is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 7,827 at the 2000 census. The community is a popular summer beach resort town situated on the Atlantic Ocean north of Boston on the New Hampshire border.
The original roads at the center of the town formed a compact semicircle, which allowed the residents to get quickly to the garrison house in case of attack. Those roads still exist, though the shape today is triangular, being bounded by Elm St., School St., and Bridge Road. One of the two greatest fears at the time was the Naumkeag tribe of Indians, thus the men of the town took turns standing watch against a surprise attack, especially in the night time. The Naumkeags, however, had been decimated by plague, and the threat was not what it once might have been. The second threat came from wolves, which were plentiful, and which killed the livestock and dug in the graveyard.
The original residents were given one small house lot near the center of town, and one larger planting lot just outside the center for farming. Families also owned large sections of "sweepage lots" near the beach, where apparently they harvested the salt marsh hay. At the time, the area was almost entirely unbroken virgin forest, which had to be cleared for the construction of houses and the planting of fields.