Amesbury is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, located on the left bank of the Merrimack River near its mouth, upstream from Salisbury and across the river from Newburyport and West Newbury. A former farming and mill town, Amesbury is today largely residential, one of the state’s two northernmost towns (the other being neighboring Salisbury).
Beginning as a modest farming community, it developed an aggressive maritime and industrial economy. Shipbuilding, shipping and fishing were also important. In the 19th century, textile mills were built at the falls, as was a mechanized nail-making factory, believed to be the nation’s first. The Merrimac Hat Company produced more hats than any of its competitors. Beginning in 1853, Amesbury became famous for building carriages, a trade that evolved into the manufacture of automobile bodies. The community has an impressive collection of early architecture, particularly in the Federal and Victorian styles, as well as a recently restored historic downtown.
Amesbury is served by two interstate highways. Interstate 495 runs from west to east through town, ending at Interstate 95 just over the Salisbury town line. It has two exits in town, Exit 54 at Massachusetts Route 150 (which lies entirely within Amesbury and leads to New Hampshire Route 150) and Exit 55 at Massachusetts Route 110, which also provides the town’s only direct access to Interstate 95 at Exit 58.