Stoneham is a considered a suburb of Boston, and enjoys easy access to Boston via Route 93. Residents can also use the Oak Grove subway station in neighboring Malden to access the Orange Line subway trains, which run into Medford, Charlestown, and parts of Boston. The MBTA also provides bus lines through town. Interstate 95 is also easily accessed just north of town. Due to its location, the town is conveniently located to access Boston, the North Shore, and the beaches along the coastline in the area.
Nearly 1/3 of Stoneham’s land is located in the Middlesex Fells Reservation area. This Massachusetts state park offers nearly 2,600 acres of recreational land for residents to enjoy, with trails for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and other activities.
Stoneham was settled in the early 1630s, and like many other towns in this area of Massachusetts, it was part of Charlestown. The population quickly increased, and because the town was so far from Charlestown, residents quickly petitioned to be incorporated separately. This happened in 1725, and Stoneham was formed.
The town economy was largely based in agriculture until the Industrial Revolution. At this time, shoemaking became a primary industry, allowing the town to prosper. Throughout the 20th century, industry flourished, with carpenters, craftsmen, a pharmaceutical company, and auto manufacturing coming to town.
Today, Stoneham is primarily a residential community with easy access for commuters to reach Boston and other surrounding areas for work. It is known for a strong high school and community sports program, which has produced numerous Olympians and professional athletes, including Mike Colman, Nancy Kerrigan, Jonathan Goff, and John McKenzie.
One of the most popular local attractions in Stoneham is the Stone Zoo. It is part of Zoo New England, along with the Franklin Zoo in Boston, and is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The Stone Zoo covers 26 acres of land, and was founded in 1905 as the Middlesex Fells Zoo. It was later renamed in honor of its director, Walter, D. Stone, following his death. During the 1950s and 60s, under his leadership, the zoo featured elephants, giraffes, hippopotamus, sea lions, and a free-flight aviary.
The zoo remained popular through the 1980s, with endangered species breeding programs and exhibits. This included displays of orangutans, and a polar bear named Major. However, budget cuts forced the zoo to close in 1990, though it was rescued by a private non-profit corporation in 1992 after a public outcry. However, with the exception of Major, the large animals were relocated to other zoos. After declining attendance, the zoo underwent major renovations and enjoys popularity once more.
Stoneham, Massachusetts is a residential suburb of Boston with an ideal location. Residents are able to access both Boston and the North Shore, as well as enjoy the recreational opportunities in the Fells and the local zoo. With much to offer, Stoneham is called the Friendly Town, and is noted for low crime, excellent school and sports programs, and being a great location for residents and businesses alike.