Medford, Massachusetts is the fourth oldest English settlement in America, dating back to 1630. It was first settled as part of Charlestown, and known as “Mistick” and then “Meadford.” It was owned by Matthew Cradock and Edward Collins, as a private plantation. It wasn’t divided in 1656, after which it was developed into a town in its own right. Medford was connected to nearby Boston by a bridge built across the Mystic River in 1637. This toll bridge was the major route into Boston for residents of Medford and communities to the north.
Medford was incorporated as a city in 1892. Over the years, it saw a variety of industries, including the building of Clipper Ships and the manufacture of brick and tile. Rum, crackers, and other products were also made here.
Medford boasts several claims to fame including being the city in which the classics “Jingle Bells” and “Over the River and Through the Woods” were written. Fannie Farmer, Amelia Earhart, and many professional athletes have all called Medford home.
Medford is located in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, just 3 miles outside of Boston. It is located along the Mystic River, which provided transportation and industry to the city throughout its history. It covers 8.6 square miles and has a population of over 56,000.
Part of the Middlesex Fells Reservation, or the Fells, lies within Medford. This 2,200 acre state park surrounds the reservoirs that provide a portion of the water required by the Greater Boston area. With over 100 miles of hiking trails and other recreational amenities, the Fells is a popular destination for residents of Medford and the surrounding towns.
Medford is served by Route 93, which runs through the city, while Massachusetts routes 16, 60, 28, and 38 provide local access. There is also ample public transportation via MBTA bus routes, as well as the Wellington stop on the Orange line of the subway, and the Lowell Commuter Rail stop in West Medford. Though there have been discussions of extending the Green line through Somerville and into Medford, this idea has yet to be realized.
Though Medford is largely a residential city, it has a strong economic base with a number of retail destinations including the Meadow Glen Mall, Wellington Circle Plaza, and Station Landing, in addition to the shops in Medford Center. In recent years, these areas have undergone a revitalization bringing life into these aging shopping centers.
The Meadow Glen Mall project is an on-going upgrade to an aging mall area. Construction includes keeping anchor stores open, while adding the popular grocery store, Wegmans, to the area.
Station Landing has seen perhaps the most significant upgrade. This area is now a destination for upscale shopping and luxury condo living. With a variety of restaurants and shops, residents of Station Landing have everything they need at their doorsteps. Located just minutes from Wellington Station and the Assembly Row area, it is attracting new residents and businesses to Medford.
Medford, Massachusetts is a historic city with a vibrant future. As one of the oldest settlements in America, it is still enjoying great popularity and able to change with the times. From a small farming community to a thriving retail and residential area, Medford has proven it is a city that is here to stay.