Manchester Massachusetts, 1890

Manchester, one of our most beautiful towns, lies along north side of Massachusetts Bay, in the southeasterly part of Essex County, 8 miles northeast of Salem, and 25 miles northeast of Boston. It is on the Gloucester Branch of the Eastern Division of the Boston and Maine Railroad, which has stations at West Manchester, Manchester and Magnolia. Manchester is the principal village and the post-office. Other villages are Crescent Beach, Kittle Cove Village, West Manchester and Newport. Northeast of Manchester village is Rosedale Cemetery; and a locality beyond, near Baker's Pond, formerly bore the name "North Yarmouth."

It is bounded on the north by Essex, on the east by Gloucester, on the south by the sea, and on the west by Beverly and Wenham. Its shore line is about 4 miles. In the offing are House, Kettle and several smaller islands. The area is 5,134 acres; about two-thirds, chiefly along the northern side of the town, being well filled with forests of oak, pine and hemlock. This section, as well the adjoining section of Essex, contains numerous hills; of which the largest are Moose Hill, north of the centre, and, further north, Millstone Hill, with Long Hill in the east, and Sheep-Pasture Hill in the northeast. The outcropping rock is generally sienitic. Beaver Pond lies in the midst of the northern section, with an outlet into Baker's Pond just south of it, whose outlet, Baker's Brook, formerly Jeffrey's Creek, a swift little stream, after turning a mill, spreads out into the beautiful Manchester harbor, which connects with the sea by a narrow but sufficient passage between crowding buttresses of sienite. A large portion of the sea-shore consists of rifted walls of the same rock, with here and there a seam of a different sort; sometimes jutting out into a bold promontory, as at Eagle head; while between are pretty coves and long stretches of sandy beach, as at Manchester-by-the-Sea, Graves', and Kittle Cove. The first is the famous " Singing Beach," whose sands give forth a shrill resonance when pressed by the feet, but tones soft and sweet when washed by the waves. Gales' Point, forming the other side of the entrance to Manchester Harbor, Goldsmith's Point west of Magnolia Cove, are the large seaward projections. All along the shore are charming cottages, isolated or in groups, the summer residences of some of the best families of Boston. Fine bathing, with walks and drives along the shore, in the rustic groves near by, and among the wooded hills of the interior, perfect this as a summer resort. Near Gloucester the woods abound with the fragrant magnolia tree or sweet bay.

Somewhat back from the shores are the farms, 50 in number; whose product in 1885 footed up to $45,457. The strawberry crop was 6,229 quarts. The fisheries, formerly a large industry, yielded but $3,356; the catch consisting of cod, herring, mackerel and lobsters. The manufacture of a fine quality of furniture has grown to considerable proportions. Other manufactures are boots and shoes, bricks and tiles, cordage and twine, food preparations, etc. The aggregate value of goods made was $189,326. The number of dwelling-houses was 402; and the permanent population 1,639; of whom 443 were legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $7,009,831; with a tax-rate of $4.15 on $1,000.

There are a good town-house, a beautiful Memorial Hall of stone presented to the town by Mr. T. J. Coolidge, several excellent hotels, a public library containing some 5,000 volumes. There are primary, grammar and high schools; which are housed in six buildings valued at some $15,000. The churches are the Baptist, Congregationalist and the Roman Catholic. The town put 150 men into the Union service during the war of the Rebellion, and lost 18.

Manchester was originally settled in 1628, by William Jeffery, whose name is perpetuated by "Jeffrey's Creek," on which the principal village is situated. The territory was then a part of Salem; from which it was separated, and incorporated as a town, May 14, 1645. Its name was probably given in honor of the Duke of Manchester.

pp. 436-437 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890