every 100 females 18 years and over there were 83.9 males.

The median household income was $85,059, and the median family income was $107,862. The median income of individuals working full-time was $78,820 for males versus $64,143 for females. The per capita income for the town was $47,571. About 1.9% of families and 4.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.3% of those under age 18 and 7.5% of those age 65 or over.


Data is from the 2009–2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. [18] [19] [20]

RankZIP Code (ZCTA)Per capita
PopulationNumber of
Poverty Rate
102476 (Arlington Center/Heights)$51,709$95,305$131,77016,6627,065N/a
202474 (East Arlington)$48,199$87,225$111,14826,64611,623N/a
Middlesex County $42,861$82,090$104,0321,522,533581,1207.7%
Massachusetts $35,763$66,866$84,9006,605,0582,530,14710.7%
United States$28,155$53,046$64,719311,536,594115,610,21615.1%


Arlington town hall Arlington Town Hall.jpg
Arlington town hall
Historical county designation: Middlesex County
Clerk of Courts: Michael A. Sullivan
District Attorney: Marian Ryan
Register of Deeds:Richard P. Howe, Jr. (North at Lowell)
Maria Curtatone (South at Cambridge)
Register of Probate:Tara E. DeCristofaro
County Sheriff:Peter Koutoujian
State government
State Representative(s): Dave Rogers (D)
Sean Garballey (D)
State Senator(s): Cindy F. Friedman (D)
Governor's Councilor(s):Marilyn M. Petitto Devaney
Federal government
U.S. Representative(s): Katherine Clark (D), (5th District)
U.S. Senators: Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)

Arlington's executive branch consists of an elected five-member Select Board. The day-to-day operations are handled by a Town Manager hired by the Select Board. The legislative branch is a Representative Town Meeting, [21] presided over by the Town Moderator, and is made up of 252 Town Meeting Members. [21] Twelve Town Meeting Members are elected to staggered three year terms from each of the 21 precincts. Article LXXXIX Section 8 of the Massachusetts Constitution permits towns with a population greater than 12,000 to adopt a city form of government. [22] The Town of Arlington meets the population requirement to become a city, but has not done so, in part because it would lose its ability to engage citizens in local government under the Representative Town Meeting form of government. Annual Town Meetings begin in April on the first Monday after Patriots' Day, and are held two nights a week until all items on the town warrant are resolved, and generally last three to four weeks.

Select Board
  • Lenard T. Diggins (Chair)
  • Diane M. Mahon (Vice-Chair)
  • Stephen W. DeCourcey
  • Eric D. Helmuth
  • John V. Hurd

In April 2021, Arlington voted to become the third municipality in the United States to recognize polyamorous domestic partnerships, following adjacent cities of Somerville and Cambridge. [23]

School Committee
  • William Hayner (Chair)
  • Liz Exton (Vice Chair)
  • Kirsi C. Allison-Ampe (Secretary)
  • Jane P. Morgan
  • Leonard J. Kardon
  • Paul Schlichtman
  • Jeffrey D. Thielman
Other Town-Wide Elected Officials
  • Juli Brazile, Town Clerk
  • Greg Christiana, Town Moderator


Public schools

Arlington has a public school system with ten schools. (7 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and 1 high school) [24] The seven elementary schools (K–5) are Brackett, Bishop, Dallin, Hardy, Peirce, Stratton, and Thompson. There are also two middle schools, grade 6 at Gibbs, and grades 7–8 at Ottoson, and Arlington High School, which includes grades 9–12. In addition, Arlington is in the district served by the Minuteman Regional High School, located in Lexington, one of the top vocational-technical schools in Massachusetts. [25]

Private and parochial schools

There are two Parochial schools, Arlington Catholic High School, and an elementary/middle school, St. Agnes School, [26] both affiliated with St. Agnes Parish. [27] In addition, there are two secular elementary schools, Lesley Ellis and the Alivia Elementary School.

Supplementary schools

The Greater Boston Japanese Language School (ボストン補習授業校, Bosuton Hoshū Jugyō Kō), a supplementary school for Japanese people, has its weekday office in Arlington, while it holds classes at Medford High School in Medford. [28]

Parks and historical sites

Hills Pond, Menotomy Rocks Park Hill's Pond, Monotomy Rocks Park, Arlington,Massachusetts.JPG
Hills Pond, Menotomy Rocks Park
The water tower in Arlington Heights, built in 1921 ArlingtonTower.jpg
The water tower in Arlington Heights, built in 1921

Regent Theatre

The Regent Theatre is a historic theater in downtown Arlington. It was built in 1916 for vaudeville acts and is still used for live performances as well as films. It was remodeled in 1926. The theatre, located at 7 Medford Street, has 500 seats. It hosts the Arlington International Film Festival. [32]

Notable people

Menotomy Indian Hunter in Arlington Center by resident Cyrus E. Dallin (1911). Menotomy Indian Hunter by Cyrus E. Dallin - Arlington, Massachusetts.JPG
Menotomy Indian Hunter in Arlington Center by resident Cyrus E. Dallin (1911).

Sister cities

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cambridge, Massachusetts</span> City in Eastern Massachusetts

Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. As part of the Boston metropolitan area, the city's population of the 2020 U.S. census was 118,403, making it the fourth most populous city in the state, behind Boston, Worcester, and Springfield. It is one of two de jure county seats of Middlesex County, although the county's executive government was abolished in 1997. Situated directly north of Boston, across the Charles River, it was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, once also an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Middlesex County, Massachusetts</span> County in Massachusetts, United States

Middlesex County is located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in the United States. As of the 2020 census, the population was 1,632,002, making it the most populous county in both Massachusetts and New England and the 22nd most populous county in the United States. Middlesex County is one of two U.S. counties to be amongst the top 25 counties with the highest household income and the 25 most populated counties. It is included in the Census Bureau's Boston–Cambridge–Newton, MA–NH Metropolitan Statistical Area. As part of the 2020 United States census, the Commonwealth's mean center of population for that year was geo-centered in Middlesex County, in the town of Natick.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Medford, Massachusetts</span> City in Massachusetts, United States

Medford is a city 6.7 miles (10.8 km) northwest of downtown Boston on the Mystic River in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. At the time of the 2020 U.S. Census, Medford's population was 59,659. It is home to Tufts University, which has its campus along the Medford and Somerville border.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Somerville, Massachusetts</span> City in Massachusetts, United States

Somerville is a city located directly to the northwest of Boston, and north of Cambridge, in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. As of the 2020 United States Census, the city had a total population of 81,045 people. With an area of 4.12 square miles (10.7 km2), the city has a density of 19,671/sq mi (7,595/km2), making it the most densely populated municipality in New England and the 16th most densely populated incorporated municipality in the country. Somerville was established as a town in 1842, when it was separated from Charlestown. In 2006, the city was named the best-run city in Massachusetts by The Boston Globe. In 1972, 2009, and 2015, the city received the All-America City Award. It is home to Tufts University, which has its campus along the Somerville and Medford border.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lexington, Massachusetts</span> Town in Massachusetts, United States

Lexington is a suburban town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. It is 10 miles (16 km) from Downtown Boston. The population was 34,454 as of the 2020 census. The area was originally inhabited by Native Americans, and was first settled by Europeans in 1641 as a farming community. Lexington is well known as the site of the first shots of the American Revolutionary War, in the Battle of Lexington on April 19, 1775, where the "Shot heard 'round the world" took place. It is home to Minute Man National Historical Park.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Belmont, Massachusetts</span> Town in eastern Massachusetts

Belmont is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. It is a western suburb of Boston, Massachusetts, United States; and is part of the Greater Boston metropolitan area. At the time of the 2020 U.S. Census, the town's population stood at 27,295, up 10.4% from 2010.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Burlington, Massachusetts</span> Town in Massachusetts, United States

Burlington is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 26,377 at the 2020 census.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Winchester, Massachusetts</span> Town in Massachusetts, United States

Winchester is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, located 8.2 miles (13.2 km) north of downtown Boston as part of the Greater Boston metropolitan area. It is also one of the wealthiest municipalities in Massachusetts. The population was 22,970 at the 2020 United States Census.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Patriots' Day</span> Civic holiday in the USA

Patriots' Day is an annual event, formalized as a legal holiday or a special observance day in six states, commemorating the battles of Lexington, Concord, and Menotomy, some of the first battles of the American Revolutionary War. The holiday occurs on the third Monday of April each year, with celebrations including battle reenactments and the Boston Marathon.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Minuteman Bikeway</span> Rail trail in Massachusetts, United States

The Minuteman Bikeway is a 10-mile (16-kilometre) paved multi-use rail trail located in the Greater Boston area of Massachusetts. It runs from Bedford to Alewife station, at the northern end of the Red Line in Cambridge, passing through the towns of Lexington and Arlington along the way. Also along the route are several notable regional sites, including Alewife Brook Reservation, the Cyrus Dallin Art Museum, Spy Pond, "Arlington’s Great Meadows", the Battle Green in Lexington, and Hanscom Air Force Base.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cyrus Edwin Dallin</span> American sculptor (1861–1944)

Cyrus Edwin Dallin was an American sculptor best known for his depictions of Native Americans. He created more than 260 works, including the Equestrian Statue of Paul Revere in Boston; the Angel Moroni atop Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City; and Appeal to the Great Spirit (1908), at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He was also an accomplished painter and an Olympic archer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alewife Brook Reservation</span>

Alewife Brook Reservation is a Massachusetts state park and urban wild located in Cambridge, Arlington, and Somerville. The park is managed by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation and was established in 1900. It is named for Alewife Brook, which was also historically known as Menotomy River, a tributary of the Mystic River.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">National Register of Historic Places listings in Massachusetts</span>

This is a list of properties and districts in Massachusetts listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are over 4,300 listings in the state, representing about 5% of all NRHP listings nationwide and the second-most of any U.S. state, behind only New York. Listings appear in all 14 Massachusetts counties.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Uncle Sam Memorial Statue</span>

The Uncle Sam Memorial Statue is a statue commemorating Samuel Wilson, perhaps the original Uncle Sam, near his birthplace in the center of Arlington, Massachusetts, United States. It was sculpted by Theodore Cotillo Barbarossa. It is located on Mystic Street, across from the Cyrus Dallin Art Museum, and adjacent to the Minuteman Bikeway.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Arlington Center Historic District</span> Historic district in Massachusetts, United States

The Arlington Center Historic District includes the civic and commercial heart of Arlington, Massachusetts. It runs along the town's main commercial district, Massachusetts Avenue, from Jason Street to Franklin Street, and includes adjacent 19th- and early 20th-century residential areas roughly bounded by Jason Street, Pleasant Street, and Gray Street. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mystic River Reservation</span> Nature reserve in Massachusetts

The Mystic River Reservation is a publicly owned nature preserve with recreational features located along the Mystic River in the towns of Winchester, Arlington, Medford, Somerville, Everett, and Chelsea in eastern Massachusetts. The reserve is part of the nearly 76-square-mile (200 km2) Mystic River watershed. It is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jacob Bitzer</span> American politician

Jacob Bitzer was an American businessman, real estate agent, and politician who served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Arlington's Great Meadows</span> American nature preserve

Arlington's Great Meadows is a 183-acre (74 ha) meadow located adjacent to the Minuteman Bikeway in Lexington, Massachusetts. The meadow was once the site of a dairy farm, which was used for livestock and crop harvesting. In 1871, Great Meadows was acquired by the town of Arlington, Massachusetts for use as a water storage area for the Mystic River. After being drained in the early 20th century, it was turned into a protected area for wildlife. It currently remains a nature preserve and serves as a popular recreational area, and an important piece in local flood control.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lake Street station (Arlington, Massachusetts)</span> Former railway station in Arlington, Massachusetts, US

Lake Street station was a commuter rail station on the Lexington Branch, located in the East Arlington section of Arlington, Massachusetts. The line opened as the Lexington and West Cambridge Railroad in 1846, with a station at Pond Street among the earliest stops. It was renamed Lake Street in 1867. The Boston and Lowell Railroad (B&L) acquired the line in 1870 and built a new station building in 1885. Service continued under the Boston and Maine Railroad (B&M) – successor to the B&L – though it declined during the 20th century. Lake Street station and three others on the line were closed in May 1958. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) began subsidizing service in 1965, and Lake Street station reopened in March 1968. All passenger service on the Lexington Branch ended on January 10, 1977; it was converted into the Minuteman Bikeway in the early 1990s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Robbins Memorial Flagstaff</span>

The Robbins Memorial Flagstaff (1913) is a structure supporting and topping a flagpole in Arlington, Massachusetts created by Cyrus Dallin. The supporting sculpture includes a variety of sculptural elements including bronze figures, stone eagles, and snapping turtles with a finial representing American Agriculture. The sculpture resides to the west of Town Hall at 730 Massachusetts Avenue.


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