Concord (/ˈkɒŋkərd/) is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in the United States. At the 2010 census, the town population was 17,668. The United States Census Bureau considers Concord part of Greater Boston. The town center is near where the confluence of the Sudbury and Assabet rivers forms the Concord River.
The area that became the town of Concord was originally known as Musketaquid, an Algonquian word for "grassy plain." Concord was established in 1635 by a handful of British settlers; by 1775, the population had grown to 1,400. As dissension between colonists in North America and the British crown intensified, 700 troops were sent to confiscate militia ordnance stored at Concord on April 19, 1775. The ensuing conflict, the Battle of Lexington and Concord, was the incident (the shot heard round the world) that triggered the American Revolutionary War.
A rich literary community developed in Concord during the mid-19th century, centered around Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson's circle included Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau. Major works written in Concord during this period include Alcott's novel Little Women, Emerson's essay Self-Reliance, and Thoreau's Walden and Civil Disobedience. In this era, the now-ubiquitous Concord grape was developed in Concord by Ephraim Wales Bull.
In the 20th century, Concord developed into an affluent Boston suburb and tourist destination, drawing visitors to the Old North Bridge, Orchard House and Walden Pond. The town retains its literary culture and is home to notable authors, including Doris Kearns Goodwin, Alan Lightman and Gregory Maguire. Concord is also notable for its progressive and environmentalist politics, becoming in 2012 the first community in the United States to ban single-serving PET bottles.
View of Concord's Main Street in December
Quam Firma Res Concordia (Latin)
"How Strong Is Harmony"
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
|• 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)|
|• Density||680/sq mi (260/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (Eastern)|
|Area code(s)||351 / 978|
|GNIS feature ID||0619398|
The area which became the town of Concord was originally known as "Musketaquid", situated at the confluence of the Sudbury and Assabet rivers. The name was an Algonquian word for "grassy plain", fitting the area's low-lying marshes and kettle holes. Native Americans had cultivated corn crops there; the rivers were rich with fish and the land was lush and arable. The area was largely depopulated by the smallpox plague that swept across the Americas after Europeans arrived.
In 1635, a group of settlers from Britain led by Rev. Peter Bulkeley and Major Simon Willard received a land grant from the General Court and negotiated a land purchase with the remnants of the local tribe. Bulkeley was an influential religious leader who "carried a good number of planters with him into the woods"; Willard was a canny trader who spoke the Algonquian language and had gained the trust of Native Americans. They exchanged wampum, hatchets, knives, cloth, and other useful items for the six-square-mile purchase from Squaw Sachem of Mistick, which formed the basis of the new town, called "Concord" in appreciation of the peaceful acquisition.
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 Samuel Prescott (who had received the news from Paul Revere), 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. Subsequently, militia arriving from across the region harried the British troops on their return to Boston, culminating in the Siege of Boston and the outbreak of the war.
The colonists initially publicized the battle as an example of British brutality and aggression: one colonial broadside decried the "Bloody Butchery of the British Troops." But a century later, 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." In 1894, the Lexington Historical Society petitioned the Massachusetts State Legislature to proclaim April 19 "Lexington Day." Concord countered with "Concord Day." Governor Greenhalge opted for a compromise: Patriots' Day. In April 1975, Concord hosted a bicentennial celebration of the battle, featuring an address at the Old North Bridge by President Gerald Ford.
Concord has a remarkably rich literary history centered in the 19th century around Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), who moved there in 1835 and quickly became its most prominent citizen. A successful lecturer and philosopher, Emerson 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. Emerson was at the center of a group of like-minded Transcendentalists living in Concord. Among them were the author Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–1864) and the philosopher Amos 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."
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). Thoreau famously lived in a small cabin near Walden Pond, where he wrote Walden (1854). 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). Evidencing their strong political beliefs through actions, Thoreau and many of his neighbors served as station masters and agents on the Underground Railroad.
The Wayside, a house on Lexington Road, has been home to a number of authors. It was occupied by scientist John Winthrop (1714–1779) when Harvard College was temporarily moved to Concord during the Revolutionary War. 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. 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.
The 20th-century composer Charles Ives wrote his Concord Sonata (c. 1904-15) as a series of impressionistic portraits of literary figures associated with the town. 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.
In 1849, Ephraim Bull developed the now-ubiquitous Concord grape at his home on Lexington Road, where the original vine still grows. Welch's, the first company to sell grape juice, maintains a headquarters in Concord. The Boston-born Bull developed the Concord grape by experimenting with seeds from some of the native species. On his farm outside Concord, down the road from the Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne and Alcott homesteads, he planted some 22,000 seedlings before producing the ideal grape. Early ripening, to escape the killing northern frosts, but with a rich, full-bodied flavor, the hardy Concord grape thrives where European cuttings had failed to survive. In 1853, Bull felt ready to put the first bunches of Concord grapes before the public and won a prize at the Boston Horticultural Society Exhibition. From these early arbors, the fame of Bull's ("the father of the Concord grape") Concord grape spread worldwide, bringing him up to $1,000 a cutting, but he died a relatively poor man. The inscription on his tombstone reads, "He sowed—others reaped."
On September 5, 2012, Concord became the first community in the United States to approve a ban of the sale of water in single-serving plastic bottles. The law banned the sale of PET bottles of one liter or less starting January 1, 2013. The ban provoked significant national controversy. An editorial in the Los Angeles Times characterized the ban as "born of convoluted reasoning" and "wrongheaded." Some residents believed the ban would do little to affect the sales of bottled water, which was still highly accessible in the surrounding areas, and that it restricted consumers' freedom of choice. Opponents also considered the ban to unfairly target one product in particular, when other, less healthy alternatives such as soda and fruit juice were still readily available in bottled form. Nonetheless, subsequent efforts to repeal the ban have failed in open town meetings. An effort to repeal Concord's ban on the sale of plastic water bottles was resoundingly defeated at a Town Meeting. Resident Jean Hill, who led the initial fight for the ban, said, "I really feel at the age of 86 that I've really accomplished something." Town Moderator Eric Van Loon didn't even bother taking an official tally because opposition to repeal was so overwhelming. It appeared that upwards of 80 to 90 percent of the 1,127 voters in attendance raised their ballots against the repeal measure. The issue has been bubbling in Concord for several years. In 2010, a town meeting-approved ban, which wasn't written as a bylaw, was rejected by the state attorney general's office. In 2011, a new version of the ban narrowly failed at town meeting by a vote of 265 to 272. The ban on selling water in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles of one liter or less passed in 2012 by a vote of 403 to 364, and a repeal effort in April failed by a vote of 621 to 687.
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. The town center is 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.
Concord is in eastern Massachusetts, bordered by several towns:
On the federal level, Concord is part of Massachusetts's 3rd congressional district, represented by Lori Trahan. The state's senior (Class I) member of the United States Senate is Elizabeth Warren. The junior (Class II) senator is Ed Markey.
|* = population estimate. |
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
At the 2000 census, there were 16,993 people, 5,948 households and 4,437 families residing in the town. The population density was 682.0 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 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.
25.1% of the population were 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.
In 2013, the median household income was $129,960. 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 pronounced by its residents as /ˈkɒŋkərd/ KONG-kərd in a manner indistinguishable from the American pronunciation of the word "conquered".
According to Concord's 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the principal employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|2||Concord Meadows Corporate Center (building complex with mulltiple tenants)||1,050|
|3||Newbury Court (senior living facility)||290|
|4||Care One at Concord (nursing and assisted living facility)||166|
|5||Middlesex School (coeducational private high school)||197|
|6||Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates||162|
|7||Concord Academy (coeducational private high school)||165|
|8||Hamilton, Brook, Smith, & Reynolds, P.C. (intellectual property law)||75|
Concord is featured in the 2012 video game Assassin's Creed 3, and the 2015 video game Fallout 4. Scenes from the 2017 comedy film Daddy's Home 2 were shot in Concord Center, as well as the upcoming film Little Women in Concord River.
The Concord grape is a cultivar derived from the grape species Vitis labrusca (also called fox grape) that are used as table grapes, wine grapes and juice grapes. They are often used to make grape jelly, grape juice, grape pies, grape-flavored soft drinks, and candy. The grape is sometimes used to make wine, particularly kosher wine. Traditionally, most commercially produced Concord wines have been finished sweet, but dry versions are possible if adequate fruit ripeness is achieved. The grape is named after the town in Massachusetts where it was developed.
The skin of a Concord grape is typically dark blue or purple, and often is covered with a lighter-coloured epicuticular wax "bloom" that can be rubbed off. It is a slip-skin variety, meaning that the skin is easily separated from the fruit. Concord grapes have large seeds and are highly aromatic. The Concord grape is particularly prone to the physiological disorder Black leaf.In the United States 417,800 tons were produced in 2011. The major growing areas are the Finger Lakes District of New York, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Southwestern Michigan, and the Yakima Valley in Washington.Daniel Chester French
Daniel Chester French (April 20, 1850 – October 7, 1931), one of the most prolific and acclaimed American sculptors of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, is best known for his design of the monumental statue of Abraham Lincoln (1920) in the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC.Egg Rock
Egg Rock is an outcrop of Silurian Straw Hollow Diorite at the confluence of the Assabet and Sudbury rivers, where they form the Concord River in Concord, Massachusetts. The outcrop is located on a roughly oval intermittent island of about 100 by 50 meters. Egg Rock is usually accessible using foot trails over land, but during high river levels the island is separated from the mainland by a narrow channel. The highest point of Egg Rock is about 39 meters above mean sea level and about 6 meters above normal river level.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) includes Egg Rock as GNIS feature 617309, classified as an island. In the GNIS database as of February 2010, the listed position (latitude 42.4645383, longitude -71.3592266) is misplaced by about 125 meters to the southwest, and is not actually located on the intermittent island. A more correct position is latitude 42.4651, longitude -71.3585.Fairhaven Bay
Fairhaven Bay is a lake located within the Sudbury river in Concord, Massachusetts, United States (US). It was frequented by David Henry Thoreau who, together with Edward Hoar, accidentally set fire to the woods near the bay in April 1844, as later described in Thoreau's journal.In 1895, George Bradford Bartlett, ”well-known in connection with the Manse boathouse”, wrote of the cliffs near Fairhaven Bay on the Sudbury River: "For more than a hundred years these cliffs have been a favorite resort for the nature lover, and the climax of many a Sunday walk or autumnal holiday trip, as no better view can be had of the waving tree-tops and gentle river".To the North, the Bay is bordered by Wright Woods, owned by the Concord Land Conservation Trust. The woods, where Thoreau often walked, link the Fairhaven Bay trails and the Lincoln Conservation land with the Walden Pond State ReservationFairyland Pond
Fairyland Pond is a pond within Hapgood Wright Town Forest, a conservation area in Concord, Massachusetts. It is a popular recreation area, notable for its old-growth forest and its association with many literary figures from Concord’s past.George M. Brooks
George Merrick Brooks (July 26, 1824 – September 22, 1893) was a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts.
Born in Concord, Massachusetts, Brooks attended an academy in Concord and a boarding school at Waltham.
He graduated from Harvard University in 1844.
He studied law.
He was admitted to the bar in 1847 and commenced practice in Concord.
He served as member of the State house of representatives in 1858.
He served in the State senate in 1859.
Brooks was elected as a Republican to the Forty-first Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of George S. Boutwell.
He was reelected to the Forty-second Congress and served from November 2, 1869, to May 13, 1872, when he resigned, having been appointed to a judicial position.
He served as judge of probate for Middlesex County and served until his death in Concord, Massachusetts, September 22, 1893.
He was interred in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.Jonas Wheeler
Jonas Wheeler (February 9, 1789 – May 1, 1826) was an American politician and lawyer. Born in Concord, Massachusetts, Wheeler graduated from Harvard College in 1810. He served as Justice of the Peace, the first representative of Camden, Maine to the Maine House of Representatives and Camden's State Senator. He was the President of the Maine Senate from 1825 until his death in May 1826.Minute Man National Historical Park
Minute Man National Historical Park commemorates the opening battle in the American Revolutionary War. It also includes the Wayside, home in turn to three noted American authors. The National Historical Park is under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service and protects 970 acres (392.5 ha) in and around the Massachusetts towns of Lexington, Lincoln, and Concord.Monica Walker
Monica Walker (born February 20, 1987 in Concord, Massachusetts) is an American born curler originally from Brighton, MA.National Register of Historic Places listings in Concord, Massachusetts
This is a list of places on the National Register of Historic Places in Concord, Massachusetts.
This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted June 21, 2019.Samuel Willard
Reverend Samuel Willard (January 31, 1640 – September 12, 1707) was a colonial clergyman. He was born in Concord, Massachusetts, graduated Harvard in 1659, and was minister at Groton from 1663–1676, whence he was driven by the Indians during King Philip's War. Willard was pastor of the Third Church, Boston from 1678 until his death. He opposed the Salem witch trials, and served as acting president of Harvard from 1701. He published many sermons; the folio volume A Compleat Body of Divinity was published posthumously in 1726.Simon Brown (Massachusetts)
Simon Brown (November 29, 1802 – February 27, 1873) was an American politician who served as the 21st Lieutenant Governor for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 1855 to 1856. He was then an at-large delegate to the 1856 Republican Convention in Philadelphia where he supported the nomination of John C. Fremont. Professionally, Brown was a printer and publisher, including of the New England Farmer, working in Boston. He died at Concord, Massachusetts of typhoid fever, in 1873.Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (Concord, Massachusetts)
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery is a cemetery located on Bedford Street near the center of Concord, Massachusetts. The cemetery is the burial site of a number of famous Concordians, including some of the United States' greatest authors and thinkers, especially on a hill known as "Authors' Ridge."The Old Manse
The Old Manse is a historic manse in Concord, Massachusetts, United States famous for its American historical and literary associations. It is open to the public as a nonprofit museum owned and operated by the Trustees of Reservations. The house is located on Monument Street, with the Concord River just behind it. The property neighbors the North Bridge, a part of Minute Man National Historical Park.The Wayside
The Wayside is a historic house in Concord, Massachusetts. The earliest part of the home may date to 1717. Later it successively became the home of the young Louisa May Alcott and her family, who named it Hillside, author Nathaniel Hawthorne and his family, and children's writer Margaret Sidney. It became the first site with literary associations acquired by the National Park Service and is now open to the public as part of Minute Man National Historical Park.Thoreau–Alcott House
The Thoreau–Alcott House is a historic house at 255 Main Street in Concord, Massachusetts, United States that was home to the writers Henry David Thoreau and Louisa May Alcott at different times.WBNW (AM)
WBNW (1120 AM) is a business talk radio station in the Boston market. The station is owned by Money Matters Radio, Inc. and is licensed to Concord, Massachusetts. It is simulcast on translator station W275CM (102.9 FM) in Concord. WBNW's flagship program, The Financial Exchange, is syndicated to several other stations in New England through the Money Matters Radio Network. Recently talk hosts Michael Graham, Don Imus, and John Batchelor were added to the lineup.Walden Pond
Walden Pond is a lake in Concord, Massachusetts, in the United States. A famous example of a kettle hole, it was formed by retreating glaciers 10,000–12,000 years ago. The pond is protected as part of Walden Pond State Reservation, a 335-acre (136 ha) state park and recreation site managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. The reservation was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962 for its association with the writer Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), whose two years living in a cabin on its shore provided the foundation for his most famous work, Walden; or, Life in the Woods.West Concord, Massachusetts
West Concord is an unincorporated village and census-designated place (CDP) in the town of Concord in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 6,028 at the 2010 census.
Places adjacent to Concord, Massachusetts
Municipalities and communities of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
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