The first European settlers purchased the land from the Massachusett tribe of Algonquian Native Americans. The tribe had been decimated by disease, and the chief’s widow sold the land for ten pounds and a new winter coat each year, while retaining her tribe’s rights to live, hunt, and fish on their land.
Arlington had fertile farmland, as well as several waterways, making it an ideal place for farmers and millers to establish a community. Spy Pond also provided ample ice that was able to be shipped as far as Caribbean and India. Today, Arlington is a largely residential commuter town, though there is a bustling downtown area and many small businesses and restaurants in town.
The Battle of Menotomy
While much of history focuses on the events in Lexington on April 19, 1775, Arlington also figured prominently into the history of that fateful day. Following Paul Revere’s ride through the town and the subsequent battles in Lexington and Concord, minutemen converged upon Arlington – then called Menotomy. As the British retreated, they were ambushed by the militia men for the bloodiest battle of the day. In all, half of colonists’ deaths that day were recorded in Menotomy, while the British suffered even heavier casualties.
Remnants of this bloody battle can still be seen today at the Jason Russel House. This museum honors the fallen soldiers of that day, and remains much as it was in 1775, including the bullet holes that were caused during the battle.
Arlington, Massachusetts is a popular suburb of Boston, with ample transportation and recreational opportunities. With a thriving school district and downtown area, residents can enjoy the proximity to Boston with the comfort of suburban life, all set on the backdrop of American history.