Burlington is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 24,498 at the 2010 census.
It is believed that Burlington takes its name from the English town of Bridlington, Yorkshire but this has never been confirmed . It was first settled in 1641 and was officially incorporated on February 28, 1799; several of the early homesteads are still standing, such as the Francis Wyman House, dating from 1666. The town is sited on the watersheds of the Ipswich, Mystic, and Shawsheen rivers. In colonial times up through the late 19th century, there was industry in the mills along Vine Brook, which runs from Lexington to Bedford and then empties into the Shawsheen River.
Burlington is now a suburban industrial town at the junction of the Boston-Merrimack corridor, but for most of its history it was almost entirely agricultural, selling hops and rye to Boston and supplementing that income with small shoe-making shops. Early railroad expansion passed the town by (although the town was serviced by the Middlesex Turnpike), limiting its early development, and Burlington continued to cure hams for the Boston market and produce milk, fruit, and vegetables.
This picture changed drastically, however, as soon as Route 128 was built. The highway kicked off an enormous expansion, and between 1955 and 1965 Burlington was the fastest growing town in the state. In one five-year period, its population tripled as residential and commercial retail development exploded creating the town's present character.
Burlington's public schools, specifically Francis Wyman Middle School (now Elementary School), have recently graduated many prominent athletes, including four Olympians, and others who have gone to have successful careers the NHL, NFL, and Major League Baseball, as well as prominent intellectuals, including Michael Shannon, an analytical chemist.