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Somerville, Massachusetts

Somerville, Massachusetts
Somerville, Massachusetts Website www.somervillema.gov

Davis Square, Somerville

Somerville (pronounced /ˈsʌmərvɪl/) is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, located just north of Boston. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 77,478 and was the most densely populated municipality in New England. It was established as a town in 1842, when it was separated from the urbanizing Charlestown.

Seal

History
Somerville was first settled in 1630 as part of Charlestown. It was known as "Charlestown beyond the Neck"[1] because it was part of the Massachusetts mainland, not the Charlestown Peninsula. (Charlestown Neck was the narrow strip of land that joined the two.) The incorporation of Somerville in 1842 separated the largely rural town from the urbanizing Charlestown. The original choice for the city’s new name after breaking away from Charlestown was Walford, after the first settler of Charlestown. However this name was not adopted by the separation committee. Mr. Charles Miller, a member of this committee, proposed the name "Somerville" which was chosen. It was not derived from any one person’s name. A report commissioned by the Somerville Historical Society found that Somerville was a "purely fanciful name"[2] (though "Somerville" is a surname of Franco-British origin). Traffic on the Middlesex Canal began its famous journey from the mouth of the Charles River in Charlestown (now part of Boston) to Lowell by going through East Somerville, where several historical markers can be discovered today. Historically Somerville encompassed many of the less desirable railway and industrial lands squeezed between the Charles River to the southwest and the Mystic River to the northeast. For all its problems, Somerville’s late 1800s and early 1900s industrial revolution left behind a rich historical record of Sanborn Maps, apparently invented in Somerville in 1867, and subsequently used

Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts

Coordinates: 42°23′15″N 71°06′00″W / 42.3875°N 71.1°W / 42.3875; -71.1 Country State County Settled Incorporated Government - Type - Mayor Area - Total - Land - Water Elevation United States Massachusetts Middlesex 1630 1842 Mayor-council city Joseph A. Curtatone 4.2 sq mi (10.9 km2) 4.1 sq mi (10.6 km2) 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2) 12 ft (4 m)

Population (2007) 74,405 - Total 18,147.6/sq mi (7,019.3/ - Density km2) Time zone - Summer (DST) ZIP code Area code(s) FIPS code GNIS feature ID Eastern (UTC-5) Eastern (UTC-4) 02143, 02144, 02145 617 / 857 25-62535 0612815

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for fire insurance appraisal across the USA. The delicate, detailed original Sanborn Maps are on display at the main branch of the Somerville Public Library.[3] Somerville’s industrial past left one special legacy, the invention of Fluff, the marshmallow creme. In 1914, the city became the home of the original Economy Grocery Store, which later grew into the Stop & Shop grocery chain.[4] One of the earliest American flags was raised on Prospect Hill, above Union Square, on January 1, 1776.[5] Somerville was once colloquially referred to as "Slummerville"[2], on account of its blue-collar residents and its reputation for crime, especially in the city’s east, where James "Buddy" McLean and Howie Winter and the "Winter Hill Gang" were based.[3] The city also had a very high car theft rate, once being the car theft capital of the country, and its Assembly Square area was especially infamous for theft.[4] However, after the gentrification period the city went through in the 1990s this name became less prevalent. More recently, lobbying by grassroots organizations is attempting to revive and preserve Somerville’s "small town" neighborhood environments by supporting local business, public transit, gardens and pedestrian/bike access.

Somerville, Massachusetts

Squares and neighborhoods
Somerville has a number of squares that are bustling business and entertainment centers, as well as a number of other neighborhoods:[7] • Assembly Square • Ball Square • Brickbottom District (north of McGrath Highway, south of Innerbelt District) • Davis Square • East Somerville (East of McGrath Highway, between Washington Street and Broadway) • Gilman Square (Medford Street and Pearl Street)[8][9][10] • Inner Belt District • Magoun Square • Nunnery Grounds (Mount Benedict) • Powder House Square • Prospect Hill (part of Union Square) • Spring Hill • Teele Square • Ten Hills • Tufts • Ward Two • West Somerville (West Somerville Station was at Davis Square) • Wilson Square (Elm Street and Somerville Ave.) • Winter Hill • Union Square Sullivan Square is just over the Charlestown border; Porter Square, Inman Square, and Lechmere Square are all just over the Cambridge border.

Political history
The first Democratic Mayor of the city was John J. Murphy (1929). He succeeded on his seventh try by uniting the Irish, Italians, Greeks, and Portuguese. There were "Candle Parades" with thousands marching to giant rallies in the middle of Union Square (and other squares too). At the time signs in real estate windows often had "Irish Catholic need not apply" under their "Flats for Rent".

Hills
The following are the "Seven Hills"[11] of Somerville: 1. Central Hill 2. Clarendon Hill 3. Cobble Hill 4. Mount Benedict (or Plowed Hill) 5. Mount Pisgah (or Prospect Hill) 6. Spring Hill 7. Winter Hill

Geography
Somerville is located at 42°23′26″N 71°6′13″W / 42.39056°N 71.10361°W / 42.39056; -71.10361 (42.390546, [6] -71.103683). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.2 square miles (10.9 km²), of which, 4.1 square miles (10.6 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (2.61%) is water.

Paths and parks
The Somerville Community Path is a treelined rail trail that runs from Cedar Street to the Cambridge border near Davis Square. It connects with the Alewife Linear Park, which in turn connects with the Minuteman Bikeway and the Fitchburg Cutoff Path. Community activists hope to extend the path

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eastward to Lechmere Square, which would connect with the Charles River Bike Paths and the proposed East Coast Greenway. The city has 39 parks and playgrounds.[12]

Somerville, Massachusetts
1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 40,152 61,643 77,236 93,091 103,908 102,177 102,351 94,349 88,779 77,372 76,210 77,478 61.0% 53.5% 25.3% 20.5% 11.6% −1.7% 0.2% −7.8% −5.9% −12.8% −1.5% 1.7%

Government
Somerville has a mayor-city council form of municipal government. The Board of Aldermen consists of 4 at-large (city-wide) positions and 7 ward representatives (each ward is a specific section of the city).[13] The current mayor of the city is Joseph Curtatone. Somerville is part of Massachusetts’s 8th congressional district for purposes of elections to the United States House of Representatives. It is represented by Rep. Michael Capuano (Democrat), a former mayor of Somerville. For representation to the Massachusetts Senate, Somerville is part of the "Second Middlesex" and "Middlesex, Suffolk, and Essex" districts.[14] For representation to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Somerville is part of the 26th, 27th, and 34th Middlesex districts.[15]

Education
Somerville Public Schools operate 13 schools in the city,[16] including the East Somerville Community School, which was temporarily closed after a fire in 2007, and as of 2009 is undergoing demolition and reconstruction.[17] The former Powder House School (which was closed due to low enrollment in 2004) is being considered for redevelopment, either as a consolidated location for city offices if funding is obtained under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 or as some other type of development.[18] Also included in the school district are the Somerville Center for Adult Learning Experiences, Somerville High School, an alternative high school and junior high, the Michael E. Capuano Early Childhood Center, and a number of neighborhood elementary schools.

Demographics
Historical populations Census Pop. %± 3,540 — 1850 8,025 126.7% 1860 1870 1880 14,685 24,933 83.0% 69.8%

−4.0% Est. 2007 74,405 Somerville has a mix of blue collar IrishAmerican, Italian American and to a slightly lesser extent Portuguese American families who are spread throughout the city; immigrant families from Brazil, Haiti and El Salvador, who live in East Somerville, from South Korea, Nepal, and India, in the Union Square area, and college students and young professionals, many of whom live in sections near Cambridge, or near Tufts University, which straddles the Somerville-Medford city line, although the university’s formal address is Medford. With only slightly over 4 square miles (10 km²) of land, Somerville is the most densely populated city in New England and the fifth densest municipality under 100,000 in the United States after Guttenberg, NJ, Union City, NJ, West New York, NJ and Hoboken, NJ according to the 2000 Demographics of the United States. As of the census[19] of 2000, there were 77,478 people, 31,555 households, and 14,673 families residing in the city. The population density was 18,868.1 people per square mile (7,278.4/km²). There were 32,477 housing units at an average density of 7,909.1/sq mi (3,051.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 76.97% White, 6.50% African American, 0.22% Native American, 6.44% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 4.96% from other races, and 4.85% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.76% of the population. There were 31,555 households out of which 18.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.2% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 53.5% were non-families. 31.0% of all

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households were made up of individuals and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.06. In the city the population was spread out with 14.8% under the age of 18, 15.9% from 18 to 24, 42.6% from 25 to 44, 16.2% from 45 to 64, and 10.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 94.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.2 males. The median income for a household in the city was $46,315, and the median income for a family was $51,243. Males had a median income of $36,333 versus $31,418 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,628. About 8.4% of families and 12.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.3% of those under age 18 and 13.6% of those age 65 or over. Somerville has experienced dramatic gentrification since the Red Line of Boston’s subway system was extended through Somerville in 1985, especially in the area between Harvard and Tufts Universities, centering around Davis Square. Gentrification has historical cycles in the city of Somerville due to its proximity to these and many other colleges and universities. This was especially accelerated by the repeal of rent control in the mid-1990s being directly followed by the Internet boom of the late 90s. Residential property values approximately quadrupled from 1991 to 2003 and the stock of rental housing decreased as lucrative condo conversions become commonplace. This has led to tensions between long-time residents and recent arrivals, with many of the former accusing the latter of ignoring problems of working-class families such as drugs, gang violence, and suicides. Incidents such as anti-"yuppie" graffiti, (also known locally as "barnies",[5]) appearing around town, have highlighted this rift. The economic clash between several areas of the city of Somerville and its neighboring cities of Boston, and in particular Cambridge, has created a culture of anti-intellectualism and anti-gentry sentiment that has spanned many generations.[6] Symptoms of this include petty crime, and in some cases, violence against outsiders.[7] Recent years have seen the arrival of community groups such as Save Our Somerville (SOS), dedicated to improving relationships between

Somerville, Massachusetts
old and new residents and ensuring that the concerns of the Somerville working class remain at the forefront of the city’s political concerns. SOS in particular is headed by young residents of the city who claim to desire unity between all residents but also focus on the difficulties that young adults in Somerville face. They enjoy support from a number of well-known, local adults, including elected officials. Many such community-led groups find it difficult to attract wide support as many would-be advocates choose to move to other towns due to the density of the population or to the strong economic forces that have made Somerville an expensive city to live in. In November 1997, the Utne Reader named Davis Square in Somerville one of the 15 hippest places to live in the U.S.[20] The article illustrates how Somerville is in an era of socio-economic change shared by many other working-class and industrial areas of the country.

Culture
Though formally listed as being located in Medford, Tufts University is also located in Somerville. The Somerville-Medford line actually runs through Tufts’ campus and splits the main library. The school employs many local residents and has many community service projects that serve the city, especially those run through the Leonard Carmichael Society and the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service. Similarly, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences lists its address in Cambridge, but has its main entrance on Beacon Street in Somerville. Somerville is home to a thriving arts community. Regular arts-related events, such as the annual "ArtBeat" festival, occur throughout the year. In addition, numerous galleries and music clubs showcase the talents of residents and others. Live music performance venues include Johnny D’s, Somerville Theater, Precinct, Sally O’Briens, PA’s Lounge, and others. Two major art studios, The Brickbottom Complex, and the Joy Street Studios are located in former industrial buildings in the Brickbottom District of Somerville, located between McGrath Highway and the Fitchburg Line railroad tracks, adjacent to the

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Inner Belt District. The Brickbottom Artists Association has been hosting annual open studio events in the fall since 1987.[21][22] Davis Square is home to a lively coffeehouse scene with several coffeehouses each boasting its own fiercely loyal clientele. It is also known for its mom-and-pop shops, vintage stores and other independent retailers. Davis Square is also home to the Somerville Theatre, which houses the Somerville branch of the Museum of Bad Art. The volunteer-operated Somerville Museum[23] preserves memorabilia chronicling Somerville’s roots, with historical and artistic exhibits. It is located on 1 Westwood Road, on the corner with Central Street. The Somerville Arts Council and Somerville Open Studios both host annual events involving the community in homegrown arts. The Boston chapter of the Dorkbot community meets in Somerville at the Willoughby & Baltic studio (in Davis Square). The Boston Review, a political and literary magazine, has its offices in the city and the public radio show Living on Earth is recorded in Davis Square. Somerville boasts a large number of excellent restaurants and taverns, including Redbones, Wu-Chon House, The Independent, Gargoyles on the Square, Namaskar, Diva, Highland Kitchen, Taqueria la Mexicana, Dali and others. Noteworthy cafes include Sherman’s, Diesel, Bloc 11 and True Grounds.

Somerville, Massachusetts

Somerville Highlands Station, 1908 Davis Square in Somerville and nearby Porter Square in Cambridge have Red Line subway stations providing easy access to Harvard Square and to downtown Boston. Porter Square also has an MBTA Commuter Rail station, providing access to Boston’s North Station and other locations on the Fitchburg Line. Massachusetts state officials have agreed, both in court settlements and legislation, to extend the Green line subway/streetcar system through Somerville. This commitment was made, in part, to offset the additional burdens in traffic and pollution within the city due to completion of the Big Dig infrastructure. The Green Line extension would be built along existing commuter rail rights-ofway, and would extend service to much of central Somerville, to Tufts University and surrounding areas of Medford, and (along a separate spur) to Union Square.[25] Controversy has surrounded the repeated delays by the state in providing funding for the project, most recently when Governor Deval Patrick decided to delay work an additional two years in order to seek up to $300 million in federal financing for the project. This decision makes it unlikely that the previous completion date of 2014 will be met.[26] In April 2008, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law a $3.5 billion transportation bond bill that includes the $600 million necessary to fund the Green Line extension. The target completion date remains 2014.[27] A new Orange Line station has been proposed, to be built near the Assembly Square Mall in eastern Somerville, between the existing Sullivan and Wellington stations.

Transportation
Major highways
Massachusetts Route 28 runs north/south through Somerville, separating East Somerville from the rest of the city. Rte. 28 is called "McGrath Highway" from Cambridge to Interstate 93, and it is called the "Fellsway" north of I-93 and on into Medford.[24] Interstate 93 runs northwest/southeast through Somerville, separating Ten Hills and Assembly Square from the rest of the city. This massive highway is elevated for almost its entire length through Somerville and runs directly alongside and/or above Mystic Avenue (Massachusetts Route 38).

Rail
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Somerville, Massachusetts

Bus

• Pagan Kennedy, author • Moses E. Kiley, Roman Catholic The city is served by buses that connect to Archbishop of Milwaukee these subway stations: • Jennifer Kimball, singer/songwriter • Orange Line • Red Line • Green Line • Howie Long, NFL player, member Football stations: stations: stations: Hall of Fame (b. 1960) • Sullivan • Davis • Lechmere • Claire Messud, novelist Square in Square in in East • F. Mark Modzelewski, entrepreneur Charlestown Somerville Cambridge • Connie Morella, former U.S. • Wellington • Kendall, • Cleveland Representative from Maryland in Medford Central, Circle and • Randall Munroe, creator of xkcd • Malden in Harvard, Reservoir, • Barack Obama, (while attending Harvard Malden and Porter at the Law School) President of the United in Brighton/ States Cambridge Brookline • Howard Petrie, actor (1906-1968) line • Bobby "Boris" Pickett, composer "Monster Mash" (1938-2007) Air • Harry Nelson Pillsbury, chess champion Somerville is approximately three miles from (1872-1906) Logan International Airport, which serves • Archibald Query, inventor of Marshmallow Greater Boston and is accessible by car and Fluff public transit. • Lloyd Schwartz, poet, scholar and critic (b. 1941) • John Shea, playwright (b. 1964) • Paul Sorrento, Major League Baseball • Isaac Asimov, science fiction author, while player from 1989 to 1999 (b. 1965) a professor at Boston University in the • Daniel C. Stillson [8], inventor of the 1950s (1920-1992) Stillson pipe wrench, (1830-1899) • Robert A. Bruce, academic cardiologist • Leonard H. Tower Jr., free software (1916-2004) activist, software hacker, and founding • Mat Bruso, vocalist, former lead singer of member of the Board of Directors of the Bury Your Dead Free Software Foundation • Michael E. Capuano, U.S. Congressman; • David Warsh, economics journalist Mayor of Somerville (1990-1998) (b. 1952) • Winter Hill Gang • Haroutioun Hovanes Chakmakjian • Alex Rocco, Emmy Award-winning (1878-1973), chemistry professor, actor, Winter Hill Gang (b. 1936) Armenian scholar, and father of Alan • Joseph "Joe Mac" McDonald, Winter Hovhaness Hill Gang (1917-1997) • Richard Carle, comic film actor • James "Buddy" McLean, Winter Hill (1871–1941) Gang Boss (1929-1965) • Gosder Cherilus, starting offensive tackle • James "Jimmy" Simms, Winter Hill for the Detroit Lions football team Gang • Hal Clement, science fiction author • Salvatore Sperlinga, Winter Hill Gang (1922-2003) • Howie Winter, Winter Hill Gang Boss • George Dilboy, recipient of Medal of • James Wood, literary critic Honor (1896-1918) • Evan Ziporyn, composer (b. 1959) • Antje Duvekot, singer/songwriter • Nick Gomez, television and movie director (b. 1963) • Arthur Skinny Graham, Boston Red Sox [1] The History of Prospect Hill outfielder (1909-1967) [2] cf. Haskell, Albert L., "Haskell’s • Henry Kimball Hadley, composer and Historical Guide Book of Somerville, conductor (1871-1937) Massachusetts", section on "Somerville: • Hank Hansen, raiser of the first flag in the Why So Named". Battle of Iwo Jima [3] Somerville Public Library • Alan Hovhaness, composer (1911-2000)

Notable residents

References

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[4] About Stop & Shop - New England’s Largest Food Retailer [5] Historical postcards of the raising of the Grand Union Flag in 1776. [6] "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. http://www.census.gov/geo/ www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved on 2008-01-31. [7] Somerville City website [8] 48 Reasons Why Somerville is GREAT (Finished for Now) « Greg’s Words of Wisdom [9] Compare historic postcard [1] to Google Maps streetview. [10] Community Path-overview.pdf Somerville Community Path briefing, p. 5 [11] City Of Somerville - Somerville Historical Information [12] http://www.somervillema.gov/ Maps.cfm?page=24 [13] City Of Somerville - Board of Aldermen [14] Massachusetts General Court Senatorial Districts [15] Representative Districts [16] http://www.somerville.k12.ma.us/ education/components/sectionlist/ sectionlist.php?sectiondetailid=955 [17] http://www.wickedlocal.com/somerville/ archive/x805326490 [18] http://www.somervillema.gov/ CoS_Content/documents/ SomervilleStimulusRequests2009.pdf [19] "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved on 2008-01-31. [20] Jay Walljasper and Daniel Kraker, "Hip Hot Spots: The 15 Hippest Places to Live". Utne Reader. November/ December 1997. http://xn--cafdma.utne.com/1997-11-01/hip-hotspots.aspx. [21] Brickbottom Artists Association Website [22] Social Web article on Brickbottom District [23] The Somerville Museum [24] Street map from City of Somerville website [25] "City Of Somerville - Green Line Extension Info". http://www.somervillema.gov/ section.cfm?org=econdevel&page=238. Retrieved on 2007-08-26. [26] "Proponents rap delay to extend Green Line - The Boston Globe".

Somerville, Massachusetts
http://www.boston.com/news/local/ articles/2007/08/09/ proponents_rap_delay_to_extend_green_line/. Retrieved on 2007-08-26. [27] "State fully funds Green Line extension Somerville News". http://somervillenews.typepad.com/ the_somerville_news/2008/04/state-fullyfun.html. Retrieved on 2008-05-01.

Bibliography

1852 Map of Boston area showing Somerville and the Middlesex Canal. • Drake, Samuel Adams. History of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Volume 1 (A-H), Volume 2 (L-W) published 1879 and 1880. 572 and 505 pages. Somerville article by E.C.Booth in volume 2 pages 309-338. • Dutton, E.P. Chart of Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay with Map of Adjacent Country. Published 1867. A good map of roads and rail lines around Somerville. • Lehr, Dick; Gerard O’Neil (2000). Black Mass:The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob. Public

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Affairs Press. pp. 8–84. ISBN 1-891620-40-1. Haskell, Albert L., Haskell’s Historical Guide Book of Somerville, Massachusetts Sammarco, Anthony Michael (1997). Images of America: Somerville. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-1290-7. Zellie, Carole (1982, 1990). Beyond the Neck: The Architecture and Development of Somerville, Massachusetts. St. Paul, Minn.: Landscape Research. ISBN 0-7385-1290-7. Wall & Gray. 1871 Atlas of Massachusetts. Map of Massachusetts. Map of Middlesex County.

Somerville, Massachusetts
• Somerville, Massachusetts travel guide from Wikitravel • Somerville Chamber Of Commerce • Somerville Journal Online • Somerville’s Industrial Past • Somerville Community Corporation • Prospect Hill History • Lost Theaters of Somerville exhibition • Union Square Main Streets • Somerville, Massachusetts is at coordinates 42°23′26″N 71°06′13″W / 42.390546°N 71.103683°W / 42.390546; -71.103683 (Somerville, Massachusetts)Coordinates: 42°23′26″N 71°06′13″W / 42.390546°N 71.103683°W / 42.390546; -71.103683 (Somerville, Massachusetts)

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External links
• Official City of Somerville site

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somerville,_Massachusetts" Categories: Somerville, Massachusetts, Cities in Massachusetts, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Irish-American neighborhoods, West Indian communities in the United States, Irish mob, Settlements established in 1630 This page was last modified on 20 May 2009, at 17:06 (UTC). All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. (See Copyrights for details.) Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) taxdeductible nonprofit charity. Privacy policy About Wikipedia Disclaimers

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