Jump to content

Danvers, Massachusetts

Coordinates: 42°34′30″N 70°55′50″W / 42.57500°N 70.93056°W / 42.57500; -70.93056
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Peabody Institute Library on Sylvan Street
Peabody Institute Library on Sylvan Street
Official seal of Danvers
The King Unwilling[1]
Location in Essex County and the state of Massachusetts.
Location in Essex County and the state of Massachusetts.
Coordinates: 42°34′30″N 70°55′50″W / 42.57500°N 70.93056°W / 42.57500; -70.93056
CountryUnited States
Established as a district1752
Incorporated as a town1757
Named forDanvers Osborn
 • TypeRepresentative town meeting
 • Town
Steve Bartha
 • Board of
Daniel C. Bennett
Michael Bean
Dutrochet Djoko
Maureen A. Bernard
David A. Mills
 • Total14.1 sq mi (36.5 km2)
 • Land13.3 sq mi (34.4 km2)
 • Water0.8 sq mi (2.1 km2)
48 ft (15 m)
 • Total28,087
 • Density2,111.8/sq mi (816.48/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
01923, 01937 (Hathorne)
Area code351 / 978
FIPS code25-16250
GNIS feature ID0618295
WebsiteTown website

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 beaches of Gloucester, Ipswich 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 the 2020 United States Census, the town's population was 28,087.[2]



The area was long settled by indigenous cultures of Native Americans. In the historic period, the Massachusett, a tribe of the Pequot language family, dominated the area.

The land that is now Danvers was once owned by the Naumkeag branch of the Massachusett tribe.

Historical marker, part of the memorial for the victims of the 1692 witchcraft trials, Danvers, Massachusetts

17th century, Salem Village


Around 1630, English colonists improved an existing Naumkeag trail as the Old Spanish Road, creating a connection to the main cities of Salem and Boston.[3] Danvers was permanently settled in 1636 as Salem Village. The historical event for which Danvers is best-known is the Salem witch trials of 1692, which began in the home of Rev. Samuel Parris, and spread throughout the region. Resident Rebecca Nurse was convicted in a trial for witchcraft and executed, along with 19 other innocent victims. The Rebecca Nurse Homestead is still standing in Danvers, and can be visited as a historical landmark.

18th century, Danvers


The residents of Salem Village petitioned the Massachusetts General Court several times over the following decades to become a town separate from Salem. In 1752, the General Court finally separated Danvers from Salem, but established Danvers as an independent self-governing "district" instead of incorporating it as a town, because of a royal prohibition against creating new towns in Massachusetts. A district had all the rights and powers of a town except the ability to send representatives to the legislature. Danvers was likely named for Danvers Osborn, and 1752 is the date locally commemorated on major anniversaries as the creation of Danvers, despite it not being incorporated yet at that time, because that is when it received its name.[4][5][6]

On June 9, 1757, Massachusetts incorporated Danvers as a town regardless of the royal prohibition and, according to legend, King George II later vetoed this act of incorporation and returned it with the message "The King Unwilling." Massachusetts simply ignored this royal veto, which was later included on the town's seal.[7]

From the Battle of Lexington onward, Danvers residents have participated in the armed forces. Noteworthy Revolutionary figures who stayed in Danvers include Royal Governor General Thomas Gage and Benedict Arnold. Arnold Plaque is found at 1 Conant Street.

Danvers was the birthplace of Israel Putnam, one of the most colorful figures of the colonial period and American Revolution. He built a successful farm, with fruit trees and flocks of sheep, and at one point crawled into a wolf's den on his hands and knees to kill a wolf that had been eating his sheep. He went into the den's narrow passage with a torch in one hand, a musket in the other, and a rope tied to his feet leading to his friends outside so they could pull him out if things went wrong. His one shot from the musket got the wolf. He fought with Roger's Rangers in the French & Indian War. At one point the Indians captured him, had tied him to a tree, and were going to burn him alive. A French officer rescued him in the nick of time.[8]

General Israel Putnam House

When the first shots of the American Revolution were fired at the Battle of Lexington and Concord, word reached Putnam on his farm. He literally "came off the plow" to ride off to war again. Without bothering to change his clothes, he mounted his horse and rode the 25 miles to the scene in 18 hours.[9] He was known for his courage, and demonstrated it at the Battle of Bunker Hill, where he is credited with giving the command "Don't fire until you can see the whites of their eyes."[10][11] He became a major general in the Revolutionary War. His birthplace in Danvers, known as the General Israel Putnam House, still stands.

19th century


In 1847, the railroad came to Danvers. A street railway was installed in 1884, originally consisting of 69 horse-drawn trolleys. This system was later converted to electricity.

Danvers Town Hall

The Town Hall was built in 1855. It has been modified and renovated and is still in use. Also in 1855, the southern portion of Danvers broke away to become the town of South Danvers, later renamed Peabody.

In 1878, the Danvers State Hospital opened its doors. This was an institution to provide asylum and treatment for the mentally ill.

Originally an agricultural town, Danvers farmers developed two breeds of vegetables: the Danvers Onion (origin of the "Oniontown" nickname) and the Danvers Half-Long Carrot.[12] This carrot was introduced by "market gardeners"[13] in 1871.

Shoe manufacturing was a prominent industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Successful manufacturing companies included Ideal Baby Shoe. Local shoe companies were undercut in price by factories in other areas, and shoe manufacturing moved out.



Movies filmed in Danvers, Massachusetts include:

Chemical plant explosion


On November 22, 2006, around 2:46 a.m., a major chemical explosion occurred at a facility housing Arnel Company (a manufacturer of industrial-use paint products) and CAI Inc. (a manufacturer of solvents and inks). The blast shook several North Shore towns, knocking homes off foundations and damaging buildings up to half a mile away. Glass windows shattered at least 3 miles (5 km) away, in neighboring Peabody and even in downtown Salem. The explosion was heard and felt up to 45 miles (72 km) away; the concussion was intense.

No one was killed, and none of the injuries were life-threatening, according to Fire Chief Jim Tutko. Approximately 90 homes were damaged. Residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed in the blast were taken to Danvers High School, where the Red Cross established a relief shelter. The blast occurred next to a marina, a bakery/pizza shop, and a gas station, and across the street from Eastern Propane Gas.

A May 13, 2008, report from the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board attributed the explosion to unintentional overnight heating of an ink-mixing tank containing flammable solvents.



According to the United States Census Bureau, Danvers has a total area of 14.1 square miles (37 km2), of which 13.3 square miles (34 km2) is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2), or 5.75%, is water. The tidal Danvers River begins near the southeast corner of town, and is formed by the confluence of the Porter River, Crane River and Waters River. These rivers, in turn, are fed by several brooks. The Ipswich River also flows along the town's western border. The Putnamville Reservoir lies in the north end of the town, which supplies drinking water to the towns of Salem and Beverly.

Though being at sea level in the Danversport area, the town has numerous hills reaching around 130 to 180 feet in elevation, including Dales Hill (located at St. John's Preparatory School), Ferncroft Hill, Folly Hill, Hathorne Hill, Lindall Hill, Nichols Hill, Putnam Hill, Rocky Hill and Whipple Hill (part of Endicott Park).

Danvers has numerous villages dating back to the late 1800s, when the town had a bustling railroad. These include Burley's Corner, Danvers Center, Danversport, Downtown, Ferncroft, Hathorne (which still has its own post office and ZIP code of 01937), Putnamville and Tapleyville.



In a typical year, Danvers, Massachusetts temperatures fall below 50 °F (10 °C) for 184 days per year. Annual precipitation is typically 44.1 inches per year (high for the US). It may be helpful to understand the yearly precipitation by imagining nine straight days of moderate rain per year. The humidity is below 60% for approximately 34.4 days, or 9.4% of the year.[14]



Danvers is located approximately 17 miles (27 km) north of Downtown Boston,[15] nearly halfway between Boston and the New Hampshire state border. It is bordered by Topsfield to the north, Wenham to the northeast, Beverly to the east, a small portion of Salem to the southeast, Peabody to the south and southwest, and Middleton to the northwest. The town center lies 4 miles (6 km) north of Salem, 16 miles (26 km) west of Gloucester, 17 miles (27 km) northeast of Boston, and 19 miles (31 km) southeast of Salem, New Hampshire. Interstate 95 and Massachusetts Route 128 both pass through the town, just east of their junction in Peabody. U.S. Route 1 also passes through town, with a large junction with Interstate 95 in the northwestern end of town. The main highways are also crossed by Route 35, Route 62 and Route 114, with Routes 35 and 62 intersecting just north of the town center. The northern terminus of Route 35 is just over the Topsfield town line, where it meets Route 97.

Several MBTA bus routes pass through the town, between Peabody and Beverly. There is no commuter rail service within town; the Newburyport/Rockport Line of the MBTA Commuter Rail passes through neighboring Salem and Beverly. Two lines of the Springfield Terminal railroad, running through Springfield, Massachusetts, also cross through town, merging near the town center to head north.

Two runways of the Beverly Municipal Airport cross through the town. In the early 1950s, Earle F. Robbins constructed Robbins Airport, a private airfield, on his property on Collins Street extending to Prince Street.[16] The airport closed in the 1980s and was demolished in the 1990s.[17] The nearest regularly scheduled commercial flights are located at Boston's Logan International Airport.


Historical population

Source: United States census records and Population Estimates Program data.[18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28]

As of the census[29] of 2000, there were 25,212 people, 9,555 households, and 6,564 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,898.5 inhabitants per square mile (733.0/km2). There were 9,762 housing units at an average density of 735.1 per square mile (283.8/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.72% White, 0.35% Black or African American, 0.10% Native American, 1.11% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 0.48% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.83% of the population.

There were 9,555 households, out of which 30.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.2% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were non-families. 26.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 23.2% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 28.7% from 25 to 44, 24.5% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $58,779, and the median income for a family was $70,565. Males had a median income of $48,058 versus $33,825 for females. The per capita income for the town was $26,852. About 1.7% of families and 2.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.0% of those under age 18 and 4.4% of those age 65 or over.



Danvers has a Plan E form of government, which is a combination of a representative town meeting and town manager. It also has an elected board of selectmen.



Top employers


According to the town's 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[30] the top ten employers in the town are:

# Employer # of employees
1 Medtronic Interventional Vascular 740
2 IRA Motor Group 530
3 Hospice of the North Shore 522
4 North Shore Community College 418
5 Abiomed 400
6 The Home Depot 313
7 Cell Signaling Technology 300
8 Lahey NorthShore 289
9 Essex Technical High School 252
10 Danversport Yacht Club 235

Danvers has seen major growth in the food truck revolution: and this has led to some of the food truck[31] owners moving toward more permanent cafes.[32]

Public safety


Danvers has full-time police and fire departments. Emergency medical services are provided by Atlantic Ambulance (a Division of Cataldo Ambulance), a large private ambulance company based in Somerville. The Town was previously served by Lyons Ambulance Service, a small private ambulance company which had served the town since 1904 before being bought by Cataldo Ambulance in 2017.[33] The Danvers Police Department was accredited in 1986. Danvers was the first municipal agency within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to become nationally accredited.

1990 gas leaks and explosions


On April 2, 1990, the natural gas lines serving homes were accidentally over-pressurized by a Boston Gas worker, resulting in fires and explosions along Lafayette St., Maple St., Venice St. and Beaver Park Av. which injured six people.[34]



Public schools


The town of Danvers comprises its own school district, Danvers Public Schools. The district has five elementary schools (Highlands Elementary, Riverside Elementary, Great Oak Elementary, Thorpe Elementary, and Smith Elementary), each serving kindergarten through fifth grade (Riverside, Thorpe, and Great Oak also includes pre-kindergarten.) Grades six through eight attend the Holten-Richmond Middle School. Grades nine through twelve attend Danvers High School.

Danvers competes in Little League Baseball as part of two local leagues; the Danvers National Little League (DNLL) on the south and west side of town, and the Danvers American Little League (DALL) on the north and east side of town. Kids in the DNLL primarily go to Highlands and Great Oak Elementary Schools, while kids in DALL primarily go to Smith and Thorpe Elementary Schools. Riverside Elementary is split between the two.

Private schools


Danvers is home to three private schools. St. Mary of the Annunciation School serves pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Plumfield Academy is a small school for grades one through eight, with a philosophy of education based on that of Charlotte Mason. St. John's Preparatory School is a school for young men, serving grades six through twelve. St. Mary's and St. John's are religiously affiliated. St. Mary's is part of the Archdiocese of Boston and Saint John's or commonly known as "the Prep" is a Xaverian Brothers-sponsored school.

Vocational schools


In addition to the public and private schools, Danvers once hosted Essex Agricultural High School, an independent, state-funded day school serving grades 9 through 12. Essex Agricultural High School has merged with North Shore Tech, which was located in Middleton, which has resulted in a larger, unified campus located in Danvers.

Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School opened in September 2014. The school offers 24 technical and agricultural programs to students from in-district towns, and offers the seven agricultural programs to out-of-district students.[35]

Points of interest

Rebecca Nurse Homestead Danvers, Massachusetts

Notable people




Creative arts






Politicians and business


See also



  1. ^ Brown, Thurl D. "Danvers Town Halls" Archived July 8, 2010, at the Wayback Machine The Oniontown Seniors Vol. 16 No. 5 (1964). Retrieved November 16, 2009.
  2. ^ "Census - Geography Profile: Danvers town, Essex County, Massachusetts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  3. ^ Hanson, J. W. (John Wesley). History of the Town of Danvers: From its Early Settlement to the Year 1848. 1848. Salem, Mass.: Higginson Book, 1987.
  4. ^ "Profile for Danvers, Massachusetts". ePodunk. Retrieved May 18, 2010.
  5. ^ "The Creation of Danvers, by Richard B. Trask". Danvers Archival Center. November 5, 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
  6. ^ Official Program: Danvers' 150th Anniversary, June 15, 16, 17, 1902. Danvers, Mass.: Danvers Mirror. 1902.
  7. ^ "History". Danverslibrary.org. November 5, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  8. ^ Parkman, Francis. Montcalm and Wolfe, Vol. 1, pp. 458-61, Google books (Little Brown & Co.), 1922
  9. ^ Tourtellot, Arthur Bernon. William Diamond's Drum, p. 220, Doubleday & Company, Garden City, New York, 1959.
  10. ^ Kelly, C. Brian. Best Little Stories from the American Revolution, pp. 81, 84, Cumberland House, Nashville, TN, 1999.
  11. ^ Galvin, Gen. John R. The Minute Men, 2nd edition, p. 240, Pergamon-Brassey's, Washington, D.C., 1989.
  12. ^ "Historical Sites of Danvers" Etext.virginia.edu, Retrieved on November 16, 2009
  13. ^ Carrots History Archived November 12, 2020, at the Wayback Machine Carrotmuseum.co.uk, Retrieved on February 26, 2009
  14. ^ "Climate in Danvers, Massachusetts". Retrieved August 18, 2022.
  15. ^ "Massachusetts student, 14, charged with murder of high school teacher." Associated Press. Wednesday, October 23, 2013. Retrieved on October 23, 2013.
  16. ^ "Private Airfield Cause of Suit by Town of Danvers". The Boston Globe. September 11, 1952.
  17. ^ "Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields: Northern Boston area". Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields. May 29, 2013. Archived from the original on December 14, 2013. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  18. ^ "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
  19. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  20. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  21. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  22. ^ "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). 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.
  23. ^ "1920 Census of Population" (PDF). 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.
  24. ^ "1890 Census of the Population" (PDF). 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.
  25. ^ "1870 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  26. ^ "1860 Census" (PDF). 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.
  27. ^ "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  28. ^ "City and Town Population Totals: 2020−2022". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 24, 2023.
  29. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  30. ^ "Town of Danvers CAFR". Danvers.govoffice.com. Archived from the original on November 5, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  31. ^ "Food trucks that were temporarily closed". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  32. ^ Ethan Forman (June 4, 2017). "Food truck evolution: Some food truck owners moving toward more permanent cafes". Salemnews.com. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  33. ^ "Danvers thanks Lyons Ambulance for 113 years of service".
  34. ^ Writer, Kelsey Bode Staff. "Merrimack Valley gas disaster similar to 1990 Danvers emergency". Salem News. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  35. ^ "Career Technical and Agricultural Education – Essex North Shore". August 30, 2018. Retrieved November 10, 2021.
  36. ^ "Home - Endicott Park, Danvers MA 01923". Endicottpark.com. Retrieved October 23, 2013.
  37. ^ Postman, Joseph. 2003. "The Endicott Pear Tree—Oldest Living Fruit Tree in North America". Pomona. 35:13–15.
  38. ^ "Ingersoll's Ordinary (1670) – Historic Buildings of Massachusetts". Mass.historicbuildingsct.com. January 15, 2011. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  39. ^ Gagnon, Dan (January 6, 2019). "Ingersoll's Tavern, Anything But "Ordinary"". Specters of Salem Village. Retrieved March 4, 2019.