This article has an unclear citation style.(May 2010)
|City of Haverhill|
"The Queen Slipper City"
|• Type||Mayor-council city (Strong Mayor)|
|• Mayor||James J. Fiorentini|
|• Total||35.70 sq mi (92.45 km2)|
|• Land||33.04 sq mi (85.56 km2)|
|• Water||2.66 sq mi (6.89 km2)|
|Elevation||50 ft (20 m)|
|• Density||2,051.66/sq mi (792.27/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (Eastern)|
|GNIS feature ID||0612607|
Haverhill (// HAY-vril) is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. Haverhill is located 35 miles north of Boston on the New Hampshire border and about 17 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. The population was 67,787 at the 2020 United States Census.
Located on the Merrimack River, Haverhill began as a farming community of Puritans, largely from Newbury Plantation. The land was officially purchased from the Pentuckets on November 15, 1642 (One year after incorporation) for three pounds, and ten shillings. Pentucket was renamed Haverhill (after the Ward family's hometown in England) and evolved into an important industrial center, beginning with sawmills and gristmills run by water power. In the 18th and 19th century, Haverhill developed woolen mills, tanneries, shipping and shipbuilding. The town was home to a significant shoe-making industry for many decades. By the end of 1913, one tenth of the shoes produced in the United States were made in Haverhill, and because of this the town was known during the time as the "Queen Slipper City".
The town was founded in 1640 by settlers from Newbury, and was originally known as Pentuckett, which is for "place of the winding river". Settlers such as John Ward, Robert Clements, Tristram Coffin, Hugh Sheratt, William White, and Thomas Davis aided in the purchase of Pentuckett. The land was sold by Passaquo and Saggahew who claimed to have permission from Passaconaway, though nothing more is known of these two figures in the historical record and it is not clear whether they were at liberty to sell the land, or indeed whether they had a shared understanding of what such a contract would entail.
Settlers Thomas Hale, Henry Palmer, Thomas Davis, James Davis and William White were Pentuckett's first selectmen. First Court appointments given to end small causes were given to Robert Clements, Henry Palmer, and Thomas Hale. At the same court, it was John Osgood and Thomas Hale that were also appointed to lay the way from Haverhill to Andover. It is said that these early settlers worshipped under a large oak tree, known as the "Worshipping Oak".
The town was renamed for the town of Haverhill, England, in deference to the birthplace of the settlement's first pastor, Rev. John Ward. The original Haverhill settlement was located around the corner of Water Street and Mill Street, near the Linwood Cemetery and Burying Ground. The home of the city's father, William White, still stands, although it was expanded and renovated in the 17th and 18th centuries. White's Corner (Merrimack Street and Main Street) was named for his family, as was the White Fund at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.
Judge Nathaniel Saltonstall was chosen to preside over the Salem witch trials in the 17th century; however, he found the trials objectionable and recused himself. Historians cite his reluctance to participate in the trials as one of the reasons that the witch hysteria did not take as deep a root in Haverhill as it did in the neighboring town of Andover, which had among the most victims of the trials. However, a number of women from Haverhill were accused of witchcraft, and a few were found "guilty" by the Court of Oyer and Terminer.
One of the initial group of settlers, Tristram Coffin, ran an inn. However, he grew disenchanted with the town's stance against his strong ales, and in 1659 left Haverhill to become one of the founders of the settlement at Nantucket.
Haverhill was for many years a frontier town, and was occasionally subjected to Indian raids, which were sometimes accompanied by French colonial troops from New France, in which dozens of civilians were murdered. During King William's War, Hannah Dustin became famous for killing and then scalping her native captors, who were converts to Catholicism, after being captured in the Raid on Haverhill (1697). The city has the distinction of featuring the first statue erected in honor of a woman in the United States. In the late 19th century, it was Woolen Mill Tycoon Ezekiel J. M. Hale that commissioned a statue in her memory in Grand Army Republic Park. The statue depicts Dustin brandishing an axe and several Abenaki scalps. Her captivity narrative and subsequent escape and revenge upon her captors caught the attention of Cotton Mather, who wrote about her, and she also demanded from the colonial leaders the reward per Indian scalp. In recent years some have criticized Hannah Dustin since the Native American Indians she killed and scalped in order to escape were allegedly not her original captors and among the people she killed were young children. Hannah, born Hannah Emerson, is often maligned for coming from a troubled family: in 1676 her father Michael Emerson was fined for excessive violence toward his 12-year-old daughter Elizabeth, who in 1693 was hanged for concealing the deaths of her illegitimate twin daughters; and in 1683 Hannah's sister Mary was whipped for fornication. There were never any allegations of any sort against Hannah herself.
In 1708, during Queen Anne's War, the town, then about thirty homes, was raided by a party of French, Algonquin and Abenaki Indians.Like most towns, Haverhill has been struck by several epidemics. Diphtheria killed 256 children in Haverhill between November 17, 1735 and December 31, 1737.
George Washington visited Haverhill on November 4, 1789. Washington was on a "triumphant circuit" touring New England.
Haverhill residents were early advocates for the abolition of slavery, and the city still retains a number of houses which served as stops on the Underground Railroad. In 1834, a branch of the American Anti-Slavery Society was organized in the city. In 1841, citizens from Haverhill petitioned Congress for dissolution of the Union, on the grounds that Northern resources were being used to maintain slavery. John Quincy Adams presented the Haverhill Petition on January 24, 1842. Even though Adams moved that the petition be answered in the negative, an attempt was made to censure him for even presenting the petition. In addition, poet and outspoken abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier was from Haverhill.
The Haverhill and Boston Stage Coach company operated from 1818 to 1837 when the railroad was extended to Haverhill from Andover. It then changed its name and routes to the Northern and Eastern Stage company.
It was Ezekiel Hale Jr. and son Ezekiel James Madison Hale (descendants of Thomas Hale) that gave Haverhill a great head of steam. It was in the summer of 1835, the brick factory on Winter St was erected by Ezekiel Hale Jr. and Son. It was intended to run woolen flannel at a whopping six hundred yards of flannel per day. It was Ezekiel JM Hale, age 21 and graduate of Dartmouth College that came to the rescue when fire destroyed the operation in 1845. He rebuilt the mill at Hale's Falls, now more than twice as large produced nearly three times the output. Ezekiel JM Hale became Haverhill's Tycoon. EJM Hale served a term in the State Senate and was much revered in the area. Hale donated large sums of money to build the hospital and library.
Haverhill was incorporated as a city in 1870.
In the early morning hours of February 17, 1882, a massive fire destroyed much of the city's mill section, in a blaze that encompassed over 10 acres (4.0 ha). Firefighting efforts were hampered by not only the primitive fire fighting equipment of the period, but also high winds and freezing temperatures. The nearby water source – the Merrimack River – was frozen, and hoses dropped through the ice tended to freeze as well. A New York Times report the next day established the damage at 300 businesses destroyed and damage worth approximately $2M (in 1882 dollars).
Bradford fits naturally into Haverhill but they were separate towns until January 1, 1897, when Bradford joined the City of Haverhill. Bradford was originally the western part of Rowley until it split from Old Rowley in 1672. In 1850, the East part of Bradford left and was founded as the independent town of Groveland. When Haverhill became a city in 1870, there were calls for the town to be annexed. This would go on for another 26 years. Neither town agreed to a plan, until in late 1896, the vote came up and both sides agree to join.
There were many reasons for the decision. Finances played a part into the annexation; a lot of people who lived in Bradford had businesses in Haverhill and wanted lower taxes. Traditionalists wanted Haverhill to be a dry town as Bradford was. Businesses in Lawrence, Portsmouth, and Andover wanted Haverhill to be a dry town so more business would show up and increase businesses in those towns. The demand for municipal services like hospitals, schools, and a new factory downtown were in Haverhill while Bradford had none of the three. The Bradford Center of town wanted to join Haverhill but the Ward Hill section of town did not at the time since it was a substantial distance from both Bradford and Haverhill.
Finally, another reason why Haverhill wanted to annex Bradford was to return the town to majority English instead of the plurality of Irish, French Canadians and Central Europeans (Hungarians, Slovaks, Germans, and Italians) it had become with the influx of mill workers. Haverhill gladly approved with the first ballot in 1870 and Bradford was no more starting January 1, 1897. Bradford remains the only town in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to be annexed to a neighboring city other than Boston.
Haverhill became the first American city with a socialist mayor in 1898 when it elected former shoe factory worker and cooperative grocery store clerk John C. Chase. Chase was re-elected to this position in 1899 but was defeated the following year.
In the early part of the 20th century, the manufacturing base in the city came under pressure as a result of lower priced imports from abroad. The Great Depression exacerbated the economic slump, and as a result city leaders enthusiastically embraced the concept of urban renewal in the 1950s and 1960s, receiving considerable federal funds used to demolish much of the north side of Merrimack Street, most of the Federal homes along Water Street (dating from the city's first hundred years of development), and throughout downtown. Many of the city's iconic buildings were lost, including the Oddfellows Hall, the Old City Hall, the Second Meetinghouse, the Pentucket Club, and the Old Library, among others.
During Urban Renewal, the iconic high school—the inspiration for Bob Montana's Archie Comics—was declared "unsound" and slated for demolition. Instead, the historic City Hall on Main Street was demolished, and city began using the High School of Archie's Gang as the new City Hall.
Urban Renewal was controversial. Several leading citizens argued to use the funds for preservation rather than demolition. Their plan was not accepted in Haverhill, which chose to demolish much of its historic downtown, including entire swaths of Merrimack Street, River Street, and Main Street. However, examples of the city's architecture, spanning nearly four centuries, abound: from early colonial houses (the White residence, the Duston Garrison House, the 1704 John Ward House, the 1691 Kimball Tavern, and the historic district of Rocks Village) to the modernist 1960s architecture of the downtown Haverhill Bank. The city's Highlands district, adjacent to downtown, is a fine example of the variety of Victorian mansions built during Haverhill's boom years as a shoe manufacturing city.
Throughout the 21st century, Haverhill has underwent a substantial renaissance of many sorts. Housing trends, combined with a rezoning by the city led by longtime Mayor James Fiorentini and the use of Federal and State brownfield's money to clean up abandoned factories, resulted in the conversion of several abandoned factories in downtown into loft apartments and condominiums. There has been a total of $150 million in public and private investment in the old factory district area. Additionally, the Washington Street area gained new dining and entertainment spots, with federal, State and local funds contributing to removing an abandoned gas station on Granite Street. The site was cleaned up and converted into a 350-space parking garage. The city was also able to obtain Federal, State and local money to put in a new boardwalk and boat docks in the downtown area aside the Merrimack River.
In recent years, the city completed a rezoning of downtown proposed by Mayor Fiorentini designed to encourage artist loft live work space and educational uses for the downtown area. Despite the city's efforts, old buildings remain vacant or underutilized, such as the former Woolworth department store, which has been boarded up for over 40 years at the intersection of Main Street and Merrimack Street. The building was eventually purchased, with plans put into place to renovate and repurpose the site, however this never actually happened. On March 19, 2015, the Woolworth building was demolished to make way for a $68 Million development.
In 2018, it was announced that the mayor's administration was successful in acquiring $13 million in state funding to go towards increasing pedestrian safety on North Avenue.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 35.6 square miles (92.3 km2), of which 33.0 square miles (85.4 km2) is land and 2.7 square miles (6.9 km2), or 7.47%, is water. The city ranks 60th in the Commonwealth in terms of land area, and is the largest city or town in Essex County. Haverhill is drained by the Little and Merrimack rivers, the latter separating the Bradford section of town from the rest of Haverhill. The highest point in the city is found on Ayers Hill, a drumlin with two knobs of almost equal elevation of at least 335 feet (102 m), according to the most recent (2011-2012) USGS 7.5-minute topographical map. The city also has several ponds and lakes, as well as three golf courses.
Haverhill is bordered by Merrimac to the northeast, West Newbury and Groveland to the east, Boxford and a small portion of North Andover to the south, Methuen to the southwest, and Salem, Atkinson and Plaistow, New Hampshire, to the north. From its city center, Haverhill is 8 miles (13 km) northeast of Lawrence, 27 miles (43 km) southeast of Manchester, New Hampshire, and 32 miles (51 km) north of Boston.
Points of interest
- Main Street Historic District
- Museum of Printing
- Winnekenni Park Conservation Area, including Winnekenni Castle and Lake Saltonstall
|* = population estimate. |
Source: United States census records and Population Estimates Program data.
As of the census of 2010, there were 60,879 people, 25,576 households, and 14,865 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,846.5 people per square mile (683.1/km2). There were 23,737 housing units at an average density of 712.2 per square mile (275.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 88.3% White, 4.5% African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.6% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 4.30% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino made up 14.5% of the population (5.8% Puerto Rican, 4.6% Dominican, 0.9% Mexican, 0.5% Guatemalan, 0.3% Salvadoran, 0.3% Colombian, 0.2% Cuban). 16.8% were of Irish, 14.6% Italian, 10.1% French, 9.0% English, 7.8% French Canadian and 6.3% American ancestry according to Census 2000.
There were 22,976 households, out of which 33.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.0% were married couples living together, 13.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.3% were non-families. 28.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.11.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 25.7% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 33.5% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 12.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $49,833, and the median income for a family was $59,772. Males had a median income of $41,197 versus $31,779 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,280. About 7.0% of families and 9.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.3% of those under age 18 and 10.0% of those age 65 or over.
Haverhill operates under a Mayor-council form of government. The current mayor is James J. Fiorentini, who has been mayor of Haverhill since 2004 and was most recently re elected in 2021. The City Council has nine members, elected every two years. The most recent election was during 2021.
- Massachusetts Senate's 1st Essex district.
- Massachusetts House of Representatives' 2nd Essex district
- Massachusetts House of Representatives' 3rd Essex district
- Massachusetts House of Representatives' 14th Essex district
- Massachusetts House of Representatives' 15th Essex district
Haverhill is the home of the main campus of Northern Essex Community College. Until its closing in 2000, Bradford College provided liberal arts higher education in Haverhill. In 2007, it became the new home of the Zion Bible College, now called Northpoint Bible College. Recently, The University of Massachusetts at Lowell (U-Mass Lowell) has built a satellite campus in Haverhill in the new Harbor Place building, and has begun teaching several courses at Northern Essex Community College. Haverhill completed the reconstruction of the Hunking middle school in the Bradford part of the city. Haverhill is also home to the historic Walnut Square School, first built in 1898 at a cost of $30,000. The school’s tower clock was created by Mr. Edward Howard, a famous clock maker of the 1890’s, at a cost of $1,300.
Public schools in the city are a part of the Haverhill Public Schools District.
Haverhill lies along Interstate 495, which has five exits throughout the city. The town is crossed by five state routes, including Routes 97, 108, 110, 113 and 125. Routes 108 and 125 both have their northern termini at the New Hampshire state border, where both continue as New Hampshire state routes. Four of the five state routes, except Route 108, share at least a portion of their roadways in the town with each other. Haverhill is the site of six road crossings and a rail crossing of the Merrimack; two by I-495 (the first leading into Methuen), the Comeau Bridge (Railroad Avenue, which leads to the Bradford MBTA station), the Haverhill/Reading Line Railroad Bridge, the Basiliere Bridge (Rte. 125/Bridge St.), the Bates Bridge (Rtes. 97/113 to Groveland), and the Rocks Village Bridge, to West Newbury, just south of the Merrimac town line. In 2010, a project began to replace the Bates Bridge, 60 feet (18 m) downstream, with a modern bridge. The project is expected to take two to three years and cost approximately $45 million.
MBTA Commuter Rail provides service from Boston's North Station with the Haverhill and Bradford stations on its Haverhill/Reading Line. Amtrak provides service to Portland, Maine, and Boston's North Station from the same Haverhill station. Additionally, MVRTA provides local bus service to Haverhill and beyond. The nearest small-craft airport, Lawrence Municipal Airport, is in North Andover. The nearest major airport is Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in Manchester, and the nearest international airport is Logan International Airport in Boston.
- John Mapes Adams, Medal of Honor recipient during the Boxer Rebellion
- Mabel Albertson (1901–1982), actress
- Louis Alter (1902–1980), songwriter ("Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?")
- Daniel Appleton (1785–1849), publisher
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- The Story of Hannah Dustin
- "The Great Fire at Haverhill" from The New York Times archive
- "Haverhill's Great Loss" from The New York Times archive
- Disaster Genealogy - The Haverhill FireArchived 2014-11-29 at the Wayback Machine
- published in 19th century
- Mirick, B L (1832). History of Haverhill. Haverhill: A W Thayer.
- Jeremiah Spofford (1860), "Haverhill", Historical and Statistical Gazetteer of Massachusetts (2nd ed.), Haverhill: E.G. Frothingham
- George Wingate Chase (1861), History of Haverhill, Massachusetts, Haverhill: Pub. by the author, OCLC 11267735, OL 13557017M
- "Haverhill Business Directory". Merrimack River Directory, for 1872 & 1873. Boston: Greenough, Jones. 1872.
- Elias Nason (1874), "Haverhill", Gazetteer of the State of Massachusetts, Boston: B.B. Russell, OCLC 1728892
- Haverhill: Foundation Facts, Haverhill, Mass: Bridgman & Gay, 1879, OCLC 7188408
- Haverhill - Facts of Interest (1880).
- Benjamin L. Mirick (1882), History of Haverhill, Massachusetts, Haverhill: A. W. Thayer, OCLC 6697842, OL 6905779M
- "City of Haverhill", Industries of Massachusetts, New York: International Pub. Co., 1886, OCLC 19803267
- Haverhill, Massachusetts: an Industrial and Commercial Center, Haverhill, Mass: Board of Trade, 1889, OCLC 11378334, OL 13490085M
- White, Daniel (1889). The Descendants of William White, of Haverhill, Mass.
- published in 20th century
- Haverhill and Groveland Directory. Boston: Price & Lee. 1902.
- Thomas, Samuel (1904). Whittier-land: A Handbook of North Essex.
- Haverhill (Mass.). Board of Trade. (1905), History of the City of Haverhill, Massachusetts, Haverhill, OCLC 5042345, OL 6603655M
- Charles A. Flagg (1907), "Essex County: Haverhill", Guide to Massachusetts Local History, Salem, Mass.: Salem Press
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911), Encyclopædia Britannica, 13 (11th ed.), Cambridge University Press, p. 81 ,
- "Haverhill, Mass.", Automobile Blue Book, Automobile Blue Book Publishing Co., 1917, OCLC 7442840, OL 23461025M
- Arrington, Benjamin F. (1922). Municipal History of Essex County in Massachusetts. Volume 2 - Haverhill. Volume 3 Biographical. Volume 4 Biographical. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company.
- Charles A. Richmond (1922), Haverhill Strangers' Directory, Haverhill, Mass: Telegram Press, OL 24157599M
- Federal Writers' Project (1937), "Haverhill", Massachusetts: a Guide to its Places and People, American Guide Series, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, hdl:2027/mdp.39015014440781
- published in 21st century
- Regan, Shawn, "Literary Haunts", Eagle-Tribune, October 22, 2006
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|Wikisource has the text of the 1921 Collier's Encyclopedia article Haverhill.|