Concord (locally /ˈkɒŋ.kərd/) 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, Amos 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.


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 Bulkeley and Major Simon Willard 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";[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 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.[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 1894 the Lexington Historical Society petitioned the Massachusetts State Legislature to proclaim April 19 as "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.[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 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."[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]

Central part of Concord, Mass.jpg

The Wayside, a 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]

The twentieth-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.

Concord grape

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.[25] Boston-born Ephraim Wales 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 in all, before he had produced 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, Mr. Bull felt ready to put the first bunches of his Concord grapes before the public—and won a prize at the Boston Horticultural Society Exhibition. From these early arbors, fame of Mr. 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 states, "He sowed--others reaped." http://www.concordgrape.org/bodyhistory.html

Plastic bottle ban

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 on January 1, 2013.[26] The ban provoked significant national controversy. An editorial in the Los Angeles Times characterized the ban as "born of convoluted reasoning" and "wrongheaded."[27] Some residents stated that this ban would not do much to affect the sales of bottled water, which was still highly accessible in the surrounding areas,[28] and the belief that it restricted consumers' freedom of choice.[29] Opponents also considered the ban to represent unfair targeting of one product in particular, when other, less healthy alternatives such as soda and fruit juice were still readily available in bottled form.[30][31] Nonetheless, subsequent efforts to repeal Concord's plastic bottled water ban have failed in open town meetings.[32] 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 at town meeting 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 generals 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.


Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
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. 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.[33]

Adjacent towns

Concord is located in eastern Massachusetts, bordered by several towns:


State and federal government

On the federal level, Concord is part of Massachusetts's 3rd congressional district, represented by Niki Tsongas. The state's senior (Class I) member of the United States Senate is Elizabeth Warren. The junior (Class II) senator is Ed Markey.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1850 2,249 —    
1860 2,246 −0.1%
1870 2,412 +7.4%
1880 3,922 +62.6%
1890 4,427 +12.9%
1900 5,652 +27.7%
1910 6,421 +13.6%
1920 6,461 +0.6%
1930 7,477 +15.7%
1940 7,972 +6.6%
1950 8,623 +8.2%
1960 12,517 +45.2%
1970 16,148 +29.0%
1980 16,293 +0.9%
1990 17,076 +4.8%
2000 16,993 −0.5%
2010 17,668 +4.0%
* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.[34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42][43]
Main Street from Monument Square

At the 2000 census,[44] 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.[45] 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 /ˈkɒŋkərd/ KONG-kərd in a manner indistinguishable from the American pronunciation of the word "conquered".[46]

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


Principal employers

According to Concord's 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[47] the principal employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Emerson Hospital 1,731
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 station is served by the MBTA's Fitchburg Line. Yankee Line provides commuter bus service between Concord and Boston.[48]

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 people

Popular culture

Concord is featured in the 2012 video game Assassin's Creed 3 and the 2015 video game Fallout 4. It is also featured in the 2003 racing sim NASCAR Racing 2003 Season, as the location of the fictional track Coca Cola Superspeedway.

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. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. 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. ^ Shattuck, Lemuel (1835). "History of the Town of Concord, Mass". RootsWeb. Archived from the original on November 20, 2007. Retrieved April 9, 2007. 
  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"". Archived from the original on February 3, 2007. 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". Authorama.com (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. Archived from the original on April 4, 2007. 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. ^ "All About Welch's: General Company Information". Welchs.com. Retrieved March 28, 2017. 
  26. ^ Llanos, Miguel. "Concord, Mass., the first US city to ban sale of plastic water bottles". NBC News. Retrieved 7 September 2012. 
  27. ^ "Concord Misfires in Plastic Bottle War". Los Angeles Times. 13 September 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  28. ^ "Concord, Massachusetts Bans Sale of Small Water Bottles". BBC News. BBC. 2 Jan 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  29. ^ Weir, Richard (6 January 2013). "Battling Bottle Ban in Concord: Activists' Anger Not Kept Bottled Up". Boston Herald. p. 3. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  30. ^ Lefferts, Jennifer Fenn (October 13, 2013). "Concord to Revisit Ban on Water Bottles". Boston Globe. p. Region 5. 
  31. ^ "Nanny State Alert: Massachusetts Town Bans Bottled Water!". Fox News Insider. Fox News. 4 April 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  32. ^ Anderson, Leslie (5 December 2013). "Concord Town Meeting rejects repeal of plastic water bottle ban". Boston Globe. p. 3. Retrieved 30 July 2015. 
  33. ^ Mark, David A. (2014). Hidden History of Maynard. The History Press. pp. 78–82. ISBN 1626195412. 
  34. ^ "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010. 
  35. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  36. ^ "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. 
  37. ^ "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. 
  38. ^ "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). 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. 
  39. ^ "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. 
  40. ^ "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. 
  41. ^ "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. 
  42. ^ "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. 
  43. ^ "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  44. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved January 31, 2008. 
  45. ^ "Concord, Massachusetts (MA 01742) profile: population, maps, real estate, averages, homes, statistics, relocation, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, moving, houses, news, sex offenders". www.city-data.com. Retrieved 2016-01-22. 
  46. ^ "Concord". The American Heritage Dictionary. Retrieved April 10, 2007. 
  47. ^ Town of Concord CAFR
  48. ^ Yankee Line - Acton & Concord, MA to Boston, MA Commuter Service\
  49. ^ Corinthian Lodge. Concord, Massachusetts.
  50. ^ First Parish Church Archived 2006-12-05 at the Wayback Machine.. Concord, Massachusetts.
  51. ^ "Seth Abramson, MFA Blog Contributor". Retrieved June 15, 2010. 
  52. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900). "Badger, Oscar C.". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.  He is recorded as dying in Concord. Perhaps he retired to Concord, or he was just visiting?
  53. ^ "United States Olympic Committee – Baker, Laurie". USOC. Archived from the original on July 14, 2007. Retrieved August 13, 2007. 
  54. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg "Bulkeley, Peter". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. 1900. 
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  57. ^ Lamb, Brian. "Booknotes: No Ordinary Time". CSPAN. Retrieved December 30, 2011. 
  58. ^ "Dick Kazmaier, Heisman winner, dies". ESPN College Football. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  59. ^ http://www.mit.edu/~humanistic/faculty/lightman.html
  60. ^ a b Beecher, Norman. "Norman Beecher, 1080 Monument Street". Concord Oral History Program. Concord Free Public Library. Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  61. ^ "Gregory Maguire". Houghton Mifflin Books. Retrieved August 13, 2007. 
  62. ^ Kifner, John (June 11, 1997). "He Said He Had a Pistol; Then He Flashed a Knife". New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2007. 
  63. ^ English, Bella (November 3, 2004). "She's home, for the long run". Boston Globe. Retrieved June 25, 2007. 
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Further reading

External links