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Wilmington, Massachusetts
Church Street
Church Street
Official seal of Wilmington, Massachusetts
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Country  United States
State  Massachusetts
County Middlesex
Region New England
Settled 1665
Incorporated 1730
Named for Spencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington
 • Type Open town meeting
 • Total 44.6 km2 (17.2 sq mi)
 • Land 44.4 km2 (17.1 sq mi)
 • Water 0.2 km2 (0.1 sq mi)
29 m (96 ft)
 • Total 23,349
 • Density 523.5/km2 (1,358/sq mi)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 978
FIPS code 25-80230
GNIS feature ID 0618246

Wilmington is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. Its population was 23,349 as of the 2020 United States Census.


Wilmington was first settled in 1665 and was officially incorporated in 1730, from parts of Woburn, Reading, and Billerica. The first settler is believed to have been Will Butter, Richard Harnden or Abraham Jaquith. Butter was brought to Woburn as an indentured captive. Once he attained his freedom, he fled to the opposite side of a large swamp, in what is now Wilmington. Harnden settled in Reading, in an area that is now part of Wilmington. Jaquith settled in an area of Billerica that became part of Wilmington in 1737.

Minutemen from Wilmington responded to the alarm on April 19, 1775 and fought at Merriam's Corner in Concord.

The Middlesex Canal passed through Wilmington. Chartered in 1792, opened in 1803, it provided freight and passenger transport between the Merrimack River and Boston. One important cargo on the canal was hops. From the middle of the 18th century until the early 19th century, Massachusetts was the acknowledged leader in hop production in North America. Middlesex County in particular was famous for its hop yards, and Wilmington was the first place where the culture grew to a fever pitch.

When Lowell was built in the 1820s, the canal became a primary means of transporting cotton to and from the mills. It was abandoned in 1852 after the construction of the Boston and Lowell Railroad.

The Boston and Lowell Railroad was built in 1835. The line is now the oldest operating rail line in the U.S. Wilmington is also served by the Haverhill Division (the old B&M Portland Division). A spur track known as the Wildcat connects the Haverhill and Lowell divisions, following the path of the old Wilmington & Andover Railroad, the corporate ancestor of the Boston & Maine.

Wilmington is where the Baldwin apple was discovered.

Wilmington is also home to the Col. Joshua Harnden Tavern, which probably served as a stop on the underground railroad and now houses the Wilmington Town Museum.

Since World War II, Wilmington's population has quadrupled. Interstate 93, Route 62, Route 129 and Route 38 run through town, and Route 128 is about a mile south of Wilmington.


Wilmington is located at 42°33′N 71°10′W / 42.550°N 71.167°W / 42.550; -71.167 (42.560, −71.170).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 17.2 square miles (45 km2), of which 17.1 square miles (44 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2), or 0.46%, is water.

Wilmington borders the towns of Andover, North Reading, Reading, Woburn, Burlington, Billerica, and Tewksbury.

Much of Wilmington was built on or still is wetlands. The Ipswich River starts in Wilmington, and the Shawsheen River forms part of Wilmington's border with Billerica.

There is one lake in the town, Silver Lake, a kettle lake formed in the retreat of the Pleistocene glaciers at the end of the last ice age. It is open for swimming during the summer.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1850 874 —    
1860 919 +5.1%
1870 866 −5.8%
1880 933 +7.7%
1890 1,213 +30.0%
1900 1,596 +31.6%
1910 1,858 +16.4%
1920 2,581 +38.9%
1930 4,013 +55.5%
1940 4,645 +15.7%
1950 7,039 +51.5%
1960 12,475 +77.2%
1970 17,102 +37.1%
1980 17,471 +2.2%
1990 17,651 +1.0%
2000 21,363 +21.0%
2010 22,325 +4.5%
2020 23,349 +4.6%
* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.

The Census Bureau has defined Wilmington as a census-designated place that is equivalent to the town

As of the census of 2000, there were 21,363 people, 7,027 households, and 5,776 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,247.0 inhabitants per square mile (481.5/km2). There were 7,158 housing units at an average density of 417.8 per square mile (161.3/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.31% White, 0.41% Black or African American, 0.08% Native American, 2.03% Asian, 0.42% from other races, and 0.74% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.95% of the population.

There were 7,027 households, out of which 41.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 69.6% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.8% were non-families. Of all households 14.0% were made up of individuals, and 5.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.00 and the average family size was 3.33.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 27.6% under the age of 18, 5.9% from 18 to 24, 33.5% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 10.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.1 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $70,652, and the median income for a family was $76,760. Males had a median income of $50,446 versus $36,729 for females. The per capita income for the town was $25,835. About 1.8% of families and 1.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.7% of those under age 18 and 2.7% of those age 65 or over. It is the 134th richest place in Massachusetts. See Massachusetts locations by per capita income.

New High School Project

Wilmington has been approved by the state of Massachusetts to build a new high school. On January 9, 2013, it was announced the school's gymnasium would be torn down. The new high school has been completed, and the old school has been torn down. Classes began in the new school on February 24, 2015.

Points of interest

  • The Wilmington Town Common and Rotary Park are in the center of town. There are several parks and public recreation facilities throughout town with walking paths, soccer fields, baseball diamonds, and other athletic facilities.
  • Aleppo Shrine Auditorium : a 2,650-seat indoor arena, home of the Boston Derby Dames women's flat track roller derby league.
  • Ristuccia Ice Arena : the former practice rink of the Boston Bruins, it also offers lessons.
  • Silver Lake: Open for swimming in the summer, ice-skating in winter, and fishing year-round. There is also a playground open all seasons.
  • The Baldwin Apple Monument on Chestnut St., southwest of town, marks site of original Baldwin apple tree.
  • Wilmington Plaza: Large shopping plaza with Panera Bread, Market Basket, Gamestop, and many other small shops which attract many visitors a day.
  • Camp Forty Acres: A camp near the border with Andover, sometimes used by the local Boy Scouts of America troops, Girl Scouts, and town recreation programs.
  • The Wilmington Memorial library: offers books, magazines, DVDs, and CDs. It offers programming for children that includes the reoccurring storytimes and Lego Mindstorms as well as special programs like Owls of the World and Mommy and Me Yoga. Adult programming is also offered. Patrons can see the library's 3D Printer in action, sit in on a session of Needleworks (knitting/crochet group), or take part in the pot luck that is "Cookin' the Books" a cookbook book group.
  • Town Park on Main St., primarily used as a ballfield. It was once the site of the town farm. The park includes a sledding hill, artifacts from the old Middlesex Canal, and 48 varieties of ferns, cataloged by the late Frank Tuttle.
  • Sonic Drive-In: A late-night hot spot especially during the summer months. Offers a variety of specialty dinners, drinks and ice cream desserts served via car hop or indoor restaurant seating.


MBTA Commuter Rail provides service from Boston's North Station with the Wilmington station on its Lowell Line and the North Wilmington station on its Haverhill/Reading Line. LRTA provides bus service from Wilmington station via Rt 38 to Lowell Station.


Companies based in Wilmington include Analog Devices, Charles River Laboratories, Onto Innovation and UniFirst.


Wilmington has its own schools. Kindergarten students attend the Wildwood Street and Boutwell Street Schools. Grades 1–3 attend the Woburn Street School and the Shawsheen School. Grades 4 and 5 attend the North Intermediate School and the West Intermediate School. Grades 6–8 attend Wilmington Middle School. High School Students attend Wilmington High School. Wilmington High's mascot is the wildcat and its athletic teams participate in the Middlesex League. The Wildcats' colors are Navy Blue, Columbia Blue and White and the primary rivals are the Tewksbury Redmen of the Merrimack Valley Conference. Wilmington is also home to Abundant Life Christian School a Pre-K to 8 private religious school. Wilmington students also have the option of attending Shawsheen Technical High School.

Notable people

  • Jason Bere, former MLB pitcher, who played for 5 MLB teams, and American League All-Star in 1994
  • Ryland Blackinton, guitarist of Cobra Starship, attended his freshman year at Wilmington High School
  • Dudley Allen Buck, inventor of the cryotron, content-addressable memory, and ferroelectric memory
  • Sean Collier, Police officer at MIT, killed by perpetrators of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing
  • Harriet Thayer Durgin (born 1848), painter and educator
  • Lyle Durgin (born 1850), painter
  • Mike Esposito, running back and kick returner for the Atlanta Falcons in the late 1970s. He also set a number of rushing records at Boston College
  • Keith Gill, retail investor notable for his involvement in the GameStop short squeeze
  • Gen. Henry Harnden, Civil War officer, tracked down Confederate President Jefferson Davis and confirmed his identity
  • David G. Hartwell (1941-2016), science-fiction editor
  • Thomas Holmes, executive with W. R. Grace and Ingersoll Rand
  • Ezra Otis Kendall, LL.D., 1818–1899 prof. of mathematics and astronomy at University of Pennsylvania. Author of Uranography, a guide to the heavens, with atlas, Philadelphia, 1844. Half-brother to Timothy Walker and Sears Cook Walker
  • Benjamin Thompson, Jr., Count Rumford, taught school in Wilmington 1768–1769
  • Sears Cook Walker, 19th-century astronomer, brother of Timothy Walker, half-brother of E.O. Kendall
  • Timothy Walker, noted 19th-century jurist, author of Introduction to American Law, founder of Cincinnati Law School
  • Phillis Wheatley, first published African-American poet
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