Mapping Marblehead Exhibit – Explore the Maps

The Mapping Marblehead: from Freedom to Foundation exhibit was held in the Old Town House in June of 2019.  It was the first of a series of exhibits on Marblehead history, and it used maps to show the changes that took place from the Town’s earliest recorded history to the end of the 18th century.  Though the first exhibit is now closed, the old maps of Marblehead are still available online for viewing and exploration through the links on this page.

The Historical Commission is currently planning the second Mapping Marblehead exhibit on the 19th century – a time of great change in Marblehead that saw the decline of fishing and the rise of industry, as well as world events like the War of 1812 and the Civil War which greatly impacted the town.

For  a quick introduction to the historic maps used within the first exhibit, follow the link below to watch the video on the Marblehead Historical Commission YouTube Channel:

Watch the Video: Mapping Marblehead – from Founding to Freedom – Introduction to Mapping Marblehead Maps

Interactive Exploration

In addition to the video introduction, a series of historic maps are available for interactive exploration.  These include maps of Native American sites, Marblehead in 1649, Marblehead in 1700, the Marblehead Town Plan of 1795, and a series of modern maps that animate the growth of the town over nearly four centuries.

Mapping Marblehead – Interactive Exploration

For guidance on using the interactive exploration, you may want to watch the How to Use video here:

Watch the Video: Marblehead – How to Use the Mappng Marblehead Interactive Map Exploration

The Maps

For those who want to see the originals — both maps and articles — the following links will help you find high-resolution scans of the maps featured in the exhibit and scans of historical documents:

 South part of New-England, as it is planted this yeare, 1634 by William Wood

This map was published in William Wood’s New Englands Prospect in London to encourage settlement in the colonies.   Marble Harbor is shown of the map, but the text of New Englands Prospect refers to Marvill Head.  (Map reproduction courtesy of the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library.)

Map of New England…1677 by John Foster

This map was among the first maps printed in America and was used to illustrate The present state of New England : being a narrative of the troubles with the Indians, 1677 by William Hubbard. Marblehead is shown with its modern spelling on this map.  (Map reproduction courtesy of the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library.)

Map of New England – based on his voyage of 1614
John Smith
An actual survey of the sea coast from New York to the I. Cape Briton, with tables of the direct and thwart courses & distances from place to place.(Detail of inset map), Cyprian Southack, 1775

This map encompasses much of the eastern sea coast, but the inset map clearly shows the distance from Marblehead to the Grand Banks fishing grounds. (Map courtesy of the Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.)

A Mapp of New England by John Seller, 1675

Marblehead is shown as “Marblehed” on this map.  (Map reproduction courtesy of the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library.)

Marblehead in 1649 from The History of Salem by Sidney Perley, 1926

In 1926, Perley published a history of Salem that included this map of Marblehead, drawn from legal records and deeds.  This map can be found in Volume 2, Chapter 13, p. 197.

Explore this map: Mapping Marblehead – Interactive Exploration

Marblehead in the year 1700 by Sidney Perley, 1910-1912

Sidney Perley’s maps of Marblehead in the year 1700 (and accompanying history) were published in nine articles from three volumes of the Historical Collections of the Essex Institute, Volumes 46-48, published in 1910-1912, Salem, MA.  Article titles: “Marblehead in the year 1700”. Digital copies: Volume 46  Volume 47  Volume 48

Explore this map: Mapping Marblehead – Interactive Exploration

Plan of the Town of Marblehead by Alfred Ingalls, 1795

Commissioned by the state of Massachusetts as part of a survey of all of the state’s towns, it was drawn by Alfred Ingalls in 1795.  This map of Marblehead is the first known map of the Town and is in the collection of the Massachusetts State Archive.

Explore this map: Mapping Marblehead – Interactive Exploration

Marblehead Growth 1636 to 2017

This one minute video shows the growth of Marblehead, Massachusetts from the earliest recorded building in 1636 to 2017.  Buildings are shown cumulatively, with the year indicator showing the year that is being added to the map.  Each century’s buildings are color-coded as shown in the legend. Map created by David Krathwohl with data from MassGIS property assessment records.  It shows houses and buildings that still exist, but houses that were torn down and replaced are not included in the data.

View the one minute video with the link above or explore this map: Mapping Marblehead – Interactive Exploration





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