The Massachusetttribe, part of the Algonquian group of Native Americans, lived around the Mystic Lakes, the Mystic River and Alewife Brook. By the time Europeans arrived, the local Indians had been devastated by disease; also, the tribal chief, Nanepashemet, had been killed by a rival tribe in about 1619. Nanepashemet's widow, known to history only as "Squaw Sachem of Mistick", sold the land of her tribe to the colonists for ten pounds, with provisions that she and her tribe could remain on her homestead land around the Mystic Lakes and continue hunting and farming. She also was to be given a new winter coat of wool each year for the rest of her life. She is thought to have lived until about 1650.
Through the town also flows the stream called Mill Brook, 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 survives to this day. The Schwamb Mill has been a working mill since 1650, making it the longest working mill in the country.
Paul Revere's famous midnight ride to alert colonists took him through Menotomy, 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. All in all, 25 colonials 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).
1852 Map of Boston area showing Arlington, then called West Cambridge. (The former Middlesex Canal is highlighted.)
The Jason Russell House, a yellow colonial, is today a museum which remembers those twelve Americans, including Russell himself, 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.
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.
Arlington was the site of the accident which claimed the life of top American professional cyclist Nicole Reinhart, a two-time Pan American Games winner. She was killed on September 17, 2000 when she was thrown from her bicycle during a National Calendar criterium bicycle race.
An 1875 map of Arlington
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. 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 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.
At the 2010 census, there were 42,844 people, 18,969 households and 10,981 families residing in the town. The population density was 8,239.2 per square mile (3,197.3/km2). There were 19,974 housing units at an average density of 3,841.2 per square mile (1,490.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 83.6% White, 2.3% African American, 0.1% Native American, 8.3% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.3% of the population.
There were 19,007 households of which 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. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.93.
Of the 42,844 people in the population, 21.4% were under the age of 18, 5.8% were 15 to 19 years of age, 5.3% were 20 to 24 years of age, 30.3% were 25 to 44 years of age, 28.7% were 45 to 64 years of age, and 15.8% were 65 years and over. The median age was 41.7 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.8 males. For every 100 females 18 years and over there were 83.9 males.
The median household income was $85,059, and the median family income was $107,862. The median income of individuals working full-time was $78,820 for males versus $64,143 for females. The per capita income for the town was $47,571. About 1.9% of families and 4.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.3% of those under age 18 and 7.5% of those age 65 or over.
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, presided over by the Town Moderator, and is made up of 252 Town Meeting Members. 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. 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.
Diane M. Mahon (Chair)
Daniel J. Dunn (Vice-Chair)
Joseph A. Curro, Jr.
Stephen W. DeCourcey
John V. Hurd
Leonard J. Kardon (Chair)
Jane P. Morgan (Vice-Chair)
Paul Schlichtman (Secretary)
Kirsi C. Allison-Ampe
Jennifer R. Susse
Jeffrey D. Thielman
Other Town-Wide Elected Officials
Stephanie Luccarelli, Town Clerk
John D. Leone, Town Moderator
Arlington has a public school system with ten schools. (7 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and 1 high school) 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.
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, and a commanding view of the Boston skyline.
Robbins Library contains the oldest continuously operated free children's library in the country.
Spy Pond Park provides access to the northeast shore of Spy Pond.
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.
^"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 requires |journal= (help)
^"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.
^"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.
^"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.