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Amesbury is a city in Essex Countymarker, Massachusettsmarker, United Statesmarker, but still refers to itself as the Town of Amesbury. In 1890, 9798 people lived in Amesbury; in 1900, 9473; in 1910, 9894; in 1920, 10,036; and in 1940, 10,862. The population was 16,450 at the 2000 census. A former farming and mill town, Amesbury is today largely residential.


Settled in 1642, Amesbury was first recognized as "Salisbury New Town" in 1666 when it formally separated from Salisburymarker. It was incorporated as "Amesbury" in 1668, after Amesburymarker in Wiltshiremarker, Englandmarker.

Originally the boundary between Amesbury and Salisbury was the Powwow River. In 1876 Merrimac was created out of West Amesbury. In 1886 West Salisbury was annexed to Amesbury so the mill area on the Powwow River was unified. See the maps linked below.

Beginning as a modest farming community, it would develop an aggressive maritime and industrial economy. The 90 foot drop in the falls of the Powwow Rivermarker provided water power for sawmills and gristmills. Shipbuilding, shipping and fishing were also important. The ferry across the Merrimack River to Newburyportmarker was a lively business until the construction of bridges to Deer Island. Newtonmarker, New Hampshiremarker would be set off from Amesbury in 1741, when the border between the two colonies was adjusted.

In the 19th century, textile mills were built at the falls, as was a mechanized nail-making factory, believed to be the nation's first. The Merrimac Hat Company produced more hats than any of its competitors. Beginning in 1853, Amesbury became famous for building carriages, a trade which would evolve into the manufacture of automobile bodies. The industry, however, would end with the Great Depression. Amesbury also produced Hoyt's Buffalo Brand Peanut Butter Kisses. In 1876, the town of Merrimacmarker was set off from Amesbury. In 1996, the town changed its status to a city, and adopted the mayor and municipal council form of government, although it retained the title "Town of Amesbury." The current mayor is Thatcher W. Kezer III.

The community has an impressive collection of early architecture, particularly in the Federal and Victorian styles. Following a recent restoration of the historic downtown, many new restaurants opened. The "Doughboy," a memorial sculpture by Leonard Craske, stands on the front lawn of the Amesbury Middle School. It was dedicated November 11, 1929. Craske is best known as sculptor for the "Fishermens' Memorial" in Gloucestermarker. There is here a monument erected to Josiah Bartlett, who was born in Amesbury.

Image:Macy House, Amesbury, MA.jpg|Thomas Macy House in c. 1905Image:Mills, Amesbury, MA.jpg|Mills in 1914Image:Josiah Bartlett's Statue, Amesbury, MA.jpg|Bartlett's statue in c. 1910Image:Whittier's Home, Amesbury, MA.jpg|Whittier's home in 1909


Amesbury is located at . According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.6 square miles (35.4 km²), of which, 12.4 square miles (32.1 km²) of it is land and 1.2 square miles (3.2 km²) of it (9.08%) is water. Amesbury is drained by the Powwow Rivermarker. Powwow Hill, elevation 332 feet (98 m), is the highest point in town. Once the site of Indian gatherings, or "powwows," it has views to Mainemarker and Cape Annmarker.


For additional demographic information on the central urban area of Amesbury, which is a census-designated place, see the article Amesbury marker, Massachusettsmarker. It provodes details that are included in the aggregate numbers reported here.

Main Street from Market Square in 1911
As of the census of 2000, there were 16,450 people, 6,380 households, and 4,229 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,326.3 people per square mile (512.2/km²). There were 6,623 housing units at an average density of 206.2 persons/km² (534.0 persons/sq mi). The racial makeup of the city was 60.19% White, 30.64% African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.58% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.24% from other races, and 1.10% from two or more races. 10.95% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 6,380 households out of which 34.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.2% were married couples living together, 11.3% have a woman whose husband does not live with her, and 33.7% were non-families. 26.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.09.

Lake Attitash in 1911
In the city the population was spread out with 26.1% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 33.8% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 12.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 93.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $51,906, and the median income for a family was $62,875. Males had a median income of $43,489 versus $31,968 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,103. 5.9% of the population and 3.9% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 7.0% are under the age of 18 and 8.2% are 65 or older.


Amesbury's high school football rival is Newburyportmarker; the two teams play against each other every Thanksgiving Day.

Points of interest

Notable residents

Sister City

Amesbury is sister cities with:


  • Merrill, Joseph, History of Amesbury, from the History of Essex County Volume 2 Chapter 125 , pages 1495-1535, Compiled by D.Hamilton Hurd, published by J.W.Lewis 1888.


  • Bigelow, E.H. Amesbury and Salisbury Mills. Birds eye view at the Boston Public Library Website.
  • Norris, George E. Amesbury. Panaramic View. Published 1890. Burleigh Lith.Est. At the Library of Congress Website.
  • Hughes & Bailey. Amesbury. Panoramic View. Published 1914.

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