Jump to content

Arlington, Massachusetts

Coordinates: 42°24′55″N 71°09′25″W / 42.41528°N 71.15694°W / 42.41528; -71.15694
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Arlington, Massachusetts
Arlington Town Hall
Arlington Town Hall
Flag of Arlington, Massachusetts
Coat of arms of Arlington, Massachusetts
Libertatis Propugnatio Hereditas Avita (Latin)
"The Defense of Liberty Is Our Ancestral Heritage"
Location in Massachusetts
Location in Massachusetts
Arlington is located in Massachusetts
Arlington is located in the United States
Arlington is located in North America
Coordinates: 42°24′55″N 71°09′25″W / 42.41528°N 71.15694°W / 42.41528; -71.15694
CountryUnited States
 • TypeRepresentative town meeting
 • Town ManagerJim 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)
 • Total46,308
 • Density9,173.53/sq mi (3,541.18/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Codes
02474, 02476
Area code339 / 781
FIPS code25-01605
GNIS feature ID0619393
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

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.

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.

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

Geography and infrastructure[edit]

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 Heights, in the west
  • East Arlington, east of Franklin Street
  • Brattle Square
  • Jason Heights
  • Arlmont Village
  • Morningside
  • North Union
  • Turkey Hill
  • Little Scotland
  • Poets' Corner
  • Kelwyn Manor
  • Quincy Heights, a neighborhood in Arlington Heights

Zip Codes[edit]

  • 02474: East Arlington, and most of the rest of the town north of the Minuteman Bikeway
  • 02476: Arlington Heights, and most of the rest of the town south of the Bikeway and west of Spy Pond

Adjacent municipalities[edit]

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
* = 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]

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%


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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Hills Pond, Menotomy Rocks Park
The water tower in Arlington Heights, built in 1921
  • The Old Schwamb Mill is the oldest continuously-operating mill site in the United States. Founded by the Schwambs, who immigrated to the U.S. from Germany, the mill currently produces and sells museum-quality, hand-turned wooden oval and circular frames, created much as they were in 1864. Named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, the mill-museum is operated by a nonprofit educational trust that maintains the mill's traditions.
  • 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, a basketball court and a commanding view of the Boston skyline.
  • Robbins Library contains the oldest continuously operated free children's library in the country.[30] A sculpture of the Menotomy Hunter by Cyrus Dallin can be found in an adjacent park.
  • Spy Pond Park provides access to the northeastern shore of Spy Pond.
  • The Arlington Center Historic District, where the Robbins Library and Old Burying Ground are located, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It also contains the Town Hall and the Robbins Memorial Flagstaff that contains four sculptures by Cyrus Dallin.
  • 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.[31]
  • 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.[32]
  • 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.

Regent Theatre[edit]

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[edit]

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

In popular culture[edit]

Sister cities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Porter, Jim. "The True Meaning of Menotomy" (PDF). Menotomy Journal. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  2. ^ Hurd, Duane Hamilton (1890). History of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Volume 1. Philadelphia: J. W. Lewis. Retrieved February 25, 2010.
  3. ^ Fischer, David Hackett (1994). Paul Revere's Ride. New York, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-508847-6.
  4. ^ "History". Town of Arlington. Archived from the original on January 9, 2008. Retrieved January 17, 2008.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ a b "Early Days". Bricklin.com. January 2, 1979. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  7. ^ "- Arlington History (History & Facts) | Town of Arlington". Archived from the original on June 30, 2019. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  8. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Arlington town, Middlesex County, Massachusetts; United States". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
  9. ^ "TOTAL POPULATION (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  10. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision – GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 6, 2012. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  11. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 7, 2013. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  12. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts" (PDF). 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.
  13. ^ "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). 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. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  14. ^ "1920 Census of Population" (PDF). 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.
  15. ^ "1890 Census of the Population" (PDF). 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.
  16. ^ "1870 Census of the Population" (PDF). 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.
  17. ^ "City and Town Population Totals: 2020−2022". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 25, 2023.
  18. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 11, 2023.
  19. ^ "SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS 2009–2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 17, 2015. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  20. ^ "ACS DEMOGRAPHIC AND HOUSING ESTIMATES 2009–2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 5, 2015. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  21. ^ "HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES 2009–2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  22. ^ a b "2022 Town Meeting | Town of Arlington".
  23. ^ "Article LXXXIX (Home Rule Amendment)" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on August 12, 2023.
  24. ^ "Arlington Recognizes Polyamorous Domestic Partnerships". Arlington, MA Patch. April 30, 2021. Retrieved July 12, 2021.
  25. ^ "Arlington Public Schools: Home Page". Arlington.k12.ma.us. May 24, 2012. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  26. ^ "Home". Minuteman.org. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  27. ^ "Providing Quality Catholic Education for Grades Pre-K through 8 since 1888". Saint Agnes School. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  28. ^ "About Us". Saintagnesschool.com. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  29. ^ "Contact". Saturdays (In-person) Medford High School 489 Winthrop Street Medford, MA 02155 [...] All other days The Japanese Language School Arlington Office 792 Massachusetts Avenue Arlington, MA 02476
  30. ^ "History of the Library - Robbins Library". Archived from the original on March 22, 2014. Retrieved March 22, 2014.
  31. ^ About AGM Archived September 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Foagm.org. Retrieved on August 16, 2013.
  32. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. April 15, 2008.
  33. ^ Ron Newman. "Regent Theatre in Arlington, MA". Cinema Treasures. Retrieved May 4, 2014. The Regent Theatre in downtown Arlington is currently used for mostly live performances and some film presentations as well. The Arlington was used primarily as a venue for family and children's films in the mid-1990s.
  34. ^ Sven Birkerts. "Graywolf Press". Graywolf Press. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  35. ^ "Falcons add Boudreau as offensive line coach". AccessNorthGa. January 31, 2008. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  36. ^ Braithwaite, William Stanley (1972). The William Stanley Braithwaite reader. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. p. https://archive.org/details/williamstanleybr00brai/page/265 265.] ISBN 0-472-08194-2.
  37. ^ "Christopher Castellani: Workman Publishing". Workman.com. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  38. ^ "Alan Hovhaness International Research Centre, Yerevan, Armenia". Cristoforifund.tripod.com. Archived from the original on May 16, 2008. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  39. ^ Robert Creeley's Life and Career
  40. ^ Marquard, Bryan (January 12, 2009). "Adio diBiccari, at 94; sculptor shaped unmolded clay into masterpieces – The Boston Globe". Boston.com. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  41. ^ "dfa". Dodgefamily.org. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  42. ^ Dukakis, Olympia (2003). Ask Me Again Tomorrow: A Life in Progress. New York, NY: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-093409-3.
  43. ^ "Roy J. Glauber, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics, winner 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics". Harvard University Gazette. Archived from the original on August 16, 2007. Retrieved August 1, 2007.
  44. ^ "Harpist Deborah Henson-Conant". Harpgigs.com. June 1, 1998. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  45. ^ "Jordan Peterson on autism". Autism Global News. August 5, 2017. Archived from the original on January 12, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  46. ^ "Platters founder Herb Reed dies at 83". Boston.com. Associated Press. June 5, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  47. ^ Chris Smither still refining his singular style
  48. ^ "Director, Mark Sullivan". United States Secret Service. Archived from the original on May 8, 2007. Retrieved May 20, 2007.
  49. ^ Winters, Rebecca Davis (2007). Blind Owl Blues. Boston, MA: self published. p. 8,19,219.
  50. ^ "After years of GamerGate harassment, Brianna Wu's still fighting". CNET. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
  51. ^ "About - the Steve Katsos Show".
  52. ^ "About Us". Arlington-Teosinte Sister City Project. Retrieved September 3, 2021. In 1988 Arlington's Board of Selectmen officially recognized Teosinte, El Salvador as its Sister City [..] In 2005 the relationship was re-established
  53. ^ "Executive Services - 2009 Selectmen Highlights". arlingtonma.gov. Town of Arlington. 2009. Retrieved September 3, 2021.
  54. ^ "2009 Town Meeting". arlingtonma.gov. Town of Arlington. 2009. Retrieved September 3, 2021. In 2009, Mayor Yutaka Oda from Nagaokakyo, Japan addressed Town Meeting to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Sister City Relationship between Nagaokakyo and Arlington

Further reading[edit]

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

External links[edit]