Marblehead harbor viewed from the lighthouse
|• Type||Open town meeting|
|• Total||19.6 sq mi (50.7 km2)|
|• Land||4.4 sq mi (11.4 km2)|
|• Water||15.2 sq mi (39.4 km2)|
|Elevation||65 ft (20 m)|
|• Density||4,501.8/sq mi (1,738.2/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (Eastern)|
|GNIS feature ID||0618300|
Marblehead is a coastal New England town in Essex County, Massachusetts. Its population was 19,808 at the 2010 census.
A town with roots in commercial fishing and yachting, Marblehead was a major shipyard and is often referred to as the birthplace of the American Navy, a title sometimes disputed with nearby Beverly. Marblehead was once the fishing capital of Massachusetts. It is also the origin of Marine Corps Aviation. Three US Navy ships have been named USS Marblehead. A center of recreational boating, it is a popular sailing, kayaking and fishing destination. Several yacht clubs were established here in the late 19th century, which continue to be centers of sailing.
It is home to the Marblehead Light, Fort Sewall, Little Harbor, Marblehead Neck Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary, Crocker Park, and Devereux Beach. Archibald Willard's famous painting The Spirit of '76 currently resides in Abbot Hall.
Marblehead was originally called Massebequash after the river which ran between it and Salem, the land was inhabited by the Naumkeag tribe of the Pawtucket confederation under the overall sachem Nanepashemet. But epidemics in 1615–1619 and 1633, believed to be smallpox, devastated the tribe. Numerous shell mounds and burial sites have been found throughout the town's history, along with foundations of multiple villages and forts. 3,700 acres (15 km2); the deed is preserved today at Abbot Hall in the town.On September 16, 1684, heirs of Nanepashemet sold their
Marblehead's first European settler was Joseph Doliber in 1629, who set up on the shore near what is now the end of Bradlee Road. Three years earlier, Isaac Allerton, a Pilgrim from the Mayflower, had arrived in the area and established a fishing village at Marblehead Little Harbor. In May 1635, the General Court of Massachusetts Bay established the town of Marblehead on land that belonged to Salem. Marblehead residents, who never saw eye-to-eye with their more devout and conservative neighbors, were delighted, but less than a year later, the lawmakers reversed themselves. Marblehead finally became independent of Salem in 1649.
At times called "Marvell Head", "Marble Harbour" (by Captain John Smith) and "Foy" (by immigrants from Fowey, Cornwall), the town would be named "Marblehead" by settlers who mistook its granite ledges for marble. It began as a fishing village with narrow crooked streets, and developed inland from the harbor. The shoreline smelled of drying fish, typically cod. These were exported abroad and to Salem.
The town had one accused individual during the Salem Witch Trials , Wilmot Redd. She was found guilty of witchcraft and executed by hanging on September 22, 1692.
The town peaked economically just before the American Revolution, as locally financed privateering vessels sought bounty from large European ships. Much early architecture survives from the era, including the Jeremiah Lee Mansion.
A large percentage of residents became involved early in the Revolutionary War, and the sailors of Marblehead are generally recognized by scholars as forerunners of the United States Navy. The first vessel commissioned for the navy, Hannah, was equipped with cannons, rope, provisions (including the indigenous molasses/sea water cookie known as "Joe Frogger" ), and a crew from Marblehead. With their nautical backgrounds, soldiers from Marblehead under General John Glover were instrumental in the escape of the Continental Army after the Battle of Long Island. Marblehead men ferried George Washington across the Delaware River for his attack on Trenton. Many who set out for war, however, did not return, leaving the town with 459 widows and 865 orphaned children in a population of less than 5,000.
The community lost a substantial portion of its population and economy, although it was still the tenth-largest inhabited location in the United States at the first census, in 1790.
When George Washington visited the town during his presidential tour of 1789, he knew the sailors of Marblehead well; they had served him honorably in the war. He observed that the town "had the appearance of antiquity."
In the 75 years from the American Revolution to the middle of the nineteenth century, Marblehead experienced a golden age of fishing. The War of 1812 brought disruption similar to during the American Revolution, with fishing grounds being blockaded, and fisherman heading off to war, with over 500 Marbleheaders being imprisoned by the British.After the war, and later into the 19th century, wealthier citizens wanted a new bank to finance vessels, and to serve the town's fishermen and merchants. On March 17, 1831, with a capital of $100,000, they founded the Grand Bank. The name was changed to National Grand Bank on October 3, 1864.
The town's fishermen had 98 vessels (95 of which exceeded 50 tons) putting to sea in 1837, where they often harvested fish off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. However, a gale or hurricane in that area on September 19, 1846, sank 11 vessels and damaged others. With 65 men and boys lost in the storm, the town's fishing industry began a decline. The storm is depicted in Fireboard: The Great Gale of 1846, c. 1850 by William Thompson Bartoll. A copy of the book is held by the Peabody Essex Museum.
During the American Civil War, 1,048 Marblehead men went to war, joining both the Army and Navy. One hundred ten died; 87 were wounded, many of whom died later of their injuries. During the war, Marblehead would raise almost $100,000 to supplement the war effort, an incredible effort for a town of 8,000 that relied mainly on fishing for income. Marblehead would be the first regiment in the state to answer the call for troops.A Grand Army of the Republic veterans organization was formed after the war, and established headquarters in the old town house, where it still displays artifacts from the Marblehead regiments that served.
During the late 19th century, Marblehead had a short-term industrial boom from shoe-making factories. At the same time, the exceptional harbor attracted yachting by wealthy boat owners, and some yacht clubs established centers there. It would become home to the Boston Yacht Club, Corinthian Yacht Club, Eastern Yacht Club, Marblehead Yacht Club, Dolphin Yacht Club, and the oldest junior yacht club in America, the Pleon Yacht Club. This also caused numerous "summer homes" of wealthy Boston residents to be built on Marblehead Neck. The building boom would cause Marblehead Light to be replaced in 1896 with a new iron structure since the light of shorter tower was becoming blocked by the large new homes.
Marblehead was also the site of the Burgess & Curtis Aircraft Factory, where it was the first licensed aircraft manufacturer in the United States. William Starling Burgess designed and flight-tested most of the aircraft that were manufactured at the two plant sites in town.On August 20, 1912, Alfred Austell Cunningham became the first Marine aviator, taking off from Marblehead Harbor in a Burgess Model H seaplane given to him by the Burgess Company. His flight was the start of United States Marine Corps Aviation.
After World War II, the town enjoyed a population boom, developing as a bedroom community for nearby Boston, Lynn, and Salem. This boom ended around 1970, when the town became built out. Marblehead today continues to be a sailing and small-town tourism destination in the summer months.
The Town of Marblehead has an open town meeting, and is led by a Board of Selectmen. A board of seven selectmen first met on Friday, December 22, 1648.
The seat of the first town government used the existing Meeting House on what is now the site of Old Burial Hill. The meeting house served as a place for the town to meet and the main church in town; a dual use that was typical during this time period.The second meeting house was built around 1696 on Franklin Street, which would become known as the "Old Meeting House", also serving the dual use of a town meeting location and church. In 1726, it was decided by the town to construct a separate Town House, which was completed in 1727 (Old Town House). However, the Old Meeting House would continue to occasionally be used for large town meetings, before it was demolished around 1825 after the new First Congregational Church was built (Old North Church). The Town House would serve as the town hall until the construction of Abbott Hall in 1876, where the town clerk and board of selectmen still meet today.
Marblehead is located at 19.6 square miles (50.7 km2), of which 4.4 square miles (11.4 km2) is land and 15.2 square miles (39.4 km2), or 77.61%, is water.(42.497146, −70.863236). According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of
Marblehead is situated on the North Shore of Massachusetts along Massachusetts Bay and Salem Harbor. The town consists of a rocky peninsula that extends into the bay, with an additional neck to the east connected by a long sandbar, now a causeway. This ring of land defines Marblehead's deep, sheltered harbor. Marblehead Neck is home to a bird sanctuary, as well as Castle Rock and Chandler Hovey Park at its northern tip, where Marblehead Light is located. The town was once home to three forts, Fort Miller at Naugus Head along Salem Harbor, Fort Washington (Fort Bailey) at present day Fountain Park, and Fort Sewall, at the west edge of the mouth of Marblehead Harbor. The town land also includes several small islands in Massachusetts Bay and Dolliber Cove, the area between Peaches Point and Fort Sewall. The town is partially divided from Salem by the Forest River, and is also home to several small ponds. Keeping with the town's location, there are four beaches (one in Dolliber Cove, one in Marblehead Harbor, and two along the southern shore of town), as well as six yacht clubs, one public kayaking centerand several boat ramps.
Besides Marblehead Neck, there are three other villages within town, Old Town to the southeast and Clifton to the southwest. Given its small area, most of the residential land in town is thickly settled. Marblehead's town center is located approximately 4 miles (6 km) from the center of Salem, 16 miles (26 km) northeast of Boston and 12 miles (19 km) southwest of Cape Ann. It is bordered by Swampscott to the south and Salem to the northwest. (As Salem's water rights extend into Massachusetts Bay, there is no connection between Marblehead and the city of Beverly across Beverly Harbor.)
Marblehead is home to the eastern termini of Massachusetts Route 114 and Route 129, which both terminate at the intersection of Atlantic and Ocean avenues. Route 114 heads west into Salem, while Route 129 heads south along Atlantic Avenue into Swampscott towards Lynn. There are no freeways within town, with the nearest access being to Massachusetts Route 128 in Peabody and Beverly.
Two MBTA bus routes—the 441 and 442—originate in town regularly with service to Boston, with weekend service to Wonderland in Revere. The former Eastern Railroad began service in 1839 and had lines connecting through Swampscott and Salem was discontinued in the late 1950s. The track routes were converted to bike trails and the three train depots were torn down.The Newburyport/Rockport Line of the MBTA Commuter Rail passes through neighboring Swampscott and Salem, with service between the North Shore and Boston's North Station. The nearest air service is located at Beverly Municipal Airport, with the nearest national and international service at Boston's Logan International Airport. Seasonal ferry service to Boston can also be found in Salem.
Source: United States census records and Population Estimates Program data.
As of the censusof 2010, there were 19,808 people, 8,838 households, and 5,467 families residing in the town. The population density was 4,373 people per square mile (help/km2). There were 8,906 housing units at an average density of 1,966.3 per square mile (759.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.6% White, 0.4% Black or African American, 0.1% Native American, 1.0% Asian, >0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.2% from other races, and 0.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.9% of the population.
There were 8,541 households, out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.5% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.5% were non-families. Of all households 28.7% were made up of individuals, and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.94.
In the town, the population was spread out, with 23.9% under the age of 18, 3.5% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 29.0% from 45 to 64, and 15.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.3 males.
According to a 2009 estimate,the median income for a household in the town was $97,441, and the median income for a family was $129,968. Males had a median income of $70,470 versus $44,988 for females. The per capita income for the town was $46,738. About 3.2% of families and 4.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.7% of those under age 18 and 4.6% of those age 65 or over.
Marblehead Public Schools oversees six schools: Coffin, Eveleth, and Glover elementary schools; the Village School (grades 4–6); Marblehead Veterans Middle School; and Marblehead High School.The town is also home to the Marblehead Community Charter Public School, the first Commonwealth charter school to open in Massachusetts. A new elementary school is currently being constructed at the site of the former Bell Elementary School.
The Town of Marblehead has the unique distinction of having an official town anthem "Marblehead Forever". It is performed at most major town events and commemorations. It was written by the Reverend Marcia Martin Selman to the music of the hymn tune "The Lily of the Valley", from a melody by J. R. Murray, "Songs of Rejoicing", 1888.
Devereux Beach is located on Ocean Avenue just before the causeway; Marblehead's most popular beach offers more than five acres of sand, public picnic tables and a playground. It is a popular spot to observe fireworks on Fourth of July. Lifeguards are on duty once the beach opens for summer in late June. During summer months, non-residents must pay $5–$10 to park between 8 am and 4 pm. Marblehead residents must have a facility sticker or they will be charged the non-resident rate. Two pavilions with grills are available for rental during the non-winter months. Open beach fires during summer months (May - September) are not allowed. Other smaller beaches include those in Little Harbor, along with Trustees of Reservations-owned Crowninshield Island and Gerry Island (Priest Island).
There are six active yacht clubs in town:
|Name||Founded||Burgee||Notable Events||Current |
|Boston Yacht Club||1866||1950s|
|Eastern Yacht Club||1870||1881|
|Marblehead Yacht Club||1878|
Marblehead to Boothbay
|Corinthian Yacht Club||1885||1885|
|Pleon Yacht Club|
(under 21 only)
|Dolphin Yacht Club||1950||1955|
Politicians and military
Architects and yacht designers
Businessmen and entrepreneurs
Writers and journalists
Arts and entertainment
Politicians and royalty
See: Arts, Films section for actors who came for location shooting.
Notable paintings & artists depicting Marblehead scenes and figures:
Movies filmed in Marblehead include:
Cheers , set in Boston, made three references to the town. Sam mentions sailing to Marblehead in Season 1, Episode 6. Diane mentions Sam having taken her to a bed and breakfast in Marblehead in Season 4, episode 15. Sam says that he will sail to Marblehead for relaxation in Season 5, Episode 1.
Marblehead Manor (1987) was a sitcom about a wealthy Marblehead resident that ran for one season on CBS.
In Sabrina, the Teenage Witch , Aunt Hilda makes reference to Marblehead in the sixth episode of the second season, titled, "Sabrina, the Teenage Boy."
The Crossing (2000) TV movie has General Washington (Jeff Daniels) speaking to Col. Glover (Sebastian Roché) about the men of Marblehead rowing across the Delaware.
The West Wing Season 4 episode 18 "Privateers" has Mrs. Marion Cotesworth-Haye of Marblehead denouncing the first lady's (Stockard Channing) membership of the Daughters of the Revolution when they learn that her distant relative was more pirate than patriot.
The Handmaid's Tale mentions Marblehead in season one episode 7 called "The Other Side" on the streaming service Hulu.
Horror and fantasy writer H. P. Lovecraft derived great inspiration from Marblehead. Following his first visit in December 1922, he retroactively reconfigured his fictional Kingsport in its own image. As of 1920, Kingsport was an unspecified location on Rhode Island, only mentioned in passing. The name most probably a slight alteration of Kingstown, R.I. Seven years later, Lovecraft described the 1922 impressions of his first experience of Marblehead:
Lovecraft had it that his recurring character of Randolph Carter, popularly considered an idealized version of Lovecraft himself, grew up in Kingsport. He used Kingsport as a setting for his short stories "The Terrible Old Man" (1920, published 1921), "The Festival" (written 1923, published 1925), and "The Strange High House in the Mist" (1926, published 1931). The poignant conclusion to one of his Randolph Carter stories, the fantasy novella The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (written c.1926, published posthumously in 1943) takes place here.
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|Wikisource has the text of the 1879 American Cyclopædia article Marblehead .|
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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.
Samuel Sewall was an American lawyer and congressman. He was born in Boston in the Province of Massachusetts Bay.
Salem Harbor is a harbor in northeastern Massachusetts spanning an area north and south of Salem. Historically the Salem Harbor was the site of one of the major international ports in the colonies. During the American Revolutionary War, merchant ships were enlisted as privateers, an important role to augment the ill-prepared Continental Navy. In 1790, Salem Harbor was a world-famous seaport and sixth-largest in the United States of America. Now the harbor is used for commercial and recreational purposes and the Salem Maritime National Historic Site is very popular with tourists from around the world.
Herreshoff Castle, formerly known as Castle Brattahlid, is an unusual residence located at 2 Crocker Park, Marblehead, Massachusetts. As of 2006, the owners have offered the carriage house as a bed-and-breakfast. The great room has not been part of the rental, but guests are typically offered a tour of it – and the rest of the castle.
Fort Pickering is a 17th-century historic fort site on Winter Island in Salem, Massachusetts. Fort Pickering operated as a strategic coastal defense and military barracks for Salem Harbor during a variety of periods, serving as a fortification from the Anglo-Dutch Wars through World War II. Construction of the original fort began in 1643 and it saw use as a military installation into the 20th century. Fort Miller in Marblehead also defended Salem's harbor from the 1630s through the American Civil War. Fort Pickering is a First System fortification named for Colonel Timothy Pickering, born in Salem, adjutant general of the Continental Army and secretary of war in 1795. Today, the remains of the fort are open to the public as part of the Winter Island Maritime Park, operated by the City of Salem.
Fort Sewall is a historic coastal fortification in Marblehead, Massachusetts. It is located at Gale's Head, the northeastern point of the main Marblehead peninsula, on a promontory that overlooks the entrance to Marblehead Harbor. Until 1814 it was called Gale's Head Fort.
Children's Island, formerly known as "Cat Island" is an island off Marblehead, Massachusetts, and is part of the City of Salem, Massachusetts. The YMCA of the North Shore has owned and operated a children's day camp on it since 1955. The first written record of the island was in 1655 when it was granted to Governor John Endecott. It was then bought and sold several times until around the Revolutionary War when the Essex hospital was built as a smallpox inoculation site. The hospital was burned down by townspeople of Marblehead. By the end of the 19th century, the Lowell island house was established as a summer resort. This was run for about 30 years before being converted into a sanitarium for sick and crippled children until 1946. The island then lay unused until bought by the YMCA and converted into a day camp.
This is a timeline of the history of the city of Gloucester, Massachusetts, USA.
Marblehead Harbor is a harbor located in Marblehead, Massachusetts, 17 miles northeast of Boston. It is considered the birthplace of the Continental Navy, forerunner of the United States Navy, and of United States Marine Corps Aviation.
The Sylph was a 19th-century pilot boat first built in 1834, by Whitmore & Holbrook for John Perkins Cushing as a Boston yacht and pilot-boat for merchant and ship owner Robert Bennet Forbes. She won the first recorded American yacht race in 1835. She was a pilot boat in the Boston Harbor in 1836 and 1837 and sold to the New York and Sandy Hook Pilots in October 1837. She was lost in winter of 1857 with all hands during a blizzard off Barnegat, New Jersey. The second Sylph was built in 1865 from a half-model by Dennison J. Lawlor. The third Sylph was built in 1878 at North Weymouth, Massachusetts for Boston Pilots. She was sold out of service in 1901, after 23 years of Boston pilot service.
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Caroline Atherton Mason.