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Haverhill, Massachusetts
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Where Is Haverhill, Massachusetts?
Including History, Facts and Figure

Rated #1 place to live in New England by Money Magazine in 1995.

The phonetic pronunciation of Haverhill is: HAY-VRILL

Haverhill's Location Northeast Massachusetts Map Haverhill is located in northeastern Massachusetts; about 32 miles north of Boston on the New Hampshire border; and about 16 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. The Merrimack River flows 12 miles through the heart of the city and is directly responsible for the city's shape and character. Haverhill is connected to New England via Interstate Highway 495 and by commuter rail. Interstate Highways 93 and 95 are only a 10 minute drive away. Haverhill has three airports including Logan International Airport within 30 miles. With Haverhill being centrally located in New England, it is easy to understand why Haverhill is considered a gateway city for global technology and commerce.

Haverhill's location on our planet is: 42.785605 N, 71.072057 W. Haverhill's geographical area encompasses 34.38 square miles (32,0005.5 acres) of which land area is 32.04 square miles (30,505.5 acres) and water area is 2.34 square miles (1,500.0 acres). Haverhill has 232.08 miles of road.

The 2000 Census shows Haverhill has 58,969 residents, up 7,551 from 1990. The census figure represents the third-highest population boost among communities across the State of Massachusetts. Haverhill showed the greatest growth of any city in the Merrimack Valley between 1990 and 2000.


















Haverhill Deed of Township

Haverhill Deed of Township Haverhill was founded in 1640 by twelve English Puritans from Ipswich, MA and Newbury, MA as a frontier settlement. Pentucket was the original name of the settlement -- named for the nearby Native American tribe. Although homes were built and the farm lands were being tended, it was not until two years later in 1642 when the "Haverhill Deed of Township" was finally signed. John Ward, Robert Clements, Tristram Coffin, Hugh Sherratt, William White and Thomas Davis signed for the settlers. Pentucket tribe members Passaquo and SaggaHew, with the consent of Passaconway, signed for the tribe. The settlers purchased the land for 3 pounds and 10 shillings. Haverhill is named after Haverhill, England.

Hannah Duston

Hannah Duston Statue Hannah Duston (1657-1732) is noted in history for her daring escape in 1697 from 10 Native Americans. On March 15, 1697, Hannah, her 1 week old daughter Martha, and 39 others were kidnapped and forced to walk over 45 miles to a site along the Merrimack River near Concord, NH. The legend says that her daughter was then murdered. Soon after her baby's murder, Hannah learned that she was to be taken to a faraway village. Fearing for her own life, Hannah plotted her escape knowing that there was little chance of any rescue attempt being made to save her. On March 31, 1697, Hannah scalped and killed her 10 captors and escaped. Hannah brought back the scalps to prove her story and collect a bounty.

George Washington

George Washington George Washington visited Haverhill on November 4, 1789. Washington was on a "triumphant circuit" touring New England. On his return to New York City, Washington chose Harrod's Tavern on Main Street to spend his night. Washington's impression of Haverhill was that it was "the pleasantest village he had past through......it has commercial advantages and beauty of location". After he left Haverhill, the townspeople named its main meeting square Washington Square.


Cattle From 1700 to 1800, Haverhill's early industries were farming, fishing and shipbuilding. Around 1800, Haverhill had become a regional center for the cattle market. Haverhill's businessmen were always quite zealous for making a profit. They took advantage of the cattle market by producing as many different products as they could from the cattle. Products included salt beef; combs made from horns; and leather products such as gloves, saddles, harnesses and shoes.

Ladies' Upper Laced Boot, 1883

Ladies Boot It was the shoe industry that first made Haverhill's mark on the world. In 1811, 20,000 pair of shoes were being produced. By 1830, the number of pairs of shoes produced had grown to 1,500,000. In 1890, over 11,000 people were employed in the shoe industry and that number continued to grow well into the early 1900's. Haverhill became a world leader in the shoe industry and was called the "Queen Shoe City of the World". At the shoe industry's peak, Haverhill had over 200 shoe establishments with a fine complement of support businesses.

John Greenleaf Whittier

John Greenleaf Whittier
John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892), the celebrated Quaker poet and abolitionist, was born in Haverhill in 1807. Whittier is best renowned for his poem "Snowbound". Whittier is also recognized for his works as an editor of several newspapers.

Macy's Department Store, NYC

Macy's Department Store, New York City Rowland Hussey Macy (1822-1919), of the New York City department store fame, got his start in the retail business by opening his dry goods store in downtown Haverhill in 1851. Macy's store was located on Merrimack Street. Macy's first parade was not in New York City as most may think, but was held in Haverhill on July 4, 1854. It was too hot that day and only about 100 people turned out to view the parade. Macy's policy for his store was "His goods are bought for cash, and will be sold for the same, at a small advance". In 1858 Macy sold his store and with the financial backing of Haverhill's Caleb Dustin Hunking, he left Haverhill to open a new store in New York City.

Haverhill became incorporated as a city in 1870.

Bell's 1st Telephone Call.....
"Mr. Watson, come here, I want you."

Alexander Graham Bell Thomas S. Sanders (1839-1911), was a prosperous leather merchant in Haverhill and the principle financier for Alexander Graham Bell's telephone. Sander's oldest child was a deaf mute. Sanders had befriended Bell, a specialist in teaching the deaf, after Bell had become Sanders child's tutor. It was in Haverhill that Bell conducted his telephone experiments. Sanders invested $110,000.00 into Bell's telephone invention. In 1877, Sanders along with Bell, Thomas Watson and Gardiner Hubbard formed the Bell Telephone Company. The first business telephone call was made in Haverhill, between the home of Sanders on Kenoza Avenue, and his sole cutting business on Merrimack Street.

William H. Moody

William H. Moody William H. Moody (1853-1917), Haverhill's City Solicitor in 1888, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1895 and was subsequently reelected 3 times. In 1902, Moody resigned his House seat to accept an appointment as Secretary of the Navy from President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1904, Roosevelt appointed Moody U.S. Attorney General. In 1906, President Roosevelt nominated Moody to the Supreme Court to which Moody served until 1910. Moody is also notarized in history as one of the prosecuting attorneys in the famed Lizzie Borden "hatchet murder" trial in 1892 while serving in the Massachusetts District Attorney's Office.

Louis B. Mayer

Loius B. Mayer Louis B. Mayer (1885-1957), of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Studios fame, got his start in motion picture industry in Haverhill. In 1907, he purchased and renovated the rundown Gem Theater for a bargain price. (He promptly renamed it the Orpheum Theater.) Mayer made it his policy to only show top-quality films in his theater. That policy led to a thriving business for Mayer. Because of his success in Haverhill, Mayer expanded to other areas in New England and within a few years he owned the largest theater chain in the region. In 1916, Mayer left Haverhill and ventured west to Los Angeles, CA and formed his own production company. His company, after a series of mergers, became known as MGM Studios.

Waterfront Westside

Downtown Waterfront 1910-- Westside

Waterfront Westside

Downtown Waterfront 1910 -- Eastside


Archie Bob Montana (1920-1975), in 1941, created the "Archie Comic Strip" depicting his days as a student at Haverhill High School (HHS). Montana was a member of HHS class of 1939. HHS is called Riverdale High in the comics presumably because of the influence of the Merrimack River. "The Thinker" stills sits outside at HHS's front entrance. The main characters, Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica and Reggie are all based on Montana's real-life friends at HHS and their teenage adventures.


Footwear-to-Software Task Force Following the Great Depression and WWII, Haverhill's shoe industry faded. But new businesses soon appeared like Western Electric in the 1950's and continuing on to Pepsi Cola in 1997. The city has recovered nicely by combining a good mix of residential living with a good business and technology base. Haverhill has several industrial parks and an emerging "Cyber District". The Cyber District is located in downtown Haverhill's nationally registered Historic District. The Cyber District is being supported by Mayor John Guerin's "Footwear-to-Software" Task Force. The district's streetscapes are recognized as having one of the finest Queen Anne architectural styles in America.

Rolling Hills and Farmlands

Farm View Haverhill has many working farms and is abundant in rolling hills. Rich with natural resources, Haverhill is blessed with many lakes, streams and ponds and an array of parks, trails and conservation areas. The Merrimack River provides a perfect home to an increasing population of bald eagles. Recreational activities can also be enjoyed at Haverhill's four golf courses, downhill ski area, public skating rink, horse riding academies or at its sailing program.

Golden Hill School

Golden Hill School Haverhill strives to have one of the best educational systems in the United States. Haverhill takes great pride in the learning environment it has created for its children. Along with its accomplished elementary, middle and high schools, Haverhill has a vocational high school and is the home of Northern Essex Community College. Haverhill opened two new schools, (Silver and Golden Hill) in 1995 and two more new schools (Bradford and Pentucket Lake) in 1998. (Total cost for the 4 school equals approximately 60 million dollars.) The Nettle School is currently being rehabilitated. In 1997, Haverhill completed a 5 million dollar expansion of its public library.

New Police Station

New Police Station Public safety and health care are very important to Haverhill's citizens. In the fall of 1999, Haverhill's new police station (6 million dollars) was completed. The new station is a state-of-the-art facility; housing a centralized communications center for both the police and fire departments. In addition, the new police station is equipped with the most modern crime-fighting, crime-deterring and crime-analyzing tools. Haverhill has a full service hospital in the city; has several rehabilitation and long-term care facilities; and has numerous fitness centers.

The Great Race

The Great Race The spirit of community can be found in every corner of Haverhill. Volunteerism has always been an overflowing advantage for Haverhill. The City of Haverhill sponsors many events throughout the year that bring that spirit alive. The 4th of July Celebration, Septemberfest and Downtown Christmas Stroll are great examples that bring about Haverhill's charm. "A modern city with a small town flavor" is how many visitors and residents best described Haverhill. Haverhill was selected as the The History Channel's host city for the finish of its 16th annual "Great Race". The race, a cross country, antique automobile road rally, started in Tacoma, Washington on May 31, 1998, and ended in Haverhill on June 13, 1998. Due to the worst rain storm in 41 years, only 14,000 people turned out for the Great Race (expected attendance was to bring an additional 50,000 people into the city to watch the cars cross the finish line); but those that did attend had a fantastic and memorable time.

Additional Notable Citizens:


















Information Sources:

Chase, George Wingate. The History of Haverhill, Massachusetts Somersworth, NH: New England History Press in collaboration with the Haverhill Historical Society, Haverhill, MA, 1983.
O'Malley, Patricia Trainor and Tedesco, Paul H. A New England City - Haverhill, Massachusetts Northridge, CA: Windsor Publication, Inc., 1987.
Phillips, Charles. Archie His First 50 Years New York City, NY: Abbeville Press, 1991.
What Do George Washington And Archie Have In Common Haverhill Historical Society, Haverhill, MA.
North of Boston, 1997-1998 Visitors Guide North of Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, Peabody, MA.
Whittier Family Homestead Trustees of the Whittier Homestead, Haverhill, MA
Haverhill Public Library, Haverhill, MA.
Haverhill Public Library Special Collections, Haverhill, MA.
Library of Congress
United States Geological Survey
Various Internet Sites

*Year 2000 population estimated by Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Glavin as reported in the Eagle-Tribune, June 21, 1999, page 1, Haverhill Edition.

Other states and countries with cities/towns named Haverhill:
Florida, Iowa, Kansas, New Hampshire, England


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