Arlington Walks

Walk A: Birth of a Town (The Town Center)

Arlington was born in 1867. At least, that's when the name for the town was officially adopted after being West Cambridge since 1807. What was Arlington like then?

The late 19th century saw Arlington transform from a rural village into a bustling town. Civic buildings were established, churches consolidated, business and industry flourished, transportation connections multiplied, and fashionable new residential areas were laid out and filled in. In 1892, 5,600 residents lived in the town. The town center, the subject of this walk, saw the most change: landowners would replace the wooden dwellings along their Mass Ave frontage with brick commercial blocks. Shops and businesses moved in. Many of the homes were moved to areas like Russell St, which we'll visit at the start of the walk. [100: Arlington by Richard Duffy] [101: Arlington Twentieth-Century Reflections by Richard Duffy]

So, imagine you are back in 1875 or thereabouts and let's begin.

This walk is a 3.2 mile loop.

1898 map
Walking maps
  1. Russell Historic District Russell Street is a typical residential area, just behind the town center. The homes on the north side of the street are already in place by 1875. Behind them looms the massive Fowle Mill, fed from the mill pond formed by the first dam built on the brook. (The mill will eventually be torn down and the pond filled in and covered by the baseball and soccer fields in the late 20th century, but the dam will remain.) Russell Terrace and Prescott Street are built after 1880, by filling in a swamp, and by 1899 the area will be complete and remain unchanged into the 21st century. Some of the houses have been (or will be) moved here from Mass Ave to make way for commercial and town development in the town center. A prominent civic leader, William Parmenter, known as the "Father of Arlington Schools", lives at 39 Russell St.
  2. Arlington Railway Station In 1883, a new railway station is opened here, allowing you to easily travel into Boston. George Wellington (see 16 Maple St. entry below) writes in his diary that he takes the 7:40am train arriving in downtown Boston in just 23 minutes (at the future North Station). The original station was a small affair where Whittemore Park will eventually be. It was built when the Lexington and West Cambridge Railroad was opened in 1846, but was moved to become the Brattle Street Station (see Mill Brook Walk) after 1870 when the Boston and Lowell Railroad took over. The new station is accessed by Railroad Ave (to become David Lamson Way in the future) which connects it to Arlington Ave (to become Massachusetts Ave). By 1887, the railway is run by the Boston and Maine Railroad. The station will be closed in the 1950s and demolished in the 1970s.
  3. Peirce and Winn, coal merchants Coal is the main source of energy and heat, these days. On the north side of the tracks opposite the station is Peirce and Winn, a coal supplier to industry and homes, with its own spur and a huge coal shed. The shed took up the whole triangle between Winslow St and Mystic St where Winslow Towers will eventually be. Imagine that, right behind the town hall (see below).
  4. Arlington's main intersection Take some time to look around the central intersection of Arlington and try to imagine what it looks like in the late 19th century. Stand at the modern-day north corner of Mass Ave and Mystic St. It's a bustling corner. It should be strangely familiar to you, despite that only a few of the buildings will survive, and some of the roads will be moved. To start, the main road is called Arlington Avenue (to become Mass Ave). Mystic St runs not next to you but to the east of you right in front of the angular brick building across Whittemore Park (the future Finance Building) to form a corner with Arlington Ave. The Arlington Town Hall, the original, stands right where you are, facing Arlington Ave. Pleasant St ends in a T junction at Arlington Ave in front of the Town Hall. There is no Whittemore Park or Stephen Cutter house. (The house was built ca. 1830 and will be moved here in 1989.) The Boston and Maine Railroad runs kitty corner through the intersection - you can see the original tracks preserved in Whittemore Park. Streetcar tracks of the West Cambridge Horse Railway run along Arlington Avenue. And another streetcar runs down Mystic St (arriving from Stoneham) terminating here. [103: A summer Sunday in Arlington, circa 1905]

    (The next four entries are about each of the corners of the intersection in the late 19th century.)
  5. Town Hall North corner. Arlington's Town Hall is in the center of town, standing where Mystic St joins Mass Ave in modern times. It fronts onto Arlington Ave (to become Mass Ave). The railroad passes behind it and the streetcar in front. It's a majestic building with a cupola that rises above the other buildings on the avenue. Built in 1853, it will serve for 60 years through the late 19th century. A new town hall is being planned, but it won't open until 1913 down the avenue. The original town hall will be torn down in 1960 for Mystic St to be realigned to join Pleasant St.
  6. First Parish Congregational (Unitarian) Church West corner. There has been a meetinghouse on this corner for over 300 years, since 1678 when the congregation first gathered. A new church, the fourth, was built in 1857 and by the 1890s it has become the grandest landmark in Arlington, with a tall steeple. In 1829, the congregation decided to adopt unitarianism, and this precipitated two congregations splitting off (see entries for First Universalist Church and Pleasant Street Congregational Church), which at this time are active congregations in town. In 1962 the members of the Universalist Church in Arlington will merge with First Parish to become First Parish Unitarian Universalist, bringing the congregations back together. The fourth church will catch fire and burn down in 1975, and will be replaced by a modernist structure. [110: History of First Parish]
  7. Arlington Five Cents Savings Bank 626 Mass Ave. South corner. The bank, built in 1874, is the first all brick business block in Arlington. It will be knocked down in 1956, to be replaced by another bank.
  8. Pharmacy 491 Mass Ave. East corner (at Whittemore Park). The angular wooden building here today has the same footprint as the brick Finance Building that will eventually replace it (and is still standing in modern times). There are three competing pharmacies on this corner, a barbershop, and a dentist upstairs.

    (Now continue the walk west on Mass Ave.)
  9. Post Office 635-637 Mass Ave. ca. 1898. The post office was originally in the Town Hall, but it moved into the Sherburne Block, as the main tenant, when the block is built in 1898. It replaces a wooden house owned by the Russell family. The block will still be here in modern times, occupied by Gosselin Law, but the facade will be much changed.
  10. Ronco's Barbershop 635-637 Mass Ave. The barber is a tenant in the post office block.
  11. Hutchinson's Grocery Store 669 Mass Ave. On the east corner of Water St stands Hutchinson's, an early grocery store chain (some say the oldest in New England). It is a separate long wooden building angled a bit back from the street. The site has a long pedigree as a store, since it started as Thomas Russell's General Store, pillaged on the first day of the American Revolution. (This stretch is all wooden houses now, but by 1906 they will be replaced by the Associates Block and other buildings, which are still there in modern times.)
  12. Robbins Library 700 Mass Ave. In 1890, the grand "Whittemore-Robbins" house is moved back to its present location (behind the library, see entry below) to widen the avenue and build the Robbins Library. Looking back, the first public library in Arlington (then West Cambridge) had opened in 1837 (at 606 Mass Ave; see the Jonathan Dexter entry below). Then, from 1872 to 1892, the library moves six times around the town center and finally it gets a permanent location here. This was because of a gift from Maria C. Robbins, in memory of her husband Eli. The library has 12,000 volumes as of 1892. [104: Robbins Library History]
  13. Homes on Arlington Avenue 677-743 Mass Ave. Between Water St and Central St on the north side are wooden homes of various Arlington families. Soon the dwellings will be replaced by commerical buildings.
  14. Bakery / Menotomy Hall The town bakery is here (right about where the town hall will eventually be.) It's a solid building with two tall chimneys. It had already made bread for nearly a century, first established in 1809 by William Cotting. Cotting sold to Jesse Pattee, and then Joseph Hardy takes over in 1886. Hardy sells up in 1897 and the building will be knocked down in 1906 to make way for the new town hall. Hardy moves across the street to 657 Mass Ave, just down from Hutchinson's grocery (see entry above). The second floor of the old bakery is known as Menotomy Hall. It's been used for many years for meetings of local organizations, including the the Hiram Lodge of Masons, of which Pattee was a Master for a time. [105: Cotting-Pattee Bakery] [106: Menotomy Hall and The Eureka] [113: Worshipful Master and Grand Baker, Jesse P. Pattee]
  15. West Cambridge Horse Railroad Stables Behind the bakery, where the town hall will be, is a long low building - the stables and barns for the horse cars of the West Cambridge Horse Railroad. Streetcar tracks turn off Mass Ave, down an alley next to the bakery and into the barn. The first official horse-drawn streetcar, on line 79, left the terminus here for downtown Boston, on June 13, 1859, a trip that took about one hour. Despite the steam railway across the road, the streetcar was more convenient for many commuters. So, in 1889, when electricity replaces horse power, double sets of tracks are laid out. Then in 1893, the service is extended to Arlington Heights and terminates with barns across the street from the modern day terminus of MBTA bus 77. The last streetcar will run in 1955. [102: 150 years on the Avenue] [114: Boston Area Streetcar Lines]
  16. Hannah Locke House 734-736 Mass Ave. ca. 1850. Childhood home of William Parmenter, a prominent civic leader known as the "Father of Arlington Schools". He now lives on Russell St. Interestingly, this may be the oldest structure in the Pleasant Street Historic District that is still in its original location.
  17. First Universalist Church 735 Mass Ave. ca. 1841. The First Universalist Church was constructed in 1841 for a Universalist congregation that had broken off from the First Parish Congregational Church (at the main intersection), which maintained a Unitarian belief. It was remodelled in 1860 with a 90-foot spire (and will be replaced with a cupola after the spire collapses in a hurricane in 1938). It's the oldest church structure still used as a church in Arlington. Many of the homeowners in the Central St area were Universalists.
  18. Central Street Historic District This neighborhood of simple workers' housing was built in the mid 19th century for the people who worked in Arlington's mills along the Mill Brook (see Mill Brook Walk). So it was already well-established by this time. You'll need less imagination here, since many of the homes are so well-preserved into the modern day, and on the national register. 6 Central Street is the Kimball Family stable ca. 1875. [48: Arlington Center Historic District (National Archives)] (You'll notice a stark economic contrast between these homes and the mansions on Pleasant St., some built in the same period, later in the walk.)
  19. Cutter Mill 17 Mill St. The Mill Brook runs under Mill St here. Cutter's old saw mill, in operation, is located on the east side, near 17 Mill St. William Cutter dammed the brook in 1704 to build his mill. (You can take a short extra walk along Mill Brook and around the Millbrook Apartments.)
  20. 6 Mill Street A typical wooden dwelling, is here at least as early as 1899.
  21. Jason Russell Farm House 7 Jason Street. ca. 1740. In the late 1800s, the farm house is still occupied by descendants of Jason Russell from revolutionary times (see British Retreat Walk). A separate large house has been built in the front yard at the corner. George Albert Smith (see entry below) will buy the obstructing house in a few years and tear it down to restore the land to its 1775 appearance. The Smith Museum will take his name. (The Arlington Historical Society, founded in 1897 by George Y. Wellington (see below), will purchase the house in 1923.)
  22. Jason Street Jason Street is laid out in 1884, cutting through farm land and orchards. Wealthy folk will buy up the large plots and build their homes - mansions of the day - typically with long driveways. By 1898, the street will be fully developed.

    (The next part of the walk takes you through the late 19th century residential neighborhoods of Jason and Academy Streets. You can skip this part if you prefer and pick up the walk at the corner of Academy and Maple Streets. Jason has several grand homes to admire, but we will focus on Academy St from Irving St back into town. In contrast to Central St (see entry above), Academy St was home to the upper crust of Arlington society in the late 19th century. The information is drawn from the excellent report: [107: Enlargement of the Pleasant Street Historic District])
  23. Academy Street Academy Street became a public way in 1862, and was laid out only as far as present-day Irving Street, reaching a cul-de-sac. By 1875, five large estates stretch down from the east side of Academy St to Pleasant St. On the west side there are smaller estates, running up to Mass Ave. It's a fashionable and wealthy part of town, with a semi-rural character; many of the properties have laid out extensive gardens. Local merchants, civic leaders, and other businessmen have property here, but by the late 19th century, they start to subdivide their land.
  24. Frank Bott, grocer 55 Academy Street. ca. 1879. Frank Bott was a grocer in Gloucester and then Boston. He buys this house, high on the knoll, in 1893. It has a large property, extending to the corner of Irving and Academy streets.
  25. Benjamin Norton, wool business 51 Academy Street. ca. 1886. Mr. Norton is involved in the wholesale woolen firm Norton, Fessenden, and Co. in Boston, and is also an officer in the Arlington Five Cents Savings Bank, in the town center. His wife, Mary Fessenden, is president of the Arlington Woman's Club in 1898. He has his home at 51 Academy St built high above the street behind the empty lot at 49.
  26. George Albert Smith, wallpaper manufacturer 47/49 Academy Street. ca. 1895. George Albert Smith, son of the well-known Rev Samuel Abbott Smith (see below), has a wallpaper business in Boston. The Smith family have owned land on Academy Street from numbers 41 - 47 since 1859. In 1895, George has a house built at 47 Academy St. The house will be moved in 1933 over one plot to 49 when George inherits the family home at 41 (so he can have an uninterrupted view of the gardens to the rear of his new property). George, following in his father's footsteps, becomes dedicated to the Jason Russell House; he's the one who buys the late 19th century buildings there to tear them down, restoring the corner to its 1775 appearance.
  27. Daniel P. Green, streetcar manufacturer 44 Academy Street. ca. 1870. Daniel Prentiss Green is a streetcar manufacturer. He built this home on the rear of his estate at 119 Pleasant Street.
  28. Rev. Samuel Abbot Smith, minister 41 Academy Street, ca. 1859. Rev. Smith is the seventh minister of the First Parish (Unitarian) Church and an amateur historian of the first day of the American Revolution. Generations of Smiths live here after Rev. Smith's death in 1865. His son George Albert inherits the house in 1933.
  29. Alfred Hoitt, postmaster 38 Academy Street. ca. 1880. Alfred Hoitt is Arlington's postmaster. He built this home on the rear of the Burrage Estate at 111 Pleasant Street.
  30. B. Delmont Locke, town clerk and treasurer 35 Academy Street. ca. 1895. B. Delmont Locke builds this house on a portion of the gardens of his home at 29 Academy St. He intends to rent it out.
  31. Peter Schwamb, MIT professor 33 Academy Street. ca. 1895. Locke builds this house also on a portion of his gardens. He lives here for a time with his wife, moving from 29. After 1903, it will become the home of Peter Schwamb, a professor at MIT. Once retired, Schwamb will be involved in his family's piano-case business (Theodore Schwamb Company) on the Mill Brook.
  32. B. Delmont Locke, town clerk and treasurer 29 Academy Street. ca. 1860. Benjamin Delmont Locke's great-grandfather was Benjamin Locke, Captain of the Menotomy Minutemen (see British Retreat Walk). Delmont Locke once worked as a cloth printer at Schouler's mill (see Mill Brook Walk). But his real contribution is that he serves for decades as Arlington's clerk, treasurer, and collector.
  33. Potter's Grove 28-34 Academy Street. Joseph Potter (of 119 Pleasant St) built an extravagant 3-acre pleasure garden in the 1860s between Academy St and Pleasant St. It had towers, bridges, and fountains, rare trees and plants. It was quite incredible and became a tourist attraction. Potter had to sell after 10 years when he ran into financial difficulties, and the land was soon subdivided.
  34. Edward T. Hornblower, broker 28 Academy Street. ca. 1885. Hornblower co-founded the Boston brokerage house Hornblower and Weeks. Born in Islington, England in 1831, he was an importer before moving from Chicago to Boston in 1873. He lived at 200 Pleasant Street in the 1870s (see Menotomy Rocks Walk), then 30 Academy Street, and then moved into 28 Academy when it was built. 30 Academy Street, ca. 1875, is behind the houses that front on Academy Street - 28 was connected to the driveway at 30 Academy by a bridge over a ravine, that was part of Potter's Grove.
  35. Warren Peirce, coal merchant 24 Academy Street. ca. 1890. Warren Peirce, the coal merchant, was also prominent in civic affairs. He started his coal business in 1872, and became chairman of Peirce and Winn Company (located in the town center across the tracks from the town hall).
  36. Dr. Jonas C. Harris, physician 23 Academy Street. ca. 1868. Harris is a prominent physician in Arlington.
  37. St John's Episcopal Church 22 Academy St. ca. 1877. Built as a "temporary" wooden chapel on a wooden foundation, it is raised up in 1892 to dig a proper basement with a brick foundation. Arlington Friends of the Drama will move in in 1933, when St John's moves to 74 Pleasant St.
  38. Arlington High School 19 Academy Street and 20 Academy Street. ca. 1894. The first Arlington high school, called Cotting Academy (and then Cotting High School), was built in 1858 at 19 Academy Street, on land donated by William Cotting (of the bakery on Mass Ave). Then, in 1894, the monumental Arlington High School proper is opened across the street, the main entrance on Academy Street. The Cotting High School building will eventually have to be demolished, and the Masons will buy the land to build the Masonic Temple in 1925. Arlington's third, and current, high school on Mass Ave will open in 1915.
  39. Jonas C. Nickerson, bookkeeper 13 Academy Street. ca. 1856. Jonas Nickerson was the first to build a house on Academy St, in 1856. He is a Faneuil Hall bookkeeper for poultry merchant Nathan Robbins (see Whittemore-Robbins House entry below), and owns the land at 9 - 13 Academy Street.
  40. Potter and Wellington House. 16 Maple Street. ca. 1842. Joseph Potter built this house in 1842 on his estate at 119 Pleasant St. (see Potter's Grove above). George Y. Wellington, a local insurance broker, moved it to this location in 1874. He will found the Arlington Historical Society in 1897, and later become its second president. [158: Photo Record 1935.11.1B - 199 Pleasant Street (Arlington Historical Society)] Maple street runs behind the center of town. It fills in quickly in the 1870s and 1880s. And the homes are moved like playing pieces on a game board to make way for the larger civic buildings like the Arlington High School. Almost all the houses will survive to the modern times, some actually built here, others moved here from different locations.
  41. Pleasant Street Congregational Church 75 Pleasant Street. ca. 1844. Built for a congregation that split from the First Parish who had chosen to become Unitarian (see First Parish Church above). Church steeples, though pleasing, were at risk. The original steeple falls down in a severe gale in 1871. The interior is lengthened in 1883 to accommodate increased attendance. The parsonage is across Maple St where the telephone exchange will be built in 1950. The church survives to become the oldest in town occupied by the same religious denomination when it closes in 2011.

    (The next part of the walk takes you along Pleasant Street and back. Pleasant Street is one of the oldest roads in Arlington. From at least the mid 17th century it was called Watertown Road, and it became Pleasant Street in 1846. By that time there it was beautiful with tall trees, large estates on both sides, and few cross streets. On the east side the estates ran to the shores of Spy Pond; on the west side they ran up to Academy Street. But by the late 19th the large estates were being subdivided for the "suburban" mansions of Boston businessmen, and an elite neighborhood of architect-designed houses rose up. The cross streets were cut through the middle of the estates and were often named for the landowners: e.g., Wellington, Addison.)
  42. Governor Brackett House 87 Pleasant St. ca. 1887. John Quincy Adams Brackett builds this house in 1887, the same year he becomes Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts. He will live here with his wife until his death in 1918. [116: John Q. A. Brackett (Wikipedia)]
  43. Dr. Timothy Wellington House 86 Pleasant St. ca. 1811. Dr. Wellington built this house on his large estate in 1811. Wellington's son, George, grew up here. George is now living at 16 Maple St. (see entry above). By 1875, the home is owned by Dr. R. L. Hodgdon who had married Dr. Wellington's daughter. In 1886 the house is moved to the northerly side of the estate, where it is now, so that the large Wellington estate can be subdivided into lots. A street is pushed through, bisecting the estate, and named Wellington Street. A relation of his, Frank Hodgdon, lives at 18 Wellington St. [117: Person Record - George Yates Wellington (Arlington Historical Society)]
  44. Henry F. Hornblower House 100 Pleasant St. ca. 1890. Edward T. Hornblower's son will live here (see Hornblower house on Academy St above).
  45. Addison Gage House (Section) 30-32 Addison Street. ca. 1855. Standing on Addison Street at about number 6, and looking towards Spy Pond, you are facing Addison Gage's grand mansion that he had built in 1855. (Use your imagination or open the photo linked at the end of this entry.) Gage was in the lucrative ice business, selling both to nearby Faneuil Hall and to far away places like India. His estate is beautiful and stretches from Pleasant Street all the way to Spy Pond. In 1890 the estate is subdivided, and Addison Street laid out through the middle of it. The homes at 100 and 108 Pleasant St are built on the corners of the estate. His mansion is moved to somewhere near 30-32, but most of it will be torn down in the early 20th century. All that remains is a piece of it at 30-32. You can see that it has a different style than all the other homes around here. [120: Addison Gage House Photo (Arlington Hitorical Society)]
  46. Charles Devereaux House 108 Pleasant St. ca. 1893. Devereaux is a wholesale liquor merchant. This is one of the town's finest Queen Anne style houses, along with the Mrs Edward Hall house at 187 Pleasant St (see Menotomy Rocks walk). [118: Charles H. Devereaux House]
  47. Charles Symmes Parker House 105 Pleasant St at Pelham Terrace. ca. 1884. Herbert Pelham was one of the earliest settlers of Arlington in 1642. He had a house here, and Pelham Terrace is named after him. Fast forward to 1884, Charles Wyman, a landownwer in Arlington, builds this house. In the future, in 1905, Charles S. Parker will move here. He's a local historian, and he will write "Town of Arlington, Past and Present" in 1907 in this house. Parker also started Arlington's first newspaper, The Arlington Advocate, in 1872 (see Swan's Block below). [37: Town of Arlington. Past and Present. 1637-1905 by Charles S. Parker.] (The house at the end of Pelham Terrace is 30 Academy St, mentioned above as the home of Edward T. Hornblower.
  48. Old Burying Ground For the inhabitants of Arlington in the late 19th century this cemetery is already "old" for it had reached capacity and been closed in 1846, though there are a few headstones from after 1846. The new Mount Pleasant Cemetery, some ways out of town next to the Mystic Lakes, was opened the same year. Many of families you've come across on this walk have ancestors buried here: Whittemore, Cutter, Smith, Locke, Swan, Russell. (See the British Retreat Walk for information about the burying ground's pioneer and colonial past.)
  49. Whittemore-Robbins House Behind Robbins Library, ca. 1800. In the mid 19th century Nathan Robbins had become the wealthiest person in Arlington. His business empire was based on chickens raised in Menotomy on the farms, which he sold from a stall at Faneuil Hall. In 1847, he bought the finest house in town in the finest location. At the time, the house stood on Mass Ave where Robbins Library is today, facing east.

    The house has an illustrious history. Its first owner had been William Whittemore, also a successful businessman. Whittemore, whose grandfather was Samuel Whittemore, a Menotomy revolutionaty war hero, moved to Menotomy with his two brothers Amos and Samuel in 1799. They bought a few acres of land in the center from Thomas Russell (the grocer), and became prosperous making their patented wool cards - Whittemore wool cards revolutionized the industry. You'll see the name Whittemore all over town: William was active in local and state politics; Amos also ran a pharmacy on a site later in this walk.

    Now, forward to the late 19th century. The house is still on Mass Ave, and the Whittemore factory is behind it where the house will eventually be moved. Nathan sadly becomes a widower in 1879, and then dies in 1888. His four children inherit the house. In 1890 they move their house back to its present site, so the library can be built. The Robbins family are great benefactors to Arlington: the library itself is a gift from another branch of Robbins family. Maria C. Robbins (daughter of Kimball Farmer, see Mill Brook Walk for the Kimball Farmer House) gives a portion of the inheritance from her late husband Eli, Nathan's brother. Winfield Robbins, great-nephew of Nathan, will leave his legacy to build the new town hall, and the Whittemore-Robbins house itself will be donated to the town in 1931. [108: 200 Years of History Echo in this House]
  50. Jarvis House 50 Pleasant St. ca. 1831. Mr. Jarvis bought this house in 1831 from the Gershom Swan estate (see Swan's Block below), the Jarvis family and descendants will live here until 1911. (The property is owned by the Town of Arlington in modern times.) [119: Record 1989.21 (Arlington Historical Society)]
  51. Jonathan Dexter House, First Library (Plaque) 606 Massachusetts Avenue. This was the site of the first children's library in America. In 1837, Jonathan Dexter, the librarian, carted a bequeathed collection of books to his house in a wheelbarrow, and set up the library. By the late 19th century the library had been moved, but the house survived until 1974 when it was demolished to make way for the bank's drive through window. [104: Robbins Library History]
  52. Finance Block 475 Massachusetts Avenue. ca. 1890. An imposing brick structure, evidence of the transformation of the town center.
  53. Ralph W. Shattuck's Hardware Store 471 Massachusetts Avenue. Ralph Shattuck got his start in hardware in 1857, and by this time has established his store here in a wooden dwelling next to the Finance Block. The business will live on in Arlington to the modern times, moving to the Fowle Block in 1937, and then to Mill St.
  54. Swan's Block, Arlington Advocate (newspaper) 464-480 Massachusetts Avenue. Arlington's local paper has its first offices here in Swan's Block. The paper started up in 1872 by its first publisher Charles Symmes Parker.
  55. Pharmacy 449 Mass Ave. Corner of Medford St. Omar Whittemore's pharmacy. The house itself is moved to a different location (unknown) up Mass Ave in 1896 to make way for more suitable commercial structures.
  56. Fowle Block 444 Massachusetts Avenue. ca. 1896. The Fowle block survives as one of the few original commercial blocks into modern times. (Shattuck's hardware will move here in 1937.)
  57. Arlington House Hotel East corner of Medford Street. Arlington's main hotel is a large three-story building built in 1826 on the site of Cooper's Tavern (see British Retreat walk). It has stables out back.
  58. Soldiers and Sailors Monument Broadway and Massachusetts. ca. 1887. The memorial is erected in 1887 at the tip of the triangle to honor those from Arlington who died in the American Civil War.
  59. Henry Swan House, poultry dealer 418 Massachusetts Avenue. ca. 1884. Henry Swan is a Boston poultry dealer. His family owns land along Arlington Ave and takes part in the transformation of the town center by building Swan's Block up the road at 464-480 Arlington Ave.
  60. Wayside Inn 393 Massachusetts Avenue. ca. 1750. This house has stood since before the Revolutionary War. It's now owned by the Shattuck family. It won't be called the "Wayside Inn" until the 20th century.
  61. GAR Hall 370 Massachusetts Avenue. ca. 1894. The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a Civil War veteran's organization, builds their hall in 1894.
  62. Whittemore House 267 Broadway Street. ca. 1850. One of the many Whittemore houses in town.
  63. Reverend David Damon House, minister of the First Parish Church 275 Broadway Street. ca. 1855. Rev. Damon (1787-1843) consecrated Mount Pleasant Cemetery in 1843. His descendants live here.
  64. Ralph W. Shattuck House, merchant 274-276 Broadway. ca. 1875. Mr. Shattuck lives here with his family.
  65. Hose House (Fire Station) Broadway and Franklin. At least since 1873 there has been a fire station on the corner of Broadway and Franklin. At this time, it is a small "hose house" operated by the William Penn Hose Company 3. The hose house will be replaced in 1926 by an octagonal fire station, the first of kind in the country. On the Mass Ave side of the current station, you can see the Eureka 1 pumper through a window, which is used in these times. Purchased in 1851, for about $300, it was the first engine built by Howard & Davis, later a Boston clock firm, and remains the pride and joy of the Arlington Fire Department. [112: The Eureka Triumphs]
  66. Warren Rawson's greenhouses You are standing in the middle of Rawson's greenhouses. They are laid out over most of the block bounded by Warren, Franklin, Broadway, and Medford Streets. (Alton, Belton, and Compton Streets are future developments.) Arlington has a well-known and significant market garden industry these days, and supplies the entire east coast. Rawson is a big player and develops many new varieties of vegetables.
  67. St. Malachy's Roman Catholic Church 32 Medford Street. ca. 1870. The first place of worship for Roman Catholics in Arlington was built in 1870. The rectory, a grand home, stands next to it at 24 Medford St is built in 1879. It will be destroyed by fire in the 1990s. [115: Photo Record 1998.9.8 (Arlington Historical Society)] A parochial school is on the other side of the street at 1-11 Chestnut St. The church will be enlarged and re-dedicated to St Agnes in 1900.
  68. Warren Rawson Homestead 51 Medford Street. Rawson has his mansion at the corner of Medford and Warren streets with easy access to his greenhouses behind. The St Agnes Pastoral center will be built here, and the St Agnes School next to it, where the greenhouses are today.
  69. Russell Park Arlington's first public park was established here in 1867, from a gift of land from James Russell. (It will be paved over as a parking lot in 1952.)
  70. Russell School 16 Medford St. ca. 1873. In 1873, the town finishes construction of an imposing 4-story Victorian-style building for the Russell School on the site of a former school-house that had burned down in 1872. (In 1956, the school will be closed, its top two floors lopped off, and the rest incorporated into the Arlington Catholic High School - it seems obvious looking at the south west corner from Russell Park, that it's missing something on top.)
  71. Russell Common 2-10 Park Terrace. ca. 1898. These row houses look like they are from the future, and maybe that's a sign of things to come for Arlington. Built here in 1898 for access to an easy commute on the train into Boston.


For points of interest in walks B - G, I've mostly directly quoted from the writing of others, and cite the references.
For walk A, I relied on the following resources, and then wrote my own story.
Follow a link; it may draw you in to learn more about the town.
[1]: Historic Preservation Master Plan, 2019
[2]: Mill Brook Corridor Report, 2019
[3]: Old Schwamb Mill History
[4]: Mills and Millers Part One (Richard Duffy)
[5]: Menotomy Minuteman Historical Trail
[6]: Bedford Depot History
[7]: Arlington Gaslight Company (Wikipedia)
[8]: Of Mills and Millers Part Two (Richard Duffy)
[9]: Schwamb Family (Old Schwamb Mill)
[10]: Ephraim Cutter House (Wikipedia)
[11]: Arlington Hidden Gem: Meadowbrook Park
[12]: Wollaston Avenue (Richard Duffy)
[13]: Appleton Street (Richard Duffy)
[14]: Little Scotland (Richard Duffy)
[15]: Hills of Arlington
[16]: Knowles Farm (Richard Duffy)
[17]: Arlington Terrace (Richard Duffy)
[18]: Arlington Master Plan (Open Spaces)
[19]: Robbins Farm History Project
[20]: Arlington's Great Meadows
[21]: Another side of Arlington's Schwamb family
[22]: Milestone (Arlington, Massachusetts)
[23]: Benjamin Locke
[24]: The Foot of the Rocks (Historical Marker Database)
[25]: The Battle of Menotomy
[26]: Jason Russell and his house in Menotomy (Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities)
[27]: Newspaper clipping 2019.FIC.24 (Arlington Historical Society)
[28]: Wayside Inn (Wikipedia)
[29]: Resurrecting the past by post and beam
[30]: Photo record 1977.9.10E** (Arlington Historical Society)
[31]: Thorndike Street (Richard Duffy)
[32]: The Old Burying Ground
[33]: Battle of Menotomy - First Blood, 1775 (Thomas Fleming)
[34]: Uncovering Colonial Menotomy
[35]: The Revolution Did Not Begin At Lexington Or Concord
[36]: Lexington Branch Passenger Schedule 1923 (Bedford Depot)
[37]: Town of Arlington. Past and Present. 1637-1905 by Charles S. Parker.
[38]: Idahurst a symbol of another time
[39]: newspaper clipping (Friends of Menotomy Rocks Park)
[40]: Baptist Society Meeting House (Wikipedia)
[41]: Taylor-Dallin House
[42]: Robinson-Lewis-Fessenden House
[43]: Arlington 1875 map
[44]: Kensington Park Historic District (National Archives)
[45]: Edward Hall House (National Archives)
[46]: Edward Hornblower House and Barn (National Archives)
[47]: Norfolk and Farrington Streets (Richard Duffy)
[48]: Arlington Center Historic District (National Archives)
[49]: Cushman House (Wikipedia)
[50]: Spy Pond (Arlington Land Trust)
[51]: Arlington History Facts (Town site)
[52]: Kimball Farmer House
[53]: Second A. P. Cutter House (Wikipedia)
[54]: Ella Mahalla Cutter Sterling House (Wikipedia)
[55]: Sleepy Hollow Lane (Richard Duffy)
[56]: Morningside (Richard Duffy)
[57]: Fowle-Reed-Wyman House (Wikipedia)
[58]: Stephen Symmes Jr. House (Wikipedia)
[59]: Captain Daniel Reed and his Descendants
[60]: Enjoying Winter at Stowecroft, Menotomy Minutes Winter 2022
[61]: Free seeds from a famous Arlington beet
[62]: Winn Farm (Wikipedia)
[63]: Arlington's Great Residential Boom 1900-1930
[64]: Capitol Theater Building (Wikipedia)
[65]: Warren Rawson Farm Workers' Dormitory
[66]: Warren Rawson Building (Wikipedia)
[67]: Dial Telephones Debut in Arlington
[68]: The Man 'o War of Cucumbers
[69]: Arlington's Farming History
[70]: Mystic Lakes (Wikipedia)
[71]: The Amazing Return of Mystic Herring
[72]: Amelia Earhart Dam (Wikipedia)
[73]: Maynard and Hayes Streets (Richard Duffy)
[74]: Mystic Valley Parkway (Wikipedia)
[75]: Building the Alewife Greenway
[76]: PRINCE HALL, his namesake cemetery, and monument, Menotomy Minutes Autumn 2018
[77]: Arts Arlington History
[78]: Red Line (Wikipedia)
[79]: Mystic River Watershed Association
[80]: David Lamson Way
[81]: Deacon Joseph Adams
[82]: Jason Russell House
[100]: Arlington by Richard Duffy
[101]: Arlington Twentieth-Century Reflections by Richard Duffy
[102]: 150 years on the Avenue
[103]: A summer Sunday in Arlington, circa 1905
[104]: Robbins Library History
[105]: Cotting-Pattee Bakery
[106]: Menotomy Hall and The Eureka
[107]: Enlargement of the Pleasant Street Historic District
[108]: 200 Years of History Echo in this House
[109]: History of the town of Arlington, Massachusetts
[110]: History of First Parish
[111]: The Ralph W. Shattuck Company
[112]: The Eureka Triumphs
[113]: Worshipful Master and Grand Baker, Jesse P. Pattee
[114]: Boston Area Streetcar Lines
[115]: Photo Record 1998.9.8 (Arlington Historical Society)
[116]: John Q. A. Brackett (Wikipedia)
[117]: Person Record - George Yates Wellington (Arlington Historical Society)
[118]: Charles H. Devereaux House
[119]: Record 1989.21 (Arlington Historical Society)
[120]: Addison Gage House Photo (Arlington Hitorical Society)
[150]: Charles Gott and Sons (Arlington Historical Society)
[151]: William T. Wood
[152]: Past occupations: Ice cutters in Massachusetts
[153]: History of the Ice Business in Arlington, Mass.
[154]: Crystal Blocks of Yankee Coldness
[155]: Lake Street Station (Wikipedia)
[156]: Record 1924.27.1 - Spy Pond Hotel (Arlington Historical Society)
[157]: Arlington Neighborhoods Kelwyn Manor
[158]: Photo Record 1935.11.1B - 199 Pleasant Street (Arlington Historical Society)