City in Essex County, northeastern Massachusetts, 29 km/18 mi northeast of Boston, on the Danvers River; population (1998 est) 39,000. Once a major manufacturing area, especially in the shoe industry, Beverly is now a commuter town with high tech industrial parks.
Beverly was founded in 1626 and named after Beverly in Yorkshire, England. It was the site of the first cotton mill in the USA in 1788, and also the site of the first Sunday school. The Beverly historical society and museum manages three historic properties, including Balch House, dating from 1600, the oldest wood framed house in the USA, which is on the national register of historic places. Beverly is also home to the North Shore Music Theatre, Endicott College, Montserrat College of Art, and a campus of the North Shore Community College.
Beverly's major employer was the United Shoe Machine Corporation. The company's factory, locally referred to as ‘The Shoe’, is significant in architectural history as it is an early example of the use of reinforced concrete by English-born architect Ernest Leslie Ransom. The first part was built 1902–1906 and was the largest factory in the world at that time. An extension of 1911 was an early use of prefabricated concrete sections. The company's offices in Boston formed the city's first big skyscraper development in 1930. ‘The Shoe’ employed 5,000 workers during World War I. It closed in 1987, since when the site has been landscaped and the buildings restored to their early appearance and converted to office space. More than 300 businesses now inhabit what is now called the Cummings Center. The site forms the United Shoe Corporation historic district.