Groveland is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. It is thirty-four miles north of Boston. At the 2010 census, it had a population of 6,459. The town is divided into two precincts, Groveland and South Groveland.
Groveland was originally the East Parish of Bradford, which was originally part of the town of Rowley. Before Bradford was separated from Rowley in 1672, it was called “Rowley on the Merrimack”, or just “Merrimack”. Bradford in turn was annexed by Haverhill in 1897. Groveland officially incorporated as a separate town on September 9, 1850. Groveland residents celebrate the anniversary of this date as Groveland Day.
In December 1638, after seventeen years of service, the Reverend Ezekiel Rogers was discharged from his post as rector of the parish of Rowley in Yorkshire, England. He had refused to read “that accursed book allowing sports on the Lord’s Day.” Believing the future of Puritanism was at stake, he and the members of twenty families sailed for the New World. Within these families were people of means and learning, including farmers, weavers, carpenters, and smiths. They landed at Salem, Massachusetts, but did not attempt to make a settlement until the following spring. The first printing press brought to America was on board that same ship, the “John of London”.
Since there were no plantations left along the coastline, Reverend Rogers settled a tract of land between Ipswich and Newbury, where a land boom had developed. These two towns had already established grants on this tract, so the newcomers were required to purchase them for £800. Reverend Rogers’s settlement was established in modern-day Rowley. Named Roger’s Plantation and later Rowley after the English town, the initial settlement comprised sixty families. In September 1639, the town incorporated, and included the territory now occupied by Rowley, Georgetown, Groveland, Boxford, and Bradford.
The Congregational church in Groveland has a bell crafted by Paul Revere. Of the 900 bells made by Revere’s company, this is one of two remaining bells in active service (the other is in Lowell, Massachusetts). In town hall, the oldest hand-pump fire-engine in the country is on display. Built in 1798 and originally named Torrent of Roxbury, Massachusetts, the hand pumper was moved to Bradford in 1828 and renamed Engine 2. In 1850, the same year East Bradford became Groveland, the pumper was renamed Veto.
Groveland’s downtown is framed by the gazebo in Elm Park. Elm Park is a recent addition to Groveland. In the early part of the last century, elm trees were dominant in the landscape. Then, about 1950, many of the trees died of Dutch elm disease. It is only recently that resistant varieties of elms have been developed. With this development, the townspeople built a new park, planted with the new resistant variety. Since Groveland is primarily a bedroom community, there is considerable traffic during the commute drive time. However, once the rush is over, the town reverts to a sleepy village, with children and some grownups riding their bicycles about and walking.
Named Constitution Park when first created in 1832, it was only in 1857 that the elm trees arrived and with it the park’s new name. Elm Park was the first planned housing development in the area. House lots were laid out around the common and the owners of which given rights to the well at the south end of the common. By the 1950s, Dutch elm disease had ravaged most of the trees. In the early 1960s, the last tree was taken down and the park’s fountain dismantled. Thirty years later, thanks to the perseverance of Groveland residents and town officials, the town received the first of several state grants to restore Elm Park. With assistance from the Department of Environmental Management, the Historic Commission and others, Groveland has succeeded in restoring Elm Park to its historic charm.
Today visitors can walk along new sidewalks lit at night by new versions of the park’s original lampposts. A new fountain resembling the original, a gazebo much like the old Methodist meeting house that sat at the south end of the park, and a new clock adorn the grounds. A large stone sign and monuments to local veterans depict some of the park and town’s history. The new elm trees are planted in roughly the same pattern as the originals.
The first town post office was established in 1810 in Bradford, and was located in Squire Greenough’s store on Main Street. Mr. Greenough was the postmaster until 1825, when he was succeeded by Capt. Benjamin Parker, who relocated the post office, at first, to his own store, and then to the blacksmith shop near the Haverhill Bridge. Later that same year, the building itself was moved to the other side of the street, where it remained for many years. After the town of Groveland was established in 1850, a new post office was built approximately half a mile from the present location on Main Street.
Groveland is a member of the Pentucket Regional School District, which includes the towns of West Newbury and Merrimac. Groveland itself currently has one educational institution, the Dr. Elmer S. Bagnall Elementary School. Junior and senior high school students attend Pentucket Regional Middle School and Pentucket Regional High School, respectively, which are located in West Newbury (the middle school straddles the town line between Groveland and West Newbury). The Dr. Elmer S. Bagnall Elementary School is also home to the Groveland Summer Recreation Program, a very popular non-profit summer day camp run by the Town of Groveland. Approximately 250 children between the ages of 6-15 attend this seven-week recreation camp. The program runs from the last week in June to the second week in August each year. The program wrapped up its ninth season on August 12, 2011. 2012 will mark its tenth year in operation, and the program’s eighth year under its current director. In 2011, the program introduced an extended day option until 5:30pm, aimed to reduce the burden on working parents during the summer months. The 2012 program officially begins on Monday, June 25, 2012 and continues through August 10, 2012. Enrollment began on February 1, 2012 and is still active.
As of the census of 2010, there were 6,459 people, 2,346 households, and 1,812 families residing in the town. The population density was 724.8 people per square mile (279.9/km2). There were 2,346 housing units at an average density of 263.3 per square mile (101.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.38% White, 0.48% African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.91% Asian, 0.26% from other races, and 0.85% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race was 1.32% of the population.
There were 2,346 households, of which 34.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.2% were married couples living together, 8.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.8% were non-families. 18.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75 and the average family size was 3.15.
In the town, the population was spread out, with 24.7% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 21.3% from 25 to 44, 32.1% from 45 to 64, and 15.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.5 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.4 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $84,232, and the median income for a family was $95,451. Males had a median income of $61,750 versus $54,023 for females. The per capita income for the town was $34,254; about 3.6% of families and 4.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.2% of those under age 18 and 2.6% of those age 65 or over.
The number of violent crimes recorded by the FBI in 2005 was 2 with no murders or homicides. The violent crime rate was 0.331 per 1,000 people.