Welcome to Middlesex County, Massachusetts
When you think of Massachusetts, you probably imagine historical districts, sprawling forests, the American Revolutionary War, and several Ivy League colleges and universities. Did you know that most of those things are related to Middlesex County, the 22nd most populated county in the whole country? With an estimated 1,611,699 residents and several bustling cities and towns, Middlesex County is an amazing place to discover.
History of Middlesex County
The Massachusetts Bay Colony founded Middlesex County on May 10, 1643. It is one of the first four counties in Massachusetts. So when we talk about the history of Middlesex County, we are really talking about the histories of places like Charlestown, Cambridge, Reading, Medford, Woburn, Sudbury, Watertown, and Concord. All of those places were sites of some of the first colonists in America.
Middlesex County has also been at the heart of American History. On April 19, 1775, the county, which is home to both Lexington and Concord, became the site of the first battle in the American Revolutionary War. The war ended on September 3, 1783.
Following that, Middlesex County underwent many changes, mainly to its borders. Between the late 19th century and 20th century, Boston claimed several towns and cities from Middlesex, including Brighton and Charlestown. As of July 1, 1998, Middlesex County is one of eight counties in Massachusetts that have zero county government or county commissioners.
Middlesex County Geography
The US Census Bureau states that Middlesex County has an area of 847 square miles, of which 818 square miles is land. That leaves a small percentage of water. The highest point of elevation in Middlesex County is Nutting Hill-Northeast Slope, which rises to 1585 feet above sea level. If you want to climb to the top, you’ll have to take the Mount Watatic Trail or the Wapack Trail.
There are over 40 towns and cities in Middlesex County, including:
- and more.
For those who are visiting Middlesex County, MA, this opens up a wide window of opportunities. Many towns and cities have some historical significance and attractions. You can also visit the Charles River, which bounds the southeast edge of the county. The Merrimack, Concord, and Nashua rivers run through sections of the county, too. There are six national protected areas in Middlesex County, including the Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site and the Minute Man National Historical Park.
Adjacent counties include Hillsborough County, Essex County, Norfolk County, Worcester County, and Suffolk County. New Hampshire also borders the northernmost part of the county.
Back in 2010, the population density of Middlesex County was 1,837.9 individuals per square mile. There were also an estimated 580,688 households. The racial makeup of Middlesex County is wonderfully diverse, as one would expect from a place with over 1,600,000 people living there.
Around 80 percent of the population is white, with ancestry stemming from Irish, Italian, German, French, Scottish, and Polish. Following that, Asians make up around 9.3 percent of the population; Black and African descent is 4.7 percent; Hispanic or Latino makes up around 6.5 percent. The population is also multilingual. English, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, French, and Portuguese are common throughout many neighborhoods.
And here’s a cultural tidbit for you: Middlesex County is where a world famous fife and drum corps, the Middlesex County Volunteers, calls home. The group’s musical repertoire is from the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. The Middlesex County Volunteers were founded in 1982 and have performed throughout the world, including Europe, UK, and Australia.
Middlesex County Economy
Here’s another fun fact for you: Middlesex County is among the top 25 counties in America with the highest household income. According to the 2019 US Census, the median household income is $102,603. Furthermore, 70 percent of the workforce (age 16+) is currently employed. You can attribute that to the high graduation rate from high school, which is 93.4 percent, and the 56.3 percent of the population holding a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
In 2018, the total number of people employed was 908,187. That same year, there were 44,765 businesses and organizations with employees.
What to See and Do in Middlesex County, MA
Because Middlesex County is so sprawling and alive, there is always something happening. You can head north towards the mountains and forests, or you can linger amid the bustling towns and cities. You can always find amazing restaurants, bars, breweries, shopping, and other indoor attractions.
One of the places anyone who visits Middlesex County, MA needs to visit is the Forbes House Museum. Not only does the museum cover the history of an entrepreneurial family, but it has amazing views of Boston’s skyline and the Neponset River. You may even see people holding weddings here. Other historical places worth visiting include: The Wayside Home of Authors, the Thoreau Farm, Jack Kerouac’s Grave, the Lexington Historical Society, and the Buckman Tavern (where you can still get food and drink).
Want something fun for the whole family? Head over to Tewksbury, MA for the Merrimack Valley Pavilion. This entertainment center is a great place to go when the weather isn’t great. You will find arcades, movie theaters, laser tag, and restaurants.
Love wintertime? Then you have just found Winter Wonderland in Massachusetts! Middlesex County has plenty of places to visit to satisfy all your skiing, snowboarding or hiking cravings. Ski Bradford, located in Bradford, MA, is one such place. The mountain has 15 trails for all levels, and the resort itself is stunning. Optionally, head to the Nashoba Valley Ski Area, where you can try out snow tubing.
If you love hiking through the snow (or horseback riding, walking, or cross-country skiing throughout the year), Great Brook Farm State Park is the place to be. Trails cover over 20 miles of the sprawling park, so you can wander to your heart’s content. Want greenery that is closer to Boston? The Middlesex Fells Reservation is perfect.
Lastly, don’t write off the shopping! Middlesex County is home to massive shopping plazas, like the Burlington Mall and the Golden Triangle.