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24. The Beverly Public Square

The Beverly Public Square, containing approximately one-fourth acre at the corner of Main and Court Streets, is locally claimed to be the first public playground established in America. Charles Myers bought lot #5, which included this lot, from James Westfall in 1793.

 

Beverly Town Square

 

In 1813, the county commissioners wanted to build the new (second) jail on the front of the lot. Adam Myers, son of Charles, then owned the Valley House hotel on the rear portion of the lot. Mr. Myers sold the commissioner the adjoining lot, with the stipulation that the square in front of his hotel be dedicated as a public playground, and that it never be built on. (See historical article on "The Beverly Public Square.")

It was for many years a horseshoe pitching ground, and several attempts to place farm tools, boxes, walkways, and the town pump on the lot were defeated. There is now an historical monument on the front of the lot. Recent landscaping and interpretive sign are a project of the Beverly Women's Club.

 

Beverly Square - view from west