Arlington Walks

Come, walk Arlington Massachusetts, to explore the town's history and its industrial, cultural, and natural heritage.

Arlington is almost as old as a town can be around here - established in 1635. The town was called Menotomy and also West Cambridge back in the day, but that's not all that's changed and been hidden through modernization and growth. When you look carefully, the past is poking into the present, tantalizing and surprising you here and there. I encourage you to slow down to experience it, by walking.

Arlington has a rich industrial heritage. Up to seven mills operated along the Mill Brook, and later, an ice cutting industry grew up on Spy Pond, followed by vast greenhouses called market gardens in East Arlington. There was even a railway and a streetcar running the length of the town.

Arlington witnessed Paul Revere's ride and the first battle of the American Revolution. In the 19th century, housing grew quickly as real estate developers subdivided and converted the hilly farmland into homes. Architectural gems are dotted around.

Nature also pokes through, especially on the hills of this bumpy landscape. On your walks, you'll get a workout, and get some great views over the town and to the Boston skyline.

I'd been looking for online sites to help me explore the town on foot, but couldn't find what I wanted in a single place. There are many superb sites about Arlington's history, open spaces, and conservation areas, with some walks, but nothing like the excellent "ACROSS Lexington Project" from our neighboring town.

So I walked Arlington, and I continue to walk Arlington, while collecting historical and modern information to create a series of walks and this website.

Please enjoy the walks, and let me know how you get on.

Maps of Arlington Walks

Walk A:
Birth of a Town (The Town Center) (3.2 miles)
Walk B:
Arlington Heights South (including Robbins Park) (4.8 miles)
Walk C:
Arlington Heights North (including Mount Gilboa and Turkey Hill) (4.6 miles)
Walk D:
Arlington's Industrial Heritage (Mill Brook) (4.3 miles)
Walk E:
The British Retreat Through Arlington (along Mass Ave) (3.3 miles)
Walk F:
Menotomy Rocks (and Jason Heights) (2.2 miles)
Walk G:
Market Gardens and Ice Houses (East Arlington) (5.1 miles)
Walk H:
Pastoral History (Morningside) (3.7 miles)
Walk I:
Of Fish, Subways, and Green Space (Alewife Brook) (3.2 miles)
Carved in 1790, the milestone marks the distance to Boston on the old Boston to Concord road. Featured in the British Retreat Walk (Walk E), point of interest 53.

Local organizations and other sites

There are so many great sites and resources for learning about Arlington's history, its hills, and open spaces. Here's a few that I've enjoyed and found really useful in developing my walks.
Menotomy Minuteman Historical Trail
Arlington's Landmarks and History - A Walking Tour of Arlington
Walking in Arlington
Arlington's Favorite Places to Walk (Walking in Arlington)
Minuteman Bikeway
ACROSS Lexington (trails and paths)
Circumnavigate Arlington (Walk)

Arlington History (Town site)
Historic Maps of Arlington, MA (1875-1900)
1750 map (and 1650, 1700, 1800)
Arlington Historical Society
Old Schwamb Mill
Friends of Arlington's Great Meadows
Friends of Robbins Farm Park
Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park

Mill Brook Corridor Report
Arlington Historic Preservation Survey Master Plan
Arlington Open Space Committee

Comments, questions, offers of help to Philip Edmonds, Arlington,