Main Births etc
Woburn, Massachusetts
—  City  —
Benjamin Thompson House, Woburn, Massachusetts
Motto: Industria et Virtute (Industry and Virtue)
Location in Middlesex County, Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°28′45″N 71°09′10″W / 42.47917, -71.15278Coordinates: 42°28′45″N 71°09′10″W / 42.47917, -71.15278
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Middlesex
Settled 1640
Incorporated 1642
 • Type Mayor-council city
 • Mayor Scott Galvin
 • Ward
Rosa DiTucci (1)
Richard F. Gately Jr. (2)
Mark E. Gaffney (3)
Michael D. Anderson (4)
Darlene Mercer-Bruen (5)
Michael L. Raymond (6)
Raymond B. Drapeau (7)
 • At-large
Paul J. Denaro
Richard M. Haggerty
 • Total 12.9 sq mi (33.4 km2)
 • Land 12.7 sq mi (32.8 km2)
 • Water 0.2 sq mi (0.6 km2)
Elevation 100 ft (30 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 38,120
 • Density 2,916.7/sq mi (1,129.3/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 01801 / 01888
Area code(s) 339 / 781
FIPS code 25-81035
GNIS feature ID 0612270

Statue of Benjamin Thompson (Count Rumford) outside the library of his hometown, Woburn, Massachusetts (A copy of the original in Munich)

The 1790 House

Baldwin House, Woburn, Massachusetts with a stretch of the Middlesex Canal in foreground

Woburn /ˈwbərn/ is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA. The population was 38,120 at the 2010 census. Woburn is located 9 miles (14 km) north of Boston, Massachusetts, and just south of the intersection of I-93 and I-95.


Woburn was first settled in 1640 near Horn Pond, a primary source of the Mystic River, and was officially incorporated in 1642. At that time the area included present day towns of Woburn, Winchester, Burlington, and parts of Stoneham and Wilmington. In 1730 Wilmington separated from Woburn. In 1799 Burlington separated from Woburn; in 1850 Winchester did so, too.

Woburn got its name from Woburn, Bedfordshire. Woburn played host to the first religious ordination in the Americas on Nov. 22, 1642. Rev. Thomas Carter was sworn in by many of the most prominent men of New England including John Cotton, minister of the First Church of Boston, Richard Mather minister of the First Church of Dorchester, and Capt. Edward Johnson co-founder of the church and town of Woburn. Johnson is regarded as "the father of Woburn." He served as the first town clerk, represented the town in the Massachusetts General Court, made the first map of Massachusetts, and wrote the first history of the colony.[1] Another founder Woburn was Capt. Josiah Richardson[2]

The first organizational Town Meeting was held on April 13, 1644 and the first town officers were chosen. Town Selectmen were Edward Johnson, Edward Converse, John Mousall, William Learned, Ezekiel Richardson, Samuel Richardson and James Thompson. William Learned was also selected as Constable. Michael Bacon, Ralph Hill, Thomas Richardson were chosen as Surveyors of Highways. (The History of Woburn, 1868)

Deacon Edward Convers was also one of the founders of Woburn. He was one of its first selectmen, and built the first house and first mill in Woburn. He was very active in town affairs and was a large landowner, miller and surveyor.[3][4]

List of important events

  • Gershom Flagg's tannery was built in 1668
  • The Middlesex Canal was opened in 1803
  • Thompson established a tannery at Cummingsville in 1823
  • The Boston and Lowell Railroad started operating through Woburn in 1835
  • The Woburn Sentinel newspaper began in 1839
  • In 1840 the first membership library opened
  • The telegraph started operating in Woburn in 1867
  • "America's oldest active gun club," the Massachusetts Rifle Association, was founded in 1875 and moved to Woburn in 1876.
  • The public library opened in 1879
  • The telephone was introduced in Woburn in 1882; Electric lights in 1885
  • Woburn was incorporated as a City on June 12, 1888
  • Route 128 opened in 1951
  • Route 93 was built through town in 1963
  • Rail depot closed in 1962.
  • Woburn Police Officer John B. Maguire was killed in the line of duty while responding to an armed robbery on December 26, 2010.[5]

Groundwater contamination incident[]

Woburn was the scene of a high-profile water contamination crisis. During the mid to late 1970s, the local community became concerned over the high incidence of childhood leukemia and other illnesses, particularly in the Pine Street area of east Woburn. After high levels of chemical contamination were found in City of Woburn’s Wells G and H in 1979, some members of the community suspected that the unusually high incidence of leukemia, cancer, and a wide variety of other health problems were linked to the possible exposure to volatile organic chemicals in the groundwater pumped from wells G and H.

In May 1982, a number of citizens whose children had developed or died from leukemia filed a civil lawsuit against two corporations, W. R. Grace and Company and Beatrice Foods. Grace's subsidiary, Cryovac, and Beatrice were suspected of contaminating the groundwater by improperly disposing of trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (perc or PCE) and other industrial solvents at their facilities in Woburn near wells G and H.

In a controversial decision over what many considered a bungled trial (Judge Walter Jay Skinner ruled that the jurors should answer questions that they and many others considered confusing), Beatrice was acquitted and Grace only paid $8 million, a third of which went to the lawyers and lawyer fees. A United States Environmental Protection Agency report later found Beatrice and Grace responsible for the contamination.[6][7][8] A book titled A Civil Action was written about the case by Jonathan Harr. In 1998 the book was turned into a movie starring John Travolta and Robert Duvall, also titled A Civil Action. The film was largely filmed in nearby Bedford and Lexington, with only a few shots on location in Woburn.


Woburn is located at 42°29′4″N 71°9′7″W / 42.48444, -71.15194 (42.484545, -71.152060).[9] It is bordered by the towns of Wilmington, Reading, Stoneham, Winchester, Lexington, and Burlington.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.9 square miles (33 km2), of which 12.7 square miles (33 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) (1.71%) is water.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1790 1,727
1800 1,228 −28.9%
1810 1,219 −0.7%
1820 1,519 +24.6%
1830 1,977 +30.2%
1840 2,993 +51.4%
1850 3,956 +32.2%
1860 6,287 +58.9%
1870 8,560 +36.2%
1880 10,931 +27.7%
1890 13,499 +23.5%
1900 14,254 +5.6%
1910 15,308 +7.4%
1920 16,574 +8.3%
1930 19,434 +17.3%
1940 19,751 +1.6%
1950 20,492 +3.8%
1960 31,214 +52.3%
1970 37,406 +19.8%
1980 36,626 −2.1%
1990 35,943 −1.9%
2000 37,258 +3.7%
2010 38,120 +2.3%

As of the census[21] of 2000, there were 37,258 people (37,010 by 2006 estimate), 14,997 households, and 9,658 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,939.6 people per square mile (1,135.4/km²). There were 15,391 housing units at an average density of 1,214.3 per square mile (469.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.57% White, 1.87% African American, 0.10% Native American, 4.85% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 1.44% from other races, and 1.13% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.09% of the population.

There were 14,997 households out of which 26.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.5% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.6% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.1% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 34.9% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 15.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $54,897, and the median income for a family was $66,364. Males had a median income of $45,210 versus $33,239 for females. The per capita income for the city was $26,207. About 4.5% of families and 6.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.9% of those under age 18 and 5.4% of those age 65 or over.


The Woburn Business Association (WBA) is a membership organization consisting of companies located in Woburn, Massachusetts. Memberships are also available to those firms who are situated elsewhere, but do business in Woburn. The purpose of the WBA is to promote and protect Business Interests in the City of Woburn and provide Networking Services for the Business Community.[22]

The WBA Board of Directors meets monthly to develop policy and provide direction for the Association. The Executive Committee meets periodically, usually on an “as needed” basis, to review important issues and make recommendations to the Board regarding WBA policy. Th WBA accomplishes its work through committees of WBA members and representatives of the Woburn community. The membership is encouraged to actively participate on these committees.

The Woburn Redevelopment Authority is an independent municipal urban renewal authority established by the City of Woburn in 1961, in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 121B. The Authority is governed by five members, four of whom are appointed by the Mayor, and one by the Governor. The WRA functions as the City's community development agency, under an agreement with the City of Woburn executed in July 2000.[23]


Woburn's public elementary schools are the Goodyear Elementary, Altavesta Elementary, Daniel P. Hurld Elementary, Shamrock Elementary, Malcolm White Elementary, Clyde Reeves Elementary, Linscott Elementary, and Wyman Elementary. (The Parker, Tarkey, Plympton, Golden, and Veterans' Memorial Schools are now closed, and the former Veterans' Memorial School now serves as the Woburn Senior Center.) The two middle schools are the John F. Kennedy Middle School and Joyce Middle School.

In recent years Reeves, Shamrock, and Malcolm White, as well as Woburn Memorial High School, have been rebuilt. (Rebuilding of Goodyear Elementary is finished.) The new Woburn Memorial High School building now has automated teller machines, automatic light switches, and classrooms with projectors.

St. Charles, a pre-K-to-8 Catholic school, is part of the adjacent St. Charles Parish.


Anderson Regional Transportation Center.

  • Anderson Regional Transportation Center is a transit hub, with Amtrak service to Portland, Maine and MBTA Commuter Rail service to Boston's North Station and Lowell, Massachusetts, as well as bus service to Logan International Airport and Manchester-Boston Regional Airport
  • Mishawum is a stop on the MBTA Commuter Rail's Lowell Line that currently has only limited reverse rush hour service.
  • MBTA Bus routes also run through Woburn along its main roads, such as Main Street, Montvale Ave., Lexington Street and Cambridge Road. The routes run north to Burlington and Wilmington and south to Boston.

Notable residents[]

  • Col. Loammi Baldwin, Revolutionary War engineer, builder of the Middlesex Canal.
  • Eric Bogosian, actor, playwright and novelist.
  • John Carter, former Boston Bruins player.
  • Edward Convers, founder of Woburn
  • Charles Goodyear, inventor of vulcanized rubber
  • John Martyn Harlow, financier, civic leader, physician to Phineas Gage
  • Edward Johnson, "Father of Woburn"
  • Courtney Kennedy, dual Olympic medalist in Women's Ice Hockey
  • Nancy Kerrigan, figure skater
  • Charles McMahon, Marine Corporal, one of final two American servicemen killed in the Vietnam War
  • David Robinson, American rock drummer.
  • Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford, scientist and inventor
  • Lyle R. Wheeler, Academy Award-winning art-director
  • Philemon Wright, regarded as founder of the Canadian cities Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec
  • Samuel Warren Abbott, an American physician.

Points of interest[]

File:Convers House.gif

Deacon Edward Convers House, first house built in Woburn, 1640

  • 1790 House
  • Baldwin House
  • Benjamin Thompson House
  • Winn Memorial Library
  • Woburn Memorial High School
  • US Post Office, National Register-listed Classical Revival building
  • First Congregational Church in Woburn, 1860 church belonging to a 1642 congregation

First Families[]

  • Carter family
  • Fowle family
  • Walker family


  1. ^ Johnson, Edward Francis, Captain Edward Johnson of Woburn, Massachusetts and Some of his Descendants, Press of David Clapp & Son, Boston, MA, 1905.
  2. ^ The Ricahrdson Memorial, Comprising a Full History and Genealogy of the Prosperity of the Three Brothers, Ezekial, Samuel, and Thomas Richards, who Came from England, and United with others in the Foundations of Worburn, Massachusetts, in the Year 1641 of John Richardson, of Medfield, 1679, of Amos Richardson of Boston, 1640, of Edward and William Richardson of Newbuury, 1643, with Notices of Richardsons in England and Elsehwere, by John Adams Vinton, p 40
  3. ^ Richardson, Doug. The English Origin and Ancestry of The Parker Brothers of Massachusetts and their Probable Aunt, Sarah Parker, Wife of Edward Converse. NEHGS Register, Vol. 153. January 1999, No. 609. See Accessed 20 May 2007.
  4. ^ Thompson, Rev. Leander, "Deacon Edward Convers," Winchester Record, October, 1885 ( Retrieved 10 Feb. 2011.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Brief History
  7. ^ Long, Tom (11 May 2005). "Judge Walter Skinner, 77; oversaw Woburn-Grace case". The Boston Globe. 
  8. ^ A Civil Action - Asimow
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  10. ^ "TOTAL POPULATION (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010. 
  11. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  12. ^ "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. 
  13. ^ "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. 
  14. ^ "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. 
  15. ^ "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. 
  16. ^ "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. 
  17. ^ "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. 
  18. ^ "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. 
  19. ^ "1850 Census". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c.. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  20. ^ (1952) "1950 Census of Population" 1: Number of Inhabitants. Retrieved on July 12, 2011. 
  21. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  22. ^ WBA website
  23. ^ WRA at the City of Woburn website

Further reading[]

1852 Map of Boston area showing Woburn and the Middlesex Canal

External links[]

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