|Location|| Massachusetts |
|Borders on|| White Mountains |
Plum Island, Massachusetts
|Traversed by||Interstate 93, Interstate 495, Haverhill Line (MBTA)|
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 New England and has helped to define the livelihood and culture of those living along it for millennia.
Major cities in the Merrimack Valley include Concord, Manchester, and Nashua in New Hampshire, and Lowell, Lawrence, and Haverhill in Massachusetts. The Valley was a major center of the textile industry in the 19th century.
The Merrimack Valley area in Massachusetts is a community of towns and cities flanking the Merrimack River along the New Hampshire border, a portion of which is defined by a line approximately 3 miles (5 km) north and west of the Merrimack. The cities (marked with italics) and towns in this area are:
The population of the region in 2010 was 631,477, slightly more than that of Boston, and about one tenth of the state's.
The Merrimack Valley contains a mixture of 19th-century industrial cities and mill complexes built to take advantage of the river's waterpower, modern suburbs (many built over towns dating from the 17th century), and some relatively rural areas. The western part, including Greater Lowell and Haverhill–Lawrence–Methuen, is generally more urban than the eastern part. The entire Merrimack Valley region in Massachusetts is part of Greater Boston. By some definitions, the towns of Boxboro, Burlington, Bedford, Harvard, Lincoln, Littleton, Woburn are also included.
Automobile travel through the Massachusetts section of the Merrimack Valley is served primarily by Interstate 495. From Lowell and Lawrence, U.S. Route 3 and Interstate 93, respectively, head north along the valley, joining in Manchester, New Hampshire.
In New Hampshire, the Merrimack Valley Region is an area of the south-central part of the state, about 35 miles (56 km) wide, centered on the Merrimack River, and running from Canterbury south to the Massachusetts border. Henniker marks the western extent, and Nottingham the eastern. It includes parts of Hillsborough, Rockingham and Merrimack counties, namely the following towns and cities (in italics):
The state capital, Concord, and the state's two largest cities, Manchester and Nashua, are in the valley. Manchester has a large regional airport, with scheduled commercial services.
To the east is the Seacoast Region, to the west is the Monadnock Region, and to the north is the Lakes Region.
Interstate 93 bisects the region, which is also served by Interstate 293, U.S. Route 3, and many New Hampshire state highways.
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The original settlers of the Merrimack Valley were various tribes of the Pennacook Indians. The river provided an easy means of transportation, an exceptional source of salmon as well as other fish, and the land along the river banks was suitable for hunting and sometimes farming. However, much of the soil is full of granite, and the pine forests provide poor soil.
The earliest European records of the river date to a French expedition under Pierre du Guast, Sieur de Monts, in 1605. By 1629, the British were moving into the area, and a land grant delineated by the river was made to a Jonathan Wheelwright in 1629.
The city of Newburyport, first settled in 1635, at the river's mouth, became an important shipbuilding center during the colonial era, using lumber floated downriver from the White Mountains. Its prominence was diminished when the Middlesex Canal was completed in the first quarter of the 19th century, allowing lumber to be shipped directly downriver from the White Mountains to Charlestown, Massachusetts, and improving connections between Boston and the Merrimack Valley. Prior to this time, other small canals had been built around falls and rapids to make the Merrimack navigable, such as the Pawtucket Canal at East Chelmsford, which became Lowell.
While the Merrimack had been used for small manufacturing concerns for decades, in the early 1820s, a group of investors from Boston founded the city of Lowell, to take advantage of the 32-foot (9.8 m) drop of the Merrimack over the Pawtucket Falls. Lowell, the first large-scale planned textile center in America, remained the nation's largest into the 1850s. Textile production spread up and down the Merrimack Valley in both states for the next century, but eventually was eclipsed after the Second World War.
Manchester's Amoskeag Mills was once the largest cotton textile plant in the world. Other major textile companies based in the Merrimack Valley included the Merrimack Manufacturing Company in Lowell, the American Woolen Company in Lawrence (headquarters moved to Andover in 1919), Pemberton Mill in Lawrence, and the Nashua Manufacturing Company in its namesake city. Lawrence was the site of the Bread and Roses strike, a landmark event in the history of labor relations in the United States.
After World War II, the textile industry collapsed rapidly. After a few decades of stagnation, the "Massachusetts Miracle" came to the valley, bringing the headquarters of Wang Laboratories to Tewksbury, then Lowell. Apollo Computer located in Chelmsford and Nashua Corporation in Nashua moved beyond printing to computer products. The defense industry, for example, Raytheon in various sites and Sanders Associates in Nashua, became a major local employer. Increased development pressure from Greater Boston and the proliferation of the automobile pushed development outside of Massachusetts Route 128 to Interstate 495 and up Routes 3 and 93 into southern New Hampshire, greatly increasing the populations of these communities over the postwar years.
On September 13, 2018, several gas lines suffered leakage due to high pressure in the tubes of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, causing several fires and explosions, and homes were evacuated.
The Merrimack River Valley is considered the "Valley of the Poets"by some local artists and poets.
Anne Bradstreet was a founding mother of three towns in the Massachusetts Bay Colony: Boston, Cambridge (then Newtowne), and the original Andover Parish, known now as North Andover, where she lived and wrote for the last half of her life. The first published poet of the New World, she died in North Andover in 1672.
In Haverhill and Amesbury, the family of John Greenleaf Whittier settled. Mr. Whittier was so well thought of during his lifetime, his birthday was celebrated as a national holiday.[ citation needed ]
Lawrence is the birthplace of actress Thelma Todd, composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein and actor/singer Robert Goulet. Robert Frost spent his teenage years there, as did his future wife, Elinor Miriam White. They were co-valedictorians (1892) at Lawrence High School.Actress Bette Davis and the writer Jack Kerouac were born in Lowell.
West Newbury is the birthplace of John Cena, a WWE professional wrestler, actor, former rapper, and television personality.
The Merrimack Valley is one of the few places in the United States where the card game Forty-fives is popular.
The Merrimack Valley was once home to numerous apple and fruit orchards, of which several still remain. Some of the larger remaining orchards include Apple Hill, Cider Hill, Long Hill Orchard, Mann Orchards, and Smolak Farms. Apple picking is a popular pastime in the Merrimack Valley during the late summer and fall months.
The Merrimack Valley's leading boarding schools, such as Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts; Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts; St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire; and The Governor's Academy in Newbury, Massachusetts, provide cultural institutions to the public, including the Addison Gallery of American Art and the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology in Andover.
The Merrimack Valley in Massachusetts is divided into three New England city and town areas (NECTAs) by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget: Lowell–Billerica–Chelmsford, MA–NH; Lawrence–Methuen Town–North Andover, MA–NH; and Haverhill–Newburyport–Amesbury Town, MA–NH.The M3 Coalition serves several towns that expand the definition. Most large employers are in the sectors of health care and higher education. Institutes of higher learning include Hockey East rivals UMass Lowell and Merrimack College. The region was once a technology hub, reaching its peak during the 1970s and 1980s with corporations such as Wang Laboratories in Lowell among the largest technology employers, though it has since gone defunct. Software company Kronos Incorporated is one of the largest private employers in the region, as is Philips, whose medical division is based in Andover. The defense industry also has had a major presence in the Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts-based Raytheon has several large plants and offices in the Merrimack Valley, and BAE Systems Inc. also employs many people. Due to its proximity to Boston, the region also serves as a bedroom community for employers in Boston. Many major highways (including I-93, I-95, and US 3) and several heavily used lines of the MBTA Commuter Rail system provide easy access to the city from the Merrimack Valley.
Institutions of higher education include:
While the textile industry that served as the underpinning of the Merrimack Valley has disappeared, the region has since transferred to other economic activities. Sanders Associates, a major defense contractor based in Nashua has, through several mergers and acquisitions, become a division of BAE Systems Inc. and is one of the regions largest employers. Technology companies also have a large presence in the region, including mobile phone company Verizon, which is the largest private employer in Manchester. The financial industry is also a major employer, with Lincoln Financial in Concord and Fidelity Investments in Merrimack among the largest private employers.
The area between Manchester, Nashua, and Salem was once described as the "Golden Triangle" of New Hampshire. The name was due to job growth that fueled a housing boom and led to the creation of several major new retail centers, including the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester, the Mall at Rockingham Park in Salem, and the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua.This area contains roughly 30% of the population of New Hampshire.
Institutions of higher education include:
Essex County is a county in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of Massachusetts. At the 2020 census, the total population was 809,829, making it the third-most populous county in the state, and the eightieth-most populous in the country. 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. 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.
Lawrence is a smaller sized city of just under 7 square miles located in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States, on the Merrimack River. At the 2020 census, the city had a population of 89,143. Surrounding communities include Methuen to the north, Andover to the southwest, and North Andover to the east. 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 6,723 at the 2020 census. Historically a mill town, it has long since become a largely residential community. It is part of the Greater Boston metropolitan area.
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.
U.S. Route 3 (US 3) is a United States highway running 277.9 miles (447.2 km) from Boston, Massachusetts, through New Hampshire, to the Canada–US border near Third Connecticut Lake, where it connects to Quebec Route 257.
Greater Boston is the metropolitan region of New England encompassing the municipality of Boston and its surrounding areas. The region forms the northern arc of the Northeast megalopolis, so Greater Boston means both a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) and a combined statistical area (CSA), which is broader. The MSA consists of most of the eastern third of Massachusetts, excluding the South Coast and Cape Cod; the CSA additionally includes the municipalities of Providence, Manchester, Worcester, the South Coast region, and Cape Cod. While the city of Boston covers 48.4 square miles (125 km2) and has 675,647 residents as of the 2020 census, the urbanization has extended well into surrounding areas and the CSA has a more than 8.4 million people, making it one of the most populous such regions in the U.S. The CSA is one of two in Massachusetts, the other being Greater Springfield. Greater Boston is the only CSA in New England that lies in three states ; some definitions extend it into a fourth (Connecticut).
The Boston and Lowell Railroad was a railroad that operated in Massachusetts in the United States. It was one of the first railroads in North America and the first major one in the state. The line later operated as part of the Boston and Maine Railroad's Southern Division.
The Lowell Line is a railroad line of the MBTA Commuter Rail system, running north from Boston to Lowell, Massachusetts. Originally built as the New Hampshire Main Line of the Boston & Lowell Railroad and later operated as part of the Boston & Maine Railroad's Southern Division, the line was one of the first railroads in North America and the first major one in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts is the 7th smallest state in the United States with an area of 10,555 square miles (27,340 km2). It is bordered to the north by New Hampshire and Vermont, to the west by New York, to the south by Connecticut and Rhode Island, and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Maine. Massachusetts is the most populous New England state.
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 New England League was a mid-level league in American minor league baseball that played intermittently in five of the six New England states between 1886 and 1949. After 1901, it existed in the shadow of two Major League Baseball clubs in Boston and alongside stronger, higher-classification leagues.
Maudslay State Park is a Massachusetts state park located in Newburyport. The park is managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. It is available for weddings and other programs.
A New England city and town area (NECTA) is a geographic and statistical entity defined by the U.S. federal government for use in the six-state New England region of the United States. NECTAs are analogous to metropolitan statistical areas and micropolitan statistical areas and are defined using the same criteria, except that they are defined on the basis of New England towns instead of entire counties. NECTAs are classified as either metropolitan or micropolitan NECTAs. A micropolitan NECTA has an urban core with a population of at least 10,000 but less than 50,000, whereas a metropolitan NECTA has an urban core with a population of at least 50,000.
Greater Lowell is the region comprising the city of Lowell, Massachusetts, and its suburbs. These lie in northern Middlesex County, Massachusetts; in the Merrimack Valley; and in southern New Hampshire.
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 Spirit of Adventure Council is a regional council of the Boy Scouts of America. It serves the greater Boston, Massachusetts, area.
The Merrimack Valley Library Consortium (MVLC) is an American library consortium created by Nancy Jacobson and Evelyn Kuo in 1982. MVLC manages the resource sharing of 36 automated and partially automated libraries in Merrimack Valley region of northeastern Massachusetts, ensuring unified access to all of their catalogs, which represent almost three million items and more than six hundred thousand titles.
John Ashton (1861-1953) was an English-born American architect from Lawrence, Massachusetts.
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).