As one of the many neighborhoods in Beverly, Ryal Side may not seem to jump out of historical texts too often. Of course, in comparison to all the action that occurred in downtown Beverly in the early 1900’s, Ryal Side was not too exciting. However, the events that history books often overlook are those that are special to neighborhoods. In fact, a neighborhood may not be considered special if it weren’t for special traditions and events that take place within them. One thing that Ryal Side can claim is its historical involvement in many special traditions, such as Independence Day parades or neighborhood ice skating days (see image). It is the historical customs like these that are mentioned that make a neighborhood what it is today.
Transportation: Major roads in Ryal Side include Bridge Street, (see image) Kernwood Avenue, and River Street, all three of which contain bridges. Ryal Side is closer to the Beverly Depot than any of the other stations in Beverly, yet doesn’t have it’s own station. In 1937, on Bridge and Kernwood Streets alone, there were over five filling stations and car garages, and on Lee Street, there was a Taxi Cab service. Apparently, cars were being used by many people in Ryal Side.
Religion: Emmanuel Congregational Church on Bridge Street (see image 1 and image 2) was the only listed church in Ryal Side between the years of 1900 and 1940. The church was started in 1903. The building looks much different today however, because the church burned down sometime in the 50’s and was rebuilt. The church’s claim to historical fame was their steeple bell, which was hand crafted by Paul Revere. The bell was the only piece of the church salvaged from the fire and it is still displayed nearby the church to this day.
Education: Ryal Side boasts one of the only Schools for the Deaf and Mute on the North Shore. Founded in 1876 by William Swett, the school used to be called The New England Industrial School for Deaf Mutes  and has been teaching and caring for deaf people, from birth to twenty-two years of age for over 125 years now. Ryal Side also had an elementary school. Ryal Side Elementary School was on Bridge Street as well, and was held in the building that is used today as an assisted-living home for mentally ill patients.
Economy: In 1931, there were over fifteen businesses on Bridge Street. These businesses included grocery and variety stores. Ryal Side also had a lumber mill in the lot where the Bowl-O-Mat now stands (see Lumber Co.jpg). Most other major businesses and banks were located in downtown Beverly at this time.
Public Safety: Beverly’s Hose No. 2 was stationed on Bridge Street but has since been turned into housing units. Ryal Side also had about five different fire alarm boxes set up in different places in the neighborhood in 1916. Beverly’s main public safety personnel were stationed, as assumed, in the downtown area.
Recreation: In 1916 there were several clubs listed in Beverly’s City Directory that were held in Ryal Side, including a Gun Club, a Boat Club, and an Odd Fellows Club. However, perhaps the longest running recreational tradition belonging to Ryal Side is its Fourth of July Celebration. As far back as 1900, Beverly was holding major celebrations on Independence Day which included sports competitions and dancing. Prizes for the competitions included a sweater and a pair of tires. Soon, Ryal Side’s Celebrations were being listed in the paper too. In 1908, the boys of Ryal Side produced a circus parade with trained and wild animals such as cats, dogs, and snakes. There was also a dance party held on John Blanchard’s Boat House in Ryal Side, which was attended by over forty people. This type of Ryal Side Celebration obviously became quite a tradition. Over thirty years later, the paper was still informing readers of major events occurring in Ryal Side for the Fourth. In 1941 there was a large sports program for children which was funded by Murray Obear and held in Obear park. The paper boasted of over 1200 free refreshments at the program. This program for children is still held today at Obear park, every year on the Fourth of July.
Origin: Initially settled in 1629, Ryal Side remained a part of Salem until 1753. When it did become a part of Beverly, Ryal Side earned its name from a barrel maker who resided there, William Ryal. At that early time in Ryal Side’s history, the land was mainly used for farming purposes, and there was a large corn mill, belonging to John Friend there.
Boundaries: Ryal Side extends to the Danvers-Beverly line and the Salem-Beverly line but is cut off at River Street, before Rantoul Street begins, and also at Elliot Street, where the United Shoe Machinery Company belongs to Gloucester Crossing.
Ethnicity: In the early 1900’s, Beverly’s Ryal Side was filled with settlers from Northern New England states: New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, and also from Ireland, England, Germany and Canada (see Ryal Side Ethnicity Chart Below).
Obviously, all neighborhoods have special little quirks and traditions that belong to them and are a special part of their community life. Ryal Side in Beverly is no exception. Between long-running parades and other fourth of July celebrations, and a bell made by a famous metal-smith, Ryal Side seems like the neighborhood that has it all.
Percentages of Different Ethnic Backgrounds Represented on Bridge St. in Ryal Side in 1900:
82 Residents Total:
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