Danvers is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States, located on the Danvers River near the northeastern coast of Massachusetts. The suburb is a short ride from Boston and is also easy to get to the beaches in Gloucester. Originally known as Salem Village, the town is most widely known for its association with the 1692 Salem witch trials. It was also the site of Danvers State Hospital (one of the state's 19th-century psychiatric hospital) and for Liberty Tree Mall. As of 2014, the town's population was approximately 27,000.
Town and CDP
Peabody Institute Library on Sylvan Street
The King Unwilling
|Named for||Danvers Osborn|
|• Type||Representative town meeting|
| • Board of|
|Daniel C. Bennett|
William H. Clark, Jr.
David A. Mills
Gardner S. Trask, III
|• Total||14.1 sq mi (36.5 km2)|
|• Land||13.3 sq mi (34.4 km2)|
|• Water||0.8 sq mi (2.1 km2)|
|Elevation||48 ft (15 m)|
|• Density||1,898.5/sq mi (733.0/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (Eastern)|
|Area code(s)||351 / 978|
|GNIS feature ID||0618295|
|Website||Town of Danvers official website|
The land that is now Danvers was once owned by the Naumkeag branch of the Massachusett tribe.
Around 1630, English colonists improved an existing Naumkeag trail as the Old Spanish Road, creating a connection to the main cities of Salem and Boston. Danvers was permanently settled in 1636 as Salem Village, and eventually petitioned the Crown for a charter as a town. According to legend, the King, rather than signing the charter, returned it with the message "The King Unwilling." On June 9, 1757, the town was incorporated regardless, and the King's rebuff was included on the town's seal. In 1752, the town was named for settler Danvers Osborn.
The historical event for which Danvers is best-known is the Salem witch trials of 1692. Resident Rebecca Nurse was convicted in a trial for witchcraft. The Rebecca Nurse Homestead is still standing in Danvers, and can be visited as a historical landmark.
From the Battle of Lexington onward, Danvers residents have participated in the armed forces. Noteworthy Revolutionary figures who stayed in Danvers include Royal Governor General Thomas Gage and Benedict Arnold. Arnold Plaque is found at 1 Conant Street.
Danvers was the birthplace of Israel Putnam, one of the most colorful figures of the colonial period and American Revolution. He built a successful farm, with fruit trees and flocks of sheep, and at one point crawled into a wolf's den on his hands and knees to kill a wolf that had been eating his sheep. He went into the den's narrow passage with a torch in one hand, a musket in the other, and a rope tied to his feet leading to his friends outside so they could pull him out if things went wrong. His one shot from the musket got the wolf. He fought with Roger's Rangers in the French & Indian War. At one point the Indians captured him, had tied him to a tree, and were going to burn him alive. A French officer rescued him in the nick of time.
When the first shots of the American Revolution were fired at the Battle of Lexington and Concord, word reached Putnam on his farm. He literally "came off the plow" to ride off to war again. Without bothering to change his clothes, he mounted his horse and rode the 100 miles to the scene in 18 hours. He was known for his courage, and demonstrated it at the Battle of Bunker Hill, where he is credited with giving the command "Don't fire until you can see the whites of their eyes." He became a major general in the Revolutionary War. His birthplace in Danvers, known as the General Israel Putnam House, still stands.
In 1847, the railroad came to Danvers. A street railway was installed in 1884, originally consisting of 69 horse-drawn trolleys. This system was later converted to electricity.
The Town Hall was built in 1855. It has been modified and renovated and is still in use. Also in 1855, the southern portion of Danvers broke away to become the town of South Danvers, later renamed Peabody.
In 1878, the Danvers State Hospital opened its doors. This was an institution to provide asylum and treatment for the mentally ill.
Originally an agricultural town, Danvers farmers developed two breeds of vegetables: the Danvers Onion (origin of the "Oniontown" nickname) and the Danvers Half-Long Carrot. This carrot was introduced by "market gardeners" in 1871.
Shoe manufacturing was a prominent industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Successful manufacturing companies included Ideal Baby Shoe. Local shoe companies were undercut in price by factories in other areas, and shoe manufacturing moved out.
On November 22, 2006, around 2:46 a.m., a major chemical explosion occurred at a facility housing Arnel Company (a manufacturer of industrial-use paint products) and CAI Inc. (a manufacturer of solvents and inks). The blast shook several North Shore towns, knocking homes off foundations and damaging buildings up to half a mile away. Glass windows shattered at least 3 miles (5 km) away, in neighboring Peabody and even in downtown Salem. The explosion was heard and felt up to 45 miles (72 km) away; the concussion was intense.
No one was killed, and none of the injuries were life-threatening, according to Fire Chief Jim Tutko. Approximately 90 homes were damaged. Residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed in the blast were taken to Danvers High School, where the Red Cross established a relief shelter. The blast occurred next to a marina, a bakery/pizza shop, and a gas station, and across the street from Eastern Propane Gas.
A May 13, 2008 report from the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board attributed the explosion to unintentional overnight heating of an ink-mixing tank containing flammable solvents.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Danvers has a total area of 14.1 square miles (37 km2), of which 13.3 square miles (34 km2) is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2), or 5.75%, is water. The tidal Danvers River begins near the southeast corner of town, and is formed by the confluence of the Porter River, Crane River and Waters River. These rivers, in turn, are fed by several brooks. The Ipswich River also flows along the town's western border. Putnamville Reservoir lies in the north end of the town. The town has several low hills and a small town forest.
Danvers is located about 17 miles (27 km) north of Downtown Boston, nearly halfway between Boston and the New Hampshire state border. It is bordered by Topsfield to the north, Wenham to the northeast, Beverly to the east, a small portion of Salem to the southeast, Peabody to the south and southwest, and Middleton to the northwest. The town center lies 4 miles (6 km) north of Salem, 16 miles (26 km) west of Gloucester, 17 miles (27 km) northeast of Boston, and 19 miles (31 km) southeast of Salem, New Hampshire. Interstate 95 and Massachusetts Route 128 both pass through the town, just east of their junction in Peabody. U.S. Route 1 also passes through town, with a large junction with Interstate 95 in the northwest end of town. The main highways are also crossed by Route 35, Route 62 and Route 114, with Routes 35 and 62 intersecting just north of the town center. The northern terminus of Route 35 is just over the Topsfield town line, where it meets Route 97.
Several MBTA Bus routes pass through the town, between Peabody and Beverly. There is no commuter rail service within town; the Newburyport/Rockport Line of the MBTA Commuter Rail passes through neighboring Salem and Beverly. Two lines of the Springfield Terminal railroad, running through Springfield, Massachusetts, also cross through town, merging near the town center to head north. Two runways of the Beverly Municipal Airport cross through the town; the nearest regularly scheduled commercial flights are located at Boston's Logan International Airport.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
As of the census of 2000, there were 25,212 people, 9,555 households, and 6,564 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,898.5 inhabitants per square mile (733.0/km2). There were 9,762 housing units at an average density of 735.1 per square mile (283.8/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.72% White, 0.35% Black or African American, 0.10% Native American, 1.11% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 0.48% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.83% of the population.
There were 9,555 households out of which 30.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.2% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were non-families. 26.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.11.
In the town, the population was spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 28.7% from 25 to 44, 24.5% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.2 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $58,779, and the median income for a family was $70,565. Males had a median income of $48,058 versus $33,825 for females. The per capita income for the town was $26,852. About 1.7% of families and 2.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.0% of those under age 18 and 4.4% of those age 65 or over.
According to the town's 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top ten employers in the town are:
|#||Employer||# of employees|
|1||Medtronic Interventional Vascular||740|
|2||IRA Motor Group||530|
|3||Hospice of the North Shore||522|
|4||North Shore Community College||418|
|6||The Home Depot||313|
|7||Cell Signaling Technology||300|
|9||Essex Technical High School||252|
|10||Danversport Yacht Club||235|
Danvers has full-time police and fire departments. Emergency medical services are provided by Lyons Ambulance Service, a private ambulance company which has served the town since 1904. The Danvers Police Department was accredited in 1986. Danvers was the first municipal agency within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to become nationally accredited.
On April 2, 1990, the natural gas lines serving homes were accidentally over-pressurized by a Boston Gas worker, resulting in fires and explosions along Lafayette St., Maple St., Venice St. and Beaver Park Av. which injured six people.
Danvers has five elementary schools (Highlands Elementary, Riverside Elementary, Great Oak Elementary, Thorpe Elementary, and Smith Elementary), each serving kindergarten through fifth grade (Riverside Elementary also includes pre-kindergarten.) Grades six through eight attend the Holten-Richmond Middle School. Grades nine through twelve attend Danvers High School.
Danvers is home to three private schools. St. Mary of the Annunciation School serves pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Plumfield Academy is a small school for grades one through eight, with a philosophy of education based on that of Charlotte Mason. St. John's Preparatory School is a school for young men, serving grades six through twelve. St. Mary's and St. John's are religiously affiliated. St. Mary's is part of the Archdiocese of Boston and Saint John's or commonly known as "the Prep" is a Xaverian Brothers-sponsored school.
In addition to the public and private schools, Danvers once hosted the Essex Agricultural and Technical High School, an independent, state-funded day school serving grades 9 through 12. Essex Agricultural & Technical High School has merged with the North Shore Vocational School, which was located in Middleton, which has resulted in a larger, unified campus located in Danvers.
Essex Technical High School opened in September 2014. The school offers 24 technical and agricultural programs to students from in-district towns, and offers the eight agricultural programs to out-of-district students.
Brian Fuller St. Pierre (born November 28, 1979) is a former American football quarterback who is currently the head football coach of St. John's Preparatory School in Danvers, Massachusetts. He was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fifth round of the 2003 NFL Draft. He played college football at Boston College.Danvers High School
Danvers High School (DHS) is a public high school in Danvers, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Danvers Public Schools school district.Danvers State Hospital
The Danvers State Hospital, also known as the State Lunatic Hospital at Danvers, The Danvers Lunatic Asylum, and The Danvers State Insane Asylum, was a psychiatric hospital located in Danvers, Massachusetts. It was built in 1874, and opened in 1878, under the supervision of prominent Boston architect Nathaniel Jeremiah Bradlee, on an isolated site in rural Massachusetts. It was a multi-acre, self-contained psychiatric hospital designed and built according to the Kirkbride Plan.
Despite being included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, the majority of the building was demolished in 2007.David Bavaro
David Anthony Bavaro (born March 27, 1967) is a former American football player. A linebacker at Syracuse University, Bavaro played professionally in the National Football League (NFL) for the Phoenix Cardinals (1990), the Buffalo Bills (1991), the Minnesota Vikings (1992), and the New England Patriots (1993–1994). His brother Mark Bavaro also played in the NFL. He now teaches physical education at Malden Catholic High School.Ed Caskin
Edward James Caskin (December 30, 1851 – October 9, 1924), born in Danvers, Massachusetts, was a baseball shortstop for the Troy Trojans (1879–81), New York Gothams/Giants (1883–84 and 1886) and St. Louis Maroons (1885).
In 7 seasons he played in 482 Games and had 1,871 At Bats, 229 Runs, 427 Hits, 50 Doubles, 10 Triples, 2 Home Runs, 163 RBI, 82 Walks, .228 Batting Average, .261 On-base percentage, .269 Slugging Percentage and 503 Total Bases.
Caskin died in his hometown of Danvers at the age of 72.Fowler House (Danvers, Massachusetts)
The Fowler House is a historic house at 166 High Street in the Danversport section of Danvers, Massachusetts. Built in 1810, the brick 2 1⁄2-story structure is notable as a well-preserved example of Federal-style architecture in the area, and for its role in the early history of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA, now Historic New England).
The house was built by Levi Preston and Stephen Whipple for Samuel Fowler, Jr., a veteran of the American Revolutionary War and early Danvers industrialist. Analysis of the records of the house construction (archived at the Peabody Essex Museum) show that was little changed at the time of its listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.The house was purchased by SPNEA in 1912, and was its second acquisition after the Swett-Ilsley House in Newbury, Massachusetts. Its relatively plain appearance led to some disagreement within the organization between preservationists seeking to preserve all types of architecture and those seeking to acquire more elegant properties. SPNEA operated the property as a house museum for some time, but sold it into private hands.Frank H. Cann
Frank Howard Cann (November 14, 1863 – November 19, 1935) was an American football coach and college athletics instructor. He served the second head football coach at New York University (NYU). He held that position for the 1898 season leading the NYU Violets to a record of 1–3. In 1907, Cann was still at New York University as director of the Department of Physical Training and Athletics.Cann died in New Rochelle, New York in 1935. He had two sons who became accomplished sportsmen. Howard Cann was an Olympic shotputter and a long-time coach of the NYU men's basketball team, whereas Tedford Cann was a swimmer and a decorated World War I veteran.General Israel Putnam House
The General Israel Putnam House in Danvers, Massachusetts, United States, is a historic First Period house recorded in the National Register of Historic Places. The house is also sometimes known as the Thomas Putnam House after Lt. Thomas Putnam (1615–1686), who built the home circa 1648. His grandson, Israel Putnam, the famous general of the American Revolution, was born in the house. Lt. Thomas Putnam was the father of Sgt. Thomas Putnam Jr., (Israel's half-uncle), a notorious figure in the Salem witch trials. The Putnam House is now operated by the Danvers Historical Society and open by appointment.Glen Wesley
Glen Edwin Wesley (born October 2, 1968) is a Canadian-American former ice hockey defenceman. Wesley played 13 seasons for the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League. He began his career with the Boston Bruins, and briefly played for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Wesley played in four Stanley Cup Finals, winning it once in 2006. He was the Hurricanes' director of development for defensemen, and announced his departure on June 12, 2018. As of August 28, 2018 he now works as a development coach for the St. Louis Blues.Leo Sexton
Leo Joseph Sexton (August 27, 1909 – September 6, 1968) was an American shot putter who won a gold medal at the 1932 Summer Olympics. Sexton was the world record holder for nearly a month in 1932. Despite his large frame (1.93 m, 108 kg), he cleared 1.96 m in the high jump in 1929. After retiring from sports he worked in insurance, becoming vice-president of a company in Perry, Oklahoma.Peabody, Massachusetts
Peabody is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 51,251 at the 2010 census, and in 2016 the estimated population was 52,491. Peabody is located in the North Shore region of Massachusetts, and is known for its rich industrial history.Peabody Institute (Danvers, Massachusetts)
The Peabody Institute is the public library of Danvers, Massachusetts, established in 1854. The current building at 15 Sylvan Street was constructed for the Peabody Institute in 1891 by Little & Brown. The historic structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.Rebecca Nurse Homestead
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead is a historic colonial house built ca. 1700 located at 149 Pine Street, Danvers, Massachusetts. It had many additions through the years, eventually being historically restored and turned into a museum in 1909. Today it is owned and operated by the Danvers Alarm List Company, a volunteer non-profit organization.Robbins Airport
Robbins Airport was an airfield operational in the mid-20th century in Danvers, Massachusetts.Samuel Holten
Samuel Holten (June 9, 1738 – January 2, 1816) was an American physician and statesman from Danvers, Massachusetts. He represented Massachusetts as a delegate to the Continental Congress and a member of the United States House of Representatives.Sarah Good
Sarah Good (July 21 [O.S. July 11], 1653 – July 29 [O.S. July 19], 1692) was one of the first three women to be accused of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials, which occurred in 1692 in colonial Massachusetts.St. John's Preparatory School (Massachusetts)
St. John's Preparatory School is a 6–12 private, Roman Catholic, college-preparatory school for boys in Danvers, Massachusetts, United States. It was established in 1907 by the Xaverian Brothers and is located in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. It was formerly a combination commuter-boarding school but ended its residential program in 1975.Theodore C. Speliotis
Theodore C. "Ted" Speliotis (born August 20, 1953) is a Democratic member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, representing the 13th Essex District. He lives in Danvers, Massachusetts.Representative Speliotis attended the Carroll School in Peabody, the Danversport Elementary School, and graduated from Danvers High School in 1971. In 1976, he earned his bachelor's degree in political science and a certification and license to teach from Northeastern University.
Speliotis represented the 12th Essex District from 1979 to 1987. He lost the 1986 Democratic primary to Peabody City Councilor Thomas Walsh.From 1987 to 1995, Speliotis was the Danvers Town Moderator.He returned to the House in 1997 following the retirement of Sally Kerans.Winning Moves
Winning Moves Games is a maker of classic card games and board games, puzzles, action games and adult party games. The company is known for game reproduction, republishing and variants like Monopoly: The Mega Edition.
Municipalities and communities of Essex County, Massachusetts, United States
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