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Arlington, Massachusetts

Arlington is a town in eastern Massachusetts, six miles northwest of Boston, latitude 42 degrees 25 minutes north, longitude 71 degrees 09 minutes west. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 42,389.

It is situated in Middlesex County, Massachusetts. It is bordered on the south by the town of Belmont, on the south and east by the city of Cambridge, on the west by the town of Lexington, on the north by the town of Winchester, and on the east by the cities of Medford and Somerville.

Ice Harvesting on Spy Pond

Table of contents
1 Geography
2 Name
3 History
4 Demographics
5 Government
6 Interesting facts
7 External links


Arlington covers 3,517.5 acres, or 5.5 square miles, of which 286.2 acres are covered by water. There are 210.52 acres of parkland.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 14.3 km² (5.5 mi²). 13.4 km² (5.2 mi²) of it is land and 0.9 km² (0.3 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 5.99% water.


Prior to changing the name to Arlington in 1867 in honor of those buried in Arlington National Cemetery, the area including part of what is now Belmont was incorporated in 1807 as West Cambridge. The Town of Arlington was originally settled in 1635 as a village under the name Menotomy, an Algonquian word meaning "fast moving water".

Old Schwamb Mill, 1873

The water to which this name referred was later named Mill Brook and figured largely into Arlington's economy. Seven mills were built along the stream, including the 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 what is now known as Arlington. And later on that first day of the American Revolution, more blood was shed in Arlington 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.

Jason Russell House

The Jason Russell house is today a museum which remembers those twelve Americans who were killed in and around this pictured dwelling on April 19th, 1775.


Arlington currently has approximately 42,000 residents. Based on the U.S. censuses, Arlington's population has been declining by an average of 7% per decade since 1970. (1970: 52,720; 2000: 42,389).

As of the census of 2000, there are 42,389 people, 19,011 households, and 10,779 families residing in the town. The population density is 3,159.6/km² (8,179.6/mi²). There are 19,411 housing units at an average density of 1,446.8 persons/km² (3,745.6 persons/mi²). The racial makeup of the town is 90.97% White, 1.70% African American, 0.13% Native American, 4.97% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.66% from other races, and 1.56% from two or more races. 1.86% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 19,011 households out of which 23.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.4% are married couples living together, 8.8% have a woman whose husband does not live with her, and 43.3% are non-families. 34.2% of all households are made up of individuals and 12.5% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.22 and the average family size is 2.91.

In the town the population is spread out with 18.4% under the age of 18, 5.1% from 18 to 24, 36.0% from 25 to 44, 23.7% from 45 to 64, and 16.8% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 40 years. For every 100 females there are 86.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 83.1 males.

The median income for a household in the town is $64,344, and the median income for a family is $78,741. Males have a median income of $52,352 versus $40,445 for females. The per capita income for the town is $34,399. 4.1% of the population and 2.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 2.0% are under the age of 18 and 5.5% are 65 or older.


Arlington's executive branch is comprised of an elected five-member Board of Selectmen. The day-to-day operations are handled by a Town Manager hired by the Board of Selectmen. The legislative branch is made up of 252 Town Meeting Members, elected from the 21 precincts.

Arlington's Town Hall, 1924

Arlington is part of the 7th Massachusetts Congressional District, the 4th Middlesex State Senatorial District, and the 23rd and 26th Middlesex State Representative Districts.

Interesting facts

Appeal to the Great Spirit

External links