Tufts Helps Somerville Celebrate Its 175th Anniversary

More than 300 guests came to the Aidekman Arts Complex for a party marking the occasion

A gala celebrating Somerville’s 175th anniversary on November 11 brought more than 300 guests, including Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone, to the Aidekman Arts Complex on the university’s Medford/Somerville campus.

The soirée capped a year of special events marking Somerville’s independence from Charlestown in 1842. A massive cake bearing the city seal was complemented by a variety of foods from six Somerville restaurants. Somerville-based Aeronaut Brewery also offered samples of a small-batch beer they brewed just for the party, which took its name from the city’s slogan: “Municipal Freedom Gives National Strength.”

The Aidekman art galleries were also opened, so guests could view the massive 74-foot mural Two Ancient Chinese Tales - Blue + Red + Yellow = White? created by Yuan Yunsheng when he was artist-in-residence at Tufts in 1983.  

The Tufts connection to Somerville goes back to its earliest beginning. Benefactor Charles Tufts —for whom Tufts College was named—was descended from Peter Tufts, who settled in Charlestown about 1638. Tufts would go on to become a successful brick manufacturer with extensive holdings on land that would become part of Somerville.

President Anthony Monaco said that it was an honor to host the special event. “Tufts University is very fortunate to have a strong partnership with the City of Somerville,” he said, noting that the character of Somerville is a draw for students.  “Many of our students chose to come to Tufts, because of our location in this vibrant, diverse city,” he said “In fact, they love Somerville so much that many of them chose to stay after graduation, and today, we have over 750 alumni living in Somerville. Somerville doesn’t have a brain drain—it has a Jumbo brain gain!”  

“The City of Somerville not only celebrates its 175th anniversary of our separation from Charlestown this year, but also its incredibly rich history, and an important part of the story of the United States and its creation,” Curtatone told the gathering. “It has been a wonderful year full of celebrations and honors, and this capstone event co-sponsored by Tufts University was the perfect way to say thank you to our community members and stakeholders for all they’ve contributed to Somerville’s history. Thank you to President Monaco for hosting an incredible event.”

Jackie Rossetti, deputy director of communications for the city of Somerville, was among those who thanked Monaco for helping make the birthday celebration “an incredibly successful and fun event,” she said. “Our 175th anniversary is a milestone for the Somerville community, and this was a great way to honor and celebrate our city and the community members who have contributed so much to making us who we are today.”

Laura Ferguson can be reached at laura.ferguson@tufts.edu.

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