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Burlington, Massachusetts
—  Town  —
Entering Burlington
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°30′17″N 71°11′46″W / 42.50472°N 71.19611°W / 42.50472; -71.19611Coordinates: 42°30′17″N 71°11′46″W / 42.50472°N 71.19611°W / 42.50472; -71.19611
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Middlesex
Settled 1641
Incorporated 1799
 - Type Representative town meeting
 - Total 11.9 sq mi (30.8 km2)
 - Land 11.8 sq mi (30.6 km2)
 - Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation 218 ft (66 m)
Population (2007)
 - Total 25,034
 Density 2,121.5/sq mi (818.1/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 01803
Area code(s) 339 / 781
FIPS code 25-09840
GNIS feature ID 0618219

Burlington is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 22,876 at the 2000 census.



It is believed that Burlington takes its name from the English town of Bridlington, however this has never been confirmed. It was first settled in 1641 and was officially incorporated on February 28, 1799. The town is sited on the watersheds of the Ipswich, Mystic, and Shawsheen rivers. In Colonial times up through the late 19th century, there was industry in the mills along Vine Brook, which runs from Lexington, Massachusetts to Bedford, Massachusetts, and then empties into the Shawsheen.

It is now a suburban industrial town at the junction of the Boston-Merrimack corridor, but for most of its history it was almost entirely agricultural, selling hops and rye to Boston and supplementing that income with small shoe-making shops. Early railroad expansion passed the town by (although the town was serviced by the Middlesex Turnpike), limiting its early development, and Burlington continued to cure hams for the Boston market and produce milk, fruit, and vegetables.

This picture changed drastically, however, as soon as Route 128 was built. The highway kicked off an enormous expansion, and between 1955 and 1965 Burlington was the fastest growing town in the state. In one five-year period, its population tripled as residential and commercial retail development exploded creating the town's present character.

Burlington's public schools have recently graduated many prominent athletes, including four Olympians, and others who have gone to have successful careers the NHL, NFL, and Major League Baseball. In addition, Burlington is home to national champion Pop Warner cheerleading teams and also won States in Men's Gymnastics.


Located in northeastern Massachusetts, Burlington is bordered by Bedford on the west, Billerica on the northwest, Wilmington on the northeast, Woburn on the southeast and south, and Lexington on the south. Burlington is 12 miles (19 km) south of Lowell, 13 miles (21 km) northwest of Boston, 36 miles (58 km) southeast of Fitchburg, and 224 miles (360 km) from New York City.

Its highest point is Greenleaf Mountain (290' above sea level), the lowest point is the Great Meadow (150' above sea level). The elevation at Town Hall is 220' above sea level. The largest body of water is the 500 million gallon Mill Pond Reservoir in the eastern part of the town.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 11.9 square miles (30.8 km²), of which, 11.8 square miles (30.6 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it (0.59%) is water.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 22,876 people, 8,289 households, and 6,374 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,936.4 people per square mile (747.9/km²). There were 8,445 housing units at an average density of 714.9/sq mi (276.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 86.71% White, 1.36% Black or African American, 0.07% Native American, 10.65% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.32% from other races, and 0.86% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.29% of the population.

There were 8,289 households out of which 32.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.2% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.1% were non-families. 19.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.76 and the average family size was 3.18.

In the town the population was spread out with 23.6% under the age of 18, 6.3% from 18 to 24, 31.1% from 25 to 44, 25.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 97.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.7 males.

According to a 2007 estimate,[2] the median income for a household in the town was $86,052, and the median income for a family was $99,123. Males had a median income of $55,635 versus $36,486 for females. The per capita income for the town was $30,732. About 1.3% of families and 1.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.8% of those under age 18 and 1.8% of those age 65 or over.


Burlington is governed by a 108 member representative Town Meeting (18 representatives elected per precinct) and a five-member executive Board of Selectmen. The members of the Board as of early 2009 and the first election dates and terms ends are:[3]

  • Ralph C. Patuto, Chairman, First elected 4/06, Term ends 2012
  • Walter T. Zenkin, Vice Chairman, First elected 4/07, Term ends 2010
  • Gary J. Gianino, First elected 4/93, Term ends 2011
  • Sonia Rollins, First elected 4/04, Term ends 2010
  • Daniel R. DiTucci, First elected 4/09, Term ends 2012

The current Town Administrator is Robert Mercier. Thomas Hickey is the Assistant Town Administrator.

Burlington Cable Access Television (BCAT)is a non-profit television facility that was formed in 1987. BCAT operates three channels: Public Access, Educational Access and Government Access. Town meetings and events can also be seen on demand on BCAT's website.

The Burlington Recreation department offers a variety of programs for adults and children. Program brochures are mailed to residents four times a year. The recreation department distributes free passes for the town's resident only wading pool located at Simonds Park.


Burlington has six public schools (four elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school) which comprise the Burlington Public School District. The elementary schools are Fox Hill, Francis Wyman, Memorial, and Pine Glen. The middle school is Marshall Simonds, and one of the town parks is named after Marshall Simonds. The high school is simply called Burlington High School. Burlington is also served by the Shawsheen Valley Technical High School. In addition it is home to several private schools.[citation needed]

The town operates a Before and After School Program[4] and offers an integrated Preschool Program.[5]

Burlington is also the home to a campus of Northeastern University and one of the three campuses of Bay Path College.


Routes 128 (I-95), 3, 3A and 62 pass through Burlington. MBTA Bus routes 170, 350, 351, 352 and 354 operated by the MBTA run through the town, as do Lowell Regional Transit Authority, Lexpress (Lexington), Bedford, and B-Line (Burlington) buses. The closest MBTA 'T' subway stations are Alewife, Cambridge, 8 miles (13 km) to the south-east (the station has a large parking garage) and Wellington Station, Medford, on the Orange Line, also roughly 8 miles, to the east (also has large parking garage). MBTA Commuter Rail and Logan Express services are available at the Anderson Regional Transportation Center in neighboring Woburn.[6]


Over the last 15 years, Burlington has experienced a boom in commercial growth with the continuous expansion of the Burlington Mall and the construction of the Wayside Commons, which includes an L.L. Bean and a Capital Grille. Rounder Records now calls Burlington home. Many new buildings have been built along the town's main road, Cambridge St. (Rt. 3A), which have ushered in new technology companies. It is a relatively well-positioned town in the state — located at the intersection of Interstate 95 and US 3, Burlington is just 20 minutes from Boston, half an hour from New Hampshire, and an hour from Rhode Island.

Important commercial sites and businesses

Burlington is home to the Lahey Clinic Medical Center.

Sun Microsystems has a major engineering facility in Burlington.

Rt. 128 / I95, a circumferential highway around Boston, is considered the technology center of the East Coast. Burlington's stretch of 128, between Route 3 and Interstate 93 is home to numerous sizable buildings housing major companies, such as Oracle Corporation and SAP AG and the bank TD Banknorth.

Shops and attractions

In the Middlesex Mall: Old Navy, Market Basket , H Mart, and Joanne Fabrics.

In the Burlington Mall: Hollister, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Lord & Taylor, Victoria's Secret, Aéropostale, Apple Computer, Rainforest Cafe, Aldo Shoes, Caché, Eddie Bauer, Cheesecake Factory, Macy's, American Eagle Outfitters, Abercrombie & Fitch, Johnny Rockets, Sears, Legal Sea Foods, FYE, and more. In 2007/2008 the mall added a new higher end wing including specialty stores such as Nordstrom, J.Crew, bluemercury, Jasmine Sola, RUEHL and Martin + Osa.

At Wayside Commons: L.L. Bean, Bag 'n Baggage, Fresh City, Not Your Average Joe's, The Capital Grille, Cold Stone Creamery, Borders and West Elm.

At other locations : Burlington House of Pizza, AMC Burlington 10 movie theater, Chili's Restaurant, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Tweeter, Daddy's Junky Music, The Escadrille Restaurant, Macaroni Grill, Border Cafe[4], Trader Joes

Under development or proposed

On Cambridge St. (Route 3A), a new large commercial building.

Patriot Partners LLC, a Framingham based developer, is proposing to build a 250-acre (1 km2) biotech complex, the largest in the region, close to routes 3 and 128. The complex would include labs, offices, retail shops and housing units.[7] Since this new development is proposed on the site of the largest remaining area of open space, commonly called the "Burlington Landlocked Forest" (see below), there is significant resistance from the town meeting, the Conservation Commission,[8] and the general population.[9]

Points of interest

  • The Burlington Town Common and Simonds Park are in the center of town and there are multiple parks and public recreation facilities throughout town which have basketball courts, tennis courts, baseball fields, soccer fields, gymnasia, an indoor skating rink (Burlington Ice Palace) and a skatepark.
  • The Burlington Public Library[10] is on Sears Street adjoining the Town Common.
  • The Burlington Historical Museum[11]
  • The Mill Pond Conservation Area[12] is in the eastern part of town bordering Woburn and Wilmington. The largest conservation area in Burlington, the Mill Pond Conservation Area includes over 140 acres (0.57 km2) of rolling and steep terrain. Numerous marked and unmarked trails cross through the conservation area. These trails allow for long enjoyable hiking or biking experiences. The land has numerous access points, including the corner of Winter and Chestnut Streets, through a gate at the end of Hansen Avenue, and through a gate at the end of the offshoot from Town Line Road.
  • The Mill Pond located within the Mill Pond Conservation Area. Fishing is allowed with special permit. The pond is feeding one of the two water treatment plants in Burlington. The Mill Pond Water Treatment Plant has been upgraded in 2007 and has the capacity to treat up to 6 million gallons of water per day.[13] On the pond's island there's is a rope swing, an attraction for many locals.
  • The Burlington Landlocked Forest, also known as the Burlington Landlocked Parcel[9], consists of 270 acres (1.1 km2) spanning the borders of Burlington, Bedford, and Lexington, and contains 12 miles (19 km) of hiking/mountain biking trails, vernal pools, abundant wildlife, historic stone walls and other structures, meadows, and old growth forest. The majority of the land is owned by the Town of Burlington which has kept it as open space since acquiring it by eminent domain in 1985. It borders Route 3 in Burlington to the east, Route 62 in Bedford to the north, conservation land in Lexington to the west and Route 128 to the South. The main trail head to the Forest is located at the intersection of Routes 3 and 62 in Bedford. A secondary trail head can be found on Turning Mill Road in Lexington, under the power lines at the site of the future West Lexington Greenway. The Landlocked Parcel is currently not protected land and there were discussions in 2008 between the Town of Burlington and Patriot Partners to sell the land to the developer who would develop part of the forest to build a large biotechnology complex. A citizen group, Friends of the Burlington Landlocked Forest, has been organized to prevent this sale and to make the Forest designated conservation land.
  • The Mary Cummings Park was envisioned as one of the great public parks of Greater Boston, however it fell into great neglect. This over 200-acre (0.81 km2) public park on the Burlington-Woburn border was created by Mary P.C. Cummings 1927 and was entrusted to the City of Boston to be kept forever open as a recreational park. In recent years, the City of Boston has tried to discourage public access and has investigated selling the park to fund the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The Burlington RC Flyers maintain a field[14] in the park.

Notable residents



  • Robert J. Costa. Burlington (MA) (Images of America) . Arcadia Publishing (August 11, 2001). ISBN 9780738509020.

External links

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