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Swampscott, Massachusetts
Swampscott Town Hall, 22 Monument Ave
Swampscott Town Hall, 22 Monument Ave
Official seal of Swampscott, Massachusetts
“The Swamp”
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 1629
Incorporated 1852
 • Type Town Manager/Representative town meeting
 • Total 6.7 sq mi (17.4 km2)
 • Land 3.1 sq mi (7.9 km2)
 • Water 3.7 sq mi (9.6 km2)
45 ft (14 m)
 • Total 15,111
 • Density 4,874.5/sq mi (1,912.8/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 339 / 781
FIPS code 25-68645
GNIS feature ID 0618311

Swampscott is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States, located 15 miles (24 km) up the coast from Boston in an area known as the North Shore. The population was 15,111 as of the 2020 United States Census. A former summer resort on Massachusetts Bay, Swampscott is today a fairly affluent residential community and includes the village of Beach Bluff, as well as part of the neighborhood of Clifton.


Swampscott Public Library
Swampscott Public Library

Swampscott was first settled in 1629 as the eastern part (Ward One) of Lynn, and was set off and officially incorporated in 1852. A beach town north of Boston, measuring 3 square miles (7.8 km2), and abutting Salem, Marblehead and Lynn, Swampscott was an important destination for the wealthy at the beginning of the 20th century. While Revere Beach, which lies just several miles down the road, has the honor of technically being America's first public beach, Swampscott was the de facto first resort town. Lynn was the divider between the poor beach and the rich resort town. The name "Swampscott" comes from the language of a local Native American tribe, and means "red rock".

The following is verbatim from the official Swampscott web page: "History of Swampscott."

Swampscott's public school system includes three elementary schools, Hadley School, Clarke School, and Stanley School, one middle school, Swampscott Middle School, and one high school, Swampscott High School. The Machon elementary school was shuttered in 2008/9, but the property remains on the district's rolls. A new building was completed in 2007 for Swampscott High School. In 2011, The Town of Swampscott is working out the details of installing a massive wind turbine, with the approximate height of a 30-story building on the property of the Swampscott Middle School. When installed it is expected to generate a little more than half of the power for the middle school.

Whale Beach, Swampscott, MA
Whale Beach in 1909
The Boulevard, Swampscott, MA
The Boulevard in 1910
The New Ocean House Hotel circa 1920


Swampscott Railway Depot 1
Swampscott Railway Depot

The MBTA provides passenger rail service from Boston's North Station with the Swampscott station on its Newburyport/Rockport Line, as well as several bus lines. An abandoned 4-mile branch of the Boston & Maine Railroad originating in Swampscott serves as Marblehead rail trail.

Swampscott is located along Massachusetts Route 1A and Route 129. Both routes enter from Lynn, with Route 1A passing north of the town center towards Salem, and Route 129 following the coast for a half mile before going inland north of Phillips Point and returning to the coast before heading into Marblehead. There is no highway within town, which lies well south of Massachusetts Route 128 and Interstate 95. The town is served by numerous MBTA bus routes which lead into the surrounding towns.

The nearest air service can be reached at Beverly Municipal Airport, and the nearest national and international air service can be found at Boston's Logan International Airport.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1860 1,530 —    
1870 1,846 +20.7%
1880 2,500 +35.4%
1890 3,198 +27.9%
1900 4,548 +42.2%
1910 6,204 +36.4%
1920 8,101 +30.6%
1930 10,346 +27.7%
1940 10,761 +4.0%
1950 11,580 +7.6%
1960 13,294 +14.8%
1970 13,578 +2.1%
1980 13,837 +1.9%
1990 13,650 −1.4%
2000 14,412 +5.6%
2010 13,787 −4.3%
2020 15,111 +9.6%
* = population estimate. Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.

As of the census of 2010, there were 13,787 people, 5,579 households, and 3,986 families residing in the town. The population density was 4,725.9 people per square mile (1,824.4/km2). There were 5,930 housing units at an average density of 1,944.5 per square mile (750.7/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.47% White, 0.74% Black or African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.68% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.28% from other races, and 0.75% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.27% of the population.

There were 5,719 households, out of which 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.2% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.3% were non-families. Of all households 25.9% were made up of individuals, and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 24.0% under the age of 18, 4.5% from 18 to 24, 27.8% from 25 to 44, 26.0% from 45 to 64, and 17.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $84,174, and the median income for a family was $92,795. Males had a median income of $56,541 versus $38,690 for females. The per capita income for the town was $45,487. The town is among some of the richest towns in the state (see List of Massachusetts locations by per capita income) and is currently ranked at 16th. About 2.5% of families and 3.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.1% of those under age 18 and 5.4% of those age 65 or over. The median home sale price for the town in 2007 was $565,894. Home values typically range from around $400,000 to upwards of $5 million for ocean front homes. These prices are comparable to other wealthy North Shore towns such as Marblehead and Manchester-by-the-Sea which are located nearby. In upper class oceanfront neighborhoods and neighborhoods with ocean views or views of the Boston skyline, average home prices increase to as much as $1,038,569 and average household incomes can range upwards of $150,000. Larger oceanfront properties have recently been assessed at values greater than $5 million and in some cases upwards of $10 million.

Marian Court College

Points of interest

  • Eisman's Beach
  • Elihu Thomson House, aka Swampscott Town Hall
  • Fisherman's Beach
  • John Humphreys House
  • King's Beach
  • Mary Baker Eddy Historic House
  • Olmsted Subdivision Historic District, located on Monument Avenue
  • Phillip's Beach
  • Swampscott Fish House
  • Tedesco Country Club


The MBTA provides its Commuter Rail service from Boston's North Station with the Swampscott station on its Newburyport/Rockport Line, as well as several bus lines. The closest access to the subway is the Blue Line at Wonderland station in Revere, Massachusetts.


Swampscott's public school system includes three elementary schools: Hadley School, Clarke School, and Stanley School; one middle school, Swampscott Middle School; and one high school, Swampscott High School. The Machon elementary school was shut down in 2008–2009, but the property remains on the district's rolls. A new building was completed in 2007 for Swampscott High School. In 2011, Swampscott considered installing a wind turbine, with the approximate height of a 30-story building, on the property of the Swampscott Middle School but ultimately rejected the project.

Notable people

  • Bill Adams, retired NFL player
  • Harold Alfond, founder of Dexter Shoe
  • Osborne Anderson, ice hockey player who competed in the 1932 Winter Olympics
  • Anthony Athanas, restaurateur and philanthropist
  • Charlie Baker, C.E.O. of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Inc., Governor of Massachusetts
  • Charles Henry Bond, president and general manager of Waitt & Bond, one of Boston's largest real estate holders, and a patron of the arts
  • Carol Brady, fictional TV mom
  • Walter Brennan, multiple Academy Award-winning actor
  • Freddy Cannon, rock singer who had hits with "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans" and "Palisades Park"
  • Peggy Stuart Coolidge, composer and conductor
  • Kyle Cooper, film director, title designer
  • Mabel Wheeler Daniels, composer, conductor, and teacher
  • Jamie Denbo, actress and comedian
  • Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Christian Science religion
  • Larry Eigner, poet
  • Jefferson Friedman, composer
  • Mel Goldstein, chief meteorologist for WTNH television in New Haven, Connecticut
  • Barry Goralnick, founder of Barry Goralnick Architects; theatrical producer of Eve-olution, Scituate, The Irish Curse, Saint Heaven
  • Barry Goudreau, original guitarist of the rock group Boston and the Lisa Guyer Band
  • Sarah P. Harkness, architect
  • Jim Hegan, professional baseball catcher and coach
  • Mary-Louise Hooper, civil rights activist
  • Dick Jauron, professional football player and head coach of the NFL's Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, and Buffalo Bills
  • Harvey Jewell, Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1868 to 1871
  • Theodora J. Kalikow, American academic and university president
  • Jackson Katz, anti-domestic violence advocate
  • Piper Kerman, author of Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
  • Ken Linseman, former professional hockey player (Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers)
  • Todd McShay, ESPN NFL draft prospect analyst
  • Gerhard Neumann, German-born aviation engineer and innovator; former vice president of General Electric
  • Chris Paine, documentary director
  • Michael Palmer, author of The First Patient
  • Barry Pederson, former NHL and Bruins all star; current NESN hockey analyst
  • Johnny Pesky, pro baseball coach, former Red Sox shortstop
  • Antonio Pierro, recognized as the oldest living man in the U.S. (January 9 to February 8, 2007) and the world's oldest living World War I veteran (January 24 to February 8, 2007)
  • David Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports
  • David Lee Roth, lead singer of the rock group Van Halen
  • Blondy Ryan, Major League Baseball shortstop
  • George P. Sanger, lawyer, editor, judge, and businessman
  • Mark Shasha, artist, author of Night of the Moonjellies
  • Fran Sheehan, original bass player of the rock group Boston
  • Jim Smith, State Representative, MA House of Representatives.
  • Lesley Stahl, 60 Minutes correspondent
  • Thomas Stephens, Retired player for the NFL's Patriots
  • G. Joseph Tauro, Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from 1970 to 1976
  • Elihu Thomson, founder of General Electric
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