Medford, Massachusetts

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Medford, Massachusetts
City
Medford Square, the intersection of Main Street, High Street, Forest Street, Salem Street, Riverside Avenue, and Ring Road
Medford Square, the intersection of Main Street, High Street, Forest Street, Salem Street, Riverside Avenue, and Ring Road
Official seal of Medford, Massachusetts
Seal
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°25′06″N 71°06′24″W / 42.41833°N 71.10667°W / 42.41833; -71.10667Coordinates: 42°25′06″N 71°06′24″W / 42.41833°N 71.10667°W / 42.41833; -71.10667
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Middlesex
Settled 1630
Incorporated 1630
City 1892
Government
 • Type Mayor-council city
 • Mayor Michael J. McGlynn
Area
 • Total 8.6 sq mi (22.4 km2)
 • Land 8.1 sq mi (21.1 km2)
 • Water 0.5 sq mi (1.3 km2)
Elevation 14 ft (4 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 56,173
 • Density 6,859.9/sq mi (2,633.4/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 02153, 02155, 02156
Area code(s) 781 / 339
FIPS code 25-39835
GNIS feature ID 0612778
Website www.medford.org

Medford is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in the United States, on the Mystic River, five miles northwest of downtown Boston. In the 2010 U.S. Census, Medford's population was 56,173. It is the home of Tufts University.

History[edit]

1600s[edit]

Medford was settled in 1630 as part of Charlestown, when Thomas Dudley referred to it as "Mistick" (a name which persisted for many decades), which his party renamed "Meadford".[1] In 1634, the land north of the Mystic River became the private plantation of former Governor Matthew Cradock; across the river was Ten Hills Farm, which belonged to John Winthrop, Governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony.[2] The name may have come from a description of the "meadow by the ford" in the Mystic River, or from two locations in England that Cradock may have known: the hamlet of Mayford or Metford in Staffordshire near Caverswall, or from the parish of Maidford or Medford (now Towcester, Northamptonshire).[3]

In 1637, the first bridge (a toll bridge) across the Mystic River was built at the site of the present-day Cradock Bridge, which carries Main Street into Medford Square.[4] It would be the only bridge across the Mystic until 1787, and as such became a major route for traffic coming into Boston from the north (though ferries and fords were also used).[5] The bridge would be rebuilt in 1880 and 1909.[4]

Until 1656, all of northern Medford was owned by Cradock, his heirs, or Edward Collins. Medford was governed as a "peculiar" or private plantation. As the land began to be divided among several people from different families, the new owners began to meet and make decisions locally and increasingly independently from the Charlestown town meeting. In 1674, a Board of Selectmen was elected, in 1684, the colonial legislature granted the ability to raise money independently, and in 1689, a representative to the legislature was chosen. The town got its own religious meeting room in 1690, and a secular meeting house in 1696.[5]

1700s and 1800s[edit]

The land south of the Mystic River was known as "Mistick Field". It was transferred from Charlestown to Medford in 1754.[6] This grant also included the "Charlestown Wood Lots" (the Medford part of the Middlesex Fells), and part of what was at the time Woburn (now Winchester).[7] Parts of Medford were transferred to Charlestown in 1811, Winchester in 1850 ("Upper Medford"), and Malden in 1879. Additional land was transferred to Medford from Malden (1817), Everett (1875), and Malden (1877) again.[3][8]

The population of Medford went from 230 in 1700 to 1,114 in 1800. After 1880, the population rapidly expanded, reaching 18,244 by 1900.[9] Farmland was divided into lots and sold to build residential and commercial buildings, starting in the 1840s and 1850s; government services expanded with the population (schools, police, post office) and technological advancement (gas lighting, electricity, telephones, railways).[8] Tufts University was chartered in 1852 and the Crane Theological School at Tufts opened in 1869.

Medford was incorporated as a city in 1892[10] and was a center of industry, including the manufacture of brick[11] and tile, rum,[12] Medford Crackers, and clipper ships[13] such as the White Swallow and the Kingfisher, both built by Hayden & Cudworth.[14]

Transportation[edit]

During the 17th century, a handful of major public roads (High Street, Main Street, Salem Street, "the road to Stoneham", and South Street) served the population, but the road network started a long-term expansion in the 18th century.[15] The Medford Turnpike Company was incorporated in 1803, but turned what is now Mystic Avenue over to the city in 1866. The Andover Turnpike Company was incorporated in 1805, but turned what is now Forest Street and Fellsway West over to Medford in 1830.[8]

Other major commercial transportation projects included the Middlesex Canal by 1803,[16] the Boston and Lowell Railroad in West Medford in the 1830s, and the Boston and Maine Railroad to Medford Center in 1847.

A horse-powered street railway began running to Somerville and Charlestown in 1860. The street railway network expanded in the hands of various private companies, and went electric in the late 1890s, when trolleys to Everett and downtown Boston were available.[8] Streetcars were converted to buses in the 20th century. Interstate 93 was constructed between 1956 and 1963.[17]

Gypsy moth[edit]

In 1868, a French astronomer and naturalist, Leopold Trouvelot, was attempting to breed a better silkworm using Gypsy moths. Several of the moths escaped from his home, at 27 Myrtle Street. Within ten years, the insect had denuded the vegetation in the neighborhood. It spread over North America.[18] [19]

Holiday songs[edit]

In a tavern and boarding house on High Street (Simpson's Tavern) in the late 19th century, local resident James Pierpont wrote "Jingle Bells" after watching a sleigh race from Medford to Malden. Another local resident, Lydia Maria Child (1802–1880), made a poem out of the trip across town to her grandparents' house, now the classic song "Over the River and Through the Woods".

Other notables[edit]

1790 bird's-eye view from Bunker Hill of the "Malden Bridge" across the Mystic River, with Medford in the background.

Medford was home to Fannie Farmer, author of one of the world's most famous cookbooks—as well as James Plimpton, the man credited with the 1863 invention of the first practical four-wheeled roller skate, which set off a roller craze that quickly spread across the United States and Europe.

George Luther Stearns, an American industrialist and one of John Brown's Secret Six. His passion for the abolitionist cause shaped his life, bringing him into contact with the likes of Abraham Lincoln and Ralph Waldo Emerson and starting The Nation magazine. He was given the rank of major by Massachusetts Governor John Andrew and spent most of the Civil War recruiting for the 54th and 55th Massachusetts regiments and the 5th cavalry.

Amelia Earhart lived in Medford while working as a social worker in 1925.

Elizabeth Short, the victim of an infamous Hollywood murder and who became known as The Black Dahlia, was born in Hyde Park (the southernmost neighborhood of the city of Boston, Massachusetts) but raised in Medford before going to the West Coast looking for fame.

The Peter Tufts House (350 Riverside Ave.) is thought to be the oldest all-brick building in New England. Another important site is the "Slave Wall" on Grove Street, built by "Pomp," a slave owned by the prominent Brooks family. The Isaac Royall House, which once belonged to one of Harvard Law School's founders, Isaac Royall, Jr., is a National Historic Landmark and a local history museum. The house was used by Continental Army troops, including George Washington and John Stark, during the American Revolutionary War.

Medford has sent more than its share of athletes to the National Hockey League; Shawn Bates, though born in Melrose, MA grew up in Medford, as did Keith Tkachuk, Mike Morrison, David Sacco, and Joe Sacco. Former Red Sox pitcher Bill Monbouquette grew up in Medford.

Medford was home to Michael Bloomberg, American businessman, philanthropist, and the founder of Bloomberg L.P.. He was the Mayor of New York City from 2002-2013. Mayor Bloomberg attended Medford High School and resided in Medford until after he graduated from college at Johns Hopkins University.[20] His mother remained a resident of Medford until her death in 2011.

The only cryobank of amniotic stem cells in the United States is located in Medford, built by Biocell Center, a biotechnology company led by Giuseppe Simoni.

Medford and the law[edit]

Medford is home to some famous crimes:

  • A few crooked officers of the Medford Police and Metropolitan District Commission Police forces pulled off one of the biggest bank robberies and jewel heists in world history in 1980, robbing the Depositors Trust bank over the Memorial Day weekend. The book The Cops Are Robbers: A Convicted Cop's True Story of Police Corruption is based upon this event. Salvatore's Restaurant, located at 55 High Street in Medford Square, is partially in the same location as the bank that was robbed. The private dining room in the restaurant uses the bank's vault door as an entrance way, and the hole in the corner of the ceiling that the robbers crawled through was left intact for nostalgia.
  • An admitted Mob execution by Somerville's Irish Winter Hill Gang of Joe Notarangeli took place at the "Pewter Pot" cafe in Medford Square, now called the "Lighthouse Cafe."[21]
  • In October 1989, the FBI recorded a Mafia initiation ceremony at a home on Guild St. in Medford.

Geography[edit]

Medford is located at 42°25′12″N 71°6′29″W / 42.42000°N 71.10806°W / 42.42000; -71.10806 (42.419996, −71.107942).[22]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.6 square miles (22 km2), of which, 8.1 square miles (21 km2) of it is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) of it (5.79%) is water.

A park called the Middlesex Fells Reservation, to the north, is partly within the city. This 2,060-acre (8 km2) preserve is shared by Medford with the municipalities of Winchester, Stoneham, Melrose, and Malden. The Mystic River flows roughly west to southeast through the middle of the city.

Neighborhoods[edit]

People from Medford often identify themselves with a particular neighborhood.

  • West Medford
  • Fulton Heights (North Medford)
  • Wellington/Glenwood
  • South Medford
  • Medford Hillside
  • Central Medford
  • Lawrence Estates

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1790 1,029 —    
1800 1,114 +8.3%
1810 1,443 +29.5%
1820 1,474 +2.1%
1830 1,755 +19.1%
1840 2,478 +41.2%
1850 3,749 +51.3%
1860 4,842 +29.2%
1870 5,717 +18.1%
1880 7,573 +32.5%
1890 11,079 +46.3%
1900 18,244 +64.7%
1910 23,150 +26.9%
1920 39,038 +68.6%
1930 59,714 +53.0%
1940 63,083 +5.6%
1950 66,113 +4.8%
1960 64,971 −1.7%
1970 64,397 −0.9%
1980 58,076 −9.8%
1990 57,407 −1.2%
2000 55,765 −2.9%
2010 56,173 +0.7%
* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.[24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34]

Irish-Americans are a strong presence in the city and live in all areas. West Medford, the most affluent of Medford's many neighborhoods, was once the bastion of some of Boston's elite families— including Peter Chardon Brooks, one of the wealthiest men in post-colonial America, and father-in-law to Charles Francis Adams — and is also home to an historic African-American neighborhood that dates to the Civil War.[35]

As of the census[36] of 2000, there were 55,765 people, 22,067 households, and 13,505 families residing in the city. The population density was 6,851.3 people per square mile (2,645.1/km²). There were 22,687 housing units at an average density of 2,787.3 per square mile (1,076.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 86.45% White, 6.10% African American, 0.11% Native American, 3.87% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.14% from other races, and 2.30% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.59% of the population.

There were 22,067 households out of which 23.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.6% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.8% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the city the population was spread out with 17.9% under the age of 18, 11.0% from 18 to 24, 32.6% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 17.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 88.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $52,476, and the median income for a family was $62,409. Males had a median income of $41,704 versus $34,948 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,707. About 4.1% of families and 6.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.7% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over.

Medford has three Public, educational, and government access (PEG) cable TV channels. The Public-access television channel is TV3, The Educational-access television is channel 15 and 16 is the Government-access television (GATV) municipal channel.

Education[edit]

Medford is home to many schools, public and private.

Elementary
Public
  • Christopher Columbus Elementary School
  • Brooks Elementary School
  • John J. McGlynn Elementary School
  • Milton Fuller Roberts Elementary School
Private (non-sectarian)
  • Eliot-Pearson Children's School (PK-2)[37]
  • Gentle-Dragon Preschool (PK)[38]
  • Merry-Go-Round Nursery School (PK)
  • Play Academy Learning Center (PK-K)[39]
  • Oakland Park Children's Center (PK)
  • Six Acres Nursery School (PK-K) (non-sectarian, but run through Medford Jewish Community Center)[40]
Private (sectarian)
  • St. Joseph's (K-8)[41]
  • St. Clement's (PK-6)[42]
  • St. Raphael's (PK-8)[43]
Middle School
  • John J. McGlynn Middle School
  • Madeline Dugger Andrews Middle School
High School
Public
Private (sectarian)
College
Private
Miscellaneous education
Private
  • The Japanese Language School of Boston[44][45]

Government[edit]

County government: Middlesex County
Clerk of Courts: Michael A. Sullivan
District Attorney: Gerard T. Leone, Jr.
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 (D)
State government
State Representative(s): Paul Donato (D)
Sean Garballey (D)
Carl M. Sciortino, Jr. (D)
State Senator(s): Patricia D. Jehlen (D)
Governor's Councilor(s): Terrence W. Kennedy (D)
Federal government
U.S. Representative(s): Katherine Clark (D-5th District)
U.S. Senators: Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)
Voter registration and party enrollment as of October 15, 2008[46]
Party Number of voters Percentage
  Democratic 16,588 46.80%
  Republican 2,610 7.36%
  Unaffiliated 16,054 45.29%
  Minor Parties 193 0.54%
Total 35,445 100%

Local government[edit]

  • Michael J. McGlynn, Mayor
  • Edward P. Finn, City Clerk
  • Stephanie Muccini Burke, Director of Budget & Personnel

City Council

  • Paul Camuso, President
  • Richard F. Caraviello, Vice President
  • Frederick N. Dello Russo Jr.
  • Robert M. Penta
  • Breanna Lungo-Koehn
  • Michael J. Marks
  • Adam Knight

School Committee

  • Michael J. McGlynn, Chairman
  • John C. Falco Jr., Vice Chairman
  • Paulette Van der Kloot, Secretary
  • Ann Marie Cugno
  • Erin DiBennedetto
  • George A. Scarpelli
  • Robert E. Skerry Jr.

Local media & news[edit]

The City of Medford has several local news and media outlets:

Print[edit]

Television & other[edit]

Transportation[edit]

Numerous Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority bus lines go through Medford. On Medford's east side, Wellington station on the Orange Line provides a connection to Boston and the entire rapid transit system. On the west side, the Lowell Commuter Rail Line stops in West Medford Square.

Discussion of bringing the Green Line into Medford, as is mandated by environmental mitigation provisions of the Big Dig project,[53] is ongoing. On February 2, 2009, the state formally endorsed extending the Green Line through Medford, terminating near the intersection of Boston Avenue and Mystic Valley Parkway (Massachusetts Route 16). As proposed, the terminus would not have parking facilities. The extension would serve an additional 10,000 potential Green Line riders.

Joseph's Limousine and Transportation (located in Medford) runs a bus line through the city, and also picks up passengers going to other parts of Greater Boston or out of state.

Interstate 93 travels roughly north–south through the city. State routes passing through Medford include 16, 28, 38, and 60.

Points of interest[edit]

1852 map of Boston area showing Medford and rail lines.
Clipper ship Thatcher Magoun

Notable residents[edit]


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ History of the Town of Medford, p. 30
  2. ^ History of the Town of Medford, p. 39
  3. ^ a b History of Middlesex County, p. 158
  4. ^ a b Bencks, Jarret (2011-10-27). "Cradock Bridge to Be Replaced in 2012 or 2013 - Medford, MA Patch". Medford.patch.com. AOL Inc. Retrieved 2012-03-20. 
  5. ^ a b Medford Historical Society
  6. ^ History of the Town of Medford, p. 5
  7. ^ Medicalhistorical.org
  8. ^ a b c d Medfordhistorical.org
  9. ^ United States census
  10. ^ Medford.org
  11. ^ Medfordhistorical.org
  12. ^ Medfordhistorical.org
  13. ^ Medfordhistorical.org
  14. ^ Gleason, Hall (1937). Old Ships and Ship-Building Days of Medford. Medford, MA: J.C. Miller. p. 76. 
  15. ^ History of the Town of Medford, "Roads" chapter.
  16. ^ Medfordhistorical.org
  17. ^ Bostonroads.com
  18. ^ Forbush, E. H. (1896). The Gypsy Moth. Boston, MA: Wright & Potter. pp. 2–44. 
  19. ^ "Learning from the Legacy of Leopold Trouvelot" (PDF). Bulletin of the ESA Summer 1989. Retrieved 2012-09-13. 
  20. ^ Town, Your (October 12, 2009). "New Michael Bloomberg biography takes a few jabs at Medford". The Boston Globe. 
  21. ^ "Black Mass: The Irish Mob, the Boston FBI and a Devil's Deal, "Dick Lehr (author), Gerard O'Neill (author) 1-891-62040-1 Public Affairs Press
  22. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  23. ^ http://www.medford.org/pages/MedfordMA_ComDev/StrategicPlan.pdf
  24. ^ "TOTAL POPULATION (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010. 
  25. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  26. ^ "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. 
  27. ^ "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. 
  28. ^ "1950 Census of Population". 1: Number of Inhabitants. 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. 
  29. ^ "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. 
  30. ^ "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. 
  31. ^ "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. 
  32. ^ "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. 
  33. ^ "1850 Census". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  34. ^ 1950 Census of Population. 1: Number of Inhabitants. Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-7 through 21-09, Massachusetts Table 4. Population of Urban Places of 10,000 or more from Earliest Census to 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  35. ^ Scott, Helman. "Change on the Mystic". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  36. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  37. ^ Ase.tufts.edu
  38. ^ Gentledragonpreschool.org
  39. ^ Play-academy.com
  40. ^ 6acres.homestead.com
  41. ^ Stjosephshoolmedford.com
  42. ^ Saintclementschool.org
  43. ^ Saintraphaelparish.org
  44. ^ "Address & Contact" (Archive). Japanese Language School of Boston. Retrieved on May 8, 2014.
  45. ^ "Welcome!" Japanese Language School of Boston. May 8, 2014. Retrieved on May 8, 2014.
  46. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 15, 2008" (PDF). Massachusetts Elections Division. Retrieved 2010-05-08. 
  47. ^ "Medford Transcript". Wicked Local. Perinton, New York: GateHouse Media. 
  48. ^ "Newspapers In Medford, MA". Wicked Local. GateHouse Media. 
  49. ^ "Medford Community Cablevision". Medford Community Cablevision, Inc. 
  50. ^ "Medford Cable News". MCN 2011. 
  51. ^ "Medford Patch". Patch. 
  52. ^ "Made In Medford". Comcast's Project Open Voice. Comcast - Argus. 
  53. ^ Green Line stops discussed at Tufts workshop - Medford, MA - Medford Transcript
  54. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Marquis Who's Who. 1967. 
  55. ^ Nichael M. Grynbaum (2012-03-19). "Mayor’s Ties to Hometown Fade, but for a Few, They Are Still Felt". NY Times. Retrieved 2012-03-20. 
  56. ^ http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2001/shannon.html

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]