Melrose is a city located in the Greater Boston metropolitan area in Middlesex County, Massachusetts. Its population as per the 2010 United States Census is 26,983. It is a suburb located approximately seven miles north of Boston and is situated in the center of the triangle created by Interstates 93, 95 and US Route 1.
Melrose was originally called "Ponde Fielde" for its abundance of ponds and streams or "Mystic Side" because of its location in a valley north of the Mystic River. The area was first explored by Richard and Ralph Sprague in 1628, and became part of Charlestown in 1633 along with a large area of land encompassing most of the surrounding communities. In 1649, the neighborhood of Charlestown known as Malden was incorporated as a separate town; the new town of Malden included most of present-day Melrose (then called North Malden) within its borders. North Malden largely remained a lightly populated farming community.
In 1845, the Boston and Maine Railroad built three stops (now the commuter rail stations of Wyoming Hill, Melrose/Cedar Park, and Melrose Highlands). Boston workers in search of a country atmosphere moved to the area and began commuting to work. The population of North Malden began growing, and in 1850 North Malden split from Malden proper and was incorporated as the town of Melrose. Melrose annexed the highlands from neighboring Stoneham in 1853, creating the city's current borders.
The population of Melrose continued to grow throughout the second half of the nineteenth century. Farmland was increasingly partitioned into smaller parcels for residences and businesses. The fire department and the town's school district were founded and town hall was built in 1873. In 1899, the City of Melrose became the 33rd incorporated city in Massachusetts. Levi S. Gould became the city’s first mayor on January 1, 1900.
The population of Melrose peaked at 33,180 in 1970 before beginning a slow decline continuing to this day. On April 1, 1982, downtown Melrose was added to the National Register of Historic Places; the public library was similarly added to the register in 1988.
The name "Melrose" comes from the burgh of Melrose, Scotland. It was a reference to the hills of Melrose, Scotland which the new town resembled. The name was suggested and advocated for by William Bogle, a Scotland native and longtime resident of North Malden.