Beverly Farms is an informally defined neighborhood at the eastern edge of the city of Beverly, Massachusetts. It is an ocean-front community with a population of about 3,500 which extends from the Manchester-by-the-Sea border to another informally defined section of Beverly known as Prides Crossing. This area is part of Massachusetts's North Shore region, about 20 miles north of Boston.
Past and present
Beverly Farms and the adjacent Prides Crossing originally were farming communities, like the rest of Beverly. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, wealthy residents of Boston and New York City built summer "cottages" along the seashore; these cottages were nearly the size and stature of those in Newport, Rhode Island, though only a few of the original mansions remain in Beverly Farms today.
In 1887, Beverly Farms unsuccessfully petitioned the Massachusetts Legislature for incorporation as a town.
By the mid twentieth century, Beverly Farms resembled a small town, somewhat secluded from the rest of Beverly and culturally interlinked with Prides Crossing. Working-class neighborhoods sprang up as support for the mansions became necessary. At this point, there was a wide financial gap between the wealthy and the working class.
Beverly Farms remains a vibrant community with changing demographics. Pockets of residential development and generally escalating real-estate values appear to have adjusted average residency to a wealthier population, much as in the past. Real estate in Beverly Farms has become very desirable. The community is served by three churches, Episcopal, Baptist, and Roman Catholic. Among other public buildings are a community center (known as the Hastings House because it was donated and is partially supported by the Merril Hastings foundation), a fire station, a railroad station on the MBTA Commuter Rail, and a recently expanded branch of the Beverly Public Library.
Downtown Beverly Farms extends along West Street (part of Route 127) for about 1/2 mile. It has undergone some gradual changes over the last decade. Currently, the downtown is a mixture of high-end restaurants, bakeries, and clothing stores.
Summer in "The Farms"
Life in Beverly Farms is slow-paced in the winter but becomes increasingly active when the warm weather arrives. The summer is full of activity for residents and visitors alike. Many of those activities are based at the local community beach, West Beach: this is a private beach, owned by the residents of Beverly Farms and Prides Crossing; current and former residents of the areas are entitled to beach permits, allowing access to West Beach (non-residents must apply for an access permit; their wait typically is six to ten years, because of the limited size of the facility).
Beverly Farms is busiest at the Fourth of July holiday. A private organization of residents annually raises upwards of $60,000 through fundraisers to enable a weekend-long agenda of activities, including community dances, children's events, softball games, and the well-known "Horrible's" parade. Celebration of the holiday culminates with fireworks at West Beach above a crowd that averages about ten thousand.
- Opening argument of Fred H. Williams, testimony, and closing argument of Hon. George M. Stearns, before the Legislative Committee on Towns, 1887, in favor of the incorporation of the town of Beverly Farms.. Boston: Rand Avery Co. 1887.
- Bright, William; Erwin G. Gudde (1998). 1500 California Place Names: Their Origin and Meaning. University of California Press. p. 23. ISBN 0-520-21271-1.
- Murray, Patrick, "History of Beverly Farms"
- "West Beach", beverlyfarms.org
- Fourth of July Celebrations - Beverly Farms website
- 1.West Beach Corporation
- 2.History of Beverly Farms
- 4.Salon.com article about the parade