Our History

In 1891, the Beverly Historical Society was founded by a group of local residents who cared about the city’s history.

The 1781 John Cabot House has been its headquarters since 1892. The Cabot House, a regional visitor center, includes exhibits, program space, and research services.

In 1932, the Society acquired the 17th century Balch House, from a group of Balch family members and preservationists. John Balch was one of the first settlers of Beverly; Balch descendants remain important contributors to the organization and the house is a significant artifact of early European colonization.

In 1937, we acquired Hale Farm from Hale descendants, including the 1694 structure built for John Hale, Beverly’ s first minister. That property reflects not only the 17th century witchcraft hysteria with which Rev. Hale was deeply involved; its long association with one family illustrates the evolution of the community.

A Collection of Treasures

Decorative objects brought back from Asia by Beverly merchants; the papers of William Bartlett, George Washington’s naval agent; paintings by artists such as Gilbert Stuart, Frank Benson, and Frederick Coffay Yohn, and images related to Beverly and the region are among the treasures held by Historic Beverly. The collection is strong in 19th and 20th century history, including the story of the United Shoe Machinery Corporation and the Irish and Italian immigrants who came to Beverly during that period.

Conservation Efforts

We focus on the preservation of objects and documents related to Beverly history, including our three properties. Through all our activities, we nurture a love for history, and a sense of stewardship for the tangible evidence of that history so that it will be preserved for future generations. We actively collect, acquiring (mostly through donation) about 1000 new items yearly. We provide research services to scholars, teachers, and students, as well as to members of the public researching their family history, their neighborhood or other aspects of the city’s story.   The Cabot House features exhibits on all aspects of Beverly history, and our programs include lectures, walking tours, fieldtrips, and special events.  In 2017 the organization was renamed Historic Beverly, and we renewed our dedication to our 3 houses, 5 centuries and 1000s of stories.

Beverly History

Settled in 1626

Beverly Heritage Circle

A Sincere Thank You