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Local News

April 18, 2013

Merrimac Library calls for essay submissions

MERRIMAC — The Merrimac Library Trustees are calling for submissions for the Wadleigh Award, open to junior and senior high school students who reside in Merrimac.

Every spring, the Merrimac Library trustees offer an opportunity for local high school students to write their way to the chance to win $1,000. The Wadleigh Award, made possible by a trust established by lifelong Merrimac resident Albert Wadleigh, was created to sustain interest in local history among students who live in the area.

Wadleigh himself was an avid student of this subject, particularly in regard to the early English settlement of what is currently Essex County in Massachusetts, Rockingham County in New Hampshire and York County in Maine.

“Mr. Wadleigh directed the trustees of the Merrimac Public Library to offer an annual award of a cash prize to a student from Merrimac who writes the best historical essay,” according to the description released by the trustees in a press release.

Every year the theme relates to the history of the original land grant for Salisbury, once known as “Colechester,” and today includes the towns of Salisbury, Amesbury and Merrimac. This year’s topic has to do with Interstate 495, which was designed and constructed after World War II as a six-lane, circumferential highway located approximately 30 miles north, west and south of Boston. As completed, it now provides access between Cape Cod, Rhode Island, the Massachusetts Turnpike, greater Worcester, the Merrimack Valley and New Hampshire and Maine via I-95.

The section from North Andover to Merrimac was completed in 1964. The final span from Merrimac to I-95 in Salisbury was opened in 1967. Bisecting Merrimac from east to west, the 300-foot-wide right of way for the highway parallels both the Merrimack River to its south and Main Street (Route 110) to its north.

The question to be answered is: “In what ways has the construction of Interstate 495 had an impact on the town of Merrimac?”

Any junior or senior high school student enrolled in a certified school and who is a resident of Merrimac is invited to enter. Submissions must be received at the Merrimac Public Library, 86 West Main St., or by email at, by Friday, May 3. Essays will be reviewed and judged by the Merrimac Library trustees. For more information and complete rules, visit

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