What's Topsfield,MA like?

Asked by Kathy Brogan, Topsfield, MA Tue Jul 17, 2007

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Web reference:


john allaire, Agent, easton, MA
Tue Jul 17, 2007
You can go to the town's web site at: http://www.topsfield-ma.gov/index.shtml

Some of the information you can find there includes the following which may be a good start for your information gathering:

Nestled in the North Shore, Topsfield is a small rural town with a strong sense of community. It's the home of America's Oldest Agricultural Fair, The Topsfield Fair and boasts of running rivers and rolling hills. You will also find the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, part of the Massachusetts Audubon Society. Other places of interest include the historic Parson Capen House and Gould Barn.

Topsfield History Overview --

Topsfield's human history goes back well over a thousand years when Native Americans lived in the area as hunters and gatherers. By 1650, when the village was incorporated, there were few left due to a devastating plague, probably Small Pox, which decimated their numbers. Masconomet, Chief of these survivors, appears to have had a good relationship with the early settlers. He sold much of what is now Northern Essex County to John Winthrop for 20 pounds. Virtually all of the settlers were self supporting farmers with some involved in blacksmithing and saw and gristmill operations. Topsfield citizens took strong supportive positions for independence at its town meetings beginning with the Boston Tea Party in 1773. When the alarm came on April 19, 1775 , some men immediately left for Lexington and Concord to fight the Redcoats back to Boston . Throughout the Revolution, Topsfield men were considerably involved. Some had previous military experience during the French and Indian wars which was invaluable.

By the 1800's shoe factories, stores and inns appeared. The Newburyport Turnpike was completed in 1805 and the railroad came in 1854, making it possible for residents to travel and work in other communities. In 1818 the first Topsfield Fair was held and is now the nation's oldest continuing fair. The historical society's records show an active abolitionist movement during the 1850's. The population in 1860 was 1292, with 132 men serving in the military during the Civil War. 22 never returned, making this the deadliest war in Topsfield's history. Approaching 1900, the town's character changed from a farming and shoe manufacturing community to a town of many large estates. This change preserved much open space which might have otherwise disappeared by now. Topsfield's character changed further as shoe making operations ended and the town gradually became a rural suburban community, a characteristic still present today. During World War I, a home guard unit was formed and the women of the town organized a canning club to conserve food. The town's character changed yet again after World War II which saw a large increase in population as many urban dwellers left larger towns to enjoy the town's rural atmosphere. Construction of Route 95 and other highway improvements made the town much more accessible.

The Topsfield Town Library--

The Topsfield Town Library, at One South Common Street, is a center for many cultural activities in town. The library has over 50,000 volumes which, per resident, is the highest in the Commonwealth. Due to the efforts of the Friends of the Library and a generous trust fund left to the library by a former summer resident of Topsfield, George Lambert Gould, the Library displays both permanent and visiting art collections, hosts concerts, lectures and film festivals, and has active children and teen programs.

Facts about topsfield --

Topsfield lies approximately at the center of Essex County in northeastern Massachusetts, bordered by Ipswich, Hamilton, Wenham, Danvers, Middleton and Boxford. It is located about 10 miles southeast of Lawrence and 20 miles north of Boston. The town is a fairly compact thirteen square miles with rolling hills and winding streams. The Village Shopping Center and other small businesses are located along Route 1. However, Topsfield remains primarily a residential community with a population of approximately 6,200 residents. The town retains a rural character with a typical New England Town Common.

Population (Estimated U.S. Census 2002) : 6,234

Median Family Income (U.S. Census 2000): $104,475

Number of Households (U.S. Census 2000): 2,144

% Residential: 93%

% Commercial: 5%

% Industrial: 1%

Average Single Family Home Assessed Value (2004): $487,400

Average Single Family Home Tax Bill (2004): $5,946.28

Tax Rate (2004) : $12.20

There is a lot more information on the web site but I hope this is a good start for you. Best of luck!

Truly, John Allaire
0 votes
Ken Lambert, , Exeter, NH
Mon May 19, 2008
Hi Kathy- Topsfield is very nice overall. John gave you a LOT of info below; I'm sure he knows the ins-and-outs of the town well. The Fair is great, but for 10 days you better know alternative ways of getting to your house or you'll be stuck in bad Fair traffic....
The school system is very good there.
Most areas, if not all, will have a private septic system and town water.
It has a small downtown area, with just the basics there.
Good luck,
Ken L.
1 vote
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