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Lexington, Massachusetts
Town
Statue of Captain John Parker and Hayes Memorial Fountain on Lexington Common, by H. H. Kitson
Statue of Captain John Parker and Hayes Memorial Fountain on Lexington Common, by H. H. Kitson
Flag of Lexington, Massachusetts
Flag
Official seal of Lexington, Massachusetts
Seal
Etymology: Likely from Laxton, Nottinghamshire
Nickname(s): Birthplace of American Liberty
Motto: "What a Glorious Morning for America!"
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Middlesex
Settled 1642
Incorporated 1713
Area
 • Total 16.5 sq mi (42.8 km2)
 • Land 16.4 sq mi (42.5 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.4 km2)
Elevation 210 ft (64 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 31,394
 • Density 1,903/sq mi (733.5/km2)
Demonym(s) Lexingtonian
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 02420 / 02421
Area code(s) 339 / 781
FIPS code 25-35215
GNIS feature ID 0619401
Website www.lexingtonma.gov

Lexington is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 31,394 at the 2010 census, in nearly 11,100 households. Settled in 1641, it is celebrated as the site of the first shots of the American Revolutionary War, in the Battle of Lexington on April 19, 1775. It is part of the Greater Boston Area and is the sixth wealthiest small city in the United States.

History

Buckman Tavern, Lexington, Massachusetts
Buckman Tavern, built 1710

Lexington was first settled circa 1642 as part of Cambridge, Massachusetts. What is now Lexington was then incorporated as a parish, called Cambridge Farms, in 1691. This allowed them to have a separate church and minister, but were still under jurisdiction of the Town of Cambridge. Lexington was incorporated as a separate town in 1713. It was then that it got the name Lexington.

In the early colonial days, Vine Brook, which runs through Lexington, Burlington, and Bedford, and then empties into the Shawsheen River, was a focal point of the farming and industry of the town. It provided for many types of mills, and in the 20th Century, for farm irrigation.

For decades, Lexington grew modestly while remaining largely a farming community, providing Boston with much of its produce. It always had a bustling downtown area, which remains to this day. Lexington began to prosper, helped by its proximity to Boston, and having a rail line (originally the Lexington and West Cambridge Railroad, later the Boston and Maine Railroad) service its citizens and businesses, beginning in 1846 (As of 2015, the Minuteman Bikeway occupies the site of the former rail line). For many years, East Lexington was considered a separate village from the rest of the town, though it still had the same officers and Town Hall. Most of the farms of Lexington became housing developments by the end of the 1960s.

Lexington, as well as many of the towns along the Route 128 corridor, experienced a jump in population in the 1960s and 70s, due to the high-tech boom. Property values in the town soared, and the school system became nationally recognized for its excellence. The town participates in the METCO program, which buses minority students from Boston to suburban towns to receive better educational opportunities than those available to them in the Boston Public Schools.

On April 19, 1775, what many regard as the first battle of the American Revolutionary War was a battle at Lexington. After the rout, the British march on toward Concord where the militia had been allowed time to organize at the Old North Bridge and turn back the British and prevent them from capturing and destroying the militia's arms stores.

Lexington was the Cold War location of the USAF "Experimental SAGE Subsector" for testing a prototype IBM computer that arrived in July 1955 for development of a computerized "national air defense network" (the namesake "Lexington Discrimination System" for incoming ICBM warheads was developed in the late 1960s).

Geography

Topographic maps of Arlington, Belmont, Lexington Massachusetts 1946
Topography of Lexington and environs

Lexington is located at 42°26′39″N 71°13′36″W / 42.44417°N 71.22667°W / 42.44417; -71.22667 (42.444345, -71.226928).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 16.5 square miles (42.8 km²), of which 16.4 square miles (42.5 km²) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.4 km²), or 0.85%, is water.

Lexington borders the following towns: Burlington, Woburn, Winchester, Arlington, Belmont, Waltham, Lincoln, and Bedford. It has more area than all other municipalities that it borders.

Demographics

See also: List of Massachusetts locations by per capita income
Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1850 1,893 —    
1860 2,329 +23.0%
1870 2,277 −2.2%
1880 2,460 +8.0%
1890 3,197 +30.0%
1900 3,831 +19.8%
1910 4,918 +28.4%
1920 6,350 +29.1%
1930 9,467 +49.1%
1940 13,187 +39.3%
1950 17,335 +31.5%
1960 27,691 +59.7%
1970 31,886 +15.1%
1980 29,479 −7.5%
1990 28,974 −1.7%
2000 30,355 +4.8%
2010 31,394 +3.4%

Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.

By the 2010 census, the population had reached 31,394.

As of the census of 2010, there had been 31,394 people, 11,530 households, and 8,807 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,851.0 people per square mile (714.6/km²). There were 12,019 housing units at an average density of 691.1 per square mile (266.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 75.5% White, 19.9% Asian (8.6% Chinese, 4.8% Asian Indian, 3.2% Korean), 1.5% Black or African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.5% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.3% of the population.

There were 11,530 households out of which 38.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.0% were married couples living together, 7.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.1% were non-families. 20.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the town, the population was spread out with 26.4% under the age of 18, 3.5% from 18 to 24, 22.7% from 25 to 44, 28.5% from 45 to 64, and 19.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 88.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.5 males.

In 2013, the mean home price for detached houses was $852,953, and the median price of a house or condo was $718,300. According to a 2012 estimate, the median income for a household in the town was $191,350, and the median income for a family was $218,890. Males had a median income of $101,334 versus $77,923 for females. The per capita income for the town was $70,132. About 1.8% of families and 3.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.2% of those under age 18 and 3.4% of those age 65 or over.

By race, the median household income was highest for mixed race households, at $263,321. Hispanic households had a median income of $233,875. Asian households had a median income of $178,988. White households had a median income of $154,533. Black households had a median income of $139,398. American Indian or Alaskan Native households had a median income of $125,139.

Foreign-born population

In 2010, 20% of the residents of Lexington were born outside of the United States.

Culture and Art

Music

Lexington is home to the Lexington Symphony, which performs regularly at Cary Hall.

Points of interest

  • Lexington is most well known for its history and is home to many historical buildings, parks, and monuments, most dating from Colonial and Revolutionary times.
  • One of the most prominent historical landmarks, located in Lexington Centre, is the Common, or as it later became known, the Battle Green, where the battle was fought, and a statue of John Parker, captain of the Lexington militia stands.
  • Another important historical monument is the Revolutionary Monument, the nation's oldest standing war memorial (completed on July 4, 1799) and the gravesite of those colonists slain in the Battle of Lexington.
  • Other landmarks of historical importance include the Old Burying Ground (with gravestones dating back to 1690), the Old Belfry, Buckman Tavern (circa 1704-1710), Munroe Tavern (circa 1695), the Hancock-Clarke House (1737), the U.S.S. Lexington Memorial, the Centre Depot (old Boston and Maine train station, today the headquarters of the town Historical Society), Follen Church (the oldest standing church building in Lexington, built in 1839), and the Mulliken White Oak (one of Lexington's most distinguished and oldest trees).
  • Lexington is also home, along with neighboring Lincoln and nearby Concord to the 900-acre (3.6 km2) Minute Man National Historical Park.
  • The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library showcases exhibits on American history and Freemasonry.
  • Lexington's town center is home to numerous dining opportunities, fine art galleries, retail shopping, a small cinema, the Cary Memorial Library, the Minuteman Bikeway, Depot Square, and many of the aforementioned historical landmarks.
  • The Great Meadow, a.k.a. Arlington's Great Meadows, is a sprawling meadow and marshland located in East Lexington, but owned by the town of Arlington, Lexington's neighbor to the east.
  • Willards Woods Conservation Area, a small forest of conservation land donated years ago by the Willard Sisters. Willards Woods is referenced in the classic Saturday Night Live skit "Donnie's Party".
  • Wilson Farm, a farm and farm stand in operation since 1884.
  • The Lexington Community Center is a meeting place for Lexington residents.
  • Notable Lexington neighborhoods include Lexington Centre, Meriam Hill (and Granny Hill), Irish Village, Loring Hill, Belfry Hill, Munroe Hill, Countryside (sometimes referred to as "Scotland"), the Munroe District, the Manor Section, Four Corners, Grapevine Corner, Woodhaven, and East Lexington (fondly "East Village", or "The East End").
  • Marrett Square, at the intersection of Marrett Road and Waltham Street, is the location of some light shopping and dining.
  • The "Old Reservoir," sometimes referred to by locals as "The Res," used to provide drinking water to Lexington residents and surrounding areas. Now it offers a place to swim and picnic in the summer time. In the winter, when it freezes over, it is used as an ice skating area.
  • Book publisher D.C. Heath was founded in 1885 at 125 Spring Street in Lexington, near the present day intersection of Route 128 and MA Route 2, and was headquartered on that spot until its 1995 sale to Houghton Mifflin.
  • Lexington is home to several historically significant modernist communities built by notable architects. These neighborhoods include Six Moon Hill, Peacock Farm, and Five Fields.
Lexington Community Center 08
The Lexington Community Center, opened on October 17, 2015. It is located next to the Headquarters of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of Scottish Rite Freemasonry.

Sister cities

Lexington is a sister city of:

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