Davis Square, Somerville, MA
Davis Square is located approximately four miles from downtown Boston, and two miles from mid-Cambridge. It was officially designated as a square by the City of Somerville in 1883 and named for Person Davis (1819-1894). Between 1870 and 1910, people increasingly chose to live in West Somerville, where subdivided land was plentiful for new homes, both modest and substantial, and the commute to Boston for employment was convenient thanks to rail connections. Passenger rail arrived in 1870, with a boom in residential construction following in the 1890s. In 1927, the trains that had brought many people to Davis Square were re-routed and contributed to Davis Square’s decline in the middle part of the 20th century. Factories shut, businesses failed and residents began to move out to the suburbs.
In the late 1970’s, local officials and citizen groups petitioned MBTA to create a Red Line subway stop in Somerville at Davis Square. The MBTA agreed and in 1977 business owners and other local residents and officials formed the Davis Square Task Force who made the Red Line station the cornerstone for downtown redevelopment. In 2005, The Boston Globe reported the first million dollar condo sale in Davis Square, which marked a major shift for a neighborhood once known as affordable and working-class. Davis Square is served by the Red Line, extended from Harvard to Alewife via Porter, with the Davis station opening on December 8, 1984. Davis Square Station also connects to several MBTA bus lines leading to nearby towns.
As part of the Davis Square Plan, the old B&M Railroad right-of-way was converted into a mixed-use path known as the Somerville Community Path. Most of the remaining railroad right-of-way between Davis Square and the Red Line’s northern terminus at Alewife was redeveloped and landscaped as a linear park or bicycle/pedestrian pathway.
As Somerville continues to evolve, Davis Square was clearly the vanguard of revitalization and change. In the past three decades, Davis has become a vibrant regional center for retail, nightlife, dining and more. The Somerville Theatre shows movies, live performances, and has a satellite gallery of the Museum of Bad Art. Davis Square is host to several popular festivals and events throughout the year. The popular ArtBeat festival takes place the third weekend of July, while the HONK! Festival of activist brass bands occurs here every October. Restaurants and clubs abound such as Johnny D’s, The Painted Burro, Five Horses Tavern, Red Bones, Posto, Boston Burger Company, Dave’s Fresh Pasta, The Rosebud, When Pigs Fly Bakery and many, many more!
Please call me when you want to grab a Margarita at the Painted Burro and preview many of the unique properties found in Davis Square.