Merrimac Town Hall near Merrimac Square
|• Type||Open town meeting|
| • Board of |
|Benjamin S. Beaulieu |
Joel Breen (Chair)
|• Total||8.8 sq mi (22.9 km2)|
|• Land||8.5 sq mi (21.9 km2)|
|• Water||0.4 sq mi (1.0 km2)|
|Elevation||107 ft (33 m)|
|• Density||720/sq mi (280/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (Eastern)|
|Area code(s)||351 / 978|
|GNIS feature ID||0618301|
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.
Settled by the English in 1638 as a part of Salisbury and later as a part of Amesbury around the village of Merrimacport, it was known throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as an agricultural and fishing community, with a small amount of shipbuilding. When Amesbury separated from Salisbury in 1666, Merrimac was referred to as the West Parish of Amesbury, or simply West Amesbury, although it was unincorporated. When a border dispute between the Massachusetts and New Hampshire colonies was settled in 1741, the new border sliced off the parts of Amesbury that were further from the Merrimack River, with the area then associated with West Amesbury becoming the "new town" of Newton, New Hampshire.
In 1771, the West Parish of Amesbury (present-day Merrimac) had a population of at least four enslaved Africans. They were held in bondage by town residents Isaac Merrill, Benjamin Morse, and Wells Chase.At least one former enslaved African, "Forte," who was sold by an unknown West Newbury slaver to Christopher Sargent, became locally famous for his fiddling after the abolition of slavery in Massachusetts.
In the nineteenth century, benefiting from a manufacturing boom following the establishment of some of the first planned industrial cities in the United States, nearby Lawrence and Lowell, Merrimac came to be known worldwide for its horse-drawn carriage industry. During this period, the town proper of Merrimac, centered around Merrimac Square, expanded separately from the village of Merrimacport. In 1876, Merrimac, including Merrimacport, separated from Amesbury and officially incorporated itself as a town. It is believed that the town, as well as the river that runs along its southern border, are both named for the American Indian tribe that occupied the region. "Merrimac" (or Merrimack) means "swift water place" in the language of this tribe. This town center consists of the typical brick buildings and Victorian architecture of the late nineteenth century, and it is surrounded by much of the town's population. Interstate 495 now divides Merrimacport from Merrimac. At the beginning of the twentieth century, as with the rest of the New England, it went through a period of deindustrialization as the region's industry relocated to the Midwest. The communities of the Merrimack Valley, including Merrimac, were particularly affected by this long period of economic decline and have never fully recovered.
Today, Merrimac is a typical small New England community. It went through numerous growth spurts throughout the 1990s and the beginning of the twenty-first century as it was absorbed into the Greater Lawrence metropolitan area.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 8.8 square miles (22.9 km2), of which 8.5 square miles (21.9 km2) is land and 0.39 square miles (1.0 km2), or 4.48%, is water. Merrimac is drained by the Merrimack River, whose north bank the town lies on. Located in the Merrimack River Valley and on the coastal plain of Massachusetts, Merrimac's land consists mainly of small, forested hills (before the twentieth century, it was mostly pasture). The town also has several ponds, streams and Lake Attitash (which is located partially in Merrimac, and partially in neighboring Amesbury).
Merrimac is roughly diamond-shaped, and is bordered by Amesbury and Lake Attitash to the northeast, West Newbury to the southeast, Haverhill to the southwest, Newton, New Hampshire, to the north and northwest, South Hampton, New Hampshire, to the far northeast, and Plaistow, New Hampshire, on the western corner. The town is 14 miles (23 km) northeast of Lawrence, 30 miles (48 km) southeast of Manchester, New Hampshire, and 34 miles (55 km) north of Boston. Merrimac lies along Interstate 495, with Exit 53 giving access to the town. Massachusetts Route 110 also passes through the town, just north of I-495. There are no bridges crossing the Merrimack directly into the town; the Rocks Village Bridge lies just to the south of town in Haverhill, and the nearest downstream crossing is the Whittier Memorial Bridge in Amesbury.
|* = population estimate.|
As of the censusof 2000, there were 6,138 people, 2,233 households, and 1,699 families residing in the town. The population density was 719.6 people per square mile (277.8/km2). There were 2,295 housing units at an average density of 269.1 per square mile (103.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 98.27% White, 0.39% African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.28% Asian, 0.29% from other races, and 0.65% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.90% of the population.
There were 2,233 households, out of which 40.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.8% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.9% were non-families. 19.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.16.
In the town, the population was spread out, with 29.0% under the age of 18, 5.0% from 18 to 24, 31.4% from 25 to 44, 23.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.5 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $58,692, versus $65,401 statewide, and the median income for a family was $69,118. Males had a median income of $48,718 versus $35,325 for females. The per capita income for the town was $24,869. About 1.9% of families and 2.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0.7% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over.
Merrimac is governed by the New England town meeting form of government, a kind of participatory direct democracy. Three selectmen are elected to administer the government, but all major decisions, as well as many minor decisions, are handled during the town's annual town meeting, as well as special town meetings, if required. The board of selectman has three seats. The current chair of the board is Joel Breen, and the other member is Ben Beaulieu.
Per the constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, any resident of Merrimac may introduce legislation with the support of 10 registered voters.
Merrimac is part of the Massachusetts Senate's 1st Essex district.
The following schools in the Pentucket Regional School District serve the town of Merrimac. All regional schools, however, are located in neighboring West Newbury. Merrimac High School operated until 1958, but closed when Pentucket Regional High School opened.
For high school, students also have the option of attending the following vocational/agricultural schools.
Merrimac is home to several regional events:
Essex County is a county in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of Massachusetts. As of 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 largest city in Essex County is Lynn. The county was named after the English county of Essex.
Merrimack County is a county in the U.S. state of New Hampshire. As of the 2010 census, the population was 146,445, making it the third-most populous county in New Hampshire. Its county seat is Concord, the capital of New Hampshire. The county was organized in 1823 from parts of Hillsborough and Rockingham counties, and is named for the Merrimack River. Merrimack County comprises the Concord, NH Micropolitan Statistical Area, which in turn constitutes a portion of the Boston–Worcester–Providence, MA–RI–NH–CT Combined Statistical Area. In 2010, the center of population of New Hampshire was located in Merrimack County, in the town of Pembroke.
Georgetown is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 8,183 at the 2010 census. It was incorporated in 1838 from part of Rowley.
Groveland is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. It is thirty-four miles north of Boston. At the 2010 census, it had a population of 6,459. The town is divided into two precincts, Groveland and South Groveland.
Haverhill is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. Haverhill is located 35 miles north of Boston on the New Hampshire border and about 17 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. The population was 60,879 at the 2010 census.
Newbury is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, USA. The population was 7,079 at the 2017 census. Newbury includes the villages of Old Town, Plum Island and Byfield. Each village is a precinct with its own voting district, various town offices, and business center.
Newburyport is a coastal city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States, 35 miles (56 km) northeast of Boston. The population was 17,416 at the 2010 census. A historic seaport with vibrant tourism industry, Newburyport includes part of Plum Island. The mooring, winter storage, and maintenance of recreational boats, motor and sail, still contribute a large part of the city's income. A Coast Guard station oversees boating activity, especially in the sometimes dangerous tidal currents of the Merrimack River.
North Andover is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 28,352.
West Newbury is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. Situated on the Merrimack River, its population was 4,235 at the 2010 census
Dracut is a town in Middlesex County. As of 2016, the town's estimated population was 31,352, making it the second most populous town with an open town meeting system of governance. The town covers a total area of 21.36 square miles, 0.5 square mile of which is water.
Litchfield is a town in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 8,271 at the 2010 census, with an estimated population in 2017 of 8,502.
Salisbury is a town in Merrimack County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 1,382 at the 2010 census.
Sutton is a town in Merrimack County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 1,837 at the 2010 census. Sutton includes the villages of Sutton Mills, North Sutton, South Sutton and East Sutton. North Sutton is home to Wadleigh State Park on Kezar Lake.
Warner is a town in Merrimack County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 2,833 at the 2010 census. The town is home to Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts, Rollins State Park and Mount Kearsarge State Forest.
Newton is a town in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 4,603 at the 2010 census.
South Hampton is a town in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 814 at the 2010 census. South Hampton is home to Cowden State Forest and Powwow River State Forest.
The Merrimack River 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.
Amesbury is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, located on the left bank of the Merrimack River near its mouth, upstream from Salisbury and across the river from Newburyport and West Newbury. The population was 16,283 at the 2010 census. A former farming and mill town, Amesbury is today largely residential. It is one of the two northernmost towns in Massachusetts.
Salisbury is a small coastal beach town and summer tourist destination in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The community is a popular summer resort beach town situated on the Atlantic Ocean, north of Boston on the New Hampshire border. It is home to the new Salisbury Beach Boardwalk, full of souvenir shops, restaurants, cafes, arcades and panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. The population was 8,283 at the 2010 census. Parts of town comprise the census-designated place of Salisbury.
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.
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