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Concord, Massachusetts

Concord, Massachusetts
View of Concord's Main Street in December
View of Concord's Main Street in December
Official seal of Concord, Massachusetts
Motto: Quam Firma Res Concordia (Latin)
"How Strong Is Liberty"
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Concord, Massachusetts is located in USA
Concord, Massachusetts
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Middlesex County
Settled 1635
Incorporated 1635
 • Type Open town meeting
 • Total 25.9 sq mi (67.4 km2)
 • Land 24.9 sq mi (64.5 km2)
 • Water 1.0 sq mi (2.5 km2)
Elevation 141 ft (43 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 17,669
 • Density 680/sq mi (260/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 01742
Area code(s) 351 / 978
FIPS code 25-15060
GNIS feature ID 0619398

Concord (/ˈkaŋ.kəɹd/ not /ˈkɒn.kɔɹd/) is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in the United States. At the 2010 census, the town population was 17,668.[1] The United States Census Bureau considers Concord part of Greater Boston. The town center is located near where the confluence of the Sudbury and Assabet rivers forms the Concord River.

The area which became the town of Concord was originally known as Musketaquid, an Algonquian word for "grassy plain." It was one of the scenes of the Battle of Lexington and Concord, the initial conflict in the American Revolutionary War. It developed into a remarkably rich literary center during the mid-nineteenth century. Featured were Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Bronson Alcott, Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau, all of whose homes are preserved in modern-day Concord. The now-ubiquitous Concord grape was developed here.


  • History 1
    • Prehistory and founding 1.1
    • Battle of Lexington and Concord 1.2
    • Literary history 1.3
    • Concord grape 1.4
    • Plastic bottle ban 1.5
  • Geography 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Pronunciation 4
  • Sister cities 5
  • Points of interest 6
  • Education 7
  • Transportation 8
  • Notable residents and natives 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • Further reading 12
  • External links 13


Prehistory and founding

Photo of Egg Rock inscription, about 1900

The area which became the town of Concord was originally known as "Musketaquid," situated at the confluence of the Sudbury and Assabet rivers.[2] The name Musketaquid was an Algonquian word for "grassy plain," fitting the area's low-lying marshes and kettle holes.[3] Native Americans had cultivated corn crops there; the rivers were rich with fish and the land was lush and arable.[4] However, the area was largely depopulated by the smallpox plague that swept across the Americas after the arrival of Europeans.[5]

In 1635, a group of settlers from Britain led by Rev. Peter Bulkley and Major Simon Willard negotiated a land purchase with the remnants of the local tribe. Bulkley was an influential religious leader who "carried a good number of planters with him into the woods";[6] Willard was a canny trader who spoke the Algonquian language and had gained the trust of Native Americans.[7] They exchanged wampum, hatchets, knives, cloth, and other useful items for the six-square-mile purchase which formed the basis of the new town, called "Concord" in appreciation of the peaceful acquisition.[2][8]

Battle of Lexington and Concord

The Battle of Lexington and Concord was the first conflict in the American Revolutionary War. On April 19, 1775, a force of British Army regulars marched from Boston to Concord to capture a cache of arms that was reportedly stored in the town. Forewarned by Paul Revere and other messengers, the colonists mustered in opposition. Following an early-morning skirmish at Lexington, where the first shots of the battle were fired, the British expedition under the command of Lt. Col. Francis Smith advanced to Concord. There, colonists from Concord and surrounding towns (notably a highly drilled company from Acton led by Isaac Davis) repulsed a British detachment at the Old North Bridge and forced the British troops to retreat.[9] Subsequently, militia arriving from across the region harried the British troops on their return to Boston, culminating in the Siege of Boston and outbreak of the war.

The battle was initially publicized by the colonists as an example of British brutality and aggression: one colonial broadside decried the "Bloody Butchery of the British Troops."[10] A century later, however, the conflict was remembered proudly by Americans, taking on a patriotic, almost mythic status ("the shot heard 'round the world") in works like the "Concord Hymn" and "Paul Revere's Ride."[11] In April 1975, the town hosted a bicentennial celebration of the battle, featuring an address at the Old North Bridge by President Gerald Ford.[12]

Literary history

Concord has a remarkably rich literary history centered in the mid-nineteenth century around Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), who moved to the town in 1835 and quickly became its most prominent citizen.[13] Emerson, a successful lecturer and philosopher, had deep roots in the town: his father Rev. William Emerson (1769–1811) grew up in Concord before becoming an eminent Boston minister, and his grandfather, William Emerson Sr., witnessed the battle at the North Bridge from his house, and later became a chaplain in the Continental Army.[14] Emerson was at the center of a group of like-minded Transcendentalists living in Concord.[15] Among them were the author Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–1864) and the philosopher Bronson Alcott (1799–1888), the father of Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888). A native Concordian, Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), was another notable member of Emerson's circle. This substantial collection of literary talent in one small town led Henry James to dub Concord "the biggest little place in America."[16]

Among the products of this intellectually stimulating environment were Emerson's many essays, including Self-Reliance (1841), Louisa May Alcott's novel Little Women (1868), and Hawthorne's story collection Mosses from an Old Manse (1846).[17] Thoreau famously lived in a small cabin near Walden Pond, where he wrote Walden (1854).[18] After being imprisoned in the Concord jail for refusing to pay taxes in political protest against slavery and the Mexican-American War, Thoreau penned the influential essay "Resistance to Civil Government," popularly known as Civil Disobedience (1849).[19] Evidencing their strong political beliefs through actions, Thoreau and many of his neighbors served as station masters and agents on the Underground Railroad.[20]

The Wayside house, located on Lexington Road, has been home to a number of authors.[21] It was occupied by scientist John Winthrop (1714–1779) when Harvard College was temporarily moved to Concord during the Revolutionary War.[22] The Wayside was later the home of the Alcott family (who referred to it as "Hillside"); the Alcotts sold it to Hawthorne in 1852, and the family moved into the adjacent Orchard House in 1858. Hawthorne dubbed the house "The Wayside" and lived there until his death. The house was purchased in 1883 by Boston publisher Daniel Lothrop and his wife, Harriett, who wrote the Five Little Peppers series and other children's books under the pen name Margaret Sidney.[23] Today, The Wayside and the Orchard House are both museums. Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, and the Alcotts are buried on Authors' Ridge in Concord's Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.[24]

Concord maintains a lively literary culture to this day; notable authors who have called the town home in recent years include Doris Kearns Goodwin, Alan Lightman, Robert B. Parker, and Gregory Maguire.

Concord grape

In 1849 Ephraim Bull developed the now-ubiquitous Concord grape at his home on Lexington Road, where the original vine still grows.[25] Welch's, the first company to sell grape juice, maintains a small headquarters in Concord.[26]

Plastic bottle ban

On September 5, 2012, Concord became the first community in the United States to approve a ban on the sale of water in single serving plastic bottles. The law bans the sale of single-serving PET bottles of one liter or less starting on January 1, 2013.[27] The ban provoked significant national controversy. An editorial in the Los Angeles Times characterized the ban as "born of convoluted reasoning" and "wrongheaded."[28] Some residents have stated that this ban will not do much to affect the sales of bottled water, which is still highly accessible in the surrounding areas,[29] and believe that it restricts consumers' freedom of choice.[30] Opponents also consider the ban to represent unfair targeting of one product in particular, when other, less healthy alternatives such as soda and fruit juice are still readily available in bottled form.[31][32] Nonetheless, subsequent efforts to repeal Concord's plastic bottled water ban have failed in open town meeting. [33]


A tombstone in Concord
A tombstone in Concord

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 25.9 square miles (67 km2), of which 24.9 square miles (64 km2) is land and 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2), or 3.75%, is water. The city of Lowell is 13 miles (21 km) to the north, Boston is 19 miles (31 km) to the east, and Nashua, New Hampshire, is 23 miles (37 km) to the north.

Massachusetts state routes 2, 2A, 62, 126, 119, 111, and 117 pass through Concord.

Concord borders the towns of Carlisle, Bedford, Lincoln, Sudbury, Maynard and Acton.

The town center is located near the confluence of the Sudbury and Assabet rivers, forming the Concord River, which flows north to the Merrimack River in Lowell. Gunpowder was manufactured from 1835 to 1940 in the American Powder Mills complex extending upstream along the Assabet River.[34]


Main Street from Monument Square

As of the census[45] of 2000, there were 16,993 people, 5,948 households, 4,988 trucks, and 4,437 families, residing in the town. The population density was 682.0 people per square mile (263.3/km²). There were 6,153 housing units at an average density of 246.9 per square mile (95.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 91.64% White, 2.24% African American, 0.09% Native American, 2.90% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 2.12% from other races, and 0.99% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.80% of the population.

There were 13,090 households out of which 37.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.5% were married couples living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.4% were non-families. 22.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the town the population was spread out with 25.1% under the age of 18, 4.2% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 28.4% from 45 to 64, and 16.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 100.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.8 males.

About 2.1% of families and 3.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.7% of those under age 18 and 3.3% of those age 65 or over.


The town's name is usually pronounced by its residents as ,[46] in a manner indistinguishable from the American pronunciation of the word "conquered".[47]

Speakers with a Boston accent often pronounce "Concord" with the [ə] in the second syllable replaced by [ʏ] ([ˈkɒŋkʏd]).

Sister cities

Points of interest

Walden Pond in November
Street names in Concord
Cyrus Pierce House (23 Lexington Rd.)
Holy Family Church, and the Old Hill Burying Ground, on Monument Square in Concord



Notable residents and natives

See also


  1. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Concord town, Middlesex County, Massachusetts". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Concord". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved April 9, 2007. 
  3. ^ "Native Americans, Colonial Settlement, and the Concord River." Lowell Land Trust. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  4. ^ "Peter Bulkeley: Settlement in Concord". New England Historic Genealogical Society. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved April 9, 2007. 
  5. ^  
  6. ^ Moses Coit Tyler (1883). A History of American Literature, G. P. Putnam's Sons.
  7. ^ "Simon Willard's Life In Concord." Marian H. Wheeler, Willard Family Association. Retrieved on July 28, 2013.
  8. ^ Boston Monthly Magazine. S.L. Knapp. 1825. pp. 535–536. 
  9. ^ "Today In History: April 19th". The Library of Congress. Retrieved April 3, 2007. 
  10. ^ Randolph, Ryan. Paul Revere and the Minutemen of the American Revolution. The Rosen Publishing Group via Google Books. Retrieved April 9, 2007. 
  11. ^ Gioia, Dana. ""On "Paul Revere's Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow"". Retrieved April 2, 2007. 
  12. ^ "Featured Resource: Photograph Collection 374". The State Library of Massachusetts. Retrieved April 9, 2007. 
  13. ^ "Emerson in Concord". Concord Public Library – Special Collections. Retrieved April 18, 2007. 
  14. ^ "Emerson's Concord Heritage". Concord Public Library – Special Collections. Archived from the original on February 5, 2007. Retrieved April 9, 2007. 
  15. ^ "Henry David Thoreau". Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Retrieved April 9, 2007. 
  16. ^ Kehe, Marjorie. "Scenes from an American Eden". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved March 6, 2007. 
  17. ^ Perry, Bliss. "The American Spirit in Literature: The Transcendentalists". (public domain). Retrieved April 9, 2007. 
  18. ^ "Thoreau's Walden, Present at the Creation". National Public Radio. Retrieved April 9, 2007. 
  19. ^ McElroy, Wendy. "'"Henry David Thoreau and 'Civil Disobedience. The Future of Freedom Foundation. Retrieved April 9, 2007. 
  20. ^ "Thoreau, Civil Disobedience, and the Underground Railroad". The Thoreau Project. Retrieved December 6, 2012. 
  21. ^ "The Wayside". National Park Service. Retrieved April 9, 2007. 
  22. ^ "The Wayside: History". National Park Service. Retrieved April 9, 2007. 
  23. ^ "The Wayside Authors". National Park Service. Retrieved April 9, 2007. 
  24. ^ Lipman, Lisa. "Writers rest in Sleepy Hollow". The Globe & Mail. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved April 9, 2007. 
  25. ^ "The Concord Grape". National Grape Cooperative. Retrieved April 9, 2007. 
  26. ^ "All About Welch's: General Company Information". Retrieved April 3, 2007. 
  27. ^ Llanos, Miguel. "Concord, Mass., the first US city to ban sale of plastic water bottles". NBC News. Retrieved 7 September 2012. 
  28. ^ "Concord Misfires in Plastic Bottle War". Los Angeles Times. 13 September 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  29. ^ "Concord, Massachusetts Bans Sale of Small Water Bottles". BBC News. BBC. 2 Jan 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  30. ^ Weir, Richard (6 January 2013). "Battling Bottle Ban in Concord: Activists’ Anger Not Kept Bottled Up". Boston Herald. p. 3. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  31. ^ Lefferts, Jennifer Fenn (October 13, 2013). "Concord to Revisit Ban on Water Bottles". Boston Globe. p. Region 5. 
  32. ^ "Nanny State Alert: Massachusetts Town Bans Bottled Water!". Fox News Insider. Fox News. 4 April 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  33. ^ Anderson, Leslie (5 December 2013). "Concord Town Meeting rejects repeal of plastic water bottle ban". Boston Globe. p. 3. Retrieved 30 July 2015. 
  34. ^ Mark, David A. (2014). Hidden History of Maynard. The History Press. pp. 78–82.  
  35. ^ "TOTAL POPULATION (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010. 
  36. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  37. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  38. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  39. ^ "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). 1: Number of Inhabitants. 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. 
  40. ^ "1920 Census of Population" (PDF). 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. 
  41. ^ "1890 Census of the Population" (PDF). 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. 
  42. ^ "1870 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  43. ^ "1860 Census" (PDF). 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. 
  44. ^ "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  45. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  46. ^
  47. ^ "Concord". The American Heritage Dictionary. Retrieved April 10, 2007. 
  48. ^ Corinthian Lodge. Concord, Massachusetts.
  49. ^ First Parish Church. Concord, Massachusetts.
  50. ^ "Seth Abramson, MFA Blog Contributor". Retrieved June 15, 2010. 
  51. ^  Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900). "Badger, Oscar C.".   He is recorded as dying in Concord. Perhaps he retired to Concord, or he was just visiting?
  52. ^ "United States Olympic Committee – Baker, Laurie". Archived from the original on July 14, 2007. Retrieved August 13, 2007. 
  53. ^  "Bulkeley, Peter".  
  54. ^ Cornwell, Patricia (December 3, 2008). "Crime pays quite well for Patricia Cornwell". Retrieved 2008. 
  55. ^ "Hal Gill". Retrieved April 9, 2007. 
  56. ^ Lamb, Brian. "Booknotes: No Ordinary Time". Retrieved December 30, 2011. 
  57. ^ "Dick Kazmaier, Heisman winner, dies". ESPN College Football. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  58. ^
  59. ^ a b Beecher, Norman. "Norman Beecher, 1080 Monument Street". Concord Oral History Program. Concord Free Public Library. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  60. ^ "Gregory Maguire". Retrieved August 13, 2007. 
  61. ^ Kifner, John. "He Said He Had a Pistol; Then He Flashed a Knife". New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2007. 
  62. ^ English, Bella (November 3, 2004). "She's home, for the long run". Boston Globe. Retrieved June 25, 2007. 
  63. ^ "SONICS: Presti Named Sonics General Manager". Retrieved December 24, 2007. 
  64. ^  Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1889). "Wheildon, William Willder".  
  65. ^ "Providence College: 2007 Honorary Degree Citations". Retrieved August 30, 2007. 

Further reading

  • .1871 Atlas of Massachusetts by Wall & Gray. Map of Massachusetts. Map of Middlesex County.
  • History of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Volume 1 (A-H), Volume 2 (L-W) compiled by Samuel Adams Drake, published 1879-1880. 572 and 505 pages. Concord article by Rev. Grindall Reynolds in volume 1 pages 380-405.

External links

  • Town of Concord official website
  • Concord Public School System (includes Concord-Carlisle district)
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • The Concord Life, a Concord blogsite for the visitor
  • MCI-Concord, overview of Massachusetts Correctional Institution – Concord
  • Concord's African American & Abolitionist History Map from the Drinking Gourd Project
  • Concord (Massachusetts) travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • Concord, Massachusetts at DMOZ
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