Groveland is a small residential town in northern Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 6,459. The town is divided into two precincts, Groveland and South Groveland.
Groveland was originally the East Parish of Bradford, which was originally part of the town of Rowley. Before Bradford was separated from Rowley in 1672, it was called "Rowley on the Merrimack", or just "Merrimack". Bradford in turn was annexed by Haverhill in 1897. Groveland officially incorporated as a separate town on September 9, 1850. Groveland residents celebrate the anniversary of this date as Groveland Day.
In December 1638, after seventeen years of service, the Reverend Ezekiel Rogers was discharged from his post as rector of the parish of Rowley in Yorkshire, England. He had refused to read "that accursed book allowing sports on the Lord's Day." Believing the future of Puritanism was at stake, he and the members of twenty families sailed for the New World. Within these families were people of means and learning, including farmers, weavers, carpenters, and smiths. They landed at Salem, Massachusetts, but did not attempt to make a settlement until the following spring. The first printing press brought to America was on board that same ship, the John.
Since there were no plantations left along the coastline, Reverend Rogers settled a tract of land between Ipswich and Newbury, where a land boom had developed. These two towns had already established grants on this tract, so the newcomers were required to purchase them for £800. Reverend Rogers's settlement was established in modern-day Rowley. Named Roger's Plantation and later Rowley after the English town, the initial settlement comprised sixty families. In September 1639, the town incorporated, and included the territory now occupied by Rowley, Georgetown, Groveland, Boxford, and Bradford.
The Congregational church in Groveland has a bell crafted by Paul Revere. Of the 900 bells made by Revere's company, this is the only remaining bell in active service. In town hall, the oldest hand-pump fire-engine in the country is on display. Built in 1798 and originally named Torrent of Roxbury, Massachusetts, the hand pumper was moved to Bradford in 1828 and renamed Engine 2. In 1850, the same year East Bradford became Groveland, the pumper was renamed Veto.
Groveland's downtown is framed by the gazebo in Elm Park. Elm Park is a recent addition to Groveland. In the early part of the last century, elm trees were dominant in the landscape. Then, about 1950, many of the trees died of Dutch elm disease. It is only recently that resistant varieties of elms have been developed. With this development, the townspeople built a new park, planted with the new resistant variety. Since Groveland is primarily a bedroom community, there is naturally considerable traffic during the commute drive time. However, once the rush is over, the town reverts to a sleepy little village, with children and some grownups riding their bicycles about and walking.
The first town post office was established in 1810 in Bradford, and was located in Squire Greenough's store on Main Street. Mr. Greenough was the postmaster until 1825, when he was succeeded by Capt. Benjamin Parker, who relocated the post office, at first, to his own store, and then to the blacksmith shop near the Haverhill Bridge. Later that same year, the building itself was moved to the other side of the street, where it remained for many years. After the town of Groveland was established in 1850, a new post office was built approximately half a mile from the present location on Main Street.