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Lexington, Massachusetts
—  Town  —
Minuteman Statue and Hayes Memorial Fountain on Lexington Common, by H. H. Kitson

Flag

Seal
Nickname(s): Birthplace of American Liberty
Motto: "What a Glorious Morning for America!"
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°26′50″N 71°13′30″W / 42.44722°N 71.225°W / 42.44722; -71.225Coordinates: 42°26′50″N 71°13′30″W / 42.44722°N 71.225°W / 42.44722; -71.225
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Middlesex
Settled 1642
Incorporated 1713
Government
 - Type Representative town meeting
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 (2007)
 - Total 30,332
 Density 1,849.5/sq mi (713.7/km2)
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.ci.lexington.ma.us

Lexington is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 30,355 at the 2000 census.

The town is famous for being the site of the opening shots of the American Revolution, in the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775.

Contents

History

Lexington was first settled circa 1642 as part of Cambridge, Massachusetts. What is now Lexington was first incorporated as a parish, called Cambridge Farms, in 1691, and was incorporated as a separate town in 1713. It was then that it got the name Lexington.[1] How it received its name is the subject of some controversy. Some people believe that it was named in honor of Lord Lexington, a British nobleman.[2] Some, on the other hand, believe that it was named after Lexington (which was pronounced and today spelled Laxton) in Nottinghamshire, England.[3]

In the early colonial days, the 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 later, in the 20th Century for farm irrigation.

For decades, Lexington showed modest growth while remaining largely a farming community, providing Boston with much of its produce. It always had a bustling downtown area, which remains so to this day. Lexington began to prosper, helped by its proximity to Boston, and having a rail line (originally the Boston and Maine Railroad, later renamed, and now serves as the Minuteman Bikeway) service its citizens and businesses, beginning in 1846. 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.[citation needed] The town participates in the METCO program, which buses minority students from Boston to suburban towns to (in theory) receive a better education in a safer environment than in Boston Public Schools.

On April 19, 1775, Lexington was the location of the first battle of the American Revolutionary War. Every year, on the third Monday of April, the town observes Patriots' Day. Events begin with Paul Revere's Ride, with a special re-enactment of the Battles of Lexington and Concord. At 6 a.m., there is a re-enactment of the skirmish on the Battle Green, with shots fired from the Battle Green and the nearby Buckman Tavern (to account for the fact that no one knows from where the first shot was fired, or by whom). After the rout, the British march on toward Concord. The battle in Lexington allowed the Concord militia time to organize at the Old North Bridge, where they were able to turn back the British and prevent them from capturing and destroying the militia's arms stores.

Throughout the rest of the year many tourists enjoy tours of the town's historic landmarks such as Buckman Tavern, Munroe Tavern, and the Hancock-Clarke House, which are maintained by the town's historical society.

Geography

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).[4]

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) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.4 km²) of it (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

Topography of Lexington and environs

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 30,355 people, 11,110 households, and 8,432 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,851.0 people per square mile (714.6/km²). There were 11,333 housing units at an average density of 691.1/sq mi (266.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 86.13% White, 10.90% Asian, 3.13% Black or African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.34% from other races, and 1.41% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.41% of the population.

There were 11,110 households out of which 37.8% 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.

According to a 2007 estimate[6], the median income for a household in the town was $122,656, and the median income for a family was $142,796. Males had a median income of $100,000+ versus $73,090 for females. The per capita income for the town was $61,119. 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.

Education

Public schools

Lexington is also renowned[citation needed] for its public education system, which includes six elementary schools, two middle schools, and a high school. Lexington High School was recently ranked the 304th best high school in the nation by Newsweek.[7] In addition to Lexington High School, students may also attend Minuteman Regional High School if so desiring.

Private schools

Points of interest

Engraved memorial bricks lining the Lexington Depot sidewalk
  • Lexington is probably 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 the Minuteman Statue in front of it.
  • 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), and Follen Church (the oldest standing church building in Lexington, built in 1839).
  • Lexington is also home to the 900-acre Minute Man National Historical Park and the National Heritage Museum, which showcases exhibits on American history and popular culture.
  • Central to the town is Lexington's town center, 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.[8]
  • Wilson Farms, a farm and farm stand in operation since 1884.
  • 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, 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" 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.

Notable residents

Sister cities

Lexington is a sister city of

France Antony, France
Mexico Dolores Hidalgo,Guanajuato, Mexico
Ukraine Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine
Israel Haifa, Israel

References

Further reading

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LEXINGTON, a township of Middlesex county, Massachusetts, U.S.A., about II m. N.W. of Boston. Pop. (1900) 3831, (1910 U.S. census) 4918. It is traversed by the Boston & Maine railroad and by the Lowell & Boston electric railway. Its area is about 17 sq. m., and it contains three villages - Lexington, East Lexington and North Lexington. Agriculture is virtually the only industry. Owing to its historic interest the village of Lexington is visited by thousands of persons annually, for it was on the green or common of this village that the first armed conflict of the American War of Independence occurred. On the green stand a monument erected by the state in 1799 to the memory of the minute-men who fell in that engagement, a drinking fountain surmounted by a bronze statue (1900, by Henry Hudson Kitson) of Captain John Parker, who was in command of the minute-men, and a large boulder, which marks the position of the minute-men when they were fired upon by the British. Near the green, in the old burying-ground, are the graves of Captain Parker and other American patriots - the oldest gravestone is dated 1690. The Hancock-Clarke House (built in part in 1698) is now owned by the Lexington Historical Society and contains a museum of revolutionary and other relics, which were formerly exhibited in the Town Hall. The Buckman Tavern (built about 1690), the rendezvous of the minute-men, and the Munroe Tavern (1695), the headquarters of the British, are still standing, and two other houses, on the common, antedate the War of Independence. The Cary Library in this village, with 25,000 volumes (1908), was founded in 1868, and was housed in the Town Hall from 1871 until 1906, when it was removed to the Cary Memorial Library building. In the library are portraits of Paul Revere, William Dawes and Lord Percy. The Town Hall (1871) contains statues of John Hancock (by Thomas R. Gould) and Samuel Adams (by Martin Millmore), of the "MinuteMan of 1 775" and the "Soldier of 1861," and a painting by Henry Sandham, "The Battle of Lexington." Lexington was settled as a part of Cambridge as early as 1642. It was organized as a parish in 1691 and was made a township (probably named in honour of Lord Lexington) in 1713. In the evening of the 18th of April 1775 a British force of about Boo men under Lieut.-Colonel Francis Smith and Major John Pitcairn was sent by General Thomas Gage from Boston to destroy military stores collected by the colonists at Concord, and to seize John Hancock and Samuel Adams, then at Parson Clarke's house (now known as the Hancock-Clarke House) in Lexington. Although the British had tried to keep this movement a secret, Dr Joseph Warren discovered their plans and sent out Paul Revere and William Dawes to give warning of their approach. The expedition had not proceeded far when Smith, discovering that the country was aroused, despatched an express to Boston for reinforcements and ordered Pitcairn to hasten forward with a detachment of light infantry. Early in the morning of the 19th Pitcairn arrived at the green in the village of Lexington, and there found between sixty and seventy minute-men under Captain John Parker drawn up in line of battle. Pitcairn ordered them to disperse, and on their refusal to do so his men fired a volley. Whether a stray shot preceded the first volley, and from which side it came, are questions which have never been determined. After a second volley from the British, Parker ordered his men to withdraw. The engagement lasted only a few minutes, but eight Americans were killed and nine were wounded; not more than two or three of the British were wounded. Hancock and Adams had escaped before the British troops reached Lexington. The British proceeded from Lexington to Concord (q.v.). On their return they were continually fired upon by Americans from behind trees, rocks, buildings and other defences, and were threatened with complete destruction until they were rescued at Lexington by a force of moo men under Lord Hugh Percy (later, 1786, duke of Northumberland). Percy received the fugitives within a hollow square, checked the onslaught for a time with two field-pieces, used the Munroe Tavern for a hospital, and later in the day carried his command with little further injury back to Boston. The British losses for the entire day were 73 killed, 174 wounded and 26 missing; the American losses were 49 killed, 39 wounded and 5 missing.

In 1839 a state normal school for women (the first in Massachusetts and the first public training school for teachers in the United States) was opened at Lexington; it was transferred to West Newton in 1844 and to Framingham in 1853.

See Charles Hudson, History of the Town of Lexington (Boston, 1868), and the publications of the Lexington Historical Society, (1890 seq.).


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