What is it that makes up a neighborhood? Each of us in the History of Beverly course had to ask ourselves that question as we began to write our Neighborhood papers. Each one of us has lived in one of Beverly’s neighborhoods for at least several years, yet none of us really knew how to answer that question. Over the course of working on this project however, we were able to grasp several different ideas and aspects that contribute to the forming of a neighborhood. We used countless old pictures of Beverly’s neighborhoods supplied by the Beverly Historical Society, which was thankfully showing an exhibit on Beverly’s neighborhoods at the same time that our project was assigned. We also used old newspapers (some in the form of microfilm), city directories, and census records to help us research what our neighborhoods were like when they were first formed.
To further aid us in our research of the neighborhoods, we decided to focus the project by using an acronym made up of important words on which we wanted to find information. We created this form in order to make our papers more complete. Following the form of PRIMES (an acronym historians use which stands for Political, Religious, Immigration, Military, Economic, and Social), we made up our own acronym, which we would follow while writing our papers. We came up with TREEPROBE, which stands for Transportation, Religion, Economy, Education, Public Safety, Recreation, Origin, Boundaries, and Ethnicity. By following TREEPROBE and using all the documents we were able to use, we each learned a great deal of information about the neighborhoods in Beverly in which we all live. It’s easy to take for granted that the city we live in has such a rich history. There is much information about its history available to anyone willing enough to seek for it and we were able to discover that through our research for the neighborhoods project.