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Chelmsford is a town in Middlesex Countymarker, Massachusettsmarker in the Greater Boston area. It is located from Bostonmarker and, bordering on the City of Lowellmarker, it is part of the Greater Lowell metropolitan area. Besides Lowell, Chelmsford is surrounded by five towns; Billericamarker, Westfordmarker, Carlislemarker, Tyngsboroughmarker, and Tewksburymarker. The border with Tewksbury is a geographical technicality since it is a point in the middle of the Concord River along with Lowell and Billerica. The population was 33,858 at the 2000 census. In 2007, Chelmsford was declared the 21st best place to live in the USA according to Money Magazine.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 23.2 square miles (60.0 km²), of which, 22.6 square miles (58.7 km²) of it is land and 0.5 square miles (1.4 km²) of it (2.29%) is water.

Chelmsford is bordered by two sizable rivers, the Merrimack River to the north, and the Concord River to the east

Chelmsford has a number of neighborhoods. In addition to the town center, smaller areas include South Chelmsford, West Chelmsford, East Chelmsford, North Chelmsford and The Westlands. North Chelmsfordmarker, an industrial village, is quite distinct from the rest of the town to the extent that it has many of its own town services.

In general, the northern parts of Chelmsford tend to be more urban and densely populated, while the south is more rural.


As of the census of 2000, there were 33,858 people, 12,812 households, and 9,301 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,495.0 people per square mile (577.2/km²). There were 13,025 housing units at an average density of 575.1/sq mi (222.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 93.09% White, 0.79% African American, 0.07% Native American, 4.62% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.52% from other races, and 0.90% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.23% of the population.

There were 12,812 households out of which 34.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.0% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.4% were non-families. 23.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the town the population was spread out with 25.0% under the age of 18, 5.2% from 18 to 24, 30.9% from 25 to 44, 25.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $70,207, and the median income for a family was $82,676 (these figures had risen to $87,252 and $105,105 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $56,493 versus $38,927 for females. The per capita income for the town was $30,465. About 2.0% of families and 2.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.2% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.


Settlers from the adjacent communities of Woburnmarker and Concordmarker founded Chelmsford. An act of the Massachusetts General Court in the last week of May 1655 town incorporated Chelmsford, and it was named after Chelmsfordmarker, Englandmarker. The nearby communities of Grotonmarker and Billericamarker were incorporated at the same time. Chelmsford originally contained the neighboring town of Westfordmarker, and parts of Carlislemarker, Tyngsboroughmarker, and a large part of Lowellmarker (formerly known as East Chelmsford). In 2005, the town celebrated its 350th anniversary. The town motto is "Let the children guard what the sires have won."

The Chelmsford militia played a role in the American Revolution at the Battle of Lexington and Concordmarker and the Battle of Bunker Hillmarker in 1775, the latter where Colonel Moses Parker (namesake of the Parker School) and Captain Benjamin Walker of this town were killed. Capt John Ford is known to have killed 5 redcoats at Concord and led the Chelmsford company of the Massachusetts Line for the duration of the war.

Ralph Waldo Emerson opened a school in Chelmsford in 1825, closing it after a few months to take over his brother's school in Roxbury. [17962]

Chelmsford, Massachusetts was the birthplace of the Chelmsford Spring Co. in 1901, which later became the Chelmsford Ginger Ale Company, acquired by Canada Dry in 1928. The ginger ale plant, rebuilt in 1912 after a disastrous fire consumed the original plant, stood on Route 110 until its demolition in 1994. The Chelmsford brand of golden ginger ale continued to be manufactured by Canada Dry for decades. Currently, it is manufactured today by Polar Beverages for DeMoulas' Market Basket Supermarkets, based out of neighboring Tewksburymarker. Chelmsford Ginger Ale is used in the well-known non-alcoholic drink Bog Grog (2 parts Chelmsford Ginger Ale to 3 parts cranberry juice) created to celebrate the close relations of Chelmsford and its neighboring community Carlisle.


The town uses a representative town meeting model with a Board of Selectmen overseeing the operation of the town. Reporting to the Board of Selectmen are the Town’s Manager, Counsel, and Accountant. The Town Manager, until recently Bernard Lynch, who has left to become the City Manager of Lowell, oversees the public employees and serves as Chief Executive Officer. The current Town Manager is Paul Cohen. Other elected boards include: Planning Board, School Committee, Library Trustees, Cemetery Commission, Board of Health, Sewer Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Current members of the Board of Selectmen are (as of April 2009): Chairman Clare Jeannotte, Vice Chairman Pat Wojtas, Clerk Eric R. Dahlberg, George Dixon, and Sean Scanlon.


  • Chelmsford Public School District consists of one high school, two middle schools, one charter middle school, one charter high school, and four elementary schools.
  • Chelmsford High Schoolmarker, "CHS," is in North Chelmsfordmarker. Located on 200 Richardson Road.
Nashoba Valley Technical High School - Public Regional Vocational Technical High School located in Westfordmarker.

  • Colonel Moses Parker Middle School. Located on 75 Graniteville Road.
  • Murdoch Middle Public Charter School (relocated to Tyngsboro in 2008).
  • Innovation Academy Charter School (a offshoot of the Murdoch, relocated to Tyngsboro in 2008).
  • Byam Elementary School. Located on 25 Maple Road.
  • Center Elementary School (closed for many years in the 80s-90s {circa}) reopened to students in fall of 1999. Located on 84 Billerica Road on Massachusetts Route 129.
  • Charles D. Harrington Elementary School is located in North Chelmsford. Located on 120 Richardson Road.
  • South Row Elementary School. Located on 250 Boston Road on Massachusetts Route 4.
  • Westlands Elementary School (closed as an elementary school in 2008 due to budget cuts).


Chelmsford is located at the intersection of the major US highways of I-495 and Route 3. Also found in Chelmsford are state routes 3A, 4, 27, 40, 110, and 129.

Chelmsford Center is a notorious junction of roadways. The heart of the town center is Central Square - the junction of routes 4, 110, the end of 129, and Westford Street. The Square is affectionately known as 'Chicken Corner' to locals. The nickname is because until the 21st century, because lights were seen as non-'historic', crossing the acre of pavement with no controls save a few stop signs was akin to a game of Chicken. Drivers would wait in long lines of cars to enter the square, where they often would invent their own lanes, waiting for a relatively safe chance to cross. In 2004, the town was forced to put in stoplights and lane markers. They were necessary to control the traffic-clogged center. In addition to the Square, Chelmsford Center is a series of merging and splitting roads, many one-way, including the beginning of route 27.

Chelmsford is also home to the former Drum Hill Rotarymarker. This rotary was the cause of many accidents that occurred due to its overall size and ability for vehicles to gain speed. It formed the intersection of U.S. Route 3 (exit 32), Route 4, Drum Hill Road, and Old Westford Road.The rotary was demolished in 2003. It was replaced with a four intersection square with traffic lights, and is now called Drum Hill Square. This was part of a widening project for U.S. Highway 3 between Interstate 95 (Route 128) and the New Hampshiremarker state line.

Freight travels daily through Chelmsford over the tracks of the historic Stony Brook Railroad. The line currently serves as a major corridor of Pan Am Railway's District 3 which connects New Hampshiremarker and Mainemarker with western Massachusettsmarker, Vermontmarker, and New Yorkmarker.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is currently constructing the Bruce N. Freeman Rail Trail, running through Chelmsford, including the Central Square intersection. The Bike Path will also run through part of Westford, Massachusettsmarker. Groundbreaking for the Rail Trail was held on October 9 2007 after more than 20 years of planning and design.

North Chelmsfordmarker will also host a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority commuter rail station if the proposed extension of the Lowellmarker Line to Nashuamarker, New Hampshiremarker is completed.

Notable residents

See also


Further reading

External links

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