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Somerville is a city located in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, just two miles north of Boston. Occupying slightly over 4 square miles, its population of 75,754 (as of the 2010 census) and a myriad of immigrants from all over the world make Somerville the most densely populated community in New England and one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the nation. Rich in both history and culture, the city houses numerous intriguing sites, businesses, and restaurants for every style.
Somerville was first settled in 1630 as a part of Charlestown, and was established as a town in 1842, when it was separated from the urbanizing Charlestown because it was still largely rural. Somerville was officially incorporated as a city in 1872 due to its growing population and increasing industrialization. By the early 1900s, Somerville itself had become a densely packed urban area, featuring immigrants from across Europe — first to West Somerville, and then the rest of the city.
Almost thirty years after passenger rail service to Somerville was halted, the Red Line Northwest Extension reached Davis Square in 1984. The city and community used the creation of the new station as a catalyst for revitalizing the faded square promoting new commercial development and sponsoring other physical and infrastructure improvements. However, when the new transit station opened in 1984, business around Davis Square did not immediately thrive. The number of retail stores in the area declined from 68 in 1977 to 56 in 1987. However, many non-retail uses, such as beauty salons and real estate offices, had already begun to fill the empty retail spaces. With the Boston area's emergence from its long recession, the area truly began to revive. Clearly, the community's vision of a rebirth of commercial and retail activity has, in the past few years, been fully realized. All benefit from their proximity to the MBTA station, as retail vacancy rates around the square are close to zero.
The telecommunication and the biotechnology boom of the mid-to-late 1990s significantly contributed to Somerville's revitalization. Similar to the reasons for the housing boom one hundred years earlier, the sudden increase in the number of jobs available in the cities of Somerville, Boston, and particularly Cambridge, as well as the other communities immediately surrounding Somerville, led to a new surge in the demand for housing. Additionally, the end of rent control in Cambridge coincided with the economic recovery in 1995, increasing demand for Somerville's affordable housing options.
After the gentrification period the city went through in the 1990s, and an influx of artists to the area, this name has mostly faded from use and the city has instead gained a reputation for its active arts community and effective government including being named the best run city in Massachusetts in 2006. More recently, lobbying by grassroots organizations is attempting to revive and preserve Somerville's "small town" neighborhood environments by supporting local business, public transit, and gardens.
Somerville Zip Codes: 02143, 02144, 02145
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