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Methuen, Massachusetts
City
Methuen City Hall
Methuen City Hall
Official seal of Methuen, Massachusetts
Seal
Location in Essex County and the state of Massachusetts.
Location in Essex County and the state of Massachusetts.
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Essex
Settled 1642
Incorporated 1725
Incorporated a city 1917
Area
 • Total 23.1 sq mi (59.7 km2)
 • Land 22.2 sq mi (57.6 km2)
 • Water 0.8 sq mi (2.0 km2)
Elevation 115 ft (35 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 47,255
 • Density 2,050.1/sq mi (791.5/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 01844
Area code(s) 351 / 978
FIPS code 25-40710
GNIS feature ID 0612337
Website www.cityofmethuen.net

Methuen /mɛˈθɛn/ is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 47,255 at the 2010 census.

History

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.

Geography and transportation

Methuen is located at (42.730040, −71.179352). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 23.1 square miles (59.7 km2), of which 22.2 square miles (57.6 km2) is land and 0.77 square miles (2.0 km2), or 3.42%, is water.

Methuen lies alongside the northern banks of the Merrimack River, and is also bisected by the Spicket (originally "Spigot") River, as well as many brooks and streams. There are several ponds dotting the area as well, and the town is home to a town forest, a bird sanctuary, and a small state park (Tenney State Park). Pine Island, near the southern end of town in the Merrimack River, is also part of the town's land.

Methuen lies along the northwestern edge of Essex County, just east of Middlesex County and just south of Rockingham County, New Hampshire. The irregularly-shaped town is bordered by Haverhill to the northeast, North Andover to the east, Lawrence and 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 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, lying entirely within town and having five exits of its own. The town is also crossed by Route 28, Route 110, and Route 113, the latter two meeting at a rotary at I-93 Exit 46, one of the more congested intersections along the I-93 corridor. Construction to replace this interchange began in July 2014; it is expected to be complete at some point in 2017 with a partial cloverleaf interchange. 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; there is no other mass transportation source within town. 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.

Demographics

See also: List of Massachusetts locations by per capita income
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%
2014 49,112 +3.9%
* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.
Source:
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.

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