lead by the nose

Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts

Manchester-by-the-Sea (also called just Manchester) is a town on Cape Ann, in Essex County, Massachusetts, in the United States. As of the 2000 census, the town population was 5,228.


Manchester-by-the-Sea was first settled in 1629 and was officially incorporated in 1645.

The community thrived as a fishing community until 1845, when Richard Dana, a Boston based poet, built his summer house in the community. Over the next fifty years, development of summer houses along the coast line established the community as Boston society's community of choice for summer residency. The trend continued with designs by other notable architects, such as Sunnywaters, designed by John Hubbard Sturgis for his older brother, Russell, in 1862. The most famous of these "summer cottages" was Kragsyde, built on Smith's Point in 1883 and demolished in 1929. Commissioned by George Nixon Black, the Peabody and Stearns designed residence has been hailed as the zenith of the Shingle style substyle of the Queen Anne style of architecture.


The town was founded as "Jeffery's Creek." In the mid-1800s, there were enough other Manchesters in New England (especially Manchester, New Hampshire) that locals began following the lead of railroad conductors and referring to the town as "Manchester-by-the-Sea". The name of the town was officially changed in 1990 following a close town meeting vote and an act of the state legislature This change was driven by the late Edward Corely, a long time resident of Manchester. All town documents (and the town seal) now use the name "Manchester-by-the-Sea," as have (thanks to some minor resident activism) the majority of public and private lists of Massachusetts cities and towns, including that of the state government.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 18.2 square miles (47.3 km²), of which, 9.3 square miles (24.1 km²) of it is land and 9.0 square miles (23.2 km²) of it (49.10%) is water.

The community is served by Manchester Harbor.

Singing Beach

One mile from the town center is Singing Beach, so named because the sand comprising the beach squeaks when walked upon (see Singing sand). This beach is quite popular during summer months in particular because it is easily accessible from Boston via the Manchester-by-the-Sea MBTA Commuter Rail train stop on the Newburyport/Rockport Line. Also located on this historic beach is the famous tourist attraction "Eaglehead" a rock composite that is infamous for rock climbing and other recreation activities.


As of the census of 2000, there were 5,228 people, 2,168 households, and 1,435 families residing in the town. The population density was 562.7 people per square mile (217.3/km²). There were 2,327 housing units at an average density of 250.5/sq mi (96.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.87% White, 0.06% African American, 0.17% Native American, 0.38% Asian, 0.11% from other races, and 0.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.77% of the population.

There were 2,168 households out of which 29.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.7% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% were non-families. 27.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the town the population was spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 4.4% from 18 to 24, 24.0% from 25 to 44, 31.2% from 45 to 64, and 16.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 89.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $73,467, and the median income for a family was $93,609. Males had a median income of $68,466 versus $37,981 for females. The per capita income for the town was $47,910. About 3.6% of families and 4.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.9% of those under age 18 and 7.5% of those age 65 or over.


The local newspaper, the Manchester Cricket, is published weekly.

Points of interest

Film references

The town provided the backdrop for these films:

It was also featured in a season of the TV series This Old House, and was featured in a "Main Streets and Back Roads" episode of Cronicle.

Notable residents

External links

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