Researching People & Place

The rapid fall of the water, the dams at very short distances crossing the river…give this place one of the most singular views to be found in this country.” – 1792 Topographical Sketch of the County Essex


Museum staff and volunteers study the built environment of the Amesbury region with a focus on industrial history and urban technology, as well as the prominent individuals who have helped shape those stories. On an ongoing basis, the museum offers tours and generates reports to showcase this rich history.


J.J. Allen: Chronicler of Carriages and Auto-Bodies

Local historians are indebted to John J. Allen for his encyclopedia of Amesbury places, people and companies associated with the town’s carriage and auto-body industries. He also served Amesbury citizens in many other ways.


Frank A. Babcock: Carriages, Buildings and Cars

Story of Frank Babcock, who built the largest carriage factory in Amesbury’s history and then left town to create a highly successful electric auto manufacturing company.


Introduction to Amesbury Industries, 1790-1930

Growth and decline of textile, carriage and auto body industries in Amesbury. Includes maps and statistical data from multiple sources.


Amesbury Industrial Database to 1930

Maps and tables show locations and operating periods of Amesbury textile, carriage-making and other businesses to about 1930.


Amesbury Spark Plug Manufacturers

The stories of four innovative companies developing and manufacturing automotive spark plugs in Amesbury between 1902 and 1915.


Some Amesbury Wastewater Treatment History

How today’s invisible sewer and wastewater systems evolved from primitive methods of waste collection, transport and disposal.


History of Amesbury Water Distribution Systems

History of Amesbury’s water and wastewater distribution systems from the 1800s to present day. Traces system evolution from fire-fighting to a public health and convenience necessity.


The Rise of Textile Mills Along Amesbury’s Powow River

Before they were repurposed for carriage building and other businesses, most of the brick buildings still standing along the Powow River in downtown Amesbury were built for manufacturing textiles such as wool and cotton cloth. Amesbury played an important role in developing the textile industry, which transformed the region’s economy and culture from agriculture to manufacturing.


Timothy Palmer and His Bridges

Timothy Palmer is known locally for designing some of the first bridges spanning the Merrimack in Amesbury and Haverhill. But he also constructed others in New Hampshire, Philadelphia and elsewhere in the East.


Merrimack River Bridges at Deer Island

History of bridges crossing the Merrimack River from Amesbury to Deer Island with photos and explanatory text. Includes photos and information about the Chain Bridge connecting Deer Island to Newburyport.


Amesbury-Newburyport Chain Bridge 1810-1909

History and construction details of the historical suspension bridge connecting Amesbury to Newburyport. Includes general information about suspension bridge engineering and history.


Amesbury & Salisbury Agricultural Society

Maps and photos show the agricultural society’s exhibition hall and fairgrounds between Market Street and Southampton Road. This important Amesbury feature stood for about 50 years, starting in the late 1800s.