Davis (MBTA station)

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Davis station platform.jpg
Outbound train at Davis station
Location Holland Street & Elm Street
Somerville, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°23′49″N 71°07′23″W / 42.397°N 71.123°W / 42.397; -71.123Coordinates: 42°23′49″N 71°07′23″W / 42.397°N 71.123°W / 42.397; -71.123
Owned by Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Platforms 1 island platform
Tracks 2
Connections MBTA Bus: 87, 88, 89, 90, 94, 96
Bicycle facilities 165 spaces in "Pedal and Park" bicycle cage
Disabled access Yes
Opened 1870 (B&L)
December 8, 1984 (MBTA)
Closed 1927 (B&L)
Previous names West Somerville
Passengers (2013) 12,857 (weekday average boardings)[1]
Preceding station   MBTA.svg MBTA   Following station
Red Line
toward Ashmont or Braintree

Davis Station is a transfer station serving the MBTA's rapid transit Red Line, located at Davis Square, the intersection of Holland Street, Elm Street, and College Avenue. By consequence of geography and system layout, Davis Station is one of only two rapid transit stations in Somerville, the other being Assembly on the Orange Line. It is bordered on both sides by stations that lie in Cambridge: Alewife and Porter.

Opened in 1984, Davis Station takes its name from Davis Square, which was named after Person Davis (1819-1894), a grain dealer who moved to the area in 1850 and built his estate near the intersection of Elm, Grove and Morrison Streets.[2] The station is fully handicapped accessible.

Facilities include a bus terminal for local routes, with a dedicated busway, two head houses and bicycle parking. Davis also includes connections to the Somerville Community Path and the Cambridge Linear Park.

Station layout[edit]

G Street Level Exits/Entrances
M Mezzanine Fare control, to Exits and Entrances
Platform level
Outbound Red Line toward Alewife (Terminus)
Island platform, doors will open on the left
Inbound Red Line toward Ashmont or Braintree (Porter)


Davis station under construction in 1983

Streetcars propelled the growth of West Somerville after 1858, and regular passenger rail was not far behind. Beginning in 1870, passenger service on the Lexington and Arlington branch of the Boston and Lowell Railroad (later succeeded by the Boston and Maine Railroad) came through Davis Square, with a "West Somerville" stop in the square. A station was built in 1888.[3] The streetcar and railroad service stimulated substantial development in the 1870s and 1880s as Davis Square quickly grew into an active commercial center. A boom in residential construction followed in the 1890s.[4]

In 1927, passenger rail service was re-routed, contributing to a decline in the area that became more severe after World War II. In the 1960s or 1970s, local officials and citizen groups successfully petitioned the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to create a Red Line subway stop in Somerville at Davis Square. Davis opened to passengers for the first time on December 8, 1984,[5] spurring major development and revitalization of the area.

Arts on the Line[edit]

As a part of the Red Line Northwest Extension, Davis was included as one of the stations involved in the Arts on the Line program. Arts on the Line was devised to bring art into the MBTA's subway stations in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was the first program of its kind in the United States and became the model for similar drives for art across the country.[6]

Four of the original twenty artworks are located at Davis station.[7] These works are:

  • Ten Figures by James Tyler - Life-size people created out of cement, placed in areas around Davis Square
  • Children's Tile Mural by Jack Gregory and Joan Wye - Many tiles created by children placed on the brick wall of the station mezzanine. In 2009, a group of local artists attempted to find as many of the tile-makers as possible. The schoolchildren are now 35–45 years old[8]
  • Poetry by various poets - Lines of poems are embedded into bricks on the station platform floor
  • Sculpture with a D by Sam Gilliam - A large scale, brightly colored, abstract work[9]

Bus connections[edit]

A route 90 bus at Davis in 2015

Additionally, Davis Station connects to several MBTA Bus Lines leading to nearby towns:[10]

  • 87 Arlington Center or Clarendon Hill - Lechmere Station via Somerville Avenue
  • 88 Clarendon Hill — Lechmere Station via Highland Avenue
  • 89 Clarendon Hill or Davis Square - Sullivan Square Station via Broadway
  • 90 Davis Square - Wellington Station via Sullivan Square Station & Assembly Mall
  • 94 Medford Square — Davis Square Station via West Medford & Medford Hillside
  • 96 Medford Square — Harvard Station via George St. & Davis Square Station


  1. ^ "Ridership and Service Statistics" (PDF) (14th ed.). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 2014. 
  2. ^ "Rebekah Gewirtz E-Newsletter: December 2006". December 2006. Archived from the original on 2012-07-13. Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
  3. ^ "Rails of the Past" (2008), p. 6 Archived 2013-12-15 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed December 15, 2013
  4. ^ Gordon, Edward (Fall 2006). "College Avenue, Gateway to West Somerville – From Davis Square to the Medford Line" (PDF). somervillema,org. Chapter of Victoria Society of America. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 December 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  5. ^ Curtatone, Joe; Gewirtz, Rebekah (7 June 2013). "Column: Davis Square design in Somerville will be community-driven". Wicked Local Somerville. Archived from the original on 13 December 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  6. ^ Red Line Northwest Extension Pamphlet page 5. The Davis Square Tiles Project. Accessed May 31, 2010
  7. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-10-24. Retrieved 2007-08-24. 
  8. ^ "249 Tiles". The Davis Square Tiles Project. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  9. ^ Red Line Northwest Extension Pamphlet pages 10-11. The Davis Square Tiles Project. Accessed May 30, 2010
  10. ^ "Davis Station". mbta.com. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 

External links[edit]