The Amesbury Carriage Museum plans to produce a new historical guidebook of the millyard area and is seeking support to help fund the project. The new publication, A Guide to the Amesbury Millyard, is expected to be available in the fall.
Currently under development by museum volunteers and an experienced consultant, the guide will be available in print and on line via the museum’s website. The guide is designed to connect people of all ages with the industrial history of Amesbury and to showcase the stories of the various factories, mills, and worksites that fill our town.
Industrial activity became common in many parts of Amesbury, but it was the Powow River falls – dropping 70 feet between Pond Street and tide water at the bottom of Water Street -- that attracted entrepreneurs and industrialists to the area as early as 1641. Because so many water-powered mills sprang up along these falls, the area became known as Amesbury Mills and is now what we call the millyard.
The Guide will support several museum initiatives. Working with local teachers, information in the guide will become part of the curriculum in local schools. Also, the guide will be used for walking tours of the millyard and other downtown areas. And In the more distant future, the guide will the basis of a museum exhibit designed to tell the story of making nails, textiles, carriages, auto bodies, hats, peanut butter and other items produced right here in Amesbury.
Most importantly, I hope the Guide will promote interest in local history and inspire residents to come forth with more stories of local industry and work life from years gone by.
Project consultant Gray Fitzsimons, an industrial historian from Lowell and an expert in museum methods, has already developed a project plan for the guide. He is now coordinating the work of several volunteers to produce a thematic historical narrative. To illustrate the story, the volunteers have gathered maps, newspaper articles, photographs and other materials from local and national sources.
The Carriage Museum is raising funds to help offset the consultant and production costs of the guide. The Society for Industrial Archeology, a national organization, has provided partial support with a modest grant, but more financing is needed.
You can support this project by visiting gofundme.com/amesburyguidebook or mailing a donation of any amount to Amesbury Carriage Museum, P.O. Box 252, Amesbury, MA 01913. (Contributions are tax-deductible.)
The Amesbury Carriage Museum receives sponsorship support from area businesses including Amesbury Chevrolet, Gould Insurance, Stone Ridge Properties, Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank, the Sylvan Street Grille and from individual sponsors. Thank you! We are grateful to our 2017 Program Sponsors!