Ballardvale (sometimes written archaically as BallardVale or Ballard Vale) is a village located within the boundaries of the town of Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. Growing originally in the 19th century around mills located on the Shawsheen River, the village is a local historic district, boasting many varieties of historic architecture and a rich industrial heritage.
In the 18th century, the Shawsheen River and its water power attracted the Ballard Family, who came and built grist and saw mills. At this time the area became known as Ballard's Vale, eventually Ballardvale.
In 1836 John and William Marland established the Ballardvale Manufacturing Company. The company produced the first wool worsted made in America, as well as the first wool flannel. Additional mills were built and shoes, carriages, locomotives, and stoneware pottery were also made in Ballard Vale. However, it was white flannels that made the village famous: Ballard Vale white flannels won prizes at the Columbian and Louisiana Purchase expositions.
By 1848, two mills, the Ballardvale Manufacturing Company and Whipple File Company, a factory-owned store, a schoolhouse, a railroad depot and houses were nestled in the Vale. Streets were laid out and previously undeveloped land was subdivided into house lots and many residences were built.
The village continued to revolve around manufacturing for many years, until the mid-20th century when most manufacturing, especially fabric mills, moved out of New England.
Ballardvale is home to many fine examples of 19th century architecture. Styles represented include Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, and Queen Anne style Victorian. Historic homes include both those originally occupied by mill workers as well as mill owners. Ballardvale is a locally recognized Historic District, with specialized zoning regulating changes made to properties in the area.