History of Danvers, Massachusetts

Danvers is a historic town in Massachusetts. Located in Essex county, Danvers was originally a part of Salem when it was settled in the 17th century. Known as Salem Village, it was a rural farming village with a relatively small population.

Danvers eventually separated from Salem in the 18th century and later became home to a number of medical and industrial complexes in the 19th and and 20th century.

The following is a timeline of the history of Danvers:

1632:

  • John Endecott establishes a 300 acre orchard farm in the area that is now modern day Danvers.

1634:

  • Reverend Samuel Shelton/Skelton is awarded a land grant in Danvers.

1635:

  • John Humphrey and Emmanuel Downing were also awarded land grants in Danvers.

1637:

  • William Hathorne is granted a tract of land in the area now known as Hathorne Hill in Danvers.

1638:

  • By 1638, Salem grants rights to several individuals to establish a village in what is now modern day Danvers, which is named Salem Village.

1640:

  • The population of Salem Village is about 100 people.

1649:

  • The General Israel Putnam House, a Colonial-style house, is built for Lieutenant Thomas Putnam on the Putnam farm on Maple Street.
Birthplace of Israel Putnam, Danvers, Mass, circa 1900
Birthplace of Israel Putnam, Danvers, Mass, circa 1900

1664:

  • The Porter – Bradstreet House, a Colonial-style house, is built for Joseph Porter on Locust Street.

1670:

  • The Benjamin Holten House, a Colonial-style saltbox house, is built for Benjamin Holten on what is now Holten Street.
  • The Ingersoll House, a Colonial-style house that also serves as a tavern, is built for Nathaniel Ingersoll on Hobart Street.

1671:

  • The Joseph Houlton House, a Colonial-style house, is built for Joseph Houlton on Centre Street.

1672:

  • The first meetinghouse is built near what is now the corner of Hobart and Forest Streets on an acre of land donated by Joseph Hutchinson.

1678:

Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers, Mass, postcard, circa early 1900s
Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers, Mass, postcard, circa early 1900s

1681:

  • The Thomas Haines House, a Colonial-style house that also served as a tavern, is built for Thomas Haines on Centre Street.
  • The Darling-Prince House, a Colonial-style house, is built for John Darling near what is now modern day Route 1. The house was later moved to Hobart Street in 1845.
  • The Salem Village Parsonage is built on Centre Street.

1690:

  • Sometime between 1680 and 1690, the Putnam – Boardman House, a Colonial-style house, is built for Jonathan Putnam on Locust Street. It remained in the Putnam family until the early 19th century when it was sold Nathanial Boardman

1692:

  • In January, a group of girls in Salem Village start behaving strangely and suffering fits.
  • In February, a local doctor is called in to examine the girls and determines that they are bewitched.
  • In March, the Salem Witch Trials officially begin in Salem Village when the girls name three women who are bewitching them, Sarah Good, Sarah Osbourne and Tituba. Tituba confesses and states that there are many witches in Salem, which sparks a massive witch hunt to find the other witches.
  • In late July, the Rebecca Nurse Burying Ground is established on the Nurse property on Pine Street when it is rumored that Rebecca Nurse’s body is secretly buried on the property after she is convicted of being a witch and is executed on July 19.
  • The Rea-Proctor Homestead, a Colonial-style house, is built for Joshua Rea Sr on Conant Street.
  • The Houlton – Wilkens House, a Colonial-style saltbox house, is built sometime around 1692 for Joseph Houlton on Centre Street.

1696:

  • The Old Putnam Burying Ground is established on Summer Street when Elizabeth Parris, wife of Reverend Samuel Parris, is buried there.

1700:

  • The Rea – Putnam – Fowler House, a Colonial-style saltbox house, is built for farmer Joshua Rea on Elerton Lane.
  • The Prince – Osborne House, a Colonial-style house, is built on Robert Prince’s farm.
  • The Hutchinson – Jocelyn House, a Colonial-style house, is built on Forest Street.

1710:

  • The Upton Tavern, a Colonial-style house that later served as tavern in 1748, is built on Centre Street.

1715:

  • The Jonathan Putnam Jr House, a Colonial-style house, is built for Jonathan Putnam Jr on Locust Street.
  • The James Putnam Jr House, a Colonial-style house, is built by James Putnam Jr for his father James Putnam Sr on Summer Street.
  • The Uzziel Rea – Francis Dodge House, a Colonial-style house, is built on the Dodge farm on Hawthorne Hill.

1722:

  • The White-Preston House, a Colonial-style house, is built on Maple Street.

1726:

  • The Elisha Hutchinson House, a Colonial-style house, is built for Elisha Hutchinson on Centre Street.

1745:

  • The John Porter House, a Georgian-style house which operates as an inn, is built for John Porter at the corner of modern day High Street and Conant Street.
  • The Porter – Putnam – Berry – Henderson House, a Georgian-style house which operates as an inn, is built for John Porter on Elm Street.

1748:

  • The Kenney House, a Colonial-style saltbox house, is built on Centre Street.

1752:

  • Danvers is established as a separate district from Salem and is renamed Danvers, in honor of settler Danvers Osbourn.
Official town seal of Danvers, Mass
Official town seal of Danvers, Mass

1754:

  • The Jeremiah Page House, a Georgian-style house, is built for brickmaker Jeremiah Page on what is now Page Street.

1756:

  • The Rea – Patrick House, a Georgian-style house, is built for Dr. Caleb Rea on Locust Street.

1757:

  • Danvers is incorporated as a town in the Province of Massachusetts Bay.

1758:

  • The Endecott – Russell Cemetery is established on Clinton Ave.
  • The Old Porter Burying Ground is established on High Street.

1759:

  • The Prince Cemetery is established on the property of Dr. Jonathan Prince on Spring Street.

1765:

  • The Putnam – Sleeper – Legro House, a Georgian-style house, is built for Henry Putnam Jr on Locust Street.

1770:

  • The Joseph Dwinell House, a Colonial-style house, is built for Joseph Dwinell on Nichols Street.

1772:

  • The Clark House, a Colonial-style saltbox house, is built for Reverend Peter Clark on Hobart Street.

1774:

  • The Leech Cemetery is established on a farm on Eliot Street.
  • The Preston Cemetery is established on Preston Street.
  • The Eliphalet Perley – Nathan Porter House, a Georgian-style house, is built for half brothers Eliphalet Perley and Nathan Porter on Water Street.
  • The Putnam – Endicott – Osgood House, a Georgian-style house, is built on Park Street.

1775:

  • The Buxton – Goodale Cemetery is established on the Buxton Farm on what is now Buxton Lane.
  • The Putnam Cemetery is established on the Putnam farm on Maple Street.
  • The Hiram Hood House, a Colonial-style house, is built on Forrest Street and is later moved by Hiram Hood in 1852..
  • The Woodbury – Phelps House, a Georgian-style house, is built on Locust Street.

1781:

  • The Old Settler’s Cemetery is established on Pat Road.

1783:

  • The Amos Tapley House, a Colonial-style house, is built for Amos Tapley on Centre Street.

1785:

  • The Wadsworth House, a Georgian-style house, is built for Dr. Benjamin Wadsworth on Centre Street.

1789:

  • The Holten Street Cemetery is established on Holten Street.

1790:

  • The Glen Magna Mansion, a Federal-style house, is built on Ingersoll Street.

1793:

  • The Andrew Fuller House, a Federal-style house, is built for Andrew Fuller on Water Street.
  • The Burley Farm House, a Georgian-style house, is built on the Burley farm on what is now Burley Ave.

1795:

  • Cross House – Danvers District No. 6 Schoolhouse is built on the corner of Sylvan Street and Prospect Street and later moved to Collins Street in the 19th century.

1798:

  • The Captain John Endicott Jr House, a Georgian-style house, is built for Captain John Endicott Jr on Water Street.

1799:

  • The Captain Moses Endicott House, a Georgian-style house, is built for Captain Moses Endicott on Water Street.

1810:

  • The Fowler House, a Federal-style house, is constructed for Revolutionary War veteran Samuel Fowler Jr on High Street.
  • The Sprague House, a Federal-style house, is built for Joseph Sprague on Endicott Street.

1811:

  • The Putnamville Cemetery is established on Locust Street.

1813:

  • The Swinerton Cemetery is established on the Swinterton property on Gardner Street.

1826:

  • The Old Putnam Burying Ground on Summer Street is purchased by Dr. Benjamin Wadsworth for the North Parish Church and is renamed the Wadsworth Cemetery.

1842:

  • The Overlook, a Greek Revival-style mansion, is built for Salem merchant Joseph Adams on Pine Street.

1843:

  • The Danvers Baptist Church Parsonage is built on High Street.

1847:

  • The Wesleyen Society Chapel is constructed on Essex Street.

1848:

  • The Davensport Baptist Church is constructed on Water Street.
  • The Ropes Block, a Greek Revival-style commercial building that houses a tinsmith business, is constructed for Joseph White Ropes on Maple Street.

1850:

  • The Central Fire Station is built on Maple Street.
  • The population of Danvers is 8,109.

1852:

  • The Putnamville Schoolhouse, a one-room schoolhouse, is built on Locust Street.

1853:

  • The Riverbank, an Italianate-style house that serves as the New England Home for the Deaf, is constructed on Water Street.
  • A rumor begins to spread that local school teacher Sophia C. Appleton used a harsh punishment against an 11-year-old student named Albert P. Kenney that resulted in his death but his death certificate indicates that he died of a disease of the head.

1854:

  • The Security National Bank, an Italianate-style building that serves as a bank, is constructed on Maple Street.

1855:

  • Danvers Town Hall, a Greek Revival-style municipal building, is constructed on Sylvan Street.

1856:

  • The Danvers District No. 8 School House, a Greek Revival-style house, is constructed on Locust Street.

1858:

  • The Universalist Church is built on High Street.

1860:

  • The population of Danvers is 5,110.

1862:

  • The Lander Barracks, army barracks for soldiers during the American Civil War, are built on River Street.

1865:

  • In April, after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, a mob captures two Danvers men who had spoken out against Lincoln and tar and feather them.

1868:

  • The Danvers Plains Train Station, a Greek Revival/Italianate-style train station, is built by the Essex Railroad on Cherry Street.

1870:

  • The Old Porter Burying Ground on High Street. is purchased by the town and renamed the High Street Cemetery.
  • On November 30, the Soldiers Monument, a memorial to the soldiers who died during the Civil War, is dedicated on Sylvan Street.
  • The population of Danvers is 5,600.

1873:

  • In November, Francis Dodge sells his farm on Hathorne Hill to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts who plans to build the Danvers State Hospital on the site. The house on the property is sold to local milkman Daniel Cahill who divides the house into two parts and moves them to Maple Street where they are converted into two dwellings, one of which still stands and is known as the Uzziel Rea – Francis Dodge House.

1874:

  • The Danvers State Hospital, known at the time as the State Lunatic Hospital, is built on what is now Kirkbride Drive on Hathorne Hill. The building is a High Victorian Gothic-style medical building used to treat mentally ill people.
Danvers State Hospital in Danvers, Mass circa 1893
Danvers State Hospital in Danvers, Mass circa 1893

1877:

  • The Advent Chapel is built on Putnam Court.

1879:

  • The Fox Hill School, a one room Greek Revival-style school house, is built on Water Street.

1880:

  • The Calvin Putnam Lumber Company – Pope’s Lumber Yard is constructed on Harbor Street.
  • The population of Danvers is 6,598.

1882:

  • The Crane River Railroad Bridge is constructed over the Crane River.

1885:

  • The Rebecca Nurse Monument, a granite obelisk dedicated to Rebecca Nurse and her unmarked grave somewhere nearby, is established in the Rebecca Nurse Burying Ground on Pine Street.
Memorial ceremony with the Nourse Monument Association at the Nurse family cemetery, Danvers, Mass, circa 1885
Memorial ceremony with the Nourse Monument Association at the Nurse family cemetery, Danvers, Mass, circa 1885

1890:

  • The Calvary Episcopal Church Rectory is constructed on Cherry Street.
  • The population of Danvers is 7,454.

1891:

  • The First Congregational Church Marker is established on Centre Street.

1892:

  • The Peabody Institute, a Classical Revival-style building that serves as a public library, is built on Sylvan Street.

1894:

  • The Training Field Boulder, a monument dedicated the history of the training field, is established on Centre Street.
  • The Davensport School house, a Colonial-style building, is constructed on Water Street.

1896:

  • The Israel Hutchinson Monument, a memorial to Danvers native and Revolutionary War veteran Israel Hutchinson, is erected on Water Street.
  • The Tapleyville School, a Colonial-style building, is built on Holten Street.
  • The Wadsworth School, a Colonial Revival-style school, is built on Centre Street.

1897:

  • The Ross Block, a Colonial-style commercial block, is built for Leland J. Ross on Maple Street.

1898:

  • The Caskin Block, a Colonial-style commercial block, is built on Maple Street.
  • The Tapleyville Methodist Church Parsonage is constructed on Pine Street.

1899:

  • The Maple Street School, a Colonial Revival-style building, is built on Maple Street.

1900:

  • A railroad bridge is constructed on Cabot Road.
  • The Donegal Lane Extension Railroad Bridge is constructed on Donegal Lane extension.
  • The population of Danvers is 8,542.

1901:

  • The Derby Summer House, a Federal-style teahouse designed by Samuel McIntire and built in 1792 for Elias Haskett Derby at his farm in Peabody, is moved to the grounds of the Glen Magna Farms in Danvers.

1906:

  • The Kearns Leather Company is built on Liberty Street.

1909:

  • The Creese and Cook Footbridge is built over the Crane River.
  • The Rebecca Nurse Homestead on Pine Street opens as a historic house museum.
Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers, Mass, circa 2013.
Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers, Mass, circa 2013.

1910:

  • The population of Danvers is 9,407.

1911:

  • The Nickerson Block, a Classical Revival-style commercial block, is constructed on Maple Street.

1912:

  • The Bendict Arnold Monument is established on Conant Street on the site where Arnold and his troops camped for the night during an expedition to Quebec on September 13, 1775.

1914:

  • Saint Mary of the Annunciation Meeting Hall, a Craftsman-style building, is built on Maple Street.

1915:

  • The Revolutionary War Memorial Fountain, a monument dedicated to the Revolutionary soldiers of Danvers, is established on Holten Street in Danvers Square. The monument is a granite water fountain for horses.
  • The Prince Osborne House is moved to Maple Street.
  • The Fossa Block, a Classical Revival-style commercial building, is constructed on Elm Street.

1916:

  • The East Danvers School, a Colonial Revival-style building, is constructed on Eliott Street. It is later renamed the Mildred Williams Elementary School in the 1920s.

1920:

  • The Patrick H. Gallivan Grocery Store is built on Water Street.
  • The James George Variety Store is built on Water Street.
  • The population of Danvers is 11,108.

1923:

  • The Danvers Savings Bank, a Classical Revival-style building, is constructed on Conant Street.

1925:

  • The Revolutionary War Memorial Fountain on Holten Street is struck by a car and removed to the town dump. It was later relocated to the headquarters of the Daughters of the American Revolution at the Samuel Holten House on Holten Street.
  • The Universalist Church on High Street is sold to the Masonic Temple Association and is converted into the Danvers Masonic Temple.
  • The Danversport Engine Company No. 3 is constructed on High Street.

1926:

  • Richmond Junior High School, a Colonial Revival-style building, is built on Conant Street.

1927:

  • The Waters River bridge is built on Water Street.

1930:

  • Danvers Memorial Hall, a Classical Revival-style building that serves as a museum and meeting hall, is constructed for the Danvers Historical Society on Page Street.
  • The Holten High School, a Colonial Revival-style building, is built on Conant Street.
  • The population of Danvers is 12,957.

1935:

  • The U.S. Post Office – Danvers branch is built on Conant Street.

1937:

  • The Saint Mary of the Annunciation Catholic Church is built on Conant Street.

1940:

  • Several route 128 bridges are built over Waters River, Crane River and High Street.
  • The population of Danvers is 14,179.

1941:

  • A route 128 bridge is built over the Porter River and Eliot Street.

1945:

  • The Waters River railroad bridge is built over the Waters River.

1948:

  • The Portside Cape Ann Diner is built on River Street.

1950:

  • The First Church Parsonage is built on Centre Street.
  • The population of Danvers is 15,720.

1954:

  • The Endicott Street Bridge on Endicott Street.

1957:

  • The Andover Street Railroad Bridge is constructed on Andover Street.

1958:

  • The Nike Missile Area, a missile site constructed to protect Boston from Soviet bombers, is built on North Street. The conventional warheads used at the site are later upgraded to nuclear warheads.

1960:

  • The population of Danvers is 21,926.

1968:

  • The Saint Alphonsus Roman Catholic Church is built on Eliott Street.

1970:

  • The population of Danvers is 26,151.

1974:

  • The Nike Missile Area on North Street is decommissioned and later abandoned.

1975:

  • The Salem Village Historic District is added to the National Register of Historic Places.

1976:

  • The Revolutionary War Memorial is erected Ingersoll Street.

1980:

  • The Waters River Railroad Bridge is built over the Crane River.
  • The population of Danvers is 24,100.

1990:

  • The population of Danvers is 21,174.

1992:

  • On May 9, the Witchcraft Victims Memorial, a memorial to the victims of the Salem Witch Trials, is dedicated on Stone Street on the 300th anniversary of the trials. The memorial is a 4 by 8 foot granite altar with a granite bible resting on top. Behind the altar is a granite slab listing the names of the accused who died during the Salem Witch Trials.
Salem Village Witchcraft Victim's Memorial, Danvers, Mass, 2013. Photo Credit: Rebecca Brooks
Salem Village Witchcraft Victim’s Memorial, Danvers, Mass, 2013. Photo Credit: Rebecca Brooks

2000:

  • The population of Danvers is 25,212.

2010:

  • The population of Danvers is 26,493.

2020:

  • The population of Danvers is 28,087.

Sources:
Trask, Richard. “The Creation of Danvers.” Danvers Archival Center, Peabody Institute Library, danverslibrary.org/archive/creation-of-danvers/
MACRIS, Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System, Massachusetts Historical Commission, mhc-macris.net/

About Rebecca Beatrice Brooks

Rebecca Beatrice Brooks is the author and publisher of the History of Massachusetts Blog. Rebecca is a freelance journalist and history lover who got her start in journalism working for small-town newspapers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire after she graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in journalism. Visit this site's About page to find out more about Rebecca.

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