Somerville, Massachusetts

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Seal of the city

Somerville is a city located in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, just north of Boston. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 77,478. With only slightly over 4 square miles (10 km²) of land, this makes it the most densely populated community in New England. It was established as a town in 1842, when it was separated from the urbanizing Charlestown because it was still largely rural.

Somerville has a mix of blue collar families, who tend to be concentrated in the area known as East Somerville, and college students and young professionals, many of whom live in sections that border Cambridge's Harvard Square and Porter Square and Medford's Tufts University.

Davis Square, Somerville
Davis Square, Somerville

Somerville also has a number of squares that are bustling business and entertainment centers, among them Davis Square, Union Square, Ball Square, Teele Square and Magoun Square, several of which are discussed in more detail within WikiTravel here (

The city also has a wealth of trees on almost every street, which allowed Somerville, for several years, to earn the moniker "Tree City USA" from the National Arbor Day Foundation. A popular and tree-lined rail trail called the Minuteman Bikeway runs through the heart of Davis Square, with an extension proposed leading to downtown Boston called the Somerville Community Path.

Somerville is sometimes colloquially referred to as "Slummerville", referring to its blue-collar residents and its reputation for crime, especially in the city's east, where Whitey Bulger and the "Winter Hill Gang" were based. However, after the gentrification period the city went through in the late 1990's this name became less frequent. More recently, lobbying ( by grassroots organizations ( is attempting to preserve and revive Somerville's "small town" neighborhood environments by supporting local business, public transit, gardens and pedestrian/biker access.

The Somerville Arts Council ( and Somerville Open Studios ( both host wonderful annual events involving the community in homegrown arts.



Somerville was first settled in 1630 and was officially incorporated in 1842.

Traffic on the Middlesex Canal began its famous route from the mouth of the Charles River in Charlestown (IE Boston) to Lowell going through East Somerville, where several historical markers can be discovered today.

Historically Somerville encompassed many of the less desirable railway and industrial lands squeezed between the Charles River to the southwest and the Mystic River to the northeast. For all its problems, Somerville's late 1800s and early 1900s industrial revolution left behind a rich historical record of Sanborn Maps, apparently invented in Somerville in 1867, and subsequently used for fire insurance appraisal across the USA. You can view delicate original Sanborn Maps in all their detail at the main branch of the Somerville Public Library ( More on Somerville's industrial past below1.

The Somerville Museum is one hidden local treasure for discovering Somerville's roots, in a beautiful building run by volunteers, at 1 Westwood Rd on the corner with Central St (,+Somerville,+MA+02143&hl=en). Call 617-666-9810 for information on the latest historical and artistic exhibits.

Historical postcards of Prospect Hill above Union Square, where one of the earliest American flags was raised January 1st 1776, are online here (


Somerville is located at 42°23'26" North, 71°6'13" West (42.390546, -71.103683)Template:GR.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.9 km² (4.2 mi²). 10.6 km² (4.1 mi²) of it is land and 0.3 km² (0.1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 2.61% water.

The seven hills of Somerville (in alphabetical order) are :

- Clarendon <p>- Cobble <p>- Ploughed <p>- Prospect <p>- Spring <p>- Walnut <p>- Winter


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 77,478 people, 31,555 households, and 14,673 families residing in the city. The population density is 7,278.4/km² (18,868.1/mi²). There are 32,477 housing units at an average density of 3,051.0/km² (7,909.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 76.97% White, 6.50% African American, 0.22% Native American, 6.44% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 4.96% from other races, and 4.85% from two or more races. 8.76% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 31,555 households out of which 18.8% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.2% are married couples living together, 10.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 53.5% are non-families. 31.0% of all households are made up of individuals and 8.8% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.38 and the average family size is 3.06.

In the city the population is spread out with 14.8% under the age of 18, 15.9% from 18 to 24, 42.6% from 25 to 44, 16.2% from 45 to 64, and 10.5% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 31 years. For every 100 females there are 94.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 93.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $46,315, and the median income for a family is $51,243. Males have a median income of $36,333 versus $31,418 for females. The per capita income for the city is $23,628. 12.5% of the population and 8.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 14.3% of those under the age of 18 and 13.6% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Somerville has experienced dramatic gentrification since the Red Line of Boston's subway system was extended through Somerville in 1985, especially in the area between Harvard and Tufts Universities, centering around Davis Square.

External links

Template:Mapit-US-cityscalede:Somerville (Massachusetts)

eo:Somerville (Masaĉuseco)


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