West Newbury, Massachusetts

West Newbury is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. Situated on the Merrimack River, its population was 4,235 at the 2010 census


West Newbury was first settled in 1635 as part of neighboring Newbury. On February 18, 1819, the General Court of Massachusetts passed an act “to incorporate the town of Parsons.” The initial proposals had been made in the late 18th century, but determined resistance from the town of Newbury, which had already lost Newburyport, blocked the measure for decades. On June 14, 1820, the legislature passed another act to change the name to West Newbury.

West Newbury has evolved from a rural farming town into an affluent community. Issues of balancing development and need for affordable housing against the townspeople’s desire to maintain West Newbury’s rural charm and character have been in play for at least fifty years. In 1969 local writer Margaret Coit called West Newbury a “hill-framed town that Lowell Thomas once described as ‘the Garden of Eden of America,'” saying that as active farming faded away, West Newbury had become, “in its population and pattern of thinking … virtually a suburb.”

Between 1820 and the early 1900s, an active Quaker community existed in West Newbury. The Quaker Meetinghouse stood at what is now 114 Turkey Hill Street and the Quaker Burial Ground, which was established in the 1850s, is located along the Artichoke Reservoir

In 1952, Julian D. Steele became the first African-American town Moderator in Massachusetts when he was elected to the position in West Newbury.

The town’s oldest continually-operating farm is Long Hill Orchard. The farm has been active since 1896, and has a long and intriguing history. Today, in addition to the apple orchard, the farm is home to a popular community-supported agriculture program and farm to table dining events.


Along with neighboring Merrimac and Groveland, it is part of the Pentucket Regional School District.
It also contains the Dr. John C. Page School.

For elementary school, students also have the option of attending River Valley Charter School in Newburyport.

For high school, students also have the options of attending Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School in nearby Haverhill, and Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School in Danvers.

Nearby private schools include The Governor’s Academy in Byfield, Phillips Exeter Academy, Phillips Academy, Waring School, Central Catholic High School, St. John’s Preparatory School, Pingree School, and Shore Country Day School.


In 2000 the 4149 were distributed into 1,392 households, and 1,183 families. The racial makeup of the town was 98.5% White, 0.2% African American, 0.5% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 0.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.7% of the population. In March 1952, Julian Steele, the sole African-American voter among some 1,500 residents at the time, was elected West Newbury’s town meeting moderator. He was the first African-American town moderator in Massachusetts, and remained the only African-American town moderator in the state for at least a decade.

Of 1,686 households in 2010, 46.6% had their own children under the age of 18 living with them, 76.8% were married couples, 6.2% were a female householder with no husband present, and 15.0% were non-families. 11.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.2% were individuals living alone who were 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.98 and the average family size was 3.25.

By age, 30.0% were under the age of 18, 4.3% from 18 to 24, 27.0% from 25 to 44, 29.9% from 45 to 64, and 8.8% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.6 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $112,828, and the median income for a family was $138,947. Males had a median income of $100,670 versus $80,189 for females. The per capita income for the town was $35,323. About 2.8% of families and 4.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.8% of those under the age of 18 and 9.8% of those 65 and older.

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