Shawsheen River

The Shawsheen River is a 26.7-mile-long (43.0 km)[1] tributary of the Merrimack River in northeast Massachusetts. The name has had various spellings. According to Bailey's history of Andover, the spelling Shawshin was the most common in the old records, although Shawshine, Shashin, Shashine, Shashene, Shawshene, and later, Shawsheen, are found. The name, says Bailey, is said to mean "Great Spring".[2]

The river runs generally northward through the towns of Bedford, Billerica, Wilmington, Tewksbury, Andover, and Lawrence, where it joins the Merrimack. Like its parent, the river has played an important role in the development of the area, including industrial development, with many mills built to take advantage of the river's power. Today there are trails and parks located along several sections of the river, and a preservation effort is carried out by the Shawsheen River Watershed Association.

In June 2001, the Merrimack River Watershed Council determined that the Shawsheen River failed to meet water quality standards. This situation was largely attributed to stormwater runoff via town, private and state storm drain systems. As a result of increased pollutants, major portions of the Shawsheen River are now listed as impaired waters on the 303(d) list of the Clean Water Act.[3]

The removal of the Marland Place Dam (originally built in the 1700s) and Balmoral Dam (originally built in the 1920s) allowed alewife and blueback herring to spawn upstream to the Ballardvale Dam in spring 2017, for the first time in over 200 years.[4]

Shawsheen River, Pinehurst MA
The Shawsheen River in Billerica
Shawsheen River (Massachusetts) map
Shawsheen River


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed October 3, 2011
  2. ^ Historical Sketches of Andover by Sarah Loring Bailey, 1880
  3. ^ "Final Report: GIS Data Layer of Storm Drain Outlets (Part II): Shawsheen River Basin" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-10-31.
  4. ^ As dams come down, river herring return to Shawsheen River

External links

Coordinates: 42°42′19″N 71°08′25″W / 42.7053°N 71.1403°W

Andover Village Improvement Society

The Andover Village Improvement Society (AVIS) is a private land preservation society in Andover, Massachusetts. Founded in 1894, AVIS is the second oldest land preservation society in the United States. Its goal is to acquire land within Andover and preserve it in its natural state.

The organization controls 29 reservations totaling about 1,100 acres (4 km²), with 30 miles (50 km) of trails for hiking, skiing, or other passive recreational use. The largest AVIS reservations are Deer Jump at 131 acres (0.5 km²), Goldsmith at 170 acres (0.69 km2), and Rafton at 226 acres (0.9 km²). Motor vehicles, hunting, fires, or camping in these conservation lands are prohibited. Volunteer wardens are responsible for the care and oversight of each reservation.

With the rapid suburbanization and development occurring in Andover since the 1970s, AVIS has played a vital role in preserving Andover's land.

Andover Village Industrial District

The Andover Village Industrial District encompasses one of the 19th century industrial mill villages of Andover, Massachusetts known locally as "The Village". The growth of this village contributed to the decision in the 19th century to separate the more rural area of North Andover from the town. It is centered on a stretch of the Shawsheen River between North Main Street on the east and Moraine Street on the west. Most of the district's properties lie on Stevens Street, Red Spring Road, Shawsheen Road, and Essex Street, with a few properties also located on adjacent roads.Although no buildings remain from Andover's earliest industrial enterprises in the area, there are still some mill buildings that date as far back as to the 1820s in the old Marland Mill complex on Stevens Street. The most prominent building in this complex, however, is a spinning and carding mill that was built in 1885, and features a five-story tower and ornate brick detailing.One of the older buildings in the district was the Abbot Mills complex, with history dating to 1814. Located at 18-20 Red Spring Road, it was a 3.5 story wood frame barn-like structure. It was next door to the mills of Smith & Dove, which are of stone construction dating to the 1820s. The other major industrial component of the district is the Tyer Rubber complex on Railroad Street, whose main building dates to 1912. The barn-like structure of the Abbot Mills complex suffered a fire in 2013 and was demolished in 2014. Much of the wood in the building was salvaged and recycled.There is a significant variety in the types of housing related to the mills. Much of the early housing has Greek Revival styling, although there are a few houses that show more Federal style detailing. Later housing includes boarding houses, tenements, and other multiunit buildings in a diversity of styles.The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Ballardvale, Massachusetts

Ballardvale (sometimes written archaically as BallardVale or Ballard Vale) is a village located within the boundaries of the town of Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. Growing originally in the 19th century around mills located on the Shawsheen River, the village is a local historic district, boasting many varieties of historic architecture and a rich industrial heritage.

Ballardvale District

The Ballardvale District in Andover, Massachusetts, encompasses the historic mill village of Ballardvale in the northwestern part of the town. It is centered on the crossing the Shawsheen River by Andover Street, and includes buildings on High Street, Center Street, and other adjacent roads on both sides of the river. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.Ballardvale was the first planned mill community in Andover. John and William Marland were the principal investors in the Ballardvale Manufacturing Company, under whose auspices the area was developed. It was named for Timothy Ballard, who had previously operated a sawmill and gristmill at the mill location set up by the Marlands. For about 100 years between 1835 and 1935 there was a remarkably self-contained community here: in addition to the mills, it included shops, churches, a school, and a railroad station.The Marlands owned about 50 acres (20 ha) of land which was developed for the community. Much of the housing was relatively modest cottages on small lots, with popular styling details of the time. Many of them were built by locally notable builder Jacob Chickering. One typical house is at 36-40 Center Street: it is a four family 2.5 story wood frame house with minimal Italianate styling.There are four major mill structures that survive. The oldest building, dating to 1836, is a four-story brick construction with granite trim. A wooden mill building (1844) stands adjacent, and there are additional buildings in the complex that were built later in the 19th century. One other notable structure is a c. 1872 wrought iron truss bridge that crosses the river below the mill complex.

Billerica, Massachusetts

Billerica (listen) is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 40,243 according to the 2010 census. It takes its name from the town of Billericay in Essex, England.

Haverhill Line

The Haverhill Line (formerly named the Haverhill/Reading Line) is a branch of the MBTA Commuter Rail system, running north from downtown Boston, Massachusetts through the cities and towns of







North Andover,

Lawrence, and


A station stop also exists at Oak Grove in Malden, but this stop is only used when Orange Line rapid transit service is disrupted.

Holt Farm (Andover, Massachusetts)

Holt Farm is a historic farm built in 1714 by Nicholas Holt's (1) grandson Timothy Holt (3) and located at 89 Prospect Road in Andover, Massachusetts. The house was built on the highest point in Essex County on land granted in Nicholas Holt (1). In Colonial times the Hill was referred to as Holt Hill but was changed in the late 19th Century to Prospect Hill, but reverted to its original name in the early 20th Century..6ed.The first Holt in Andover was Nicholas Holt (1), an early officer of the town, who was a tanner who also ran the ferry across the Shawsheen River. Nicholas Holt's (1) grandson Timothy Holt (3) built his house on the land granted to his father James Holt (2) who was granted the original 100 acres from his father, Nicholas (1). Despite some evidence that Nicholas himself was barely literate, his descendants became known for their academic accomplishments with a long line of ministers and teachers.Early settlers of Andover, some the Holts, who settled on the "Stoney Plaine", west of Holt Hill, lived near Scotsman Robert Russell (1) 1630–1710., in the part of Andover long known as the 'Scotland District.

Holt Hill and its environs are actually in the Holt District, and named for the local school houses in each neighborhood. Russell, the first person to be interred in the newly designated South Parish burying ground in 1710, had ten children, three of whom married Holts from nearby Holt Farm.Much of the original Holt Farm now forms portions of the Ward Reservation and is owned by The Trustees of Reservations as a public park.

List of rivers of Massachusetts

List of rivers in Massachusetts (U.S. state).

All Massachusetts rivers flow to the Atlantic Ocean. The list is arranged by drainage basin from north to south, with respective tributaries indented under each larger stream's name, arranged travelling upstream along the larger stream.

Massachusetts Route 114

Route 114 is a Massachusetts state route that, while essentially a northwest–southeast route, is signed west–east. It runs from Route 28 in Lawrence to its terminus at Route 129 in Marblehead, Massachusetts. The route is entirely located in Essex County, Massachusetts.

Route 114 is not related to Route 114A in Seekonk, which is actually related to Rhode Island Route 114 and is located about 50 miles (80 km) away from Massachusetts Route 114.

Merrimack River

The Merrimack River (or Merrimac River, an occasional earlier spelling) is a 117-mile-long (188 km) river in the northeastern United States. It rises at the confluence of the Pemigewasset and Winnipesaukee rivers in Franklin, New Hampshire, flows southward into Massachusetts, and then flows northeast until it empties into the Gulf of Maine at Newburyport. From Pawtucket Falls in Lowell, Massachusetts, onward, the Massachusetts–New Hampshire border is roughly calculated as the line three miles north of the river.

The Merrimack is an important regional focus in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The central-southern part of New Hampshire and most of northeast Massachusetts is known as the Merrimack Valley.

Several U.S. naval ships have been named USS Merrimack and USS Merrimac in honor of this river. The river is perhaps best known for the early American literary classic A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers by Henry David Thoreau.

North Andover, Massachusetts

North Andover is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 28,352.

Pinehurst, Massachusetts

Pinehurst is an unincorporated village and census-designated place (CDP) in the town of Billerica, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 7,152 at the 2010 census. It is located in the southeastern part of town along Massachusetts Route 3A between the Shawsheen River and the Burlington town line.Pinehurst's zip code is 01866 and is for mail delivery to the Pinehurst PO Station only. Home and office mail delivery in Pinehurst must use the Billerica, MA zip code (01821).

Samuel Phillips Jr.

Samuel Phillips Jr. (February 5, 1752 – February 10, 1802) was an American merchant, manufacturer, politician, and the founder of Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Phillips is considered a pioneer in American education.

Shawsheen Village Historic District

Shawsheen Village Historic District is a historic district in northern Andover, Massachusetts. Shawsheen Village was completed in the early 1920s as a planned corporate community. Conceived by William Madison Wood of the American Woolen Company, the village was designed a team of architects including Adden & Parker, Clifford Allbright, Ripley and LeBoutillier and James E. Allen. John Franklin, a civil engineer for the American Woolen Company was responsible for designing the village, under the direction of Wood. Buildings from the original Frye Village were also incorporated into the design which included a railroad station, shops, apartment buildings, factories, parks and numerous single-family dwellings. The village was located just up the road from the Company's main factories in nearby Lawrence.

The village was roughly divided into three sections. The westernmost of these sections, around the junction of Main Street (Massachusetts Route 28) with Massachusetts Route 133 (Lowell Street to the west, Haverhill Street to the east), was the village center, with shops, a post office. Immediately east of this area, descending to the Shawsheen River, was the industrial area. One residential area was primarily north and west of this central area, and it provided housing for the upper level executives of the Company. The third area was east and south of the industrial area, spilling across the railroad tracks and river, where middle class worker housing was provided. Sprinkled throughout were old houses from the Frye Village settlement that were relocated according to Wood's vision.Although the company community was well conceived, it was short-lived. William Wood committed suicide in 1926, and the single ownership strategy of the community began to fall apart. Most of the company's properties were purchased by a realty trust in 1932 and resold, often to the tenants of the property. The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

South Church, Andover, Massachusetts

The South Church is a Protestant Christian place of worship located in Andover, Massachusetts. It was organized as the Second Church of Andover in 1711 with Rev. Samuel Phillips as its first pastor. It is currently part of the United Church of Christ.

Tewksbury, Massachusetts

Tewksbury is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 28,961.

Vine Brook

Vine Brook is a brook in Middlesex County, United States. According to the History of Bedford, Vine Brook is "an important tributary of Shawsheen River." The book also states it as an excellent source of water-power in the 17th to 19th Centuries.

Vine Brook flows from the "Old Reservoir," at a public park off Marrett Road in Lexington, then meets Upper Vine Brook (one of its tributaries), then continues northward through Lexington Centre, through Butterfield's Pond on the Lexington-Burlington border, underneath the Middlesex Mall and Burlington Mall (in a culvert), remaining northward and parallel to the Middlesex Turnpike for a ways, then meets Long Meadow Brook (one of its tributaries), then part of it branches off to form Sandy Brook, then continues to flow northwesterly over the Burlington-Bedford border, to Route 3 at Burlington Road, then crosses over Rte. 3 to an old millpond, and empties into the Shawsheen River. (The Shawsheen, in turn, empties into the Merrimack River, which then empties into the Atlantic Ocean.)

Vine Brook is one of the best-known water features in Lexington, and is closely identified with the histories of Lexington and Burlington, due to the several mills which once operated on its banks. The brook lends its name to many local streets and developments. Several segments of the brook, in all three towns it passes through, are parts of town-owned conservation land parks.

West Parish Center District

The West Parish Center District encompasses the social and religious center of the part of Andover, Massachusetts, that is located west of the Shawsheen River. It is mostly spread along Lowell Street (Massachusetts Route 133) on either side of a major intersection with four other roads: Shawsheen Road, Reservation Road, Beacon Street, and High Plain Road. The centerpiece of the district is the 1826 West Parish Church, which is the oldest church standing in Andover. It is an elegant Federal style granite structure topped with a wooden steeple, added in 1863. The roof is made of Spanish tile, which was probably part of changes made around 1908. Opposite the church on the south side of the common is the West Parish Cemetery, which began as a small burying ground in the 1790s, and was substantially enlarged and restyled (including the addition of the large arch at its main entrance) in the early 1900s.In addition to the church, common, and cemetery, a number of period houses line Lowell Street and the nearby streets. Most of them were built between 1780 and 1830, and are in Federal or Greek Revival styles. One notable exception is the C. A. Holt House at 202 Shawsheen Road, which is a fine Queen Anne style Victorian. The newest house in the district, 181 Lowell Street, is a Bungalow-style 1-1/2 story house built about 1920, and the oldest is an early Federal style house built about 1780, at 173 Lowell.The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Wilmington, Massachusetts

Wilmington is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States.

Atlantic Ocean
Gulf of Maine
Long Island Sound
Narragansett Bay
Upper New York Bay


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