Arlington, Massachusetts

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Arlington, Massachusetts
Arlington MA Town Hall.jpg
Arlington Town Hall
Flag of Arlington, Massachusetts.png
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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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
CountryUnited States
State Massachusetts
County Middlesex
  Type Representative town meeting
   Town Manager Jim Feeney
  Select BoardStephen W. DeCourcey
Lenard Diggins
Eric D. Helmuth (chair)
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 was incorporated on February 27, 1807 as West Cambridge, replacing Menotomy. This includes the town of Belmont, and outwards to the shore of the Mystic River, which had previously been part of Charlestown. The town was renamed Arlington on April 30, 1867 in honor of those buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

The Massachusett tribe lived around the Mystic Lakes, the Mystic River, and Alewife Brook. Chief Nanepashemet was killed by a rival tribe in about 1619, and Nanepashemet's widow "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 Medford, 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 still survives. The Schwamb Mill has been a working mill since 1650, making it the longest working mill in the country.

Paul Revere's 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. Twenty-five Americans 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). Arlington resident Cyrus Dallin would later create an iconic sculpture of the rider; a version can be seen at the town's Cyrus Dallin Art Museum.

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 is a museum which remembers those 12 Americans 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]

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

Geography and infrastructure

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.


Several MBTA bus routes pass through the town.

The Minuteman Bikeway also runs through the center of town, connecting residents by bike to Bedford, Lexington, the Alewife Red Line station and Boston.

Route 2 is a limited access highway that runs along the southern border of Arlington with Belmont.


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] [17]

Historically, Arlington is known for being an Irish, Italian and Greek middle class community but in the last decades has become increasingly expensive. [ citation needed ] But still retaining its middle class homes with a mixture of double/triple decker homes (multiple family styles homes) and (mostly smaller sized for single family homes) single family homes.

The annual Greek festival is held in Arlington annually.

Arlington or “A-Town” (as it is referred to by Bostonians) has long a strong reputation of being a “Irish, Italian” community among Bostonians. [ citation needed ]

At the 2020 census, [18] there were 46,308 people living in 19,308 households in the town. The population density was 9,004.1 people per square mile. There were 19,974 housing units at an average density of 3,841.2 per square mile (1,483.1/km2) as of the 2010 census. The racial makeup of the town as of the 2020 census was 75.6% White, 3.3% African American, 0.1% Native American, 13.7% Asian and 6.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.0% of the population.

There were 19,308 households with an average household size of 2.37 According to previous data, 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.

Of the 46,308 people in the population, 6.5% were under the age of 5, 21.4% were under the age of 18, and 16% were 65 years and over. 53.3% of the population was female.

The median household income was $125,701, up from $85,059 in 2010. The per capita income for the town was $69,007, up from $47,571 in 2010. About 4.6% of the population were below the poverty line.


Data is from the 2009–2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. [19] [20] [21]

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, [22] presided over by the Town Moderator, and is made up of 252 Town Meeting Members. [22] 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. [23] 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
  • Stephen W. DeCourcey
  • Lenard T. Diggins
  • Eric D. Helmuth (Chair)
  • John V. Hurd (Vice-Chair)
  • Diane M. Mahon

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. [24]

School Committee
  • Kirsi C. Allison-Ampe (Chair)
  • Liz Exton (Secretary)
  • Laura Gitelson
  • Leonard J. Kardon
  • Jane P. Morgan
  • Paul Schlichtman (Vice-Chair)
  • 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. (seven elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school) [25] 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. [26]

Private and parochial schools

There are two Parochial schools, Arlington Catholic High School, and an elementary/middle school, St. Agnes School, [27] both affiliated with St. Agnes Parish. [28] 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. [29]

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. [33]

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

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Further reading