The territory now comprising the city of Somerville was first settled in 1629 as part of Charlestown. In 1629, English surveyor Thomas Graves led a scouting party of 100 Puritans from the settlement of Salem to prepare the site for the Great Migration of Puritans from England. The first European settler in Somerville of whom there is any record was John Woolrich. Others soon followed Woolrich, locating in the vicinity of present-day Union Square. In a short time, the settlers began laying out roads in all directions in search of more land for planting. Laid out as early as the mid-1630s, the earliest highway in Somerville was probably what is now Washington Street, and led from present-day Sullivan Square to Harvard Square.
Construction of the McGrath Highway in 1925 marked the turning point of Somerville as an industrial city, which accelerated when the Ford Motor Company built a plant in Assembly Square in 1926. In the years that followed, Somerville would see itself transformed into a major industrial center as automobile assembly would surpass meat packing as Somerville’s most important industry. The Ford Motor Plant in Assembly Square, which had been one of the region’s largest employers, closed its doors in 1958 with severe consequences for the local economy. From the late 1950s through the early 1970s, Finast Supermarkets used the building that had earlier housed the Ford assembly plant on Middlesex Avenue, but in 1976 it too closed its doors. By 1976, Assembly Square was becoming a ghost town: Finast Stores, the Boston and Maine Railroad, and Ford Motor Company, which had each paid the city over $1 million in annual taxes, were gone. By the late 1970s, Somerville was losing population, revenue and jobs.
In the last years of the 20th century, the situation in Somerville stabilized and growth returned—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 infrastructural improvements. This growth then spread to other areas of Somerville, such as Porter Square, where beautiful and majestic Victorian homes show much pride of ownership, again thanks to the extension of the Red Line.
Clearly, the community’s vision of a rebirth of commercial and retail activity has, in the past few years, been fully realized. No one could have predicted that the real estate market would benefit as much as it has from the rebirth of Davis Square. The real estate boom has now spread all throughout Somerville as investors and developers scramble to convert once blue collar two and three family homes into million dollar properties.
When you are ready to make Somerville your home, please give Albert a call at 646-620-9173.