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About Medford
Historical Agency


About Medford

The City of Medford is an historic suburban city located on the Mystic River with several small streams that provided waterpower for early industries. Originally the site of estates owned by Governors Craddock and Winthrop, Medford became a town in 1695 and a city in 1892. The city's colonial prosperity was based on being a tidewater seaport with shipbuilding and distilling, and Medford was part of the triangle trade. There was a significant slave population. Shipbuilding was begun by Thatcher Magoun, using lumber harvested from the Fells and later from New Hampshire, which came down on the Middlesex Canal. After the decline of the shipbuilding industry, printed cloth, carpets, linseed oil, hats and rum became the major products of the city, as did education when Tufts University was founded in 1852. The city retains a rich architectural heritage which includes the nationally important Isaac Royall estate as well as Federal, Greek revival and Victorian buildings.

Learn more about the history of Medford, Massachusetts.

Photograph credits:
Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs

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