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Carlisle, Massachusetts
Official seal of Carlisle, Massachusetts
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Middlesex
Settled 1651
Incorporated 1805
 • Total 15.6 sq mi (40.2 km2)
 • Land 15.4 sq mi (39.8 km2)
 • Water 0.2 sq mi (0.4 km2)
205 ft (62 m)
 • Total 4,852
 • Density 317.0/sq mi (122.7/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 351 / 978
FIPS code 25-11525
GNIS feature ID 0619397

Carlisle is a town northwest of Boston located in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of the town was 4,852.


English colonialists first settled the area composing the town of Carlisle in 1651 on parcels of land of the neighboring towns of Acton, Billerica, Chelmsford and Concord. Carlisle became a district of Concord in 1780 and was officially incorporated as a town in 1805.


Carlisle contains a library, a country store, a book store, a dentist's office, an automated teller machine and many residential buildings. There are two ice-cream stores: one of the four branches of Kimball Farms, and Great Brook Farm State Park which is home to the first robotic milking system in Massachusetts and serves ice-cream made from the farm's milk. Great Brook Farm is also the site of one of the premiere cross-country ski touring centers in New England. On the east end of town there is an auto body shop and the former (closed in 2012) Blue Jay Recording Studio, where artists such as the Platters, Aerosmith, Aimee Mann, Amy Grant, Alice Cooper, Boston, John Williams and the Boston Pops, Buckwheat Zydeco, Billy Joel, Lauryn Hill, Rihanna, Roy Orbison, k. d. lang, Pat Metheny, Yo Yo Ma, Carly Simon, the Pussycat Dolls, Genesis and Lady Gaga have recorded.

The town newspaper, the Carlisle Mosquito, has appeared as the weekly independent newspaper of the town since 1972. It is a non-profit publication distributed free to all town residents. The paper includes local news, announcements, and logs.

The Gleason Public Library is one of the 36 libraries in the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium.

Cultural organizations include the Carlisle Chamber Orchestra, the Carlisle Community Chorus, and the Savoyard Light Opera Company.

Carlisle Old Home Day has been held for over 100 years on the weekend prior to the Fourth of July as a free public event with family-friendly games and activities.


See also: List of Massachusetts locations by per capita income

Carlisle is located about 8 miles (13 km) south-southwest of Lowell and 19 miles (31 km) northwest of Boston. It borders the towns of Concord, Acton, Westford, Chelmsford, Billerica, and Bedford.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 15.5 square miles (40 km2), of which 15.4 square miles (40 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) (1.09%) is water.

Conservation land makes up about a quarter of the town's area. Besides town-owned land overseen by the town's conservation committee, Carlisle is home to Great Brook Farm State Park and a portion of the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge neighboring the Concord River.

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1850 632 —    
1860 621 −1.7%
1870 569 −8.4%
1880 478 −16.0%
1890 481 +0.6%
1900 480 −0.2%
1910 551 +14.8%
1920 463 −16.0%
1930 560 +21.0%
1940 747 +33.4%
1950 876 +17.3%
1960 1,488 +69.9%
1970 2,871 +92.9%
1980 3,306 +15.2%
1990 4,333 +31.1%
2000 4,717 +8.9%
2010 4,852 +2.9%
* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
Middlesex county 1875 - carlisle - p45 500
An 1875 map of Carlisle

As of the census of 2000, there were 4,717 people, 1,618 households, and 1,372 families residing in the town. The population density was 307.1 people per square mile (118.6/km²). There were 1,655 housing units at an average density of 107.7 per square mile (41.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 93.47% White, 0.17% African American, 0.06% Native American, 4.83% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.13% from other races, and 1.29% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.19% of the population.

There were 1,618 households out of which 46.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 78.6% were married couples living together, 4.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 15.2% were non-families. 11.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.92 and the average family size was 3.18.

In the town, the population was spread out with 30.6% under the age of 18, 3.4% from 18 to 24, 23.3% from 25 to 44, 34.3% from 45 to 64, and 8.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 98.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town $176,228 (Average household income is $244,544). The per capita income for the town was $87,470. The town is ranked as having the third highest income per capita in Massachusetts, behind Weston and Dover.

Carlisle maintains a 2-acre (8,100 m2) zoning law on new development.

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