Andover - Home to Philips Medical Systems, Straumann, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Smith & Nephew Endoscopy, Dynamics Research Corporation, and Raytheon, to name just a few, Andover is the center of high-tech manufacturing in the region. Only 20 miles north of Boston, with multiple interchanges off of I-93 and I-495, the town's location is one of many reasons businesses are attracted to the town. In addition to an excellent public school system, Andover also offers the highest quality private schooling at Phillips Academy and the Pike School. While offering many big-town services, Andover has been able to maintain its quaint New England charm, characterized by so many of the communities in the Merrimack Valley.
Lawrence - Lawrence is truly a city of immigrants and industry. The City of Lawrence was built in the 1840s as the nation's first planned industrial city. The massive mill buildings lining the Merrimack River, the striking clock and bell towers, and the breath-taking Great Stone Dam are all a tribute to the city's industrial heritage. The harnessed strength of the Merrimack River and its system of canals fueled the Lawrence mills that produced textiles for the American and European markets. By the early twentieth century, with a population of nearly 95,000, the city was a world leader in the production of cotton and woolen textiles in massive mills.
Known as the "Immigrant City", Lawrence has always been a multi-ethnic and multicultural gateway city with a high percentage of foreign-born residents. The successive waves of immigrants coming to the city to work in the mills began with the Irish, followed by French Canadians, Englishmen, and Germans in the late 1800s. Around the turn of the century and early 1900s, Italians, Poles, Lithuanians, and Syrians began arriving. The wave of Puerto Ricans and Dominicans started in the mid to late 1900s, and the newest arrivals have originated from Vietnam and Cambodia. The current population of roughly 70,000 is largely Hispanic and has given a Latino slant to the local economy and culture.
Methuen - The City of Methuen played a significant role in the region's industrial development. Construction of the Methuen Cotton Mills at Spicket River Falls in the 1820s and the manufacturing of hats and shoes in small factories along the Spicket River spurred the centralization of Methuen's economic, residential, and cultural activities within the downtown area. Methuen residents take their heritage seriously. An enthusiastic appreciation for the city's historic buildings, landscapes, and records knits the community together. The storied legacy of the Searles, Tenney, and Nevins families can be seen and felt throughout the city's walled neighborhoods, turreted bridges, grand public buildings, and formal parks and gardens. At least three formal groups steward historic resources in Methuen: the Historic District Commission, the Historical Commission, and the Historical Society. The Festival of Trees dedicates its annual profits to support historic preservation efforts in the city.
North Andover - North Andover is a community of 27,000 people on 27 square miles of land that boarders the Merrimack River and the City of Lawrence. Although the town contains several large industrial and commercial zones, including Lawrence Municipal Airport, much of the land area is still largely rural, with over 3,000 acres of preserved open space. Available land, plus a reputation as a safe, quiet community with an excellent school system, has helped drive North Andover's strong population growth in recent years (19 percent increase between 1990 and 2000.)
Within the Town of North Andover, recreational opportunities abound. Harold Parker State Forest is one of the oldest in the state forest and park system and has more than 25 miles of trails and wood roads and eleven ponds. The park is popular for bicycling, boating, camping, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, picnicking, cross-country skiing, and swimming. The Ward Reservation and Weir Hill owned by The Trustees of Reservations, offer miles of nature trails.