In the 1950s Western Electric built a multi-million dollar industrial plant called the Merrimack Valley Works in North Andover on Route 125 close to the Haverhill border. This research and manufacturing facility was the economic engine for North Andover for the next fifty years. At its height, the plant employed 12,000 people more than the entire 1950 population of the town. The many well paid technical and production jobs at  Western Electric allowed these new residents to afford new homes.   As the population grew, farms were transformed into residential developments.


1965 Western Electric Telephone Technology Video

AT&T Archives: In the Merrimack Valley

This 1959 film emphasizes the relationship between the community, the employee, and the Bell System. Briefly, the film shows some of the high spots in the life of "Ed Jones," including recreation and his job at the modern electronic manufacturing works where carrier equipment was produced. A sequence describes the operation of the carrier equipment and shows the important part it played in the nationwide communications network.

The film is set in Haverhill, Lawrence, and North Andover, Massachusetts. Western Electric's Merrimack Valley Works at their height employed around 12,000 people, and were the major employer in the region. AT&T maintained the facility until 1996.

Footage courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ


As the population grew, farms were transformed into residential developments.

am thinking that in history under the Western Electric era we write about the transition from a country town citing number of farms in 1950 vs in 2000. Much data available in town reports about population. Number of cows Farm Legacy would fit in perfectly there. Western electric transformed the town.

comparison of a farm in 1950 to development Farm Legacy Description

Farm Legacy brochure.

Notes from Kathy:

Going to have a section about farm heritage in Western Electric era.

Still agricultural in 1950. 

farms transformed into housing developments. Here are the farms in 2000 that still continue the tradition.