By Matt Bray

The Cove, or Cove Village as it was known at the beginning of the century, has an interesting background. Dubbed by some to be the oldest neighborhood in Beverly, the Cove is a very self-conscious and close-knit community. There is evidence of this in the creation of the Cove Improvement Association. 

A significant part of the Cove's history involves transportation.  No building permits for garages or stables could be found at City Hall, so there was no way to tell how many people had horses.  Horses were, at the beginning of the century, a source of transportation.  This is shown in a picture of a man riding a horse on the Woodbury Estate in the Cove.  Another source of transportation was the trolley. It ran through town and out to the border of the Cove and Beverly Farms,  at Chapman's Corner.  The trolley ended there, because for a long time Beverly Farms residents wanted to be a separate city from Beverly, and that is where the borders were set.

The automobile was another mode of transportation used by residents in the Cove.  Because it was not widely produced until 1914, not many of them littered the streets. However, they were more common in the Cove than in working class Montserrat.  One of the most used forms of transportation was the legs.  If they could not afford a horse or a trolley ride, then residents walked to work every day.

The Church in the Cove is the definition of religion in the neighborhood.  The church was built by the Woodberry family on the back of their estate, because there were no houses of worship in the Cove.  It was the first church in the Cove and it stayed on the Woodbury Estate for a long time. When the main house burned down in 1956 the church was moved to a new site at 167 Hale Street, where it still stands today.

A job source that dates back to around the time the city was founded was the Woodberry Tavern.  It was a popular stop for travelers.  The turkey dinner with mashed potatoes and vegetables for just $1.45 drew people from miles around. Another business in the Cove was the Cove Green House (which is now Leonhard's Flower Shop), located on Corning Street . The United Shoe factory was also a source of employment for the Cove. The Cove was more of a farm land and small neighborhood business area than a factory neighborhood.  One would assume that this was because the Cove was a good distance from the Shoe factory and it would be a long trip to work everyday if you had to walk.

The Cove School was originally at Hale and Cross Streets and is now located at 20 Eisenhower Avenue.  When it first opened it was a five room school:  one for each grade. 5  Another source of education in the Cove is Endicott College. It was founded in 1939 by Dr. George Bierkoe and his wife Dr. Eleanor Tupper.  It was an all-girls college with a curriculum of teaching women to be independent and to improve their status in the work place.

Public safety was of little concern to the community.  There is only one mention of a small fire station, what is now J&J's Engine Stop.  There was no further information about this fire station.  One would assume that since the beginning of the century,  the Cove was so sparsely populated that a surrounding fire or police station would come to answer the problem that was reported in the area.

A large source of entertainment in 1909 and 1910 was to visit the Stetson Cottage that was owned by Robert D. Evans. The Cottage was located where Lynch Park is today and it was rented out to President Taft and was dubbed The Summer White House.8 The Cove Improvement Association (CIA) was and still is part of the community.  This association was started as a meeting place where a member could go to mingle and dance with other members. The CIA was founded in 1921 and they have been meeting ever since. In the beginning it was more of a social club but when the Cove Community Center opened, the CIA had more set meetings and helped develop projects like Lynch Park which opened in 1943. Another attraction to the Cove was Hospital Point. It was famous for the smallpox hospital on the point in the 1804. Since then the hospital has been shut down. Later it was turned into a lighthouse. You could also go to Rice Beach and Burgess Point.  Burgess Point turned into Lynch Park in 1943, where you could do all sorts of seasonal activities, ranging from picnics to boating to just plain old swimming.

The Cove is the oldest neighborhood in Beverly and it's origins predate any other in Beverly . The first house was built in the Cove in 1630. It was built by William Woodberry. He was one of the original settlers of the area.  Beverly wasn’t officially settled until 1636, so technically the beginning of the Cove is older than Beverly itself.  The settlers of the Cove started Hale street which connects Beverly to the Farms and it is the largest road in Beverly. The Cove was very instrumental in creating Beverly.

The Cove Improvement Association outlined the boundaries of the Cove.  The Cove borders the Farms at Chapman Point so that is the boundary to the east.  The boundary to the south is the ocean and to the north is Lothrop Street. The other boundary set to the west is where modern day JJ's Market, across from the Central Cemetery,  at the corner of Lothrop and Hale streets.

The Cove has a small range of ethnicity in its time range of 1900-1940.  For the most part, the residents were from Massachusetts with nineteen members , eight members were Canadian English, nine Scottish members, and 1 member from Maine. 12 What this information tells me is that one of two things or both happened  in the Cove. Either people that settled in the Cove with their families never moved away and have had a steady community growth,  or the immigrants that were coming into the city of Beverly were not going all the way out to the Cove.  They were staying in the factory zone where they could procure a job to support their family. I happen to believe that the reason for the strong Massachusetts based community is due to both explanations.


Picture and Caption 1 & 2 , Courtesy of Beverly Historical Society ( Beverly, MA) 1912

Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village. 13 October 2001,

Pictures Caption, courtesy of Beverly Historical Society (Beverly, MA) 1914

Menu, Woodberry Tavern, courtesy of Beverly Historical Society (Beverly, MA) early 1900's

Beverly City Directory, (Beverly, MA) 1918.

Endicott College 13 October 2001,

Jay Lindsay, The Cove: From Hale Street To The Beaches (Beverly, MA) 12 December 1996

Picture, Courtesy of The Beverly Historical Society (Beverly, MA) 1909

Cove Improvement Association, Meeting Minutes (Beverly, MA) 1968

City of Beverly, MA, City Census, 1910, Family Heritage CD.

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