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Guy Creese
Ballardvale, MA

Ballardvale, Massachusetts

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.

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