Amesbury is situated on the Merrimack River in northeastern Massachusetts, within Essex County, about 25 miles from Boston. Amesbury was originally settled in 1645. The ninety-foot drop in the Powow River provided the power for early industries. Amesbury is believed to have had the first mechanized nail-producing factory in America. Ship building was a major industry during the nineteenth century, as was carriage making. And the manufacture of automobile carriages was active until the Great Depression. At one time, the Merrimack Hat Factory produced more hats than any other company in the nation. Josiah Bartlett, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born in Amesbury. John Greenleaf Whittier, a famous American poet, lived most of his live in Amesbury and is buried there. At the Whittier Home, the house and the furnishings remain much as they did when the Whittier family lived there between 1836 and 1892. Amesbury is served by North Essex Community College, whose closest campus is in Haverhill. The history of Amesbury is preserved at the Bartlett Museum, housed in a former schoolhouse. At the Mary Baker Eddy Historic House, the founder of Christian Science did some of her earliest writings. Historic New England acquired the Rocky Hill Meeting House in 1941 and has preserved it as one of the best examples of town meeting houses in New England. Lowell's Boat Shop is a National Historic Site, in addition to being a working museum where boatmaking has entered its third century.