Melrose, Massachusetts

Melrose, Massachusetts
—  City  —
Melrose City Hall, located in Downtown Melrose.


Motto: One Community Open to All
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°27′30″N 71°04′00″W / 42.45833°N 71.0666667°W / 42.45833; -71.0666667Coordinates: 42°27′30″N 71°04′00″W / 42.45833°N 71.0666667°W / 42.45833; -71.0666667
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Middlesex
Settled 1629
Incorporated 1900
 - Type Mayor-council city
 - Mayor Robert J. Dolan
 - Total 4.8 sq mi (12.3 km2)
 - Land 4.7 sq mi (12.1 km2)
 - Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation 133 ft (41 m)
Population (2010)
 - Total 26,983
 - Density 5,698.3/sq mi (2,213.4/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 02176, 02177
Area code(s) 339 / 781
FIPS code 25-40115
GNIS feature ID 0612780

Melrose is a city located in the Greater Boston metropolitan area in Middlesex County, Massachusetts. The population was 26,983 in the 2010 U.S. Census. It is a suburb located approximately seven miles north of Boston and is situated in the center of the triangle created by Interstates 93, 95 and US Route 1.

The land that comprises Melrose was first explored in 1628 and was once part of Charlestown and then Malden. It became the Town of Melrose in 1845 and then the City of Melrose in 1900.



Melrose was originally called "Ponde Fielde" for its abundance of ponds and streams or "Mystic Side" because of its location in a valley north of the Mystic River. The area was first explored by Richard and Ralph Sprague in 1628, and became part of Charlestown in 1633 along with a large area of land encompassing most of the surrounding communities.[1] In 1649, the neighborhood of Charlestown known as Malden was incorporated as a separate town; the new town of Malden included most of present-day Melrose (then called North Malden) within its borders. North Malden largely remained a lightly populated farming community.[1]

In 1845, the Boston and Maine Railroad built three stops (now the commuter rail stations of Wyoming Hill, Melrose/Cedar Park, and Melrose Highlands). Boston workers in search of a country atmosphere moved to the area and began commuting to work.[1] The population of North Malden began growing, and in 1850 North Malden split from Malden proper and was incorporated as the town of Melrose. Melrose annexed the highlands from neighboring Stoneham in 1853, creating the city's current borders.[1]

The population of Melrose continued to grow throughout the second half of the nineteenth century. Farmland was increasingly partitioned into smaller parcels for residences and businesses. The fire department and the town's school district were founded and town hall was built in 1873. In 1899, the City of Melrose became the 33rd incorporated city in Massachusetts. Levi S. Gould became the city’s first mayor on January 1, 1900.[1]

The population of Melrose peaked at 33,180 in 1970 before beginning a slow decline continuing to this day. On April 1, 1982, downtown Melrose was added to the National Register of Historic Places; the public library was similarly added to the register in 1988.[1]


The name "Melrose" comes from the burgh of Melrose, Scotland. It was a reference to the hills of Melrose, Scotland which the new town resembled. The name was suggested and advocated for by William Bogle, a Scotland native and longtime resident of North Malden.[1]


Melrose is located at 42°27′33″N 71°3′44″W / 42.45917°N 71.06222°W / 42.45917; -71.06222 (42.459045, -71.062339).[2]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.8 square miles (12 km2), of which, 4.7 square miles (12 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (1.26%) is water. The city's largest body of water is Ell Pond situated near the center of the city while other major bodies are Swains Pond and Towners Pond located on the East side near Mount Hood.

Melrose is approximately 7 miles (11 km) north of Boston, Massachusetts. It borders five cities and towns: Malden, Revere, Saugus, Stoneham, and Wakefield. Major geographic features include Ell Pond, Swains Pond, Sewall Woods, Mount Hood, Boston Rock, Pine Banks Park, and the eastern reaches of the Middlesex Fells Reservation.


Robert J. Dolan (D) is the mayor. Melrose is represented in the Massachusetts House of Representatives by Paul Brodeur (D). Katherine Clark (D) is the state senator for wards 1 through 5 and Thomas McGee (D) is the state senator for wards 6 and 7. Melrose is part of the seventh Congressional district of Massachusetts, represented by Edward J. Markey (D) in the United States House of Representatives. The current U.S. senators from Massachusetts are John Kerry (D) and Scott P. Brown (R).

Melrose is served by an eleven-member Board of Aldermen. Four At-Large Aldermen (currently Donald L. Conn, Jr., Ronald Seaboyer, MaryBeth MacAteer-Margolis, and Jackie Lavender Bird) are elected by the entire city, while the seven Ward Aldermen, elected by voters in their individual wards, are John N. Tramontozzi (Ward 1), Monica Medeiros (Ward 2), Francis X. Wright, Jr. (Ward 3), Robert A. Boisselle (Ward 4), Gail M. Infurna (Ward 5), Peter D. Mortimer (Ward 6) and William H. Forbes, Jr. (Ward 7). As of the 2007 election, the mayor shall be elected to a four year term and sit as a member of the School Committee. All aldermen are elected to two-year terms. City elections are held in odd-numbered years.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of August 25, 2010[3]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
  Democratic 6,801 35.84%
  Republican 2,263 11.93%
  Unaffiliated 9,816 51.73%
  Minor Parties 86 0.41%
Total 18,976 100%


Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1850 1,260
1860 2,532 +101.0%
1870 3,414 +34.8%
1880 4,560 +33.6%
1890 8,519 +86.8%
1900 12,962 +52.2%
1910 15,715 +21.2%
1920 18,204 +15.8%
1930 23,170 +27.3%
1940 25,333 +9.3%
1950 26,988 +6.5%
1960 29,619 +9.7%
1970 33,180 +12.0%
1980 30,055 −9.4%
1990 28,150 −6.3%
2000 27,134 −3.6%
2001* 27,127 −0.0%
2002* 26,908 −0.8%
2003* 26,727 −0.7%
2004* 26,486 −0.9%
2005* 26,339 −0.6%
2006* 26,566 +0.9%
2007* 26,686 +0.5%
2008* 26,762 +0.3%
2009* 27,091 +1.2%
2010 26,983 −0.4%
* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13]

As of the census[14] of 2010, there were 26,983 people, 11,213 households, and 7,076 families residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 91.1% White, 2.4% African American, 0.1% Native American, 3.8% Asian, 0.9% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.5% of the population.

There were 11,213 households out of which 28.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.4% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.9% were non-families. 31.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.5% 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 3.05.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.5% under the age of 20, 4.0% from 20 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 29.2% from 45 to 64, and 15.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.9 years. For every 100 females there were 88.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.4 males.

As of the census[14] of 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $62,811, and the median income for a family was $78,144. Males had a median income of $50,644 versus $39,517 for females. The per capita income for the city was $30,347. About 1.6% of families and 3.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.7% of those under age 18 and 7.1% of those age 65 or over.


Melrose High School as seen from Lynn Fells Parkway.

The Melrose School district runs several schools including The Franklin Early Childhood Center, five elementary schools (Roosevelt, Lincoln, Winthrop, Hoover, and Horace Mann), Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School (MVMMS), and Melrose High School. The city also has a private elementary school, St. Mary's, run by one of the city's Catholic churches of the same name. The Winthrop School is among the average-sized schools in Melrose, with an average three classes per grade, while the Lincoln School has the largest student population of the elementary schools. The Hoover School is second smallest to the Horace Mann School which educates about 270 children per year. The Franklin Early Childhood Center houses preschool, pre-k and multiage programs enrolling about 240 three to five year old learners. MVMMS is school to about one thousand eleven through fourteen-year-olds and is the winner of the 2002 Massachusetts Department of Education's Compass School Award, the 2007 Massachusetts Technology Collaborative's Green School Award (for its use of solar energy), and the 2008 New England League of Middle Schools' Spotlight School Award.

Health care

There are many health care facilities located in Melrose. Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, a 234 bed non-profit hospital, was home to the world's first cochlear implant and laser surgery and it was among the first hospitals in the country to offer same day surgery.[15][16] In addition to the hospital, there are many pediatricians, specialists, dentists and dermatologists. Also, the city's Milano Senior Center provides social, recreational, health, and educational programs for Melrose’s senior citizens.[15]


The city of Melrose is located seven miles north of Boston. Although no highways actually run through Melrose, the city has access to many nearby highways including Route 1 in Saugus, Interstate 93 in Stoneham, and Route 128/Interstate 95 in Wakefield. The city is also served by the MBTA. Service includes five bus routes: 106, 131, 132, 136 and 137. There are three commuter rail stations: Wyoming Hill, Melrose/Cedar Park, and Melrose Highlands. Oak Grove, the northern terminus of the MBTA's Orange Line, is located in Malden on the Melrose city line. Oak Grove is primarily a park-and-ride station with 788 parking spaces.


Former MassBank building Downtown which was used for a bank scene in the movie The Town (2010).

Melrose has two weekly newspapers: the Melrose Free Press and the Melrose Weekly News. There is also a daily online news site, Melrose Patch. Melrose Massachusetts Television (MMTV) is a Public-access television cable TV station available to all customers and broadcasts Government-access television (GATV) community notices as well as resident produced Public-access television cable TV content.

Starting with Governor Deval Patrick's tax initiative program, Melrose has become a popular place to shoot films. In the fall of 2009, the Ben Affleck movie The Town captured many key scenes in a historic bank on Main Street downtown,[17] while around the same time, Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise's movie Knight & Day shot scenes on the Fellsway.[18] The same month, a documentary for PBS about the Scopes Trial was also shot in the Aldermanic Chamber of Melrose City Hall.[18] The city was also referred to as "fancy pants Melrose" in Ben Affleck's film Gone Baby Gone (2007).


Map showing the locations of the neighborhoods of Melrose.

Notable residents

  • Brooks Atkinson, born in Melrose, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, theater critic
  • Shawn Bates, professional hockey player
  • Andy Brickley, professional hockey player, current game analyst on NESN's Bruins telecasts
  • Gary Cherone, rock singer
  • Will Cotton, American painter
  • Clarence DeMar, American marathon runner (one of only two Americans to win three consecutive Boston marathons)
  • Geraldine Farrar, born in Melrose, Metropolitan Opera soprano, silent film star
  • Anna Eva Fay, Famous magician, mentalist, and spiritualist (1851-1927); close friend of Harry Houdini (Ehrich Weiss); 1st woman inducted into the prestigious Magic Circle UK
  • Martin Fowler, Author of 'Refactoring'
  • Dan Frongillo-Mirade, founder of Millennium Wrestling Federation and Keep The Kids Off The Streets campaign
  • Ryan Johnson, professional soccer player
  • Myles J. Lane, NHL Hockey Player
  • Steven D. Langton, United States Olympian (Bobsled)
  • Sara Leland, born in Melrose, former New York City Ballet principal ballerina
  • Marcia Lewis, born in Melrose, Tony Award-nominated stage and TV actor
  • Arthur Lithgow III, Broadway/Stage Actor (Father of Actor John Lithgow]]
  • Mary Livermore, American reformer
  • Andy Macdonald, Professional skateboarder
  • Guy Murray, journalist, children's author
  • Don Orsillo, Red Sox NESN announcer
  • Patrick Riley, Winner of the 2009 Iron Man competition, graduate of Bishop Fenwick High School
  • Richard Evans Schultes, ethnobotanist
  • David Souter, born in Melrose, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court
  • Elizabeth George Speare, American children's author
  • Frank Stella, contemporary painter, sculptor; studio formerly located in Melrose
  • Keith Tkachuk, professional hockey player
  • Nancy Werlin, novelist
  • Royal Barry Wills, architect
  • Sewall Wright, geneticist known for his work on the evolution theory
  • Courtney Yates, reality star (Survivor)

See also

1852 Map of Boston area showing Melrose and Rail lines.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "A Condensed History of Melrose".  City of Melrose. Retrieved on January 26, 2008
  2. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  3. ^ "Registered Voters and Party Enrollment as of August 25, 2010" (PDF). Massachusetts Elections Division. Retrieved 2011-10-30. 
  4. ^ "TOTAL POPULATION (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 13, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  6. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts". US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  7. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts". US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  8. ^ "1950 Census of Population". Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  9. ^ "1920 Census of Population". Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  10. ^ "1890 Census of the Population". Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  11. ^ "1870 Census of the Population". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  12. ^ "1860 Census". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c.. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  13. ^ "1850 Census". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c.. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  14. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  15. ^ a b "Healthcare Services & Elder Care". City of Melrose. Retrieved 2008-07-19. [dead link]
  16. ^ "Melrose-Wakefield Hospital". Hallmark Health. Retrieved 2008-07-19. [dead link]
  17. ^ DeMaina, Daniel (October 9, 2009). "Melrose: 'Lights, cameras, action' in city as Ben Affleck movie shoots locally this month". Melrose Free Press. GateHouse Media. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  18. ^ a b Staff reports (October 28, 2009). "Melrose’s Hollywood streak continues with Tom Cruise filming on Friday". Melrose Free Press. GateHouse Media. Retrieved October 28, 2009. 

External links

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