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Lexington, Massachusetts
—  Town  —
Minuteman Statue and Hayes Memorial Fountain on Lexington Common, by H. H. Kitson

Official seal of Lexington, Massachusetts
Nickname(s): Birthplace of American Liberty
Motto: "What a Glorious Morning for America!"
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°26′50″N 71°13′30″W / 42.44722, -71.225Coordinates: 42°26′50″N 71°13′30″W / 42.44722, -71.225
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Middlesex
Settled 1642
Incorporated 1713
 • Type Representative town meeting
 • Total 16.5 sq mi (42.8 km2)
 • Land 16.4 sq mi (42.5 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.4 km2)
Elevation 210 ft (64 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 31,394
 • Density 1,900/sq mi (730/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 02420 / 02421
Area code(s) 339 / 781
FIPS code 25-35215
GNIS feature ID 0619401

Lexington is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 31,394 at the 2010 census.[1] This town is famous for being the site of the first shot of the American Revolutionary War, in the Battle of Lexington on April 19, 1775.


Lexington was first settled circa 1642[2] as part of Cambridge, Massachusetts. What is now Lexington was then incorporated as a parish, called Cambridge Farms, in 1691. This allowed them to have a separate church and minister, but were still under jurisdiction of the Town of Cambridge. Lexington was incorporated as a separate town in 1713. It was then that it got the name Lexington.[3] How it received its name is the subject of some controversy. Some people believe that it was named in honor of Lord Lexington, an English peer.[4] Some, on the other hand, believe that it was named after Lexington (which was pronounced and today spelled Laxton) in Nottinghamshire, England.[5]

In the early colonial days, Vine Brook, which runs through Lexington, Burlington, and Bedford, and then empties into the Shawsheen River, was a focal point of the farming and industry of the town. It provided for many types of mills, and later, in the 20th Century for farm irrigation.

For decades, Lexington showed modest growth while remaining largely a farming community, providing Boston with much of its produce. It always had a bustling downtown area, which remains so to this day. Lexington began to prosper, helped by its proximity to Boston, and having a rail line (originally the Lexington and West Cambridge Railroad, later the Boston and Maine Railroad) service its citizens and businesses, beginning in 1846. (Today, the Minuteman Bikeway occupies the site of the former rail line.) For many years, East Lexington was considered a separate village from the rest of the town, though it still had the same officers and Town Hall. Most of the farms of Lexington became housing developments by the end of the 1960s.

Lexington, as well as many of the towns along the Route 128 corridor, experienced a jump in population in the 1960s and 70s, due to the high-tech boom. Property values in the town soared, and the school system became nationally recognized for its excellence. The town participates in the METCO program, which buses minority students from Boston to suburban towns to receive better educational opportunities than those available to them in the Boston Public Schools.[6]

On April 19, 1775, Lexington was the location of the first battle of the American Revolutionary War. A British military patrol made a forced march on Lexington and Concord on information from an informant that there was a large supply of weapons and gunpowder in the area. A force of Minutemen stood on Lexington Green to fight off the British. It is not clear where or who fired the first shot of the battle, but it is known as the "Shot heard 'round the world." Every year, on the third Monday of April, the town observes Patriots' Day. Events begin with Paul Revere's Ride, with a special re-enactment of the Battles of Lexington and Concord. At 6 a.m., there is a re-enactment of the skirmish on the Battle Green, with shots fired from the Battle Green and the nearby Buckman Tavern (to account for the fact that no one knows from where the first shot was fired, or by whom). After the rout, the British march on toward Concord. The battle in Lexington allowed the Concord militia time to organize at the Old North Bridge, where they were able to turn back the British and prevent them from capturing and destroying the militia's arms stores.

Throughout the rest of the year many tourists enjoy tours of the town's historic landmarks such as Buckman Tavern, Munroe Tavern, and the Hancock-Clarke House, which are maintained by the town's historical society.


Lexington is located at 42°26′39″N 71°13′36″W / 42.44417, -71.22667 (42.444345, -71.226928).[7]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 16.5 square miles (42.8 km²), of which 16.4 square miles (42.5 km²) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.4 km²), or 0.85%, is water.

Lexington borders the following towns: Burlington, Woburn, Winchester, Arlington, Belmont, Waltham, Lincoln, and Bedford. It has more area than all other municipalities that it borders.


Topography of Lexington and environs

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1850 1,893
1860 2,329 +23.0%
1870 2,277 −2.2%
1880 2,460 +8.0%
1890 3,197 +30.0%
1900 3,831 +19.8%
1910 4,918 +28.4%
1920 6,350 +29.1%
1930 9,467 +49.1%
1940 13,187 +39.3%
1950 17,335 +31.5%
1960 27,691 +59.7%
1970 31,886 +15.1%
1980 29,479 −7.5%
1990 28,974 −1.7%
2000 30,355 +4.8%
2010 31,394 +3.4%

As of the census[18] of 2000, there were 30,355 people, 11,110 households, and 8,432 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,851.0 people per square mile (714.6/km²). There were 11,333 housing units at an average density of 691.1 per square mile (266.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 86.13% White, 10.90% Asian, 3.13% Black or African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.34% from other races, and 1.41% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.41% of the population.

There were 11,110 households out of which 37.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.0% were married couples living together, 7.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.1% were non-families. 20.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the town the population was spread out with 26.4% under the age of 18, 3.5% from 18 to 24, 22.7% from 25 to 44, 28.5% from 45 to 64, and 19.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 88.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.5 males.

According to a 2007 estimate,[19] the median income for a household in the town was $122,656, and the median income for a family was $142,796. Males had a median income of $100,000+ versus $73,090 for females. The per capita income for the town was $61,119. About 1.8% of families and 3.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.2% of those under age 18 and 3.4% of those age 65 or over.


Public schools[]

Lexington is also renowned for its public education system, which includes six elementary schools, two middle schools, and a high school. Lexington High School was recently ranked the 304th best high school in the nation by Newsweek.[20] In addition to Lexington High School, students may also attend Minuteman Regional High School if so desiring.

  • Elementary Schools
    • Joseph Estabrook Elementary School [1]
    • Fiske Elementary School [2]
    • Maria Hastings Elementary School [3]
    • Bridge Elementary School [4]
    • Bowman Elementary School [5]
    • Harrington Elementary School [6]

  • Middle Schools
    • William Diamond Middle School [7]
    • Jonas Clarke Middle School [8]
  • High Schools
    • Lexington High School [9]
    • Minuteman Regional High School [10]

Private schools[]

Points of interest[]

Engraved memorial bricks lining the Lexington Depot sidewalk

  • Lexington is probably most well known for its history and is home to many historical buildings, parks, and monuments, most dating from Colonial and Revolutionary times.
  • One of the most prominent historical landmarks, located in Lexington Centre, is the Common, or as it later became known, the Battle Green, where the battle was fought, and the Minuteman Statue in front of it.
  • Another important historical monument is the Revolutionary Monument, the nation's oldest standing war memorial (completed on July 4, 1799) and the gravesite of those colonists slain in the Battle of Lexington.
  • Other landmarks of historical importance include the Old Burying Ground (with gravestones dating back to 1690), the Old Belfry, Buckman Tavern (circa 1704-1710), Munroe Tavern (circa 1695), the Hancock-Clarke House (1737), the U.S.S. Lexington Memorial, the Centre Depot (old Boston and Maine train station, today the headquarters of the town Historical Society), and Follen Church (the oldest standing church building in Lexington, built in 1839).
  • Lexington is also home to the 900-acre (3.6 km2) Minute Man National Historical Park and the National Heritage Museum, which showcases exhibits on American history and popular culture.
  • Central to the town is Lexington's town center, home to numerous dining opportunities, fine art galleries, retail shopping, a small cinema, the Cary Memorial Library, the Minuteman Bikeway, Depot Square, and many of the aforementioned historical landmarks.
  • The Great Meadow a.k.a. Arlington's Great Meadows, is a sprawling meadow and marshland located in East Lexington, but owned by the town of Arlington, Lexington's neighbor to the east.
  • Willards Woods Conservation Area, a small forest of conservation land donated years ago by the Willard Sisters.[21] Willards Woods is referenced in the classic Saturday Night Live skit "Donnie's Party".
  • Wilson Farm, a farm and farm stand in operation since 1884.
  • Notable Lexington neighborhoods include Lexington Centre, Meriam Hill (and Granny Hill), Irish Village, Loring Hill, Belfry Hill, Munroe Hill, Countryside (sometimes referred to as "Scotland"), the Munroe District, the Manor Section, Four Corners, Grapevine Corner, Woodhaven, and East Lexington (fondly "East Village", or "The East End").
  • Marrett Square, at the intersection of Marrett Road and Waltham Street, is the location of some light shopping and dining.
  • The "Old Reservoir" used to provide drinking water to Lexington residents and surrounding areas. Now it offers a place to swim and picnic in the summer time. In the winter, when it freezes over, it is used as an ice skating area.
  • Book publisher D.C. Heath was founded in 1885 at 125 Spring Street in Lexington, near the present day intersection of Route 128 and MA Route 2, and was headquartered on that spot until its 1995 sale to Houghton Mifflin.
  • Lexington is home to several historically significant modernist communities built by notable architects. These neighborhoods include Six Moon Hill, Peacock Farm, and Five Fields.[22]

Notable former and current residents[]

  • Henry David Abraham, M.D.
  • Orny Adams, comedian
  • David Angelo, writer and comedian
  • Tim Berners-Lee, computer scientist and creator of the World Wide Web[23]
  • Steven Bladd, drummer for the J. Geils Band
  • Harold Dow Bugbee, Western artist born in Lexington[24]
  • Sidney Burbank, officer in the U.S. Army during the American Civil WarHudson, Charles (1913), History of the town of Lexington, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, from its first settlement to 1868, Houghton Mifflin, p. 80,, retrieved January 31, 2012 
  • Nicolaas Bloembergen, Nobel Prize in Physics.
  • Konrad Bloch, Nobel Prize in Medicine
  • Noam Chomsky, professor of linguistics at MIT, creator of the theory of generative grammar and one of the most prominent linguists of the 20th century, as well as a noted political activist, commentator, and author.[25]
  • Francis Judd Cooke, composer
  • Mary Dailey (1928–1965), All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player.
  • Joseph Dennie, writer
  • John M. Deutch, Deputy Secretary of Defense (1994–1995), Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) (1995–1996) and professor of chemistry at MIT
  • Peter A. Diamond, Nobel Prize in Economics, Professor of Economics at MIT, known for his analysis of U.S. Social Security policy and his work as an advisor to the Advisory Council on Social Security. Awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, along with Dale T. Mortensen and Christopher A. Pissarides.
  • Rachel Dratch, cast member of Saturday Night Live
  • David Elkind, child psychologist, author
  • Brad Ellis, composer and pianist appearing on the television show Glee (TV Series)
  • Philip Elmer-DeWitt, science editor for Time Magazine
  • Carlton Fisk, Hall of Fame catcher for Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox
  • Jean B. Fletcher, Norman C. Fletcher (See John & Sarah Harkness below)
  • Henry Louis Gates, Jr., African-American Studies scholar, co-editor of Encarta Africana encyclopedia
  • Dana Greeley, last president of the American Unitarian Association and first president of the Unitarian Universalist Association
  • Jonathan Gruber, professor of Economics at MIT and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy in the U. S. Treasury Department
  • G. Hannelius, child actress
  • Cyrus Hamlin, co-founder of Robert College in Istanbul
  • John C. Harkness and Sarah P. Harkness, founders of The Architects Collaborative in Cambridge, Massachusetts with Bauhaus veteran Walter Gropius
  • Yu-Chi Ho, mathematician
  • Pete Holmes, comedian
  • Bill Janovitz, lead singer and guitarist of the rock and roll band Buffalo Tom
  • Tama Janowitz, author, Slaves of New York (1986)
  • Dennis Johnson, guard for the Boston Celtics
  • Claude Julien, current head coach for the Boston Bruins
  • X. J. Kennedy, noted poet and writer
  • Joyce Kulhawik, arts and entertainment anchor for WBZ-TV news
  • Steve Leach, former NHL Player
  • Gerald S. Lesser (1926–2010), psychologist who played a major role in developing the educational programming included in Sesame Street.[26]
  • Bill Lichtenstein, Peabody Award-winning journalist, filmmaker, radio producer
  • Abraham Loeb, astrophysicist, director of "Institute for Theory & Computation", Harvard University
  • Salvador Luria, Nobel Prize in Medicine
  • Rollie Massimino, led Villanova Wildcats to basketball national championship in 1985, former Lexington High School teacher and coach
  • Scott McCloud, cartoonist
  • Andrew McMahon, musician - lead vocalist and song writer of Jack's Mannequin and Something Corporate
  • Bill McKibben, environmentalist
  • Eugene Mirman, comedian
  • Douglas Melton, pioneer of stem cell research
  • Russell Morash, pioneer of 'How-to' television, creator and producer of the PBS shows "The Victory Garden",'This Old House', and 'New Yankee Workshop.'
  • Marian Morash, author of "The Victory Garden Cookbook." Married to Russell Morash.
  • Mario Molina, Nobel Prize in Chemistry
  • Robbie Mustoe, former English Footballer, current ESPN analyst
  • Matt Nathanson, musician
  • Marjorie Newell Robb, (1889-1992) One of the last Survivors of the sinking of RMS Titanic in 1912.
  • Joseph Nye, political analyst, author of Soft power
  • Peter Orszag, economist, Director of the Office of Management and Budget
  • Dionne Quan, voice actress
  • Amanda Palmer, songwriter, vocalist, pianist of the duo The Dresden Dolls[27]
  • Theodore Parker, Unitarian minister and Transcendentalist
  • Charles Ponzi, con man
  • Stephen Politi, Tax Author, Professor, Attorney and former Tax Administrator
  • John Rawls, philosopher; known for his theory of justice
  • EE Ryan, author of The Odd Saga of the American and a Curious Icelandic Flock[28]
  • Ruth Sawyer, author, winner of the Newbery Medal
  • Aafia Siddiqui Neuroscientist (alleged Al-Qaeda operative), convicted of assaulting with a deadly weapon and attempting to kill U.S. soldiers and FBI agents
  • Clarence Skinner, Dean of Crane School of Theology at Tufts and influential 20th century American Universalist
  • Clifford Shull, Nobel Prize in Physics
  • Tom Silva, Building contractor and co-host of the PBS show This Old House
  • Samuel Ting, Nobel Prize in Physics
  • Barbara Washburn and Bradford Washburn, mountaineers
  • Sheila E. Widnall, aerospace researcher and educator at MIT, former Secretary of the Air Force
  • Edward Osborne Wilson, entomologist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author
  • Ethan Zohn, winner of Survivor: Africa[29]

Sister cities[]

Lexington is a sister city of

France Antony, France
Mexico Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, Mexico
Ukraine Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine
Israel Haifa, Israel


  1. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Lexington town, Middlesex County, Massachusetts". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  2. ^ Tracing the Past in Lexington, Massachusetts. Edwin B. Worthen.
  3. ^ Lexington, MA Chamber of Commerce Home Page
  4. ^
  5. ^ Lexington - Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  6. ^ "METCO FAQ". Massachusetts Department of Education. 
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  8. ^ "TOTAL POPULATION (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010. 
  9. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  10. ^ "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. 
  11. ^ "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. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  12. ^ "1950 Census of Population". Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  13. ^ "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. 
  14. ^ "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. 
  15. ^ "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. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  16. ^ "1860 Census". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c.. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  17. ^ "1850 Census". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c.. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  18. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  19. ^ Census FactFinder
  20. ^ Best high schools in America, May 23, 2005.
  21. ^ Willards Woods Conservation Area
  22. ^ Kathleen Burge, Boston Globe, Out to save the modern home, 2011 Feb 24
  23. ^ "29 Are Chosen for Fellowships From the MacArthur Foundation", The New York Times, June 2, 1998,, retrieved January 29, 2012 
  24. ^ Wishart, David J., ed. (2004), Encyclopedia of the Great Plains, Center for Great Plains Studies, p. 112,, retrieved January 29, 2012 
  25. ^ Famous folks from Lexington,,, retrieved July 31, 2012 
  26. ^ Fox, Margalit. "Gerald S. Lesser, Shaper of ‘Sesame Street,’ Dies at 84", The New York Times, October 4, 2010. Accessed October 4, 2010.
  27. ^ "Famous folks from Lexington". Retrieved July 31, 2012. 
  28. ^ "The Odd Saga of the American and a Curious Icelandic Flock". Google Books. Retrieved May 5, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Famous folks from Lexington". Retrieved July 31, 2012. 

Further reading[]

External links[]

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