View of Concord's Main Street in December
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
|• Type||Open town meeting|
|• Total||25.9 sq mi (67.4 km2)|
|• Land||24.9 sq mi (64.5 km2)|
|• Water||1.0 sq mi (2.5 km2)|
|Elevation||141 ft (43 m)|
|• Density||680/sq mi (260/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||Eastern (UTC-4)|
|Area code(s)||351 / 978|
|GNIS feature ID||0619398|
Concord is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in the United States. At the 2010 census, the town population was 17,668. The United States Census Bureau considers Concord part of Greater Boston. The town center is located near where the confluence of the Sudbury and Assabet rivers forms the Concord River.
The area which became the town of Concord was originally known as Musketaquid, an Algonquian word for "grassy plain." It was one of the scenes of the Battle of Lexington and Concord, the initial conflict in the American Revolutionary War. It developed into a remarkably rich literary center during the mid-nineteenth century. Featured were Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Bronson Alcott, Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau, all of whose homes are preserved in modern-day Concord. The now-ubiquitous Concord grape was developed here.
Concord was the first community in the United States to approve a ban on the sale of water in single serving plastic bottles.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Pronunciation
- 5 Sister cities
- 6 Points of interest
- 7 Education
- 8 Transportation
- 9 Notable residents and natives
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
Prehistory and founding
The area which became the town of Concord was originally known as "Musketaquid," situated at the confluence of the Sudbury and Assabet rivers. The name Musketaquid was an Algonquian word for "grassy plain," fitting the area's low-lying marshes and kettle holes. Native Americans had cultivated corn crops there; the rivers were rich with fish and the land was lush and arable. However, the area was largely depopulated by the smallpox plague that swept across the Americas after the arrival of Europeans.
In 1635, a group of settlers from Britain led by Rev. Peter Bulkley and Major Simon Willard negotiated a land purchase with the remnants of the local tribe. Bulkley was an influential religious leader who "carried a good number of planters with him into the woods"; Willard was a canny trader who spoke the Algonquian language and had gained the trust of Native Americans. They exchanged wampum, hatchets, knives, cloth, and other useful items for the six-square-mile purchase which formed the basis of the new town, called "Concord" in appreciation of the peaceful acquisition.
Battle of Lexington and Concord
The Battle of Lexington and Concord was the initial conflict in the American Revolutionary War. On April 19, 1775, a force of British Army regulars marched from Boston to Concord to capture a cache of arms that was reportedly stored in the town. Forewarned by Paul Revere and other messengers, the colonists mustered in opposition. Following an early-morning skirmish at Lexington, where the first shots of the battle were fired, the British expedition under the command of Lt. Col. Francis Smith advanced to Concord. There, colonists from Concord and surrounding towns (notably a highly drilled company from Acton led by Isaac Davis) repulsed a British detachment at the Old North Bridge and forced the British troops to retreat. Subsequently, militia arriving from across the region harried the British troops on their return to Boston, culminating in the Siege of Boston and outbreak of the war.
The battle was initially publicized by the colonists as an example of British brutality and aggression: one colonial broadside decried the "Bloody Butchery of the British Troops." A century later, however, the conflict was remembered proudly by Americans, taking on a patriotic, almost mythic status ("the shot heard 'round the world") in works like the "Concord Hymn" and "Paul Revere's Ride." In April 1975, the town hosted a bicentennial celebration of the battle, featuring an address at the Old North Bridge by President Gerald Ford.
Concord has a remarkably rich literary history centered in the mid-nineteenth century around Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), who moved to the town in 1835 and quickly became its most prominent citizen. Emerson, a successful lecturer and philosopher, had deep roots in the town: his father Rev. William Emerson (1769–1811) grew up in Concord before becoming an eminent Boston minister, and his grandfather, William Emerson Sr., witnessed the battle at the North Bridge from his house, and later became a chaplain in the Continental Army. Emerson was at the center of a group of like-minded Transcendentalists living in Concord. Among them were the author Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–1864) and the philosopher Bronson Alcott (1799–1888), the father of Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888). A native Concordian, Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), was another notable member of Emerson's circle. This substantial collection of literary talent in one small town led Henry James to dub Concord "the biggest little place in America."
Among the products of this intellectually stimulating environment were Emerson's many essays, including Self-Reliance (1841), Louisa May Alcott's novel Little Women (1868), and Hawthorne's story collection Mosses from an Old Manse (1846). Thoreau famously lived in a small cabin near Walden Pond, where he wrote Walden (1854). After being imprisoned in the Concord jail for refusing to pay taxes in political protest against slavery and the Mexican-American War, Thoreau penned the influential essay "Resistance to Civil Government," popularly known as Civil Disobedience (1849). Evidencing their strong political beliefs through actions, Thoreau and many of his neighbors served as station masters and agents on the Underground Railroad.
The Wayside house, located on Lexington Road, has been home to a number of authors. It was occupied by scientist John Winthrop (1714–1779) when Harvard College was temporarily moved to Concord during the Revolutionary War. The Wayside was later the home of the Alcott family (who referred to it as "Hillside"); the Alcotts sold it to Hawthorne in 1852, and the family moved into the adjacent Orchard House in 1858. Hawthorne dubbed the house "The Wayside" and lived there until his death. The house was purchased in 1883 by Boston publisher Daniel Lothrop and his wife, Harriett, who wrote the Five Little Peppers series and other children's books under the pen name Margaret Sidney. Today, The Wayside and the Orchard House are both museums. Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, and the Alcotts are buried on Authors' Ridge in Concord's Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.
Concord maintains a lively literary culture to this day; notable authors who have called the town home in recent years include Doris Kearns Goodwin, Alan Lightman, Robert B. Parker, and Gregory Maguire.
In 1849 Ephraim Bull developed the now-ubiquitous Concord grape at his home on Lexington Road, where the original vine still grows. Welch's, the first company to sell grape juice, maintains a small headquarters in Concord.
Plastic bottle ban
On September 5, 2012, Concord became the first community in the United States to approve a ban on the sale of water in single serving plastic bottles. The law bans the sale of single-serving PET bottles of one liter or less starting on January 1, 2013. The ban proposed was not met without controversy. An editorial in the Los Angeles Times characterized the ban as "born of convoluted reasoning" and "wrongheaded." Some residents have stated that this ban will not do much to affect the sales of bottled water, which is still very accessible in the surrounding areas, and that it restricts consumers' freedom of choice. It has also been stated that it may be considered unfair targeting one product in particular, when other, less healthy alternatives such as soda and fruit juice are still readily available in bottled form.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 25.9 square miles (67 km2), of which 24.9 square miles (64 km2) is land and 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2), or 3.75%, is water. The city of Lowell is 13 miles (21 km) to the north, Boston is 19 miles (31 km) to the east, and Nashua, New Hampshire, is 23 miles (37 km) to the north.
The town center is located near the confluence of the Sudbury and Assabet rivers, forming the Concord River, which flows north to the Merrimack River in Lowell. Gunpowder was manufactured from 1835 to 1940 in the American Powder Mills complex extending upstream along the Assabet River.
|* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
As of the census of 2000, there were 16,993 people, 5,948 households, 4,988 trucks, and 4,437 families, residing in the town. The population density was 682.0 people per square mile (263.3/km²). There were 6,153 housing units at an average density of 246.9 per square mile (95.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 91.64% White, 2.24% African American, 0.09% Native American, 2.90% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 2.12% from other races, and 0.99% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.80% of the population.
There were 13,090 households out of which 37.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.5% were married couples living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.4% were non-families. 22.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.08.
In the town the population was spread out with 25.1% under the age of 18, 4.2% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 28.4% from 45 to 64, and 16.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 100.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.8 males.
About 2.1% of families and 3.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.7% of those under age 18 and 3.3% of those age 65 or over.
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Points of interest
- Barrett's Farm
- Reuben Brown House, home of notable revolutionist
- Concord Art Association
- The Concord Bookshop
- Concord Free Public Library
- Concord Museum
- Corinthian Lodge
- Egg Rock, where the Concord River forms at the confluence of the Sudbury River and Assabet River, accessible by water or land
- Emerson Hospital
- Ralph Waldo Emerson House
- Estabrook Woods
- Fairyland Pond
- First Parish Church
- Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
- Massachusetts Correctional Institution – Concord
- Minute Man National Historical Park
- Northeastern Correctional Center
- The Old Manse, home of Emerson and Hawthorne
- Old North Bridge
- Orchard House
- Punkatasset Hill
- Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
- Walden Pond
- The Wayside, home of Louisa May Alcott, Hawthorne, and Margaret Sidney
- Wheeler-Minot Farmhouse, also known as Thoreau Farm, birthplace of Henry David Thoreau
- Wright's Tavern
- Concord Carlisle Regional High School, the local public high school
- Concord Middle School (consisting of two buildings about a mile apart: Sanborn and Peabody)
- Alcott School, Willard School, and Thoreau School, the local public elementary schools
- Concord Academy and Middlesex School, private preparatory schools
- The Fenn School and The Nashoba Brooks School, private primary schools
- Commuter rail service to Boston's North Station is provided by the MBTA with two stops in Concord on its Fitchburg Line.
- Yankee Lines provides a commuter bus service to Copley Square in Boston from Concord Center.
Notable residents and natives
- Chris Abele, County Executive of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin
- Seth Abramson, poet
- Bronson Alcott, teacher and writer
- Louisa May Alcott, novelist
- Casper Asbjornson, Major League Baseball player
- Jane G. Austin, writer of historical fiction
- Oscar C. Badger, U.S. Navy officer
- Laurie Baker, USA Hockey gold medalist
- Tim Berners-Lee, British computer scientist, best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web
- Frank Hagar Bigelow, U.S. astronomer and meteorologist
- Daniel Bliss (jurist), proscribed by the Massachusetts Banishment Act
- Paget Brewster, actress
- Peter Bulkley, Puritan preacher and a founder of Concord
- Ephraim Bull, inventor of the Concord grape
- John Buttrick, Concord militia leader
- Steve Carell, comedian (lived in Acton but attended The Fenn School and also attended The Middlesex School)
- William Ellery Channing (poet)
- Darby Conley, cartoonist
- Patricia Cornwell, contemporary American crime writer and author
- George William Curtis, writer and speaker
- Bob Diamond, former Chief Executive of Barclays
- Harrison Gray Dyar, chemist and inventor
- Edward Waldo Emerson, physician, writer and lecturer
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, essayist, poet and philosopher
- William Emerson (minister), father of Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Will Eno, author and playwright
- Richard Fadden, CSIS Director
- Daniel Chester French, sculptor
- Michael Fucito, MLS player
- Kevin Garnett, NBA player
- Hal Gill, NHL player
- Tom Glavine, Major League Baseball player
- Doris Kearns Goodwin, historian and writer
- Richard N. Goodwin, advisor and speechwriter to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson
- William Watson Goodwin, classical scholar
- Nathaniel Hawthorne, novelist and short story writer
- Ebenezer R. Hoar, U.S. Attorney General
- George Frisbie Hoar, U.S. Congressman and Senator
- John Hoar, redeemer of famed captive Mary Rowlandson during King Philip's War
- Jonathan Hoar, colonial soldier
- Samuel Hoar, U.S. Congressman
- Frederic Hudson, journalist
- Dick Hustvedt, software engineer
- Edward Jarvis, physician and statistician
- Dick Kazmaier, Princeton football player who was the last Ivy League Heisman Trophy winner
- George Parsons Lathrop, poet and novelist
- Joel Kurtzman, Economist and Journalist
- Alan Lightman, physicist, novelist and essayist
- Lynn Harold Loomis, mathematician and co-discoverer of the Loomis–Whitney inequality
- Gregory Maguire, author
- Andrew McMahon, musician and lead singer of Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin
- Jane Mendillo, CEO of Harvard Management Company
- Russell Miller, author and historian
- William Munroe, first manufacturer of lead pencils in America
- Abigail May Alcott Nieriker, artist
- Robert B. Parker, author
- Samuel Parris, clergyman and witchcraft prosecutor
- Uta Pippig, marathon runner
- Samuel Prescott, American Revolutionary War "The Ride" with Paul Revere and William Dawes
- Sam Presti, NBA executive
- Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, novelist
- Ezra Ripley, clergyman
- William Stevens Robinson, journalist
- Dean Rosenthal, composer and musician
- Franklin Benjamin Sanborn, journalist, author, and reformer
- David Allen Sibley, ornithologist and author
- Margaret Sidney (pseudonym of Harriett Mulford Stone Lothrop), author
- Robert Solow, Nobel laureate in economics
- John Augustus Stone, actor, dramatist, and playwright
- Henry David Thoreau, author, naturalist and philosopher
- John Tortorella, Vancouver Canucks head coach
- Will Tuttle, author, educator and composer
- Jonas Wheeler, Maine Senate President
- Thomas Wheeler, soldier in King Philip's War
- William W. Wheildon, writer
- William Whiting, lawyer, writer and politician
- Samuel Willard, 17th century colonial minister
- Simon Willard, 17th century intellectual and former British Major who co-founded Concord.
- Stephen Wolfram, British-born scientist and developer of Mathematica software
- Gordon S. Wood, historian and author
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- "Concord Misfires in Plastic Bottle War". Los Angeles Times. 13 September 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
- "Concord, Massachusetts Bans Sale of Small Water Bottles". BBC News. BBC. 2 Jan 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
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- Corinthian Lodge. Concord, Massachusetts.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Concord, Massachusetts.|
|Wikisource has the text of a 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article about Concord, Massachusetts.|
- Town of Concord official website
- Concord Public School System (includes Concord-Carlisle district)
- Chamber of Commerce
- The Concord Life, a Concord blogsite for the visitor
- MCI-Concord, overview of Massachusetts Correctional Institution – Concord
- Concord's African American & Abolitionist History Map from the Drinking Gourd Project
- Concord (Massachusetts) travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Concord, Massachusetts at DMOZ