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Methuen, Massachusetts
Methuen City Hall
Methuen City Hall
Official seal of Methuen, Massachusetts
Location in Essex County and the state of Massachusetts.
Location in Essex County and the state of Massachusetts.
Methuen, Massachusetts is located in the United States
Methuen, Massachusetts
Methuen, Massachusetts
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Essex
Settled 1642
Incorporated December 8, 1725
Incorporated a city 1917
 • Type Mayor-council
 • Total 22.99 sq mi (59.55 km2)
 • Land 22.21 sq mi (57.53 km2)
 • Water 0.78 sq mi (2.02 km2)
115 ft (35 m)
 • Total 53,059
 • Density 2,388.97/sq mi (922.28/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 351 / 978
FIPS code 25-40710
GNIS feature ID 0612337

Methuen is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 53,059 at the 2020 census. Methuen lies along the northwestern edge of Essex County, just east of Middlesex County and just south of Rockingham County, New Hampshire. The city is bordered by Haverhill to the northeast, North Andover to the southeast, Lawrence and West Andover to the south, Dracut (Middlesex County) to the west, Pelham, New Hampshire (Hillsborough County) to the northwest, and Salem, New Hampshire (Rockingham County) to the north. Methuen is located 30 miles (48 km) north-northwest of Boston and 25 miles (40 km) south-southeast of Manchester, New Hampshire.


Methuen was first settled in 1642 and was officially incorporated in 1726. Methuen was originally part of Haverhill, Massachusetts. In 1724 Stephen Barker and others in the western part of that town petitioned the General Court to grant them permission to form a new town above Hawke's Meadow Brook. Although opposed by their fellow townsmen, the petition was approved the following year (December 8, 1725), and the General Court gave them an act of incorporation under the name of Methuen. The town was named for Sir Paul Methuen, a member of the King's Privy Council and friend of acting Provincial Governor William Dummer. The first town meeting was held March 9, 1726.

Industrial growth in the 1800s influenced Methuen's development. Construction of the Methuen Cotton Mills at the Spicket River falls in the 1820s and the increased manufacture of hats and shoes in small factories along the Spicket spurred the centralization of Methuen's economic, residential and cultural activities within the area around Osgood, Broadway, Hampshire and Pleasant streets. Three wealthy and prominent families—the Nevins, the Tenneys and the Searles—played a significant role in Methuen's history and development. These families were instrumental in the founding of many of Methuen's landmarks, including the Nevins Memorial Library, the Searles building, Tenney Gatehouse, Nevins Home, Spicket Falls, and the Civil War monument between Pleasant and Charles streets.


Methuen lies at the northern end of Interstate 93 in Massachusetts, with three exits providing access. A portion of Interstate 495 crosses through the eastern side of town from Lawrence to Haverhill. Massachusetts Route 213, the "Loop Connector", provides highway access between the two, having three intermediate exits of its own, in addition to the exits for I-93 and I-495. The town is also crossed by Route 28, Route 110, and Route 113, the latter two meeting at I-93 Exit 43 (old exit 46). I-93 provides the town's only bridge across the Merrimack; there are several crossings in Lawrence, and several in neighboring Haverhill, but none for 7 miles (11 km) upstream from I-93 all the way to the eastern end of Lowell.

Methuen is served by the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority's bus service. Daily intercity bus service to Worcester and New York City is provided by OurBus from the Methuen Park and Ride. The nearest rail station is in South Lawrence, which is part of the Haverhill/Reading Line of the MBTA Commuter Rail, providing service into Boston's North Station. Small plane service can be found at Lawrence Municipal Airport and the Merrimack Valley Seaplane Base, with the nearest national service being at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, and the nearest international service being at Logan International Airport.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1840 2,251 —    
1850 2,538 +12.7%
1860 2,566 +1.1%
1870 2,959 +15.3%
1880 4,392 +48.4%
1890 4,814 +9.6%
1900 7,512 +56.0%
1910 11,448 +52.4%
1920 15,189 +32.7%
1930 21,069 +38.7%
1940 21,880 +3.8%
1950 24,477 +11.9%
1960 28,114 +14.9%
1970 35,456 +26.1%
1980 36,701 +3.5%
1990 39,990 +9.0%
2000 43,789 +9.5%
2010 47,255 +7.9%
2020 53,059 +12.3%
* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 43,789 people, 16,532 households, and 11,539 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,954.7 persons per square mile (754.8/km2). There were 16,885 housing units, at an average density of 753.7 per square mile (291.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.35% White, 1.35% African American, 0.22% Native American, 2.38% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 4.87% from other races, and 1.82% from two or more races. Hispanics and Latinos, of any race, were 9.64% of the population (8.4% Dominican, 5.7% Puerto Rican, 0.6% Guatemalan, 0.3% Ecuadorian, 0.3% Mexican, 0.3% Cuban).

There were 16,532 households, of which 33.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.3% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.2% were non-families. 25.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.17.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 24.7% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 31.0% from 25 to 44, 21.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $49,627, and the median income for a family was $59,831. Males had a median income of $41,693 versus $31,864 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,305. About 5.8% of families and 7.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.7% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over.

Historic district

The Searles Tenney Nevins Historic District, established by the city in 1992 to preserve the "distinctive architecture and rich character of one of Massachusetts' most unique neighborhoods", is named after the three Methuen city fathers: David C. Nevins, Edward F. Searles and Charles H. Tenney.

From the City of Methuen:

Today, the trio's collective vision can be seen in mills, housing, schools, mansions, churches, monuments, playgrounds, the library, and the architectural fantasies that resulted from their artistic rivalry. The historic district boundaries were established to include properties and buildings constructed or used by the Searles, Tenney and Nevins families and the people who worked for them.

The historic district is administered by the Methuen Historic District Commission, which protects the district from alterations that might compromise its historic integrity. Bounded within the Searles Tenney Nevins Historic District are the Spicket Falls Historic District and the Pleasant-High Historic District. Both are registered with the National Register of Historic Places, as are many of the other buildings within the area.

Points of interest

  • Forest Lake is a recreational great pond of over 55 acres (22 ha) bordered by the Methuen town forest. Access is managed by the Forest Lake Association. Residents and visitors can engage in a series of activities, including fishing, canoeing, and swimming.
  • Methuen Memorial Music Hall was built specifically to house the Great Organ, built originally by Walcker Orgelbau for the Boston Music Hall, and procured by philanthropist and city benefactor Edward Francis Searles more than a century ago. The organ case, which in approximate terms is as large as a typical house, is ornate, and features a bust of J.S. Bach as a central ornament.
  • The Methuen Rail Trail occupies the railbanked Boston and Maine Manchester and Lawrence Railroad corridor. It connects the Spicket River Greenway in Lawrence with the in-development Salem Bike-Ped Corridor. Future plans to revitalize this rail line for commuter and freight rail could make this trail a rail-with-trail bike path.
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Methuen, Massachusetts
  • The Nevins Memorial Library, founded in 1868 by David Nevins, Sr., was completed in 1883, two years after his death. The grand brick and stained glass library was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.


Methuen High School, Methuen MA
Methuen High School

Public schools

  • Methuen High School
  • Comprehensive Grammar School
  • Tenney Grammar School
  • Timony Grammar School
  • Marsh Grammar School

Private schools

  • Saint Monica's is a Catholic for Pre-K to 8th grade.
  • St. Ann's Home and School provides residential, outpatient, and private day school options for a wide range of learning disabilities and/or behavioral and emotional disorders. All programs are designed to provide a continuum of special needs services to assist children and adolescents who need intensive and comprehensive help for themselves and their families. The Day School program offers education for children and adolescents with special emotional needs, complemented by a strong therapeutic component. Children are transported to St. Ann's from communities in a one-hour radius. Referrals come from school districts seeking an academically focused, clinically supported school setting for students with significant emotional, developmental, behavioral, and learning needs.
  • Presentation of Mary Academy was a private Catholic high school founded in 1958. The academy is on a 22-acre (8.9 ha) campus formerly known as the Edward F. Searles Estate. The school was originally for young women grades 9–12 but went co-educational with the 2011–2012 school year. Due to financial difficulties, the school closed in 2019
Nicholson Stadium
Nicholson Stadium, home of the Methuen Rangers


Methuen High School's athletic teams play in the Merrimack Valley Conference. Their big rivals are the Andover Golden Warriors, the Central Catholic Raiders of Lawrence, and the Haverhill Hillies. On Thanksgiving Day, the football team plays fellow Merrimack Valley foe the Dracut Middies. The teams first met in a non-Thanksgiving Day game in 1935 and did not play again until the Thanksgiving series started in 1963. The school colors are blue and white, and their mascot is the Ranger, named after Rogers' Rangers, the precursor of the U.S. Army Rangers, which was founded by town resident Robert Rogers.

Notable people

  • Steve Bedrosian, Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Joseph Bodwell, 40th governor of Maine
  • Susie Castillo, Miss Massachusetts USA 2003, Miss USA 2003 and MTV VJ
  • Elias James Corey, 1990 Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate
  • Ben Cosgrove, composer and multi-instrumentalist
  • Pat DeCola, sports reporter
  • Mitchell Garabedian, attorney
  • Andrew Haldane (1917–1944), Marine captain, portrayed in the HBO miniseries The Pacific
  • Calvin Kattar, professional MMA fighter competing in the UFC
  • Christopher Lennertz, composer for films, television shows, and video games
  • Gary McLain former Villanova men's basketball player
  • Harriet Nevins, philanthropist, animal rights activist
  • Georges Niang, professional NBA player for the Philadelphia 76ers
  • Fred Otash, actor, author, famous private investigator, LA police officer, WWII Marine veteran
  • Jimmy Pedro, Olympics bronze medalist
  • Edith Prague., Colorado politician
  • Robert Rogers (1731–1795), founder of Rogers' Rangers which led to the creation of the United States Army Rangers
  • John Ruiz, professional boxer and former WBA World Heavyweight champion
  • Edward Francis Searles (1841–1920), philanthropist, interior and architectural designer
  • James Michael Shannon, Massachusetts Attorney General and congressman
  • Charles H. Tenney (1842–1919), industrialist and philanthropist
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