The village of Ballardvale (map) was
founded in the 1830s in northeastern Massachusetts. Situated on the Shawsheen
River near Andover, MA, it quickly became a bustling manufacturing community. In
1842, the Ballard Vale Manufacturing Corporation produced the first wool worsted
made in America; in 1844 the first wool flannel. Shoes, carriages, locomotives,
and stoneware pottery were also made in Ballardvale. However, it was white
flannels that made the village famous: Ballardvale white flannels won prizes at
the Columbian and Louisiana Purchase expositions.
By the turn of the century, Ballardvale had
become a center for river outings. Couples came to paddle canoes along the
Shawsheen and pick wild grapes from the riverbank, or to take a ride on the
motor yacht William Ballard. With the bustling manufacturing plants and
the busy excursion boats now quiet, Ballardvale has returned to its 1830
origins: it is once again a quiet village on the banks of the Shawsheen River.