Main Births etc
Arlington, Massachusetts
—  Town  —
Ice Harvesting on Spy Pond, from an 1854 Print.
Official seal of Arlington, Massachusetts
Motto: Libertatis Propugnatio Hereditas Avita (Latin)
"The Defense of Liberty is Our Ancestral Heritage"
Location in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°24′55″N 71°09′25″W / 42.41528, -71.15694Coordinates: 42°24′55″N 71°09′25″W / 42.41528, -71.15694
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Middlesex
Settled 1635
Incorporated 1807
Renamed 1867
 • Type Representative town meeting
 • Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine
 • Board of
Kevin Greeley
Daniel Dunn
Diane Mahon
Joseph Curro Jr.
Steven Byrne
 • Total 5.5 sq mi (14.3 km2)
 • Land 5.2 sq mi (13.4 km2)
 • Water 0.3 sq mi (0.9 km2)
Elevation 46 ft (14 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 42,844
 • Density 8,239.2/sq mi (3,197.3/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 02474, 02475, 02476
Area code(s) 339 / 781
FIPS code 25-01605
GNIS feature ID 0619393

Arlington is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, six miles (10 km) northwest of Boston. The population was 42,844 at the 2010 census.


Patriots' Grave in the Old Burying Ground

The Town of Arlington was settled by European colonists in 1635 as a village within the boundaries of Cambridge, Massachusetts under the name Menotomy, an Algonquian word meaning "swift running water". 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. In 1867, the name "Arlington" was chosen 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. By the time Europeans arrived, the local Indians had been devastated by disease; also, the tribal chief, Nanepashemet, had been killed by a rival tribe in about 1619. Nanepashemet's widow, known to history only as "Squaw Sachem", sold the land of her tribe to the colonists for ten pounds, with provisions that she and her tribe could remain on her homestead land around the Mystic Lakes and continue hunting and farming. She also was to be given a new winter coat of wool each year for the rest of her life. She is thought to have lived until about 1650.

The Jason Russell House.

Through the town also flows the stream called Mill Brook, 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,[1] 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.)

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.[2]

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.[3]

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.[4]

Arlington was the site of the accident which claimed the life of top American 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.

File: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) are covered by water. 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
  • Arlington Heights, in the west
  • Little Scotland
  • East Arlington, roughly east of Pleasant Street
  • Brattle Square
  • Jason Heights
  • Arlmont Village
  • Morningside
  • Turkey Hill

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.


At the 2010 census,[13] there were 42,844 people, 18,969 households and 10,981 families residing in the town. The population density was 8,239.2 per square mile (3,197.3/km2). There were 19,974 housing units at an average density of 3,841.2 per square mile (1,490.6/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.[14][15][16]

Rank ZIP Code (ZCTA) Per capita
Population Number of
Poverty Rate
1 02476 (Arlington Center/Heights) $51,709 $95,305 $131,770 16,662 7,065 N/a
Arlington $49,549 $89,841 $117,590 43,308 18,688 4.4%
2 02474 (East Arlington) $48,199 $87,225 $111,148 26,646 11,623 N/a
Middlesex County $42,861 $82,090 $104,032 1,522,533 581,120 7.7%
Massachusetts $35,763 $66,866 $84,900 6,605,058 2,530,147 10.7%
United States $28,155 $53,046 $64,719 311,536,594 115,610,216 15.1%


County government: Middlesex County
Clerk of Courts: Michael A. Sullivan
District Attorney: Marian Ryan
Register of Deeds: Richard P. Howe, Jr. (North at Lowell)
Eugene C. Brune (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): Kenneth J. Donnelly (D)
Governor's Councilor(s): Marilyn M. Petitto Devaney
Federal government
U.S. Representative(s): Katherine Clark(5th District)
U.S. Senators: Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)

Arlington's executive branch consists of an elected five-member Board of Selectmen. The day-to-day operations are handled by a Town Manager hired by the Board of Selectmen. The legislative branch is made up of 252 Town Meeting Members, elected from the 21 precincts. The Town of Arlington has enough citizens to become the City of Arlington, but has not done so, in part because it would lose its ability to hold Town Meetings. These meetings can often last for at least a month, being held two nights a week until the issues are settled.

Board of Selectmen
  • Kevin Greeley (Chair)
  • Diane Mahon (Vice Chair)
  • Steven Byrne
  • Joseph Curro
  • Daniel Dunn
School Committee
  • Paul Schlichtman (Chair)
  • Jennifer Susse (Vice Chair)
  • Kirsi Allison-Ampe
  • William Hayner
  • Judson Pierce
  • Cindy Starks
  • Jeffrey Thielman


Public schools[]

Arlington has a public school system with nine schools.[17] The seven elementary schools (K-5) are Brackett, Bishop, Thompson, Hardy, Peirce, Stratton, and Dallin. There is also a single middle school (grades 6–8), 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.[18]

Private and parochial schools[]

There are two Parochial schools, Arlington Catholic High School, and an elementary/middle school, St. Agnes School,[19] both affiliated with St. Agnes Parish.[20] In addition, there are two secular elementary schools, Lesley Ellis and the Alivia Elementary School, and Ecole Bilingue, another elementary/middle school.

Parks and historical sites[]

Hills Pond, Menotomy Rocks Park

The water tower in Arlington Heights, built in 1921

  • Menotomy Rocks Park encompasses Hills Pond and has trails through the surrounding forested land.
  • Robbins Farm Park along Eastern Avenue includes a playground, ball fields, and a commanding view of the Boston skyline.
  • Robbins Library contains the oldest continuously operated free children's library in the country.[21]
  • Spy Pond Park provides access to the northeast shore of Spy Pond.
  • The Arlington Center Historic District, where the Robbins Library and Old Burying Ground are located, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • The Cyrus E. Dallin Art Museum is a site dedicated to the artwork and sculpture of noted artist Cyrus E. Dallin.
  • The Great Meadow comprises both wet meadow swamp and forest right outside the border of Arlington. While the Great Meadow lies within the borders of Lexington, the park is owned and maintained by the Town of Arlington.[22]
  • The House at 5 Willow Court
  • The Henry Swan House, built in 1888, is a historic house at 418 Massachusetts Avenue. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.[23]
  • The Jason Russell House contains a museum that displays, among other items, a mastodon tusk found in Spy Pond in the late 1950s by a fisherman who originally thought he had brought up a tree branch.
  • The Minuteman Bikeway, a popular rail trail built in 1992, passes through various Arlington neighborhoods, including Arlington Center.
  • The Prince Hall Mystic Cemetery, the only black Freemason Cemetery in the country.
  • The Uncle Sam Memorial Statue commemorates native son Samuel Wilson, who was perhaps the original Uncle Sam.
  • The Water tower at Park Circle is an exact copy of the rotunda of the ancient Greek Arsinoeon of the Samothrace temple complex.

Notable people[]

Menotomy Indian Hunter in Arlington Center by resident Cyrus E. Dallin (1911).

  • Nate "Tiny" Archibald, guard for the Boston Celtics (1978–1983)
  • Sven Birkerts, essayist and literary critic (b. 1951)[24]
  • Paul Boudreau, current NFL Offensive Line coach for the St. Louis Rams[25]
  • Michael Bowman, actor Me, Myself and Irene[26]
  • John Quincy Adams Brackett, Former Massachusetts Governor
  • William Stanley Braithwaite, writer, poet and literary critic. Won Spingarn Medal in 1918.[27]
  • Christopher Castellani, writer[28]
  • Andrew Chaikin, space journalist and author of A Man on the Moon, on which HBO based a miniseries
  • Haroutioun Hovanes Chakmakjian, chemistry professor, Armenian scholar, and father of Alan Hovhaness[29]
  • Dane Cook, comedian & actor
  • Robert Creeley, poet (1926–2005)
  • Cyrus E. Dallin, sculptor (1861–1944), best known for the Appeal to the Great Spirit sculpture in front of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (see picture)
  • Adio diBiccari, sculptor[30]
  • Joshua Eric Dodge, Wisconsin Supreme Court[31]
  • Olympia Dukakis, actress, Academy Award winner (b. 1931)[32]
  • Bob Frankston, co-inventor of Visicalc, the first electronic spreadsheet[4]
  • Roy J. Glauber, Nobel Prize winner (Physics), 2005[33]
  • Katy Grannan, photographer
  • George Franklin Grant, first black graduate of Harvard Dental School and inventor of a type of golf tee
  • Deborah Henson-Conant, Grammy-nominated harpist[34]
  • Susan Hilferty, costume designer, Wicked
  • Mike Holovak, former quarterback and later, coach with the Boston Patriots
  • Alan Hovhaness, composer (1911–2000)
  • Timothy Hutton, Actor, youngest winner of an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
  • John A. "Johnny" Kelley, Boston Marathon winner, 1935 and 1945, Olympian athlete
  • Richard Lennon, Roman Catholic Bishop of Cleveland
  • J. C. R. Licklider, computer scientist (1915–1990)
  • William J. McCarthy, President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT)
  • Eugene Francis McGurl, US Army Air Forces 95th Bomb Sq., 17th Bomb Grp Navigator who flew with Crew 5 in General Jimmy Doolittle's famous "Thirty Seconds over Tokyo" raid in World War II.
  • Tom McNeeley, Jr., former heavyweight contender who challenged Floyd Patterson for the heavyweight title in Toronto in 1961
  • Eileen Myles, poet, novelist
  • John Francis Paramino, sculptor, best known for "The Founder's Memorial" in Boston Common, commissioned for Boston's tercentenary (1630–1930)[35]
  • Andy Powers, former Boston College hockey player and minor league hockey player[36]
  • David Powers, former Special Assistant to US President John F. Kennedy
  • Hilary Putnam (b. 1926), philosopher, mathematician and computer scientist, professor emeritus at Harvard
  • Herb Reed, vocalist and founding member of The Platters[37]
  • Ron Rivest, cryptographer (b. 1947)
  • Bill Robertie, backgammon, chess and poker player and author
  • Dave "Chico" Ryan, bassist of Sha Na Na
  • Whitney Smith, vexillologist and designer of the flag of Guyana.
  • Chris Smither, blues guitarist/singer.
  • Bill Squires, American Track & Field Coach.
  • Mark J. Sullivan, Director of the United States Secret Service[38]
  • John Townsend Trowbridge, writer (1827–1916)
  • Samuel Whittemore, elderly soldier in the Battle of Lexington and Concord
  • Alan Wilson (musician), (1943–70), also known as Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson; singer, songwriter, leader of Canned Heat[39]
  • Samuel Wilson, meat-packer (1766–1854), namesake of "Uncle Sam"
  • Tom Yewcic, former quarterback with the Boston Patriots from 1961–66, and former catcher for the Detroit Tigers; only person ever to play two professional sports at Fenway Park.

Arlington in popular culture[]

  • Two feature films have been shot partially in Arlington: The Out-of-Towners, starring Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn, and Once Around, starring Richard Dreyfuss and Holly Hunter.
  • Three widely recognized television shows have been filmed in Arlington: This Old House, Trading Spaces, and Made.
  • A History Channel special, Bible Battles, was filmed in Arlington.
  • Arlington is referenced in the movie The Verdict starring Paul Newman. South Boston's K Street takes the place of Arlington in the movie.
  • The music video for "Sing" by The Dresden Dolls was shot at the Regent Theatre in Arlington Center.
  • Arlington High School received national media attention, becoming a topic of interest for the Glenn Beck Show[40] and The View, for a ruling of the Arlington School Committee concerning the Pledge of Allegiance.
  • Arlington High School's 2014 Jazz Band came in 2nd place in the International Berklee High School Jazz Festival[41]
  • Arlington High School's 2013 Octet won the International Berklee High School Jazz Festival[42]
  • Arlington High School's 2011 Jazz Band came in 2nd place in the International Berklee High School Jazz Festival by 1 point[43]
  • Arlington High School's quiz team has appeared in two seasons of WGBH's High School Quiz Show.
  • The Steve Katsos Show is filmed at ACMi Studios in Arlington Heights.[44]

Organizations based in Arlington[]

Topography of Arlington and environs

  • Arlington Garden Club[45]
  • Arlington Democratic Town Committee[46]
  • Arlington Republican Town Committee
  • The Menotomy Bird Club[47]
  • Arlington Friends of the Drama[48]
  • Arlington Dog Owners Group[49]
  • The Armenian Cultural Foundation
  • Mystic Valley Lodge, A.F.& A.M.

Sister cities[]

See also[]

  • List of Registered Historic Places in Arlington, Massachusetts


  1. ^ Fischer, David Hackett (1994). Paul Revere's Ride. New York, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-508847-6. 
  2. ^ "History". Town of Arlington. Archived from the original on 9 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  3. ^ Schaeffer, K. H. and Elliott Sclar. Access for All: Transportation and Urban Growth. Columbia University Press, 1980. Accessed on Google Books. 86. Retrieved on January 16, 2010. ISBN 978-0-231-05165-1.
  4. ^ a b "Early Days". 1979-01-02. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  5. ^ "TOTAL POPULATION (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 13, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision – GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  7. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts". US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  8. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts". US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Archived from the original on August 5, 2010. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  9. ^ (1952) "1950 Census of Population" 1: Number of Inhabitants. Retrieved on July 12, 2011. 
  10. ^ "1920 Census of Population". Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21–5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  11. ^ "1890 Census of the Population". Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  12. ^ "1870 Census of the Population". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Archived from the original on August 8, 2010. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 13, 2013. 
  14. ^ "SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS 2009–2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-01-12. 
  15. ^ "ACS DEMOGRAPHIC AND HOUSING ESTIMATES 2009–2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-01-12. 
  16. ^ "HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES 2009–2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-01-12. 
  17. ^ "Arlington Public Schools: Home Page". 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  18. ^ "Home". Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  19. ^ "Providing Quality Catholic Education for Grades Pre-K through 8 since 1888". Saint Agnes School. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  20. ^ "About Us". Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ About AGM. Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  23. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  24. ^ Sven Birkerts. "Graywolf Press". Graywolf Press. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  25. ^ "Falcons add Boudreau as offensive line coach". AccessNorthGa. 2008-01-31. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  26. ^ "Michael Bowman". Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  27. ^ Braithwaite, William Stanley (1972). The William Stanley Braithwaite reader. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.. p. 265.. ISBN 0-472-08194-2 
  28. ^ "Christopher Castellani: Workman Publishing". Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  29. ^ "Alan Hovhaness International Research Centre, Yerevan, Armenia". Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  30. ^ "Adio diBiccari, at 94; sculptor shaped unmolded clay into masterpieces – The Boston Globe". 2009-01-12. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  31. ^ "dfa". Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  32. ^ Dukakis, Olympia (2003). Ask Me Again Tomorrow: A Life in Progress. New York, NY: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-093409-3. 
  33. ^ "Roy J. Glauber, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics, winner 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics". Harvard University Gazette. Archived from the original on 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  34. ^ "Harpist Deborah Henson-Conant". 1998-06-01. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  35. ^ City of Boston. "Tercentenary of the Founding of Boston", Compiled by direction of Mayor James M. Curley and the Committee on Compilation. (Passed by City Council, April 27, 1931; Approved by Mayor, April 28, 1931.)
  36. ^ "Andy Powers hockey statistics and profile at". 1975-10-12. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  37. ^ "Platters founder Herb Reed dies at 83". Associated Press. 2012-06-05. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  38. ^ "Director, Mark Sullivan". United States Secret Service. Archived from the original on 8 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-20. 
  39. ^ Winters, Rebecca Davis (2007). Blind Owl Blues. Boston, MA: self published. p. 8,19,219. 
  40. ^ "Banishing God From Our Classrooms –". Glenn Beck. 2010-07-01. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  41. ^ "2014 Festival Winners". Berklee College of Music. 
  42. ^ "2013 Festival Winners". Berklee College of Music. 
  43. ^ "2011 Festival Winners". Berklee College of Music. 
  44. ^
  45. ^ "Home". Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  46. ^ " ". Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  47. ^ Marj. Rines. "Menotomy Bird Club". Menotomy Bird Club. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  48. ^ "Community Theatre, AFD Theatre Arlington, MA Home". Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  49. ^ "Arlington Dog Owners Group | for responsible dog owners in Arlington MA". Retrieved 2012-10-13. 

Further reading[]

  • Somerville, Arlington and Belmont Directory. 1869; 1873; 1876.

External links[]

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