Marblehead, Massachusetts

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Marblehead, Massachusetts
Town
Marblehead Neck as viewed from the landing on State Street
Marblehead Neck as viewed from the landing on State Street
Official seal of Marblehead, Massachusetts
Seal
Motto: "Where History Comes Alive"[1]
Location in Essex County in Massachusetts
Location in Essex County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°30′00″N 70°51′30″W / 42.50000°N 70.85833°W / 42.50000; -70.85833Coordinates: 42°30′00″N 70°51′30″W / 42.50000°N 70.85833°W / 42.50000; -70.85833
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Essex
Settled 1629
Incorporated 1639
Government
 • Type Open town meeting
Area
 • 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)
Population (2010)
 • Total 19,808
 • Density 4,501.8/sq mi (1,738.2/km2)
Demonym Header
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 01945
Area code(s) 339 / 781
FIPS code 25-38400
GNIS feature ID 0618300
Website www.marblehead.org

Marblehead is a coastal town along the Atlantic Ocean, in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 19,808 at the 2010 census.[2] It is home to the Marblehead Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, Crocker Park, The Marblehead Lighthouse, The Spirit Of '76, and Devereux Beach. A town with roots in both commercial fishing and yachting, Marblehead is the birthplace of the American Navy, Marine Corps Aviation, and a popular yachting site in the United States.

History[edit]

Marblehead, watercolor, Maurice Prendergast, 1914. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Marblehead was first settled by Joseph Doliber in 1629 on the shore near the end of what is now Bradlee Road. Mayflower Pilgrim Isaac Allerton came approximately three years earlier, establishing a fishing village about mid-Marblehead Harbor on the town side, across from Marblehead Neck—see the "History Of Marblehead" by Virginia Gamage.) then set off and incorporated in 1649. Originally called Massebequash after the river which ran between it and Salem, the land was inhabited by the Naumkeag tribe of Indians under the sachem Nanepashemet. But epidemics in 1615–1619 and 1633, believed to be smallpox, devastated the tribe. Heirs of Nanepashemet would sell their 3,700 acres (15 km2) on September 16, 1684; the deed is preserved today at the town hall.

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 grew inland from the harbor. The shoreline smelled of drying fish, typically cod, which were exported abroad and to Salem. The town peaked economically just prior to the Revolution, as locally financed privateering vessels pirated the seas for bounty from large European ships. Much early architecture survives from the era, including the Jeremiah Lee Mansion.

Abbot Public Library

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, provision (including the indigenous "Joe Frogger" molasses/sea water cookie)—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, and Marblehead men ferried George Washington across the Delaware River for his attack on Trenton. Many who set out for war, however, did not return. Indeed, 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.[3]

After the conflict, fishing would remain important, with 98 vessels (95 of which exceeded 50 tons) putting to sea in 1837. However, a gale or hurricane at the Grand Banks of Newfoundland 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.

During the late 19th century, Marblehead experienced a short-term boom from shoe-making factories. At the same time, the exceptional harbor attracted yachting and yacht clubs. 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.

After World War II, the town enjoyed a population boom as a bedroom community for nearby Boston, Lynn, and Salem. This boom ended around 1970, when the town became built out.

Corinthian Yacht Club House Marblehead c. 1894 
Eastern Yacht Club House c. 1894 
Front Street, 1914 
Lee Mansion, c. 1905 
Lafayette House, c. 1908 

Geography and transportation[edit]

Marblehead Light, at the northern tip of Marblehead Neck

Marblehead is located at 42°29′49″N 70°51′47″W / 42.49694°N 70.86306°W / 42.49694; -70.86306 (42.497146, -70.863236).[4] According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 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.[5] 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. 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 two forts, Fort Miller at Naugus Head along Salem Harbor, and Fort Sewall, at the western 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 and several boat ramps.

Besides Marblehead Neck, there are two other villages within town, Devereux 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. (Because 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 highways within town, with the nearest access being to Massachusetts Route 128 in Peabody and Beverly. Four MBTA Bus routes - the 441, 442, 448, and 449 - originate in town regularly with service to Boston, with weekend service to Wonderland in Revere. The Newburyport/Rockport Line of the MBTA Commuter Rail passes through neighboring 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.

Marblehead Harbor Morning

Demographics[edit]

Old Bowen House in c. 1905
Historical population
Year Pop.   ±%  
1790 5,661 —    
1800 5,211 −7.9%
1810 5,900 +13.2%
1820 5,630 −4.6%
1830 5,149 −8.5%
1840 5,575 +8.3%
1850 6,167 +10.6%
1860 7,646 +24.0%
1870 7,703 +0.7%
1880 7,467 −3.1%
1890 8,202 +9.8%
1900 7,582 −7.6%
1910 7,338 −3.2%
1920 7,324 −0.2%
1930 8,668 +18.4%
1940 10,856 +25.2%
1950 13,765 +26.8%
1960 18,521 +34.6%
1970 21,295 +15.0%
1980 20,126 −5.5%
1990 19,971 −0.8%
2000 20,377 +2.0%
2010 19,808 −2.8%

Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.[6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15]

As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 20,377 people, 8,541 households, and 5,679 families residing in the town. The population density was 4,498.9 people per square mile (1,736.8/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. 28.7% of all households 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,[17] 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.

Education[edit]

Marblehead Public Schools oversees eight schools: Bell School, Coffin School, Eveleth School, Gerry School, Glover School, Village School, Marblehead Veterans Middle School, and Marblehead High School.[18] The town is also home to the Marblehead Community Charter Public School, the first Commonwealth charter school to open in Massachusetts.

Points of interest[edit]

View from Rockmere Point, ca. 1905

Devereux Beach[edit]

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. During July 4, it is a popular place to watch fireworks. 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 8am and 4pm. Marblehead residents must have a facility sticker or they will be charged the non-resident rate. The two pavilions with grills are available for rental during the spring and fall but a permit from the town is necessary.

Historical sites and museums[edit]

Abbot Hall.
Fort Sewall.

Notable people[edit]

Arts[edit]

Television[edit]

  • In season 1 episode 6 and season 5 episode 1 of Cheers, Sam mentions sailing to Marblehead. Diane also mentions the Sam took her to a BnB in Marblehead in Season 4 episode 15

.

Films[edit]

Thunderstorm c. 1910

Movies filmed in Marblehead include:

What's the Worst That Could Happen? was filmed in Manchester-by-the-Sea, but scenes are set in Marblehead.

Literature[edit]

Influence on H.P. Lovecraft[edit]

H. P. Lovecraft based fictional Massachusetts town Kingsport on Marblehead. The real Marblehead, as well as Lovecraft himself, appears in the 1985 Richard A. Lupoff novel Lovecraft's Book.

Lovecraft visited Marblehead in December 1922 for the first time and, seven years later, described his impressions:

"…the most powerful single emotional climax experienced during my nearly forty years of existence. In a flash all the past of New England--all the past of Old England—all the past of Anglo-Saxondom and the Western World—swept over me and identified me with the stupendous totality of all things in such a way as it never did before and never did again. That was the high tide of my life.".[41]

Other writers[edit]

The town appears in the eponymous 1978 Marblehead by Joan Thompson.

Author Ben Sherwood set his novel The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud in Marblehead, featuring the Waterside Cemetery. For the 2010 film adaptation starring Zac Efron and Charlie Tahan, Vancouver was used as a stand-in due to the large cost of shooting.

Harry Kemelman's Rabbi Small mystery novels take place in a fictional town called Barnard's Crossing based on Marblehead. Kemelman lived in Marblehead for 50 years.

Robert B. Parker supposedly based the fictional town of Paradise on Marblehead which figures in his Jesse Stone book series. Both towns have an annual Race Week yachting event.

Public Pier Ban on Fishing[edit]

Marblehead town officials recently banned fishing off of all public piers due to overcrowding. This ban was lifted after town officials approved regulations aimed at preventing over crowding.

Contemporary photographs of Marblehead[edit]

View of sea along fort wall
Seaside view from Fort Sewall 
Inside Fort Sewall 
Old Town House 
Homes on Washington Street 
Architectural styles 
Harbor 
House with flag 
Fire station 
Dock 
 

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Marblehead MA - Official Website". Town of Marblehead, Massachusetts. Retrieved October 4, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Marblehead town, Essex County, Massachusetts". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Population of the 24 Urban Places: 1790". United States Bureau of the Census. June 15, 1998. Retrieved September 8, 2011. 
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Marbelhead town, Essex County, Massachusetts". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  6. ^ "TOTAL POPULATION (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010. 
  7. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  8. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts". US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  9. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts". US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  10. ^ "1950 Census of Population". 1: Number of Inhabitants. Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  11. ^ "1920 Census of Population". Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  12. ^ "1890 Census of the Population". Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  13. ^ "1870 Census of the Population". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  14. ^ "1860 Census". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  15. ^ "1850 Census". Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  16. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  17. ^ "factfinder.census.gov". 
  18. ^ "Marblehead Public Schools". Marblehead Public Schools. Retrieved 2007-12-03. 
  19. ^ "By land or by sea, this granite peninsula rocks.". northshore. Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  20. ^ "By land or by sea, this granite peninsula rocks.". northshore. Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Burgess of Marblehead: People, Places and Planes". Marblehead Museum & Historical Society. Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Crocker Park". Town of Marblehead. Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Twenty Question Interview: Rob Delaney". divinecaroline. Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Susan Estrich". Debate.org Reference. Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Shalane Flanagan". USA Track & Field. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  26. ^ "GERRY, Elbridge, (1744 - 1814)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  27. ^ "By land or by sea, this granite peninsula rocks.". northshore. Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  28. ^ "By land or by sea, this granite peninsula rocks.". northshore. Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  29. ^ "UPDATE: Marblehead cyclist, Tyler Hamilton, paints grim picture of sport". MarbleheadRporter. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  30. ^ "By land or by sea, this granite peninsula rocks.". northshore. Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  31. ^ "About the Author". Hyperion. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  32. ^ "By land or by sea, this granite peninsula rocks.". northshore. Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Harry Kemelman, 88, Mystery Novelist, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  34. ^ "By land or by sea, this granite peninsula rocks.". northshore. Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  35. ^ Mason, Caroline Atherton Briggs (1891). The Lost Ring: And Other Poems. Houghton, Mifflin. p. x. 
  36. ^ "By land or by sea, this granite peninsula rocks.". northshore. Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  37. ^ "By land or by sea, this granite peninsula rocks.". northshore. Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  38. ^ "Cory Schneider". Hockey=Reference.com. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  39. ^ "The BBC, live from Marblehead". Boston Globe. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  40. ^ "STORY, Joseph, (1779 - 1845)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  41. ^ H. P. Lovecraft, Selected Letters Vol. 3, pp. 126-127; cited in Joshi and Schultz, An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia, p. 92.

External links[edit]