Founded over 350 years ago, the town of Arlington is often confused with the city of Arlington, Virginia. Originally known as Menotomy, the name of the Massachusetts town was changed to Arlington in 1867 in honor of those who were buried at Arlington National Cemetary in Virginia. While the National Cemetary is actually located in the Virginia town of the same name, Arlington, Massachusetts is also home to many sites, buildings and attractions that are of great historical significance.
Arlington, Massachusetts is best known as the site where most of the fighting took place when the British marched through the area from the Old North Bridge during the Revolutionary War. The Battle of Menotomy, named such after the town’s original name, took place in Arlington on April 19, 1775. The battle is considered to be one of the most significant battles to occur on the first day of the American Revolution. Minutemen from all around ambushed the British as they retreated from Concord and Lexington.More than half of the casualties from that battle occurred just a short distance from the intersection of Lowell Street and Massachusetts Avenue in an area known as Foot of the Rocks.
The first public library in the state of Massachusetts, which was started from a $100 gift from Dr. Ebenezer Learned in 1835, was also erected in Arlington. The first school was erected far earlier when 24 taxpayers petitioned to build the school in 1688. The school was completed in 1693 and stood in the areas that is now the cemetery on Pleasant Street for over 100 years.
For those who truly want to experience Arlington’s history, the Menotomy Minutemen Historical Trail is a good way to do it. This 4-mile loop trail begins and ends at the Jefferson Cutter house located in Arlington Center. The self-guided tour passes through several important historical landmarks. These include the Foot of the Rocks, Old Schwamb Mill, the Jason Russel House and the Uncle Sam Memorial.
Although the city still maintains many of these historical buildings still remain standing within the town, Arlington has managed to transform into a modern community with numerous dining and shopping opportunities, cultural attractions and museums. At the same time, the town offfers the small town charm that one would expect from a smaller town, with the streets being relatively quiet in the late evening. Of course, with Boston being located so close to town, there are plenty of opportunities for nightlife fun whenever the mood strikes.