The Wenham Town Hall on Route 1A
|• Type||Open Town Meeting|
|• Town Administrator||Anthony M. Ansaldi, Jr.|
|• Board of Selectmen||Chairman Jack Wilhhem|
Vice Chairman John Clemenzi
Clerk Catherine Harrison
|• Police Chief||Thomas Perkins|
|• Fire Chief||Stephen B. Kavanagh|
|• Total||8.1 sq mi (21.1 km2)|
|• Land||7.6 sq mi (19.8 km2)|
|• Water||0.5 sq mi (1.2 km2)|
|Elevation||105 ft (32 m)|
|• Density||600/sq mi (230/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (Eastern)|
|Area code(s)||351 / 978|
|GNIS feature ID||0619455|
|Website||Town of Wenham, MA, Official Web Site|
Wenham is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 4,875 at the 2010 census.
The town of Wenham, originally settled in 1635 and incorporated in 1643, has retained much of its historic character and rural scenery. It is a town of many open views of farm lands, lakes, woodlands, historic homes and old stone walls that accompany its winding tree-lined roads. It features nearly 300 acres (120 ha) of parks, playgrounds and recreational lands.
Wenham is closely tied to its neighboring town, Hamilton, sharing a school system, library, recreation department, commuter rail station and newspaper. In 2010, the community of Hamilton-Wenham was listed among the "Best Places to Live" by Boston magazine.
Wenham was first settled in 1635 and officially incorporated in 1643.
English settlers first came to Wenham in the 1630s, but the area had been home to Native American Algonquian peoples for hundreds of years. The Algonquians were a peaceful, agricultural group who planted and stored corn, but whose numbers had been greatly reduced by a massive epidemic, probably smallpox, in the early 17th century. Until recent years, Indian artifacts were found frequently throughout Wenham, and a representative collection is in the possession of the Wenham Museum.
Wenham was originally a part of Salem. Hugh Peters, the minister in Salem, preached to a group on a hill by the Great Pond around 1638, most probably to encourage settlement. The earliest land grants in the Wenham area roughly coincide with Peters' sermon. The hill was leveled in later years to make room for the ice industry at the Great Pond.
In September 1643, the General Court of Massachusetts granted that Wenham should be a town in its own right and send a representative to the General Court. It was the first town to be set off from Salem. Because many of its early settlers came from Suffolk County in England, it is presumed that the name of the town derives from two small villages there—Great Wenham and Little Wenham. Wenham means "home on the moor". A church was formed in October 1644, with John Fiske as pastor and seven families as members.
In those early days, the church and government were one. A small part of the population—those who were church members—controlled both civil and religious life. It was not until 1833 that an amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution separated church and town.
Wenham provided volunteers in King Philip's War in the 1670s, and the French and Indian War in the mid 1700s. In 1774, the town voted to select 15 men as minutemen, and from that time on Loyalists were not welcome in Wenham.
The Industrial Revolution, which changed the face of many Massachusetts towns in the 19th century, passed Wenham by. It remained a small community, with one notable exception. Wenham's ice industry brought the name of Wenham to the notice of people as far away as London, where hotels in the 1850s advertised: "We serve Wenham Lake Ice." Artificial refrigeration and a fire that destroyed the ice house in 1973 brought an end to this unique industry.
Although slaves were owned by Wenham residents in the 18th century, by the 1850s sentiment was fervently in favor of abolition. Between 1862 and 1865, the army camp, Camp Landers, occupied 14 acres (5.7 ha) in Wenham. Part of this tract is now Pingree Field. There were accommodations for two full regiments of Union soldiers with barracks, mess halls, and training fields.
In 1909, Henry Clay Frick, a steel magnate, bought the present-day Iron Rail property so that his daughter Helen could create a vacation home for the mill girls throughout New England.Helen Frick transferred the Iron Rail Vacation Home to the Girls' Clubs of America in 1954, and the town of Wenham bought the property in the 1970s.
Two other Wenham landmarks, the Tea House and the Wenham Museum, have their roots in the Wenham Village Improvement Society. A group of ladies organized the society in 1893 to make Wenham more beautiful by planting more shade trees. They purchased Mr. Henry Hobb's harness shop as a home for a tea house and exchange for selling ladies' handiwork, jams and jellies. The Tea House and Exchange has continued through the years as the successful fundraising arm of the Wenham Village Improvement Society.
In 1921, the Historical Committee of the Wenham Village Improvement Society encouraged the society to buy the 17th-century Claflin-Richards house at the center of town. They did so, and eventually added "the Barn" (which would become Burnham Hall) and the museum. The Wenham Historical Association and Museum became independent from the Village Improvement Society and underwent a major renovation and expansion in 1997. [ verification needed ]
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 8.1 square miles (21.1 km2), of which 7.6 square miles (19.8 km2) is land and 0.46 square miles (1.2 km2), or 5.91%, is water. It is one of the inland communities within the Metropolitan Area Planning Council's North Shore Task Force, but it is not part of the North Shore in the strictest sense, as it is not on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean (it lies 4 miles (6 km) north of Massachusetts Bay). Wenham Lake lies within the town and in neighboring Beverly, and several other smaller ponds lie within town. A stretch of the Salem Beverly Waterway Canal passes through town as well, and the southernmost portion of the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary lies in the western part of town.
Wenham is bordered on the south by Beverly, on the east by Manchester-by-the-Sea, on the north by Hamilton, on the northwest by Topsfield, and on the west by Danvers. Wenham lies 6 miles (10 km) north of Salem and 21 miles (34 km) north-northeast of Boston. The eastern end of Wenham is crossed by Massachusetts Route 128, with one exit within town. Route 1A crosses through the center of town, with Route 22 crossing through the east and Route 97 crossing the southwest corner of town. Route 35 ends at Route 97 just over the Topsfield town line. Wenham lies along the Newburyport section of the Newburyport/Rockport Line of the MBTA Commuter Rail. There are no stations within town, but the Hamilton/Wenham station lies just north of town, and the North Beverly station lies south of town in Beverly. The tip of the north runway of Beverly Municipal Airport lies just within town; the nearest national and international air service is located at Boston's Logan International Airport.
|* = population estimate. |
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
As of the censusof 2000, there were 4,440 people, 1,285 households, and 957 families residing in the town. The population density was 575.2 people per square mile (222.1/km2). There were 1,320 housing units at an average density of 171.0 per square mile (66.0/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.84% White, 0.43% African American, 0.02% Native American, 1.35% Asian, 0.07% from other races, and 0.29% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.59% of the population.
There were 1,285 households, out of which 37.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.5% were married couples living together, 5.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.5% were non-families. Of all households 22.5% were made up of individuals, and 15.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.19.
In the town, the population was spread out, with 22.0% under the age of 18, 23.6% from 18 to 24, 19.8% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 82.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.3 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $90,524, and the median income for a family was $98,004. Males had a median income of $76,639 versus $43,750 for females. The per capita income for the town was $36,812. About 1.2% of families and 3.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.9% of those under age 18 and 5.1% of those age 65 or over.
Wenham is home to Gordon College, a private four-year Christian college.
The Academy at Penguin Hall is located in Wenham. It is an independent, all-girls college preparatory secondary school. Girls in grades 9-12 attend the school.
The Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District's administrative offices are located in Wenham, although, with the exception of Buker Elementary School, all but one of the public schools in the district are actually located in Hamilton. Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School ranked 27th in the state based on combined total SAT scores for the 2006-07 school year. Boston Magazine (2010) showcased a list of the best public high schools, ranking Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School as 12th, putting the school in the top 10% statewide.
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.
Beverly is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, and a suburb of Boston. The population for 2020 is 42,936. A resort, residential, and manufacturing community on the Massachusetts North Shore, Beverly includes Ryal Side, Beverly Farms and Prides Crossing. Beverly is a rival of Marblehead for the title of being the birthplace of the U.S. Navy.
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.
Hamilton is a rural-suburban town in the eastern central portion of Essex County in eastern Massachusetts, United States. At the 2010 census, it had a population of 7,764. Currently the town has no manufacturing industry and no industrially-zoned land.
Manchester-by-the-Sea is a town on Cape Ann, in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The town is known for scenic beaches and vista points. At the 2010 census, the population was 5,136.
Middleton is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 8,987 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.
North Andover is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 28,352.
Peabody is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 51,251 at the 2010 census, and in 2019 the estimated population was 53,070. Peabody is located in the North Shore region of Massachusetts, and is known for its rich industrial history.
Essex is a coastal town in Essex County, Massachusetts, 26 miles (42 km) north of Boston and 13 miles (21 km) southeast of Newburyport. It is known for its former role as a center of shipbuilding. The population was 3,504 at the 2010 census.
Danvers is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States, located on the Danvers River near the northeastern coast of Massachusetts. The suburb is a fairly short ride from Boston and is also in close proximity to the renowned beaches of Gloucester and Revere. Originally known as Salem Village, the town is most widely known for its association with the 1692 Salem witch trials. It was also the site of Danvers State Hospital, one of the state's 19th-century psychiatric hospitals. Danvers is a local center of commerce, hosting many car dealerships and the Liberty Tree Mall. As of 2014, the town's population was approximately 27,000.
Lynnfield is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, in the United States. At the 2010 census, the town population was 11,596.
Swampscott is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States, located 15 miles (24 km) up the coast from Boston in an area known as the North Shore. The population was 13,787 as of 2010. A former summer resort on Massachusetts Bay, Swampscott is today a fairly affluent residential community and includes the village of Beach Bluff, as well as part of the neighborhood of Clifton. It is known for its quiet suburban character and four lovely beaches. The town was home to the scenic oceanfront Marian Court College until 2015.
Boxford is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the town's population in 2016 was 8,277.
Ipswich is a coastal town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 13,175 at the 2010 census. Home to Willowdale State Forest and Sandy Point State Reservation, Ipswich includes the southern part of Plum Island. A residential community with a vibrant tourism industry, the town is famous for its clams, celebrated annually at the Ipswich Chowderfest, and for Crane Beach, a barrier beach near the Crane estate. Ipswich was incorporated as a town in 1634.
Rowley is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 5,856 at the 2010 census.
Topsfield is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 6,085 at the 2010 census. Topsfield is located in the North Shore region of Massachusetts. Now, the town’s population is near 7,469. Part of the town comprises the census-designated place of Topsfield.
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.
Wenham Lake is a 224-acre body of water located in Wenham and Beverly towns, Essex County, Massachusetts.The lake receives water from the water table and also from a system of streams. In the 19th century, the lake was an important source of ice for export, especially to Britain. Wenham Lake is now a reservoir for the Salem and the Beverly Water Supply Board.
Route 97 is a south–north highway in Essex County in northeastern Massachusetts. It connects the cities of Beverly and Haverhill before continuing into Salem, New Hampshire as New Hampshire Route 97.
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