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Somerville

Somerville Rentals

Somerville is a city located in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, just north of Boston. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 77,478. With only slightly over 4 square miles (10 km) of land, it is the most densely populated city in New England and the fifth densest city in the United States. It was established as a town in 1842, when it was separated from the urbanizing Charlestown because it was still largely rural.

Somerville has a mix of blue collar Irish-American and Italian American families who are spread throughout the city; immigrant families from Brazil, Haiti and El Salvador, who live in the area known as East Somerville; South Korea and India in the Union Square area, and college students and young professionals, many of whom live in sections near Cambridge, or near Tufts University, which straddles the Somerville-Medford city line, although the university’s formal address is Medford. Davis Square in Somerville and nearby Porter Square in Cambridge have Red Line subway stations providing easy access to Harvard Square and to downtown Boston. Other parts of the city are served by buses that connect to the Green Line’s Lechmere station in East Cambridge or to the Orange Line’s Sullivan station in Charlestown.

Somerville also has a number of squares that are bustling business and entertainment centers, among them Davis Square, Union Square, Ball Square, Teele Square and Magoun Square.

A popular and tree-lined rail trail called the Minuteman Bikeway runs through the heart of Davis Square and is called the Somerville Community Path. The city has many dedicated community groups including Friends of the Community Path dedicated to extending the well-loved Minuteman Bikeway/Linear Park from its current ending at Cedar Street in Somerville to the Charles River Path and on to Boston.

Somerville was once colloquially referred to as “Slummerville” and “Scummerville”, referring to its blue-collar residents and its reputation for crime, especially in the city’s east, where James “Buddy” McLean and the “Winter Hill Gang” were based. However, after the gentrification period the city went through in the late 1990s this name became less prevalent. More recently, lobbying by grassroots organizations is attempting to revive and preserve Somerville’s “small town” neighborhood environments by supporting local business, public transit, gardens and pedestrian/biker access.

The Somerville Arts Council and Somerville Open Studios both host annual events involving the community in homegrown arts. Somerville is home to a thriving arts community. Regular arts-related events, such as the annual “ArtBeat” festival, occur throughout the year. In addition, numerous galleries and music clubs showcase the talents of residents and others.

A major art studio complex is located in former industrial buildings known as the Brickbottom complex, between Union Square and the Cambridge line.

The Someday Cafe in Davis Square helped bring a low-key, gay west coast coffeehouse vibe to the Boston area in the early ’90s.

Union Square Main Streets is a non-profit partnership of local businesses, residents and the City of Somerville seeking to enhance city’s most central and historic civic and business space, Union Square, through active community collaboration.