Somerville, Massachusetts

Somerville (/ˈsʌmərvɪl/ SUM-ər-vil) is a city located directly to the northwest of Boston, and north of Cambridge, in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. As of the 2020 United States Census, the city had a total population of 81,045 people. With an area of 4.12 square miles (10.7 km2), the city has a density of 19,671/sq mi (7,595/km2), making it the most densely populated municipality in New England and the 19th most densely populated incorporated municipality in the country. Somerville was established as a town in 1842, when it was separated from Charlestown. In 2006, the city was named the best-run city in Massachusetts by The Boston Globe.[3] In 1972, 2009, and 2015, the city received the All-America City Award.[4][5] It is home to Tufts University, which has its campus along the Somerville and Medford border.

Somerville, Massachusetts
Davis Square, Somerville
Davis Square, Somerville
Official seal of Somerville, Massachusetts
"Municipal Freedom Gives National Strength"
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Somerville is located in Massachusetts
Location in the United States
Somerville is located in the United States
Somerville (the United States)
Coordinates: 42°23′15″N 71°06′00″W / 42.38750°N 71.10000°W / 42.38750; -71.10000
Country United States
State Massachusetts
RegionNew England
Incorporated (town)1842
Incorporated (city)1872
 • TypeMayor–council
 • MayorKatjana Ballantyne (D)
 • Total4.22 sq mi (10.94 km2)
 • Land4.12 sq mi (10.68 km2)
 • Water0.10 sq mi (0.26 km2)
12 ft (4 m)
 • Total81,045
 • Density19,652.04/sq mi (7,588.17/km2)
Demonym(s)Somervillian, Villen[2]
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Codes
Area code617 / 857
FIPS code25-62535
GNIS ID0612815



Early settlement


The territory now comprising the city of Somerville was first settled by Europeans in 1629 as part of Charlestown. In 1629, English surveyor Thomas Graves led a scouting party of 100 Puritans from the settlement of Salem to prepare the site for the Great Migration of Puritans from England. Graves was attracted to the narrow Mishawum Peninsula between the Charles and Mystic rivers, linked to the mainland at the present-day Sullivan Square. The area of earliest settlement was based at City Square on the peninsula, though the territory of Charlestown officially included all of what is now Somerville, as well as Medford, Everett, Malden,[6] Stoneham,[7] Melrose, Woburn, Burlington, and parts of Arlington and Cambridge.[8] From that time until 1842, the area of present-day Somerville was referred to as "beyond the Neck" in reference to the thin spit of land, the Charlestown Neck, that connected it to the Charlestown Peninsula.[9]

The first European settler in Somerville of whom there is any record was John Woolrich, an Indian trader who came from the Charlestown Peninsula in 1630, and settled near what is now Dane Street.[10] Others soon followed Woolrich, locating in the vicinity of present-day Union Square. In 1639 colonists officially acquired the land in what is now Somerville from the Squaw Sachem of Mistick.[11] The population continued to slowly increase, and by 1775 there were about 500 inhabitants scattered across the area. Otherwise, the area was mostly used as grazing and farmland. It was once known as the "Stinted Pasture" or "Cow Commons", as early settlers of Charlestown had the right to pasture a certain number of cows in the area.

John Winthrop, the first colonial governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, was granted 600 acres (240 hectares) of land in the area in 1631. Named for the ten small knolls located on the property, Ten Hills Farm extended from the Cradock Bridge in present-day Medford Square to Convent Hill in East Somerville. Winthrop lived, planted, and raised cattle on the farm. It is also where he launched the first ship in Massachusetts, the "Blessing of the Bay". Built for trading purposes in the early 1630s, it was soon armed for use as a patrol boat for the New England coast. It is seen as a precursor to the United States Navy.[12][13] The "Ten Hills" neighborhood, located in the northeastern part of the city, has retained the name for over 300 years. New research has found that less than a decade after John Winthrop moved to the farm in 1631, there were enslaved Native American prisoners of war on the property. Each successive owner of Ten Hills Farm would depend upon slavery's profits until the 1780s, when Massachusetts abolished the practice.[14]

In a short time, the settlers began laying out roads in all directions in search of more land for planting and trade with various Native American tribes in the area. Laid out as early as the mid-1630s, the earliest highway in Somerville was probably what is now Washington Street, and led from present-day Sullivan Square to Harvard Square. In its earliest days, Washington Street was known as the "Road to Newtowne" (renamed Cambridge in 1638). During the 1700s and early 1800s Somerville Avenue was "Milk Row," a route favored by Middlesex County dairy farmers as the best way to get to the markets of Charlestown and Boston.[15][16]

Laid out in 1636, Broadway was likely the second highway built in the area. Originally called "Menotomie's Road", it ran from the Charlestown Neck to the settlement at Menotomy (present-day Arlington). Initially bordered by farmsteads, Broadway would come into its own as a commercial thoroughfare after horse-drawn trolleys were introduced to the highway in 1858.[17]

Role in the Revolutionary War

The Old Powder House in Nathan Tufts Park

Somerville was home to one of the first hostile acts of the American Revolutionary War. The removal of gunpowder by British soldiers from a powder magazine in 1774, and the massive popular reaction that ensued, are considered to be a turning point in the events leading up to war.[18]

First built by settlers for use as a windmill in the early 1700s, the Old Powder House was sold to the colonial government of Massachusetts for use as a gunpowder magazine in 1747. Located at the intersection of Broadway and College Avenue in present-day Powder House Square, the Old Powder House held the largest supply of gunpowder in all of Massachusetts. General Thomas Gage, who had become the military governor of Massachusetts in May 1774, was charged with enforcement of the highly unpopular Intolerable Acts, which British Parliament had passed in response to the Boston Tea Party. Seeking to prevent the outbreak of war, he believed that the best way to accomplish this was by secretly removing military stores from storehouses and arsenals in New England.[19]

Just after dawn on September 1, 1774, a force of roughly 260 British regulars from the 4th Regiment, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George Maddison, were rowed in secrecy up the Mystic River from Boston to a landing point near Winter Hill. From there they marched about one mile (1.5 kilometers) to the Powder House, and after sunrise removed all of the gunpowder. Most of the regulars then returned to Boston the way they had come, but a small contingent marched on to Cambridge, seizing two field pieces from the Cambridge Common.[20] The field pieces and powder were then taken from Boston to the British stronghold on Castle Island, then known as Castle William (renamed Fort Independence in 1779).[21]

In response to the raid, amid rumors that blood had been shed, alarm spread through the countryside as far as Connecticut and beyond, and American Patriots sprang into action, fearing that war was at hand. Thousands of militiamen began streaming toward Boston and Cambridge, and mob action forced Loyalists and some government officials to flee to the protection of the British Army. This action provided a "dress rehearsal" for the Battles of Lexington and Concord seven months later in the famous "shot heard 'round the world", and inflamed already heated feelings on both sides, spurring actions by both British and American forces to remove powder and cannon to secure locations.[22][15]

After the raid on the Powder House, the colonists took action to conceal arms and munitions of war in Concord. When General Gage found out, he was resolved to take the powder by force if necessary. The Americans learned that the British intended to start for Concord on April 18, 1775, and couriers Paul Revere and William Dawes set out on their famous ride to warn the farmers and militiamen in between Boston and Concord, including Sam Adams and John Hancock. That night, he set out from the North End through Charlestown towards East Somerville. In Revere's own written account of his ride, he mentions a specific location in Somerville (then part of Charlestown).[23] The location was the site where the executed body of a local slave known as "Mark", owned by John Codman, was publicly gibbeted and displayed for several years after his execution.[24] The location is probably near the site of the present day Holiday Inn on Washington Street.[25] Revere wrote "nearly opposite where Mark was hung in chains, I saw two men on Horse back, under a Tree",[23] which he then realized were two British officers stationed on Washington Street. They immediately pursued him, and Revere galloped up Broadway towards Winter Hill and eventually eluded them. His warning gave the militia enough time to prepare for battle, and launch the American Revolution.[26]

Shortly after Paul Revere set out on his ride, Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith and 700 British Army regulars landed near Lechmere Square. As it was nearly high tide, East Cambridge was an island and the troops, skirting the marshes, were obliged to wade "thigh deep" to reach Somerville. They probably came through Prospect Street into Washington Street, and through Union Square.[27]

Ross Moffett's A Skirmish Between British and Colonists near Somerville in Revolutionary Times, 1937

Defeated and in retreat, the British army passed again through Somerville en route back to Boston. Upon reaching Union Square, the British marched down Washington Street as far as the base of Prospect Hill, where a skirmish took place. The handful of rebellious locals, having heard of the storied battles at Lexington and Concord earlier that day, caught an exhausted retreating British contingent off guard. As the story goes, 65-year-old minuteman James Miller lost his life in the scuffle while standing his ground against the British. He was shot thirteen times after famously telling a retreating colleague, "I am too old to run."[28]

Somerville occupied a conspicuous position during the entire Siege of Boston, which lasted nine months, and Prospect Hill became the central position of the Continental Army's chain of emplacements north of Boston. Its height and commanding view of Boston and the harbor had tremendous strategic value and the fortress became known as the "Citadel". Originally occupied by just 400 men, Prospect Hill became a primary encampment for American forces after General Israel Putnam's retreat from the Battle of Bunker Hill. It is believed that on January 1, 1776, the Grand Union Flag flew for the first time at the Citadel, the first official raising of an American flag.[29][30]

Independence, urbanization and rapid growth


With the Revolutionary War over, the residents of Somerville were able once again to devote their energies wholeheartedly to the business of making a living. From the 1780s until Somerville's separation from Charlestown in 1842, material progress was continuous, if a bit slow. As transportation infrastructure gradually transformed the area, new industries sprang up, such as brickmaking, quarrying and dairy farming.[31]

Transportation improvements in the early to mid-1800s factored significantly in the growth of a more urban residential form and Somerville's incorporation as a City in 1872. These improvements included the opening of the Middlesex Canal through Somerville in 1803,[32] various turnpikes such as Medford and Beacon streets, built during the 1810s and 1820s, and especially the introduction of rail lines. In 1841, the Fitchburg Railroad was built between Boston and Fresh Pond in Cambridge, paralleling the route of Somerville Avenue. This led to the establishment of industries along its path. Soon after, in 1843 the Fitchburg Railroad commenced passenger service and enabled residential development along the southern slopes of Prospect and Spring hills. By the early 1840s, the population of present-day Somerville topped 1,000 for the first time.[33]

Despite the growth, however, discontent was growing steadily outside the "neck". The area's rural farmers paid taxes to the local government in Charlestown, but received little in return. By 1842, the area had no churches, few schools, no taverns, and suffered from poor and impassable roads. For many years after the Revolution the two parts of Charlestown styled "within" and "without the neck" were nearly equal in population; the former had by this time completely outstripped the latter. With this growth of population and trade came the need of city institutions, and consequently greater expenses were involved. Therefore, the rural part of Charlestown found itself contributing to the paving of the streets, the maintenance of a night watch, to the building of engine houses, and various other improvements from which they derived little benefit.[34]

In 1828, a petition was presented to the Legislature asking that a part of Charlestown be set off as a separate town, to be known as Warren. This petition was subsequently withdrawn. The desire for a separate township continued to spread, and by 1841, becoming impatient at the neglect of the government to adequately provide for their needs, the inhabitants again agitated a division of the town, and a meeting in reference to the matter was held November 22 in the Prospect Hill school house.[35]

A petition was accordingly drawn up and signed by Guy C. Hawkins and 151 others, and a committee deputed to further its passage through the Legislature, then in session. A bill incorporating a new town was signed by the governor on March 3, 1842. The original choice for the city's new name, after breaking away from Charlestown, was Walford, after the first settler of Charlestown, Thomas Walford. However, this name was not adopted by the separation committee. Charles Miller, a member of this committee, proposed the name "Somerville", which was ultimately chosen. It was not derived from any one person's name, and a report commissioned by the Somerville Historical Society found that Somerville was a "purely fanciful name".[28]

Before Somerville became a township in 1842 the area was primarily populated by British farmers and brick makers who sold their wares in the markets of Boston, Cambridge and Charlestown. As the markets grew, the population of Somerville increased six-fold between the years of 1842 and 1870 to 14,685. With the sharp influx of immigrants to the Somerville area, industry boomed and brick manufacturing became the predominant trade. Before mechanical presses were invented, Somerville produced 1.3 million bricks a year. Thereafter, production increased rapidly to 5.5 million bricks a year, and the success of the brickyards began to attract numerous other industries. In 1851, American Tubes Works opened, followed by meat processing and packaging plants. Other Somerville factories came to produce steam engines, boilers, household appliances, glass, and iron.

Shortly thereafter Somerville incorporated as a city in 1872. The population growth was due in part to improvements in pre-existing transportation lines, as well as a new rail line, the Lexington and Arlington Railroad, introduced through Davis Square in 1870. At its height, Somerville was served by eight passenger rail stations. Somerville's buoyant economy during this period was tied to industries that tended to locate at the periphery of the residential core, near freight rail corridors. By the mid-1870s meat packing plants were the primary employers and profit centers of the community.[36]

Martha Perry Lowe School (1904)

The Late Industrial Period (1870–1915) was a time of phenomenal growth for Somerville in all spheres including civic and commercial ventures. Infrastructure such as rail, water lines, telegraph and electricity were established and connected to surrounding towns. The population soared from 15,000 to 90,000. While brickmaking had taken a hold in the area after the railroads first arrived in the 1830s, Somerville's brickyards boomed through 1870. Meatpacking soon displaced brickmaking as the primary industry in the city, dubbed "The Chicago of New England". Additionally, Somerville's location adjacent to Boston and proximity to rail and road transportation made it an ideal location for distribution facilities.[34]

It was in this period that Irish immigrants moved to Somerville to work in the brickyards and on the railroad.[37] At the same time, older residents of East Boston and Charlestown moved to Somerville to seek a more bucolic setting than that of more densely populated areas. They also worked to maintain political control over immigrant groups, using slogans such as "Keep Somerville Republican" and establishing a local branch of the anti-Catholic American Protective Association.[37]

Between 1915 and 1930 population growth slowed slightly as Somerville's industries consolidated rather than expanded, and the period's most important enterprises were meat packing, dairy processing, ice and food distribution. In 1920, 73% of meatpacking in Massachusetts occurred in Somerville.[37] Construction of the McGrath Highway in 1925 marked the turning point of Somerville as an industrial city, which accelerated when the Ford Motor Company built a plant in Assembly Square in 1926. In the years that followed, Somerville would see itself transformed into a major industrial center as automobile assembly surpassed meat packing as Somerville's most important industry.[38]

By 1930, 70% of Somerville residents had either been born outside of the United States or had parents who were. The population was then estimated to be 60% Catholic.[37]

Although Union Square and Davis Square continued to be the largest commercial areas during the first decades of the 20th century, smaller, less-developed squares grew as well. Ball Square, Magoun Square and Teele Square were developed with one- or two-story masonry commercial buildings, and the public green at Gilman Square was surrounded by multiple four-story commercial buildings.[39] Retail development and banking facilities also spread. During this time of industrial prosperity, continuing through World War II, the city of Somerville reached its population apex at 105,883 residents in 1940. The building boom continued until the 1940s, creating the dense residential fabric the "city of homes" is known for.[40]

Deindustrialization and decline


By mid-century, powerful social and economic forces precipitated a period of industrial and population decline that lasted into the 1980s. The postwar period was characterized by the ascent of the private automobile, which carried significant implications for Somerville. Streetcar lines that had crisscrossed the city since 1890 were systematically ripped out and commuter rail service was discontinued at the city's eight railway stations, one by one. Passenger rail service along the Fitchburg and Lowell lines had been declining for some time, and stations such as the Winter Hill station at Gilman Square were removed as early as the late 1940s. Passenger rail service stopped altogether by 1958.

The number of cars on Somerville's streets continued to rise, and road construction projects proliferated. The Alewife Brook Parkway, Mystic Valley Parkway and the Fells Connector Parkways, originally conceived in the 1890s as a means for city residents to reach the metropolitan parks, evolved into congested commuter routes for suburban drivers. Highway projects were advanced in the wake of the Federal Highway Aid Act (1956), in some instances displacing entire neighborhoods. The Brickbottom neighborhood was razed in 1950 to prepare for a proposed Inner Belt Expressway, and construction of Interstate 93 resulted in demolition of homes in The States neighborhood during the late 1960s.[41]

In 1970, the state authorized rent control in municipalities with more than 50,000 residents.[42] Somerville, Lynn, Brookline, and Cambridge subsequently adopted rent control.[42] Rent control was repealed statewide in 1994 via ballot initiative.[43] At the time, only Boston, Cambridge, and Brookline had rent control measures in place.[43]

Industry slowly moved outward to the metropolitan fringes, encouraged by highway access and cheap, undeveloped land. The Ford Motor Plant in Assembly Square, which had been one of the region's largest employers, closed its doors in 1958 with severe consequences for the local economy. From the late 1950s through the early 1970s, Finast Supermarkets used the building that had earlier housed the Ford assembly plant on Middlesex Avenue, but in 1976 it too closed its doors. By 1976, Assembly Square was becoming a ghost town: Finast Stores, the Boston and Maine Railroad, and Ford Motor Company, which had each paid the city over $1 million in annual taxes, were gone. By the late 1970s, Somerville was losing population, revenue and jobs.[44]

Somerville also has a history of racial tension. It only hired its first black police officer, a person named Francis Moore, in 1974.[45] Moore subsequently won a suit charging that the police department was "blatantly discriminatory" against him, including an episode in which he was told to patrol the East Somerville neighborhood of Glen Park at night without his issued firearm, night stick, Mace, or communication devices. Moore's name had been written on a barrel in the neighborhood and used for target practice by local youth.[45]

Contemporary revitalization


In the last years of the 20th century, the situation in Somerville stabilized and growth returned—first to West Somerville, and then the rest of the city.

Almost thirty years after passenger rail service to Somerville was halted, the Red Line Northwest Extension reached Davis Square in 1984. The city and community used the creation of the new station as a catalyst for revitalizing the faded square, promoting new commercial development and sponsoring other physical and infrastructural improvements. However, when the new transit station opened, business around Davis Square did not immediately thrive. The number of retail stores in the area declined from 68 in 1977 to 56 in 1987.

However many non-retail uses, such as beauty salons and real estate offices, had already begun to fill the empty retail spaces. With the Boston area's emergence from its long recession, the area truly began to revive. Clearly, the community's vision of a rebirth of commercial and retail activity has, in the past few years, been fully realized. All benefit from their proximity to the MBTA station, with connections to Cambridge and Boston. Retail vacancy rates around the square were close to zero as of 2013.[46]

The telecommunication and biotechnology booms of the mid-to-late 1990s significantly contributed to Somerville's revitalization. As with the housing boom a century earlier, the sudden increase in the number of jobs available in the cities of Somerville, Boston, and particularly Cambridge—as well as in the other communities immediately surrounding Somerville—led to a new surge in the demand for housing.[47] Additionally, the end of rent control in Cambridge coincided with the economic recovery in 1995, increasing demand for Somerville's affordable housing options.[48] The city also had a very high car theft rate, once being the car theft capital of the country, and its Assembly Square area was especially infamous for this.[49]

However, after the gentrification period the city went through in the 1990s, and an influx of artists to the area, this name has mostly faded from use and the city has instead gained a reputation for its active arts community and effective government, including being named the best-run city in Massachusetts in 2006.[50] Nowadays lobbying by grassroots organizations is attempting to revive and preserve Somerville's "small-town" neighborhood environments by supporting local business, public transit and gardens.[51][52] For some Somerville residents, some of these efforts, such as the 2022 Green Line extensions into Somerville, present a challenge for balancing accessibility of public transit and the need for affordable housing.[53]


1884 map of Somerville demarcating each of the wards within the city

According to the United States Census Bureau, Somerville has a total area of 4.2 square miles (11 km2), of which 4.1 square miles (11 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2), or 2.61%, is water.[54] Somerville is bordered by the cities of Cambridge, Medford, Everett, Arlington and the Boston neighborhood of Charlestown. It is located on the west bank of the Mystic River.

Millennia ago, glaciation left a series of drumlins running west to east across the landscape of what would become Somerville. These ridges would later become known as the "Seven Hills" of Somerville (like many other cities claiming to be built on seven hills, following the seven hills of Rome):[55]

  1. Central Hill
  2. Clarendon Hill
  3. Cobble Hill
  4. Ploughed Hill (or Mount Benedict)
  5. Prospect Hill (or Mount Pisgah)
  6. Spring Hill
  7. Winter Hill

These hills rise from the floodplain of the Mystic River, and generally run west to east, providing for beautiful vistas of Boston to the south and Medford/Everett to the north. Physical boundaries are also defined by prominent waterways: the Mystic River to the north, its tributary Alewife Brook to the west, and the Miller's River to the southeast.

Land in early Somerville was used primarily as grazing commons and small farms. After the proliferation of the railroads in the area during the mid-1800s, industrialization transformed the landscape. In the 1800s, the Millers River was used as a sewer and dumping ground for local industry and would be ordered filled by the Commonwealth before the end of the century, for health reasons. As a result of landfill and the elimination of former Cobble Hill, the Millers River marsh was turned into railyards, slaughterhouses and other large-scale land uses.

Squares and neighborhoods

Seven Hills Park at Davis Square. The towers in the park each represent one of the city's original hills.

Somerville's commercial property is not concentrated in a recognized downtown central business district but instead is spread over many different nodes or corridors of business activity. The difference in character ranges from the vibrant nightlife, live music and theaters of Davis Square to the large scale retail and highway access of Assembly Square. This spatial allocation is directly related to the early influence of rail and streetcar systems which caused economic activity to occur at stops. The other key factor in the creation of commercial squares is the area's topography. The numerous hills making up Somerville's landscape determined where road networks would allow neighborhood commercial development.[56]

Somerville has a number of squares that are centers for business and entertainment, as well as a number of other neighborhoods:[57][58]


Historical population
* = population estimate.
Source: United States census records and Population Estimates Program data.[64][65][66][67][68][69][70][71][72][73][74]
U.S. Decennial Census[75]

Somerville has experienced dramatic growth since the Red Line of Boston's MBTA subway system was extended through Somerville in 1985, especially in the area between Harvard and Tufts. This was especially accelerated by the dot-com bubble of the late 90s, rising incomes, and concomitant rises in demand for urban housing. This growth did not, however, translate into an increase in the population of the city overall, as seen in the table.

Tensions between long-time residents/families and recent arrivals exist (often referred to as “yuppies”), with many of the former accusing the latter of ignoring problems such as drugs and gang violence. Incidents such as anti-"yuppie" graffiti, appearing around town in 2005, highlighting this rift. The economic and cultural clash between the city of Somerville and its neighboring cities of Boston and Cambridge has created an underlying tension between residents that has persisted for multiple generations.[76][77][78]

Due to Somerville's proximity to various institutions of higher education, the city has a constant influx of college students and young professionals, who reside in sections near Cambridge where Harvard University, Lesley University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are located and near Tufts University, which straddles the Somerville-Medford city line. The city is inhabited by blue collar Irish American, Italian American, Greek American, and Portuguese American families, who are spread throughout the city.

In November 1997, the Utne Reader named Davis Square in Somerville one of the 15 hippest places to live in the U.S.[79]

Somerville is home to a thriving arts community and boasts the second highest number of artists per capita in America.[80]



As of the 2020 census, there were 81,045 people and 34,523 households residing in the city. The population density was 19,656.8 inhabitants per square mile (7,589.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 74.3% White, 5.0% Black or African American, 0.2% American Indian or Alaska Native, 9.4% Asian, and 6.9% Two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.3% of the population, and White, non-Hispanic or Latino residents were 68.8%.[81] The city regularly provides translation services and alerts into Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, and Nepali.[82]

There were 34,523 households, out of which 15.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.9% were married couples living together, and 60.5% were non-families. 31.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.83.[83]

The median income for a household in the city was $108,896 (in 2021 dollars), and the per capita income for the city was $58,437. About 10.4% of the residents were below the poverty line.



Somerville's industrial past left behind many legacies, including the invention of Marshmallow Fluff by Archibald Query. In 1914, the city became the home of the original Economy Grocery Store, which later grew into the Stop & Shop grocery chain. Two related food service chains, Steve's Ice Cream and Bertucci's, sprung from adjacent lots in Davis Square.

Companies based in Somerville today include Gentle Giant Moving Company, Formlabs and Candlewick Press.

In 2016, one of the Commonwealth's largest employers, the Mass General Brigham healthcare system moved its headquarters to the redeveloped Assembly Square location in the city. In the timeframe since, a growing number of other entities have placed purpose-built corporate offices both in Assembly Row and other developments in Union Square. Work is additionally being considered to extend development along the Amelia Earhart Dam to connect the nearby Everett with pedestrian bridges to allow more commuters to walk or cycle to the Assembly Row development from neighboring communities.

Top employers


According to Somerville's 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:[84]

Rank Employer Employees (# of)
1 Tufts University 2,193
2 ABM Industries 2,000
3 Cambridge Health Alliance 1,014
4 Somerville School Department 854
5 City of Somerville 695
6 Angelica Textiles 546
7 Federal Realty Investment Trust 510
8 Gentle Giant 375
9 Rogers Foam Corporation 300
10 Van der Weil 300

Arts and culture

HONK! 2022 street band performers near Davis Square

Davis Square is home to the Somerville Theatre, which formerly housed the Museum of Bad Art and plays host to the Independent Film Festival of Boston each spring. Union Tavern and the Crystal Ballroom are live music venues in the city.

Somerville has been home to Porchfest which is a citywide festival that features around 200 bands every May at residents' houses. It has been around since 2011.[85]

Two major art studios, the Brickbottom Artists Building and the Joy Street Studios, are located in former industrial buildings in the Brickbottom district. The Brickbottom Artists Association has been hosting annual open studio events in the fall since 1987.[86][87] Starlab Studios, a multimedia artist studio space and the host of Somerville's annual Starlabfest, opened in Union Square in 2009.[88][89] Additionally, Artisan's Asylum on Tyler Street between Union and Porter squares is a hackerspace, where 150 members and 200 students have been participating in the maker culture since 2011.[90]

The Somerville Public Library has three branches.[91]

The Somerville Arts Council[92] and Somerville Open Studios[93] both host annual events involving the community in homegrown arts. The Boston chapter of the Dorkbot community meets in Somerville at the Willoughby & Baltic studio, in the Brickbottom district. Starting in 2006, an annual Fluff Festival[94] has been held to celebrate the invention of Marshmallow Fluff in Somerville. "What the Fluff?" is produced by Union Square Main Streets and includes vendors, activities, entertainment and the crowning of the Pharaoh of Fluff. It has been described in food journal Gastronomica as an "orgiastic frenzy of all things fluffy--old-world village celebration meets American kitsch."[95] Somerville mayor Joseph Curtatone attended in 2006 and declared, "My house always has been, and always will be, stocked with fluff."[95]

The popular Halloween holiday song Monster Mash was written and sung by Somerville native Bobby "Boris" Pickett[96]

Points of interest

Entrance of the Somerville Theatre

Dilboy Stadium


George Dilboy Memorial Stadium is a multi-purpose public stadium in city. It is known as the home of the Boston Renegades women's tackle football team. It was also the home field of the Boston Militia women's tackle football team from 2008 to 2014. The Boston Breakers women's soccer club made Dilboy Stadium their home in 2012 and 2013.[97] The stadium is named after George Dilboy, who was awarded the Medal of Honor during World War I.[98]

Historic places


Somerville has eighty-four sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These places include various houses, libraries, parkways, churches, among other places, and have been declared landmarks within the city.[99]

Somerville Museum


The Somerville Museum preserves memorabilia chronicling the city's roots, with historical and artistic exhibits.[100] It is located at 1 Westwood Road, on the corner of Central Street.[101]

Parks and recreation


The Somerville Community Path is a tree-lined rail trail that runs from Lowell Street to the Cambridge border near Davis Square. It connects with the Alewife Linear Park, which in turn connects with the Minuteman Bikeway and the Fitchburg Cutoff Path. Community activists hope to extend the path eastward to Lechmere Square, which would connect with the Charles River Bike Paths and the proposed East Coast Greenway. In May 2013, construction began on an extension of the path between Cedar and Lowell streets,[102] which was completed in 2015.[103] As of 2010, the city has a total of 63 parks, playgrounds, playing fields, and community gardens.[104]

With the establishment of the Playground Association of America in 1906, many cities, including Somerville, began to sponsor supervised playgrounds for the children of the city during the summer months. Though the Recreation Department was not formally established in Somerville until 1917, supervised play, sponsored in part by the city and the Playground Association of America, began in 1909.[105]

The Recreation Department provides many recreational and play activities for residents of all ages, including Summertime Playgrounds, outdoor games and sports leagues, theater groups, and an active Senior Citizens Club.[106]


The final Town of Somerville board of selectmen in 1871 before incorporation as a city the next year.

City government


Somerville has a mayor-city council form of municipal government. The City Council (formerly a Board of Aldermen) consists of four at-large (citywide) positions and seven ward representatives, where each ward is a specific section of the city.[107] The change from Aldermen to Council came in 2018 when gender equity was honored. As of January 3, 2022, the City Council compromised the following councilors:[108]

Councilor Position
Matthew McLaughlin President and Ward 1 Councilor
Jefferson Thomas ("J.T.") Scott Ward 2 Councilor
Ben Ewen-Campen Vice President and Ward 3 Councilor
Jesse Clingan Ward 4 Councilor
Beatriz Gomez Mouakad Ward 5 Councilor
Lance Davis Ward 6 Councilor
Judy Pineda Neufeld Ward 7 Councilor
Kristen Strezo At-large Councilor
Willie Burnley Jr. At-large Councilor
Charlotte Kelly At-large Councilor
Jake Wilson At-large Councilor

The first Democratic mayor of the city was John J. Murphy in 1929. Every mayor prior, since 1872, had been unaffiliated with a party or Republican. Murphy succeeded on his seventh try by uniting the Irish, Italian, Greek, and Portuguese communities. There were candlelit processions with thousands marching in rallies in the middle of Union Square and other squares in the city. The current mayor of Somerville is Katjana Ballantyne.

In July 2020, the Somerville City Council voted to recognize polyamorous domestic partnerships in the city, becoming the first city in the United States to do so. This measure was passed in order to allow those in a polyamorous relationship easier access to their partners' health insurance.[109][110]

Alongside these, Somerville boasts a large subsidized housing program with 1400 units and 4,328 people (5% of the population) living in them. There are 13 developments, the largest being the Mystic River Projects and Clarendon Hill Apartments.

  • Mystic River Development (Winter Hill – 240 units)
  • Clarendon Hill Apartments (Teele Square – 216 units)
  • Mystic View Development (Winter Hill – 215 units)
  • Bryant Towers (East Somerville – 134 units)
  • Properzi Manor (Union Square – 110 units)
  • Brady Towers (Inner Belt District – 84 units)
  • Weston Manor (Teele Square – 80 units)
  • Ciampa Manor (Davis Square – 53 units)
  • Highland Gardens (Winter Hill – 42 units)
  • Corbett Apartments (Winter Hill – 31 units)
  • Hagan Manor (Union Square – 24 units)
  • Waterworks Apartments (Alewife – 21 units)

Federal and state representation


Somerville is part of Massachusetts's 7th congressional district for purposes of elections to the United States House of Representatives. It is represented by Representative Ayanna Pressley.[111]

For representation to the Massachusetts Senate, Somerville is entirely within the Second Middlesex district.[112] For representation to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Somerville is part of the 26th, 27th and 34th Middlesex districts.[113] The 26th Middlesex district includes East Somerville, Brickbottom, and a portion of the Union Square area, as well as portions of Cambridge, The 34th Middlesex district includes Winter Hill and Teele Square, as well as portions of Medford. The remainder of the city, just over half, comprises the 27th Middlesex district, which does not extend outside Somerville.

Somerville City Hall
Presidential election results[114]
Year Democratic Republican
2020 87.7% 37,027 10.1% 4,283
2016 83.5% 33,740 10.2% 4,128
2012 82.1% 28,853 13.9% 4,885
2008 81.4% 26,665 15.9% 5,215
2004 80.3% 24,300 17.3% 5,232
2000 69.3% 19,984 15.5% 4,468
1996 75.8% 20,206 14.9% 3,983
1992 65.1% 19,792 19.4% 5,883
1988 69.3% 21,612 28.6% 8,931
1984 64.7% 21,065 34.8% 11,318
1980 54.3% 16,931 30.6% 9,533
1976 68.3% 21,312 27.1% 8,444
1972 66.9% 22,386 32.5% 10,873
1968[115] 77.3% 27,141 17.9% 6,278
1964[116] 86.7% 34,454 13.0% 5,175
1960[117] 74.6% 33,498 25.2% 11,301
1956[118] 49.2% 21,802 50.4% 22,342
1952[119] 55.2% 27,066 44.6% 21,878
1948[120] 65.3% 30,959 32.6% 15,466
1944[121] 54.3% 22,690 45.5% 18,982
1940[122] 54.1% 24,626 45.3% 20,625
1936[123] 50.1% 20,672 40.1% 16,515
1932[124] 54.5% 20,114 43.8% 16,171
1928[125] 52.6% 21,127 47.2% 18,981
1924[126] 29.0% 8,555 60.5% 17,806
1920[127] 25.6% 6,113 72.1% 17,246
1916[128] 42.4% 5,275 55.6% 6,920
1912[129] 30.8% 3,737 33.5% 4,062
1908[130] 25.7% 2,760 67.5% 7,264
1904[131] 30.0% 2,884 65.8% 6,330
1900[132] 29.2% 2,284 67.1% 5,255
1896[133] 14.2% 1,156 79.1% 6,442
1892[134] 39.2% 2,826 58.5% 4,222
1888[135] 36.4% 1,821 62.1% 3,108
1884[136] 38.1% 1,525 52.6% 2,106
1880[137] 34.1% 1,169 65.6% 2,248
1876[138] 41.2% 1,262 58.8% 1,801
1872[139] 33.6% 593 66.4% 1,169
1868[140] 34.3% 444 65.7% 849
Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 29, 2022[141]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
Democratic 26,536 47.9%
Republican 1,521 2.7%
Unaffiliated 26,778 48.3%
Total 55,386 100%


Façade of the former Somerville High School

The School Committee has seven independently elected officials as well as the Mayor and the President of the Board of Aldermen.[142] The budget is approved by both the School Committee and the Board of Aldermen.[143] The Chair is Adam Sweeting from Ward 3 and the Vice-Chair is Carrie Normand from Ward 7.[144]

Also included in the school district is the Somerville Center for Adult Learning Experiences. The former Powder House Community School (which closed due to low enrollment in 2004) is being considered for redevelopment, either as a consolidated location for city offices if funding is obtained under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 or as some other type of development.[145]

Though formally listed as being located in Medford, Tufts University is also located in Somerville. The Somerville–Medford line runs through the Tufts campus, splitting the university's Tisch Library. The school employs many local residents and has many community service projects that benefit the city, especially those run through the Leonard Carmichael Society[146] and the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service.

Somerville Public Schools


Somerville Public Schools (SPS) operates ten schools from pre-kindergarten to secondary schools.[147] The majority of the schools in Somerville (with exception of Somerville High School, Benjamin G. Brown School, Capuano Early Childhood Center, and Next Wave/Full Circle) are schools that go from kindergarten through 8th grade. There are 4,691 students enrolled in Somerville Public Schools.

  • Somerville High School
  • East Somerville Community School
  • Arthur D. Healey School
  • John F. Kennedy School
  • Benjamin G. Brown School (K–5)
  • West Somerville Neighborhood School
  • Albert F. Argenziano School
  • Winter Hill Innovation Community School
  • Michael E. Capuano Early Childhood Center (pre-kindergarten)
  • Next Wave/Full Circle (6–12 grades)
  • Edgerly Education Center

East Somerville Community School, which was temporarily closed after a fire in 2007, was demolished and reconstructed, reopening in fall 2013. During its closure students were transferred to the nearby Edgerly and Capuano schools.[148]

Somerville High School underwent renovations after having been the oldest un-renovated high school in the nation. Its renovations lasted from early 2012 to January 2021.

Winter Hill was temporarily closed for the remainder of the 2022–2023 school year following an incident where a slab of concrete broke off onto the floor of a stairwell. Suffering from foundation weakening and lack of maintenance, the school was deemed unsafe for public use and is indefinitely closed. Students and staff have since relocated to the Edgerly building as of the 2023 school year. The fate of the building is undetermined.

Somerville High School


Somerville High School (SHS) is located right next to the Somerville City Hall at 81 Highland Avenue. It is in Winter Hill near the border of East Somerville and Union Square.

Somerville High School offers a vocational program (CTE) as well as musical programs and athletics programs. It hosts roughly 1,215 students throughout 4 grades. Its student proficiency in math and science is at 73% and its proficiency for English and history is at 83%. Its student to teacher ratio is 10:1. It is in the top 20% of the state's schools composite averages. It has a graduation rate of 89.9%.

The school demographics as of 2021 are 45% Hispanic or Latino, 32% White, 14% African American, 8% Asian and 1% other. 54.6% of students in the school do not have English as their first language. 48.1% of students are economically disadvantaged. 16.9% of students have a disability.

Dilboy Stadium is where the SHS soccer, football, lacrosse, tennis and track teams compete. It is located on 110 Alewife Brook Parkway, roughly 2+12 miles (4 kilometers) from the school itself. It is close to the Dilboy Pool (which is open solely in the summer), as well as the Clarendon Hill Towers and Clarendon Hill Projects (an installment of the Somerville Housing Authority). The SHS hockey team plays at Veterans Memorial Rink at 570 Somerville Avenue next to Conway Park and Playground.

Somerville High School is home to the student theatre group Highlander Theatre Company, which performs full-length and shorter productions every year.

The school is also home to the FIRST Robotics Competition team, FRC 6201 The Highlanders, who competes in the FIRST Robotics Competition every year.

In the spring of the 2022–2023 school year, the school's practice field was completed and the Somerville Memorialization Committee voted to dedicate the field to Phil Reavis. This field is the first public space dedicated to an African American in Somerville.

Higher education


Somerville is home to Tufts University. Lincoln Technical Institute also has a campus in the city.


The historic Somerville Journal Building in 2009

The city is served by a number of news sources, including:

The public radio show Living on Earth is recorded in Davis Square. In addition, Candlewick Press, a major children's book printing company, is operated in Somerville.




1907 postcard of Somerville Highlands Station
Route of the Green Line Extension

Somerville, originally built as a streetcar suburb of Boston, has a framework and layout ideal for public transit. Its traditionally designed neighborhoods, set among grid-like street networks, connect in a walkable, transit-friendly system. Transit systems shrunk and all but disappeared as automobiles became the primary mode of transportation, however, and streetcars left the city several decades ago.[33] The City of Somerville is serviced by the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) transit service.



Somerville is served by seven MBTA subway stations: Davis station on the Red Line, Assembly station on the Orange Line, and Union Square, East Somerville, Gilman Square, Magoun Square, and Ball Square on the Green Line. Davis opened in 1984, and Assembly in 2014.[154] The Green Line stations opened in 2022 as part of the Green Line Extension, which the state was legally obligated to build since 1990.[155] Both Porter Square station on the Red Line and Commuter Rail's Fitchburg Line in Cambridge and Sullivan Square station on the Orange Line in Boston's Charlestown neighborhood are located adjacent to Somerville along the border.


McGrath Highway (Route 28) in Somerville

Although only 43.6% of Somerville commuters drove alone to work in 2013, several major arteries pass through the city.[156]

McGrath Highway is a major north–south route that represents the portion of Massachusetts Route 28 through the city of Somerville. McGrath is the continuation of Monsignor O'Brien Highway in Cambridge to the southeast and is known as the Fellsway north of the junction with Mystic Avenue and Interstate 93 in Medford.[157] The highway has a long and complex history that hints to the changing nature of transportation throughout Somerville and the greater Boston metropolitan region. Originally constructed in 1928 to create a speedier connection for Route 28 between the Charles and Mystic Rivers, McGrath was elevated in the 1950s to further facilitate increased travel speed. The result was to cut off East Somerville and the Inner Belt District from Winter Hill and the rest of the city. When Route 28 was built, its primary purpose was to serve regional commuters traveling into Boston. However, it soon became clear that McGrath would need to be replaced by a larger and safer highway. The construction of the elevated Northern Expressway (Massachusetts), part of Interstate 93, was completed in the early 1970s and essentially rendered McGrath redundant. Today, the infrastructure of the two raised portions (the McCarthy Overpass, running from Somerville Avenue to Medford Street, and the Squires Bridge, running above the MBTA Fitchburg line near Twin City Plaza) are decaying and decrepit. In 2013, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation recommended that the McCarthy Overpass that crosses over several streets in Somerville be torn down, and proposed a boulevard-syle reconstruction with bike lanes and sidewalks for pedestrians. No date has been set for construction to begin.[41]

Northern Expressway (Massachusetts) runs northwest and southeast through Somerville, separating Ten Hills and Assembly Square from the rest of the city. The massive elevated "Northern Expressway" was completed in the early 1970s and passes directly through Somerville running alongside and/or above Mystic Avenue (Massachusetts Route 38). Commonly referred to as the "upper and lower decks of 93", the Somerville-Charlestown section of the Northern Expressway carries three lanes of northbound traffic on the upper deck, and three lanes of southbound traffic on the lower deck. The highway also serves to cut off East Somerville from Charlestown.[158]

As of 2010, snow removal from city streets and properties uses 42 pieces of equipment (including front-loaders and plows), about 10,000 short tons (9,100 t) of salt imported from Egypt, and a budget of $500,000.[159] When the mayor declares a snow emergency that puts special parking restrictions into effect, in addition to electronic media and a press release, a switch at DPW headquarters on Franey Road activates 16 blue lights at major intersections to alert the public.[159] Two crews of four people (with help from school janitors) clear sidewalks at 33 city-owned buildings.[159] Excess snow in major pedestrian squares is removed and dumped on a vacant lot on Winter Hill.[159]

Walking and cycling


Somerville is considered to be a highly walkable[160] and bikeable[161] city. In 2013, 7.8% of all commutes were made by bicycle, ranking Somerville fifth among U.S. cities for its share of bicycling.[162] In 2013, 49.8% of Somerville commuters either walked, biked or used public transit.[162] Somerville launched its first Bluebikes (originally Hubway) stations during the summer of 2012 and now hosts 21 stations.[163]

The Somerville Community Path is a mixed-use path that runs along the old Boston and Lowell Railroad right-of-way from Davis Square across Somerville to the Cambridge border near Lechmere Square. Roughly 0.8 mi (1.3 km) of the path is finished and in use.[164] The two finished segments feature pavement interspersed with brick and surrounded by grass, trees, pedestrian connections to nearby streets, and a community garden. The path is lit at night and snowplowed in the winter.

In 2013, the city broke ground on the first extension in almost twenty years that extended the path another 0.25 mi (0.40 km) east from its then-terminus at Cedar Street to Lowell Street.[165]

Somerville has among the highest bus ridership in the Boston metro area. Nearly 40,000 passengers board the buses that pass through Somerville each day, and 15 MBTA bus routes operate in Somerville.[166]

Emergency services


Somerville is protected by the 152 paid, professional firefighters of the city of Somerville Fire Department (SFD). The Somerville Fire Department currently operates out of five firehouses, located throughout the city, and operates five engine companies, three ladder companies, and one rescue company, commanded by an on-duty district chief and deputy chief each shift.[167][168][169] Emergency Medical Services have been provided by Cataldo Ambulance Service, a private ambulance company, since it was founded as Somerville Ambulance Service in 1977.[170]



The city provides contracted trash, single-stream recycling, yard waste, and hazardous waste pickup for residents in buildings with six or fewer units,[171] and textile recycling pickup for all residents.[172] Single-stream recycling materials are sent to the Casella Waste Systems processing facility in neighboring Charlestown.[173]

Notable people


Sister cities


Somerville's sister cities are: [176]


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 21, 2022.
  2. ^ Jimmy Del Ponte (May 3, 2014). "Are you a Villen?". Somerville Times. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  3. ^ Keane, Thomas M. Jr. (May 14, 2006). "The Model City". Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  4. ^ "Somerville Named All America City". City of Somerville. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  5. ^ "2015 AAC Winners". National Civic League. Archived from the original on July 11, 2015. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
  6. ^ "A Condensed History of Melrose". Archived from the original on June 15, 2009. City of Melrose. Retrieved 2010-07-15.
  7. ^ R. H. Howard; Henry E. Crocker, eds. (1880). A History of New England. Vol. 1. Boston: Crocker & Co. p. 202.
  8. ^ Brooks, Charles; Whitmore, William Henry (1855). History of the Town of Medford, Middlesex County, Massachusetts: From Its First Settlement, in 1630, to the Present Time, 1855. Medford, Mass.: J.M. Usher. p. 2. OCLC 1183559. History of Medford Massachusetts.
  9. ^ "Introduction to Early Somerville: 1600-1865" (PDF). 16 October 2009. pp. 1–2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 December 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  10. ^ M. A. Haley, The Story of Somerville, (1903), p. 8 (accessible on google books)
  11. ^ Haley, M[ary] A[lice (August 4, 1903). "The story of Somerville". Boston, The Writer publishing company. Retrieved August 4, 2022 – via Internet Archive.
  12. ^ Bremer, Francis J. (2005). John Winthrop: America's Forgotten Founding Father. New York, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195179811.
  13. ^ Winthrop, Robert C. (1864). Life And Letters Of John Winthrop: Governor Of The Massachusetts Bay Company At Their Emigration To New England 1630. Boston, Mass.: Ticknor and Fields. pp. 64. OCLC 22225288.
  14. ^ Manegold, C.S. (January 18, 2010). "New England's Scarlet 'S' for Slavery". Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  15. ^ a b Cheney, Isobel M. (1949). A social history of Somerville, Massachusetts 1630-1842. Boston University Libraries. pp. 55–57, 66–67. ...belonged to Peter, known as 'Peter of Milk Row' (now Somerville Avenue)
  16. ^ "Beyond the Neck: The Architecture and Development of Somerville - Ch 1 Charlestown Beyond the Neck and its Buildings" (PDF). p. 10.
  17. ^ Somerville Historic Preservation Commission (May 1, 2011). "Hidden in Plain Sight: Eyes on Historic East Somerville" (PDF). City of Somerville Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 12, 2013. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  18. ^ Balestrieri, Steve (September 25, 2011). "The Powder Alarm sets the stage for revolution". The Millbury Daily Voice. Archived from the original on December 10, 2013. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  19. ^ Parks & Open Space Department. "A Visitor's Guide to Nathan Tufts Park" (PDF). City of Somerville Office of Strategic Planning & Community Development. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 13, 2013. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  20. ^ Fischer, pp. 44–45
  21. ^ Richmond, Robert P (1971). Powder Alarm 1774. Princeton, NJ: Auerbach. ISBN 978-0-87769-073-3. OCLC 162197.
  22. ^ "About Somerville | City of Somerville". Retrieved March 29, 2024.
  23. ^ a b Focus on: Paul Revere's ride, Accessed November 30, 2022.
  24. ^ Latour, Francie. "New England's hidden history". Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  25. ^ "Paul Revere's midnight ride — by day, in a car". The Boston Globe.
  26. ^ Stafford, Steven (April 19, 2009). "Time to remember Paul Revere's Somerville ties". The Somerville News. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  27. ^ Klein, Christopher (April 15, 2012). "Paul Revere's midnight ride—by day, in a car". The Boston Globe. The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  28. ^ a b A. L. Haskell (1905). Haskell's Historical Guide-book of Somerville, Massachusetts (PDF). Somerville, Mass.: A. L. Haskell, Printer and Stationer. OCLC 10635110. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 8, 2014.
  29. ^ "Research upholds traditional Prospect Hill flag story". December 30, 2013. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  30. ^ DeLear, Byron (2014). "Revisiting the Flag at Prospect Hill: Grand Union or Just British?" (PDF). Raven: A Journal of Vexillology. 21: 54. doi:10.5840/raven2014213.
  31. ^ Samuels, Edward A. (Edward Augustus); Kimball, Henry H. (Henry Hastings) (1897). Somerville, past and present : an illustrated historical souvenir commemorative of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the establishment of the city government of Somerville, Massachusetts. New York Public Library. Boston : Samuels and Kimball.
  32. ^ "Sullivan Square: Part 1 of 3". Somerville Development Forum. Somerville Development Forum. July 22, 2012. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  33. ^ a b Roan, Dan (April 22, 2004). "The making of Somerville: A working history". The Tufts Daily. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  34. ^ a b Lund, Frederick J. (1996). "A Brief History of Somerville" (PDF). p. 10.
  35. ^ Adams Drake, Samuel (1880). History of Middlesex County, Massachusetts: Containing Carefully Prepared Histories of Every City and Town in the County, Volume 2. Nabu Press. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  36. ^ James C. O'Connell (2013). The Hub's Metropolis: Greater Boston's Development from Railroad Suburbs to Smart Growth. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-262-01875-3.
  37. ^ a b c d Ueda, Reed (1979). "Suburban Social Change and Educational Reform: The Case of Somerville, Massachusetts, 1912-1924". Social Science History. 3.3/4 (3–4): 167–203. doi:10.1017/S0145553200022963. S2CID 147002944.
  38. ^ Faraone, Chris; Vaccaro, Adam (June 26, 2013). "The Somerville Files: The Ghosts of Assembly Square". Dig Boston. Archived from the original on August 6, 2013. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  39. ^ "Gilman Square Station Area Plan" (PDF). p. 24. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 21, 2020. Retrieved May 25, 2021.
  40. ^ "Five Year Consolidated Plan 2008-2013" (PDF). Section Two: Economic & Community Development. City of Somerville Office of Strategic Planning & Community Development. February 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 6, 2014. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  41. ^ a b Bencks, Jarret (May 19, 2013). "McGrath overpass may come down". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  42. ^ a b "Rent control was enacted in 1920". Mass Landlords, Inc. Retrieved January 3, 2024.
  43. ^ a b Joyce, Tom (January 13, 2020). "Once Rejected by Voters, Rent Control Back on the Table in Massachusetts". NewBostonPost.
  44. ^ Roberts, Bruce D. (April 30, 2013). "Ford Fiasco: Tracking the Rise and Fall of the Edsel in American Newspaper Archives". Readex. NewsBank, Inc. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  45. ^ a b Harvey, Joseph (September 11, 1979). "Somerville must pay black officer $14,000". The Boston Globe. pp. 17, 28. Retrieved March 28, 2024.
  46. ^ Staff (February 28, 2013). "For answers to housing woes, look to vibrant Davis Square". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  47. ^ Goldberg, Carey (October 8, 1999). "Across the U.S., Universities Are Fueling High-Tech Economic Booms". The New York Times. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  48. ^ "Rent Control: The morning after". The Economist. The Economist Newspaper Limited. April 30, 1998. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  49. ^ "City Briefs: Car theft rate in Somerville down this year". Tufts Daily. Medford, Mass. February 15, 2005. Archived from the original on August 7, 2011. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  50. ^ Keane Jr., Thomas M. (May 14, 2006). "The Model City". Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  51. ^ "Nonprofit Groundwork Somerville works to promote a sustainable future". The Somerville Times. Retrieved March 31, 2024.
  52. ^ "FY23 Community Project Funding". Ayanna Pressley. Retrieved March 31, 2024.
  53. ^ MacNeill, Arianna. "As the Green Line Extension opens, advocates sound the alarm on gentrification". Retrieved March 31, 2024.
  54. ^ "Somerville (city), Massachusetts". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on December 9, 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  55. ^ "History". Historic Preservation Commission. Archived from the original on November 7, 2007. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  56. ^ "Trends in Somerville: Land Use Technical Report" (PDF). City of Somerville Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development. May 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 13, 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  57. ^ Somerville Squares and Neighborhoods (with map). Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  58. ^ "List of Squares in the City". Annual Report of the City of Somerville, 1910. Somerville, Massachusetts: City of Somerville. 1910. p. 348.
  59. ^ a b c "Trash and Recycling Collection map" (PDF). Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  60. ^ "Duck Village". Union Square Neighbors. October 24, 2014. Archived from the original on April 3, 2018. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  61. ^ Sammarco, Anthony Mitchell (2003). Somerville (Images of America: Massachusetts). Arcadia Publishing. p. 45. ISBN 0738512907.
  62. ^ Compare Google Maps streetview to historic postcard Archived 2014-08-02 at the Wayback Machine.
  63. ^ Annual Report of the City of Somerville, 1920. Somerville, Massachusetts: City of Somerville. 1920. p. 278. hdl:2452/614938.
  64. ^ "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
  65. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  66. ^ "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. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  67. ^ "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. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  68. ^ "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). 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.
  69. ^ "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.
  70. ^ "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.
  71. ^ "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. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  72. ^ "1860 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  73. ^ "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  74. ^ "City and Town Population Totals: 2020−2022". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 25, 2023.
  75. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: United States". Retrieved September 15, 2021.
  76. ^ "Cambridge Vs Somerville: Is Your Hometown More Interesting? - CBS Boston". April 14, 2011. Retrieved March 29, 2024.
  77. ^ "Six-City Compact to Address Regional Economic Development in Metro Boston |". August 16, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2024.
  78. ^ "Class-Divided Cities: Boston Edition". March 26, 2013. Retrieved March 29, 2024.
  79. ^ Jay Walljasper and Daniel Kraker, "Hip Hot Spots: The 15 Hippest Places to Live". Utne Reader. November–December 1997. [permanent dead link]
  80. ^ "About Somerville". City of Somerville. Archived from the original on May 23, 2013. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
  81. ^ "QuickFacts: Somerville city, Massachusetts". Retrieved July 13, 2023.
  82. ^ "Sign Up for City Alerts". City of Somerville. Retrieved June 22, 2022.
  83. ^ "American Community Survey: S1101:HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES". Retrieved July 13, 2023.
  84. ^ "City of Somerville: Comprehensive Annual Financial Report" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 6, 2014. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  85. ^
  86. ^ "Brickbottom Artists Association". Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  87. ^ Creations, Troy B. Thompson, Daedal. "Brickbottom District of Somerville - Somerville, MA, Historical Landmark - Social Web". Retrieved November 27, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  88. ^ "Starlab Studios in Somerville Fosters Creativity". The Boston Globe. March 28, 2015. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  89. ^ Emily Gaudette (May 20, 2015). "Collaboration Is Key At Starlab Studios". Somerville Scout. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  90. ^ "Artisan's Asylum "Welcome" flyer" (PDF). Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  91. ^ "Hours & Locations | Somerville Public Library". Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  92. ^ "Somerville Arts Council". Retrieved April 23, 2012.
  93. ^ "Somerville Open Studios". Somerville Open Studios. April 17, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
  94. ^ Fluff Festival Archived 2014-10-12 at the Wayback Machine
  95. ^ a b Liesener, Katie (Spring 2009). "Mashmallow Fluff". Gastronomica. 9 (2): 51–56. doi:10.1525/gfc.2009.9.2.51.
  96. ^
  97. ^ Kassouf, Jeff (April 23, 2015). "For Breakers, a fresh start in a familiar setting – Equalizer Soccer". Retrieved March 29, 2024.
  98. ^ "Somerville : George Dilboy Memorial Stadium (Memorial, 100 Cities - 100 Memorials, !WWI-memorials)". Retrieved March 29, 2024.
  99. ^ Zellie, Carole (1982). "Preservation Resources" (PDF). Beyond the Neck: The Architecture and Development of Somerville. City of Somerville.
  100. ^ "Somerville Museum. About the Museum". Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  101. ^ 1 Westwood Rd (January 1, 1970). "1 Westwood Rd, Somerville, MA". Retrieved April 23, 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  102. ^ Jarret Bencks (May 10, 2013). "Somerville community path extension breaks ground Monday". Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  103. ^ "Somerville: Community Path Extension Celebrated" (Press release). Massachusetts Department of Transportation. August 19, 2015. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  104. ^ "Somerville Parks" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 15, 2011. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
  105. ^ Peterson, Sarah Jo (2004). "Voting for Play: The Democratic Potential of Progressive Era Playgrounds". The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. 3 (2): 166. ISSN 1537-7814.
  106. ^ "City of Somerville: Recreation Commission". Archived from the original on July 6, 2014. Retrieved June 30, 2014.
  107. ^ "Departments - City of Somerville Website". Archived from the original on 19 August 2016. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  108. ^ "Ballantyne Sworn in as Somerville Mayor; Who's New at City Hall". January 4, 2022.
  109. ^ "Somerville recognizes polyamorous relationships in new domestic partnership ordinance". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  110. ^ "Somerville City Council passes ordinance recognizing polyamorous domestic partnerships". July 2020.
  111. ^ "U.S. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley: Serving the 7th District of Massachusetts". U.S. Congress. January 10, 2019. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  112. ^ "Section 3". Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  113. ^ "Section 4". Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  114. ^ "Massachusetts Election Statistics". Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  115. ^ "Election statistics, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts".
  116. ^ "Election statistics, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts". 1964.
  117. ^ "Election statistics, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts".
  118. ^ "Election statistics, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts". 1956.
  119. ^ "Election statistics, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts". 1952.
  120. ^ "Election statistics".
  121. ^ "Election statistics".
  122. ^ "Election statistics".
  123. ^ "Election statistics".
  124. ^ "Election statistics".
  125. ^ "A manual for the use of the General Court (1929)". December 30, 1929. hdl:2452/40703. Archived from the original on July 27, 2020. Retrieved March 30, 2024 – via
  126. ^ "A manual for the use of the General Court (1925)". December 30, 1925. hdl:2452/40701. Archived from the original on July 27, 2020. Retrieved March 30, 2024 – via
  127. ^ "A manual for the use of the General Court (1921)". December 30, 1921. hdl:2452/40699. Archived from the original on May 19, 2020. Retrieved March 30, 2024 – via
  128. ^ "A manual for the use of the General Court (1917)". December 30, 1917. hdl:2452/40695. Archived from the original on May 19, 2020. Retrieved March 30, 2024 – via
  129. ^ "A manual for the use of the General Court (1913)". December 30, 1913. hdl:2452/40691. Archived from the original on July 27, 2020. Retrieved March 30, 2024 – via
  130. ^ "A manual for the use of the General Court (1909)". December 30, 1909. hdl:2452/40687. Archived from the original on May 19, 2020. Retrieved March 30, 2024 – via
  131. ^ "A manual for the use of the General Court (1905)". December 30, 1905. hdl:2452/40683. Archived from the original on May 19, 2020. Retrieved March 30, 2024 – via
  132. ^ "A manual for the use of the General Court (1901)". December 30, 1901. hdl:2452/40679. Archived from the original on May 19, 2020. Retrieved March 30, 2024 – via
  133. ^ "A manual for the use of the General Court (1897)". December 30, 1897. hdl:2452/40675. Archived from the original on May 19, 2020. Retrieved March 30, 2024 – via
  134. ^ "A manual for the use of the General Court (1893)". December 30, 1893. hdl:2452/40671. Archived from the original on May 19, 2020. Retrieved March 30, 2024 – via
  135. ^ "A manual for the use of the General Court (1889)". December 30, 1889. hdl:2452/40667. Archived from the original on May 19, 2020. Retrieved March 30, 2024 – via
  136. ^ "A manual for the use of the General Court (1885)". December 30, 1885. hdl:2452/40663. Archived from the original on May 19, 2020. Retrieved March 30, 2024 – via
  137. ^ "A manual for the use of the General Court (1881)". December 30, 1881. hdl:2452/40659. Archived from the original on May 19, 2020. Retrieved March 30, 2024 – via
  138. ^ "A manual for the use of the General Court (1877)". December 30, 1877. hdl:2452/40655. Archived from the original on May 19, 2020. Retrieved March 30, 2024 – via
  139. ^ "A manual for the use of the General Court (1873)". December 30, 1873. hdl:2452/40651. Archived from the original on May 19, 2020. Retrieved March 30, 2024 – via
  140. ^ "A manual for the use of the General Court (1869)". December 30, 1869. hdl:2452/40647. Archived from the original on May 19, 2020. Retrieved March 30, 2024 – via
  141. ^ "Enrollment Breakdown as of 10/29/2022" (PDF). Massachusetts Elections Division. Retrieved January 13, 2023.
  142. ^ "Somerville School Committee". Somerville Public Schools. Archived from the original on February 5, 2015. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  143. ^ Niedergang, Mark (May 22, 2013). "2013-2014 School Budget Process". Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  144. ^ "School Committee - School Committee". Archived from the original on August 7, 2015. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
  145. ^ "Microsoft Word - Mayor's Stimulus Letter.doc" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 28, 2010. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
  146. ^ "Leonard Carmichael Society at Tufts University". Archived from the original on July 9, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
  147. ^ "Somerville Public Schools - Our Schools". April 4, 2012. Archived from the original on March 24, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
  148. ^ Powers, Kathleen. "Three-alarm fire burns East Somerville Community School - Somerville, Massachusetts 02144 - Somerville Journal". Archived from the original on September 17, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
  149. ^ "Home of Somerville Media Center to learn Television Radio and Local News - Somerville Media Center". Somerville Media Center. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  150. ^ "Somerville Journal: Local & World News, Sports & Entertainment in Somerville, MA". Somerville Journal. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  151. ^ "The Somerville News Weekly". The Somerville News Weekly. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  152. ^ The Somerville Times
  153. ^ Scout Somerville
  154. ^ "For answers to housing woes, look to vibrant Davis Square". The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  155. ^ Lisinski, Chris (November 17, 2022). "Final stretch of Green Line Extension will open Dec. 12". WBUR. Retrieved November 17, 2022.
  156. ^ "ResiStat: How do you get around Somerville?". June 6, 2013. Archived from the original on December 18, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  157. ^ "Street map from City of Somerville website" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 25, 2009. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  158. ^ "I-93: Historic Overview of the Northern Expressway". Boston Roads. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  159. ^ a b c d Kristen Grieco (Winter 2010). "The Anatomy of a Snow Storm / How Somerville Digs Itself Out". Somerville Scout. pp. 18–20.
  160. ^ "Somerville - Neighborhoods, Photos, and Maps". Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  161. ^ "Bike Score of Somerville, MA". Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  162. ^ a b League of American Bicyclists (2014). Where We ride: Analysis of bicycle commuting in American cities (PDF) (Report). Retrieved October 14, 2014.
  163. ^ "Somerville Bike Share". City of Somerville. Retrieved September 17, 2019.
  164. ^ "community path detail". Archived from the original on August 4, 2014. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  165. ^ Maislin, Josh (May 15, 2013). "Community Path extension underway". The Somerville Times. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  166. ^ "Transportation and Infrastructure - Transit". City of Somerville Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development. Archived from the original on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  167. ^ "Fire Department". City of Somerville. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  168. ^ "About Us". Somerville Fire Local 76. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  169. ^ "Stations". Somerville Fire Local 76. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  170. ^ "Meet Dennis Cataldo of Cataldo Ambulance Service in North Eastern Massachusetts". February 20, 2018. Retrieved May 23, 2023.
  171. ^ "Somerville Trash & Recycling Information | City of Somerville". Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  172. ^ "Curbside Textile Recycling Program | City of Somerville". Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  173. ^ "Somerville Recycling, How it Works and Where it Ends Up | The Somerville/Medford News Weekly". Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  174. ^ "Michael Colman, 25 Professional hockey player". April 8, 1994. Archived from the original on August 25, 2017. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  175. ^ Walsh, Ryan (July 2, 2014). "The Secret History of David Foster Wallace's Boston". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 24, 2015.,
  176. ^ "About the Multicultural Affairs Commission". City of Somerville. Retrieved May 16, 2021.


  • Ostrander, Susan A. Citizenship and Governance in a Changing City: Somerville, MA (Temple University Press; 2013) 190 pages; study of tensions between immigrants and a new middle class in politics and community activism
  • Sammarco, Anthony Michael (1997). Images of America: Somerville. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-1290-7.