The fourth oldest English settlement in America, Medford was founded in 1630. It was originally the plantation owned by the first governor of the Massachusetts colonies, Matthew Craddock. Its name is believed to derive from the words, “the ford by the meadow”, or “Meadford” commemorating the importance of the fordable part of the Mystic River located just west of present-day Medford Square.

Incorporated as a city in 1892, Medford was a leader in the Clipper Ship building industry as well as the manufacture of brick and tile. It was famous for its “Medford Rum” and “Medford Crackers.”

Paul Revere rode through Medford on his famous midnight ride, and it was home to Revolutionary War patriot Sarah Bradlee Fulton. Charles Tufts, a descendant of Peter Tufts, founded Tufts University with a donation of 20 acres on Walnut Hill, the highest point in Medford, in 1852. Peter Tufts's house in Medford is believed to be the oldest brick building in New England. American classics “Jingle Bells” and “Over the River and Through the Woods” were composed by Medford residents James Pierpont and Lydia Marie Child.


County: Middlesex
Settled: 1630
Incorporated: 1630
Population: 56,173
Area: 8.6 square miles


Freedom's Way National Heritage Area
94 Jackson Road, Suite 311
Devens, MA 01434
(978) 772-3654