Explore the coastal New England village of Essex, Massachusetts – known for shipbuilding, its estuary and pastoral landscapes, distinctive architecture, antique shops, outdoor recreation, restaurants and its clams.
HISTORIC SIGNS ALONG THE TOUR
ESSEX TOWN HALL AND T.O.H.P. BURNHAM PUBLIC LIBRARY
This exuberant Shingle Style building with a working clock tower was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
Housed in the steeple is an original Paul Revere bell, cast in 1707. The first minister, Reverend John Wise, was one of the earliest to speak out against the Salem Witchcraft Delusion of 1692.
OLD BURYING GROUND AND HEARSE HOUSE
Laid out in 1680, the Old Burying Ground was the site of the notorious grave robberies of 1818. The Hearse House still stands and is believed to be one of only three left in America.
CENTRAL SCHOOLHOUSE, VETERAN’S HALL AND MUSEUM
For 55 years, this building was a two-room schoolhouse for 60 pupils in grades one through eight. It later became a meeting hall for veterans and today houses Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum exhibits and archives.
SHIPBUILDING IN ESSEX
For over 300 years, close to 4,000 wooden vessels–more two-masted vessels than any other town in the world–were built and launched in Essex. The majority of vessels were fishing schooners. At its peak in 1851, sixty vessels launched from 15 shipyards.
THE ESSEX CAUSEWAY, “GREAT BRIDGE” AND SPAR POND
This main roadway served the needs of Essex shipyards and brought together two parts of a town. Upstream, a spar pond held logs used for masts and booms so they would not dry out.