Brass Tacks in the Shoe City
Some Fast Facts About Haverhill
Why was Rowland H. Macy’s first Thanksgiving parade held in Haverhill? What do ghosts and telephones have to do with the city? Read below to find the answers to these questions as well as some fun and interesting facts about Merrimack Valley’s “Queen Slipper City.”
• In the early 1900s, one-tenth of the shoes produced in the United States were made in Haverhill.
• With 36 square miles, Haverhill is the largest city in Essex County.
• There are more than 50 restaurants in Haverhill; almost half of them are in the downtown.
• The Harmon House and various homes on Summer Street and Maple Avenue were stops on the Underground Railroad.
• Host of “Dancing with the Stars” and other television shows, Tom Bergeron, was born in Haverhill on May 6, 1955. ( Photo by Kevin Harkins )
• On November 15, 1642, settlers paid Pentucket Indians 3 pounds, 10 shillings to buy the land that would be Haverhill. (At that time, a family would spend the same amount on a feather bed, which was often the most expensive item in a home.)
• Shoe merchant Thomas S. Sanders invested in Alexander Graham Bell’s invention, the telephone, and helped form the first telephone company.
• Judge Nathaniel Saltonstall, from Haverhill, was selected to preside over the Salem witch trials. He objected and recused himself. However, a few women from Haverhill were still accused and convicted of witchcraft.
• World famous shoe designer and Haverhill native Stuart Weitzman brings the Queen Slipper City’s rich footwear producing tradition to the stars through his innovative designs.
• In addition to two horseback riding academies, five golf courses and a ski area, Haverhill also boasts a llama farm.
• Haverhill Experimental Film Festival is the only experimental film festival in the Merrimack Valley, and one of the few in Massachusetts. The 2014 festival begins
• Winnekenni Castle was built by Haverhill chemist Dr. James R. Nichols between 1873 and 1875. Its name comes from an Algonquin word meaning “very beautiful.”
• Hannah Duston is well-known for killing and scalping members of the Abenaki tribe who captured her. The statue of Duston in Grand Army Park is one of six memorials created in her honor. The first, a marble column, was erected in 1861. Because it was never paid for in full, the monument was removed and resold to Barre, Mass.
• Haverhill was originally called Pentucket, which is an American Indian word for “place of the winding river.”
• Rock Village Bridge is one of the oldest hand-operated bridges in Massachusetts. It is not the first bridge in that location, however. The first was built in 1795.
• In the 1790s, George Washington went on a “triumphant circuit” around New England. In honor of his visit to Haverhill, the city renamed a portion of Merrimack Street, Washington Street.
• American film producer Louis B. Mayer, co-founder of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, got his start in downtown Haverhill by converting a former burlesque house into The Orpheum Theater.
• City Hall once housed the high school and was the inspiration for Riverdale High in Bob Montana’s “Archie Comics.” He attended Haverhill High School in the 1930s. Some local personalities were included in the popular comic strip as well.
• In 1851, Rowland H. Macy, founder of Macys Department Stores, started a dry goods shop on Merrimack Street. His first Thanksgiving Day parades were held in downtown Haverhill.