Former Essex County Courthouse in Salem
Location within the U.S. state of Massachusetts
Massachusetts's location within the U.S.
|Seat||Salem and Lawrence|
|• Total||828 sq mi (2,140 km2)|
|• Land||493 sq mi (1,280 km2)|
|• Water||336 sq mi (870 km2) 41%%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||1,509/sq mi (583/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|Congressional districts||3rd, 6th|
Essex County is a county in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of Massachusetts. At the 2010 census, the total population was 743,159,making it the third-most populous county in the state. It is part of the Greater Boston area (the Boston–Cambridge–Newton, MA–NH Metropolitan Statistical Area). The largest city in Essex County is Lynn. The county was named after the English county of Essex.
It has two traditional county seats: Salem and Lawrence. Prior to the dissolution of the county government in 1999, Salem had jurisdiction over the Southern Essex District, and Lawrence had jurisdiction over the Northern Essex District, but currently these cities do not function as seats of government. However, the county and the districts remain as administrative regions recognized by various governmental agencies, which gathered vital statistics or disposed of judicial case loads under these geographic subdivisions, and are required to keep the records based on them. The county has been designated the Essex National Heritage Area by the National Park Service.
The county was created by the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony on May 10, 1643, when it was ordered "that the whole plantation within this jurisdiction be divided into four sheires". Named after the county in England, Essex then comprised the towns of Salem, Lynn, Wenham, Ipswich, Rowley, Newbury, Gloucester, and Andover.In 1680, Haverhill, Amesbury and Salisbury, located north of the Merrimack River, were annexed to Essex County. These communities had been part of Massachusetts' colonial-era Norfolk County. The remaining four towns within colonial Norfolk County, which included Exeter and what is now Portsmouth, were transferred to what became Rockingham County in the Province of New Hampshire. The Massachusetts-based settlements were then subdivided over the centuries to produce Essex County's modern composition of cities and towns.
Essex County is where Elbridge Gerry (who was born and raised in Marblehead) created a legislative district in 1812 that gave rise to the word gerrymandering .
Due to a confluence of floods, hurricanes, and severe winter storms, Essex County has had more disaster declarations than most other U.S. counties, from 1964 to 2016.
From the founding of the Republican Party until the New Deal, Essex County was a Republican stronghold in presidential elections. Since 1936, it has trended Democratic, with Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956 and Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984 being the only Republicans to carry the county since.
Like several other Massachusetts counties, Essex County exists today only as a historical geographic region, and has no county government. All former county functions were assumed by state agencies in 1999. The sheriff (currently Kevin Coppinger) and some other regional officials with specific duties are still elected locally to perform duties within the county region, but there is no county council, commissioner, or county employees. Communities are now granted the right to form their own regional compacts for sharing services. See also: League of Women Voters page on Massachusetts counties.
Essex County is roughly diamond-shaped and occupies the northeastern corner of the state of Massachusetts.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 828 square miles (2,140 km2), of which 493 square miles (1,280 km2) is land and 336 square miles (870 km2) (41%) is water. Essex County is adjacent to Rockingham County, New Hampshire to the north, the Atlantic Ocean (specifically the Gulf of Maine and Massachusetts Bay) to the east, Suffolk County to the south, Middlesex County to the west and a very small portion of Hillsborough County, New Hampshire to the far north west in Methuen. All county land is incorporated into towns or cities.
Essex County includes the North Shore, Cape Ann, and the lower portions of the Merrimack Valley.
These routes pass through Essex County:
The Lawrence Municipal Airport and Beverly Municipal Airport are regional airports within the county; the nearest commercial airports are Logan Airport in Boston and Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in Manchester, NH.
The MBTA commuter rail has two lines operating in Essex County: the Haverhill Line and the Newburyport Line, both of which go toward Boston. Close to Boston, MBTA buses also exist. The MVRTA is a bus company that connects cities within the Merrimack Valley portion of Essex County.
Because of Essex County's rich history, which includes 17th century colonial history, maritime history spanning its existence, and leadership in the expansions of the textile industry in the 19th century, the entire county has been designated the Essex National Heritage Area by the National Park Service.
The following areas of national significance have also been preserved:
|U.S. Decennial Census |
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 743,159 people, 285,956 households, and 188,005 families residing in the county. 1,508.8 inhabitants per square mile (582.6/km2). There were 306,754 housing units at an average density of 622.8 per square mile (240.5/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 81.9% White, 3.8% Black or African American, 3.1% Asian, 0.4% American Indian, 8.2% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 16.5% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 23.3% were Irish, 17.1% were Italian, 12.6% were English, 6.1% were German, and 3.6% were American.The population density was
Of the 285,956 households, 32.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.9% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 34.3% were non-families, and 28.1% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.14. The median age was 40.4 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $64,153 and the median income for a family was $81,173. Males had a median income of $58,258 versus $44,265 for females. The per capita income for the county was $33,828. About 7.7% of families and 10.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.3% of those under age 18 and 9.4% of those age 65 or over.
The ranking of unincorporated communities that are included on the list are reflective if the census designated locations and villages were included as cities or towns. Data is from the 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.
|Voter registration and party enrollment as of October 17, 2018|
|Party||Number of voters||Percentage|
Essex County is home to numerous libraries and schools, both public and private.
As of 2015, the county had total employment of 282,412.The largest employer in the county is Massachusetts General Hospital, with over 5,000 employees.
Based on deposits in the county, the five largest banks are TD Bank, N.A., Salem Five Cents Bank, Institution for Savings, Bank of America, and Eastern Bank.
On November 12, 1996, Essex National Heritage Area (ENHA) was authorized by Congress. The heritage area consists of all of Essex County, MA a 500-square-mile (1,300 km2) area between the Atlantic Coast and the Merrimack Valley. The area includes 34 cities and towns; two National Historic Sites (Salem Maritime National Historic Site and Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site); and thousands of historic sites and districts that illuminate colonial settlement, the development of the shoe and textile industries, and the growth and decline of the maritime industries, including fishing, privateering, and the China trade. The Essex National Heritage Area is one of 49 heritage areas designated by Congress, affiliated with the National Park Service.
The Essex National Heritage Commission is a non-profit organization chartered to promote tourism and cultural awareness of the area, connecting people to the places of Essex County, MA. The Commission's mission is to promote and preserve the historic, cultural and natural resources of the ENHA by rallying community support around saving the character of the area. This is accomplished through the commission's projects and programs, which include Partnership Grant Program, Explorers membership program, photo safaris, and the annual September weekend event Trails & Sails,as well as other important regional partnership building projects like the Essex Heritage Scenic Byway, and the Border to Boston trail.
The towns and cities of Essex County are listed below.
Lawrence is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States, on the Merrimack River. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 76,377, which had risen to an estimated as 80,028 of 2019. Surrounding communities include Methuen to the north, Andover to the southwest, and North Andover to the southeast. Lawrence and Salem were the county seats of Essex County, until the Commonwealth abolished county government in 1999. Lawrence is part of the Merrimack Valley.
Merrimac is a small town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States, and on the southeastern border of New Hampshire, approximately 34 miles (55 km) northeast of Boston and 10 miles (16 km) west of the Atlantic Ocean. It was incorporated on April 11, 1876. It is situated along the north bank of the Merrimack River in the Merrimack Valley. The population was 6,338 at the 2010 census. Historically a manufacturing center, it has long since become a largely residential community. It is part of the Greater Boston metropolitan area.
Lynnfield is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, in the United States. At the 2010 census, the town population was 11,596.
The North Shore is a region in the U.S. state of Massachusetts, loosely defined as the coastal area between Boston and New Hampshire. The region is made up both of a rocky coastline, dotted with marshes and wetlands, as well as several beaches and natural harbors. The North Shore is an important historical, cultural, and economic region of Massachusetts. It contains the cities of Salem, known worldwide as the site of the Salem Witch Trials; and Gloucester, site of Charles Olson's Maximus Poems, and of Sebastian Junger's 1997 creative nonfiction book The Perfect Storm and its 2000 film adaptation. Beverly was home to author John Updike until his death.
Greater Boston is the metropolitan region of New England encompassing the municipality of Boston, the capital of the U.S. state of Massachusetts and the most populous city in New England, as well as its surrounding areas. The region forms the northern arc of the US northeast megalopolis and as such, Greater Boston can be described either as a metropolitan statistical area (MSA), or as a broader combined statistical area (CSA). The MSA consists of most of the eastern third of Massachusetts, excluding the South Coast region and Cape Cod; while the CSA additionally includes the municipalities of Providence, Rhode Island, Manchester, Worcester, Massachusetts, as well as the South Coast region and Cape Cod in Massachusetts. While the small footprint of the city of Boston itself only contains an estimated 685,094, the urbanization has extended well into surrounding areas; the CSA is one of two in Massachusetts, the only other being Greater Springfield. Greater Boston is the only CSA-form statistical area in New England which crosses into three states.
The North of Boston Library Exchange(NOBLE) is a consortium of 26 libraries on the North Shore of Massachusetts working to improve library service through automation. Seventeen public libraries, eight college libraries and one special library are members.
Massachusetts's 6th congressional district is located in northeastern Massachusetts. It contains most of Essex County, including the North Shore and Cape Ann, as well as part of Middlesex County. It is represented by Seth Moulton, who has represented the district since January 2015. The shape of the district went through minor changes effective from the elections of 2012 after Massachusetts congressional redistricting to reflect the 2010 census. The towns of Tewksbury and Billerica were added, along with a small portion of the town of Andover.
The Jewish Journal is an independent, community-sponsored Jewish newspaper serving the Jewish community of Essex County, Massachusetts north of Boston, and published bi-weekly on Fridays since 1976. It is managed by a Board of Overseers representing points of view of the entire Jewish community.
The Newburyport/Rockport Line is a branch of the MBTA Commuter Rail system, running northeast from downtown Boston, Massachusetts towards Cape Ann and the Merrimack Valley, serving the North Shore. The first leg, operating via the Eastern Route of the former Boston and Maine Railroad, serves Chelsea, Lynn, Swampscott, Salem, and Beverly. From there, a northern branch continues via the Eastern Route to serve Hamilton, Ipswich, Rowley, and Newburyport, while other trains operate east from Beverly via the Gloucester Branch, serving Manchester, Gloucester, and Rockport. A bicycle coach is offered on the Rockport branch during the summer.
Route 129 is a 34.08-mile-long (54.85 km) east–west Massachusetts state route that runs from Route 4 and Route 110 in Chelmsford to Route 114 in Marblehead. Along the way it intersects several major highways including U.S. Route 3 in Chelmsford, Interstate 93 (I-93) in Wilmington, I-95 and Route 128 in Wakefield, and US 1 in Saugus and Lynnfield.
The Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA) is a public, non-profit organization in Massachusetts, United States, charged with providing public transportation to an area consisting of the cities and towns of Amesbury, Andover, Boxford, Georgetown, Groveland, Haverhill, Lawrence, Merrimac, Methuen, Newbury, Newburyport, North Andover, Rowley, Salisbury and West Newbury, as well as a seasonal service to the popular nearby summer destination of Hampton Beach, New Hampshire.
The Merrimack Valley is a bi-state region along the Merrimack River in the U.S. states of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The Merrimack is one of the larger waterways in the New England region and has helped define the livelihood and culture of those living along it since native times.
The Spirit of Adventure Council is a regional council of the Boy Scouts of America. It serves the greater Boston, Massachusetts, area.
Holman K. Wheeler was a prolific Massachusetts architect. Wheeler is responsible for designing more than 400 structures in the city of Lynn alone, including the iconic High Rock Tower which is featured prominently on the Lynn city seal. While practicing in Lynn and Boston over a career spanning at least 35 years Wheeler designed structures throughout the Essex County area, including Haverhill, Marblehead, Newburyport, Salem, Swampscott, and Lynn. Wheeler is responsible for a total of five Lynn structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places, more than any other person or firm.
The 155th Massachusetts General Court, consisting of the Massachusetts Senate and the Massachusetts House of Representatives, met from January 1, 1947, to June 18, 1948, during the governorship of Robert F. Bradford, in Boston.
Massachusetts Senate's 1st Essex district in the United States is one of 40 legislative districts of the Massachusetts Senate. It covers 23.0% of Essex county population. Democrat Diana DiZoglio of Methuen has represented the district since 2019.
Massachusetts Senate's 3rd Essex district in the United States is one of 40 legislative districts of the Massachusetts Senate. It covers portions of Essex county. Democrat Brendan Crighton of Lynn has represented the district since 2018.
Elections to the Massachusetts Senate were held on November 4, 1908 to elect 40 State Senators to the 130th Massachusetts General Court. Candidates were elected at the district level, with many districts covering multiple towns or counties.
The Boston & Northern Street Railway Company (B&N) was a horse-drawn and electric streetcar railroad operated on the streets of Boston, Massachusetts, and communities to the north. Founded in 1859 as the Lynn and Boston Railroad (L&B), via lease and merger it became a primary mass transit provider for northeastern Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Its immediate successor was the Bay State Street Railway , and its modern successor is the state-run Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).
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