The Riverbank estate in Danversport was built by eccentric millionaire William Penn Hussey. Born in North Berwick Maine in 1847, Hussey left for California at age 18. He engaged in mining. When he settled in the east again he settled in Danvers. He occupied Riverbank from 1883 to 1910. Hussey married the only daughter of millionaire W. H. Munroe of Martha's Vineyard.
While in Danvers he engaged in the wholesale and retail coal business. Sometime around 1890, Mr. Hussey bought the undeveloped Broad Cove Coal Mine in Cape Breton, N.S. Canada for $60.000. He developed the mine, built a railroad and developed the harbor at Broad Cove. He made $3 million when he sold the company.
The Riverbank mansion sits on a high hill, overlooking the Waters River and Danvers to the north. Across the street from Riverbank is a majestic statue of a man on a horse. It is William Penn Hussey in his chief marshall uniform from Danvers' 150th anniversary parade in 1902.
William's son John, who inherited Riverbank, continued the hospitality. John Frederick Hussey and his wife later founded the New England Home for the Deaf in the mansion. They also provided additional land and funding to establish an endowmnent for the the continued care of their residents. For over 50 years, the interest from this endowmment kept the Home in strong financial shape.
The mansion was affected by the chemical plant explosion from across the river, at the Arnel company and CAI Inc. on Thanksgiving Eve 2006. The New England Homes for the Deaf decided not to rebuild the mansion, but instead sold it. The residents use the Thompson House, built in 1997 next door, a 60 bed bed nursing/rest home. In 2008, the facility added 24 additional beds.
Vertical File in Salem Collection - Hussey, William Penn
Vertical File in Salem Collection - New England Home for the Deaf
"Danversport mansion has colorful history" Salem News, Nov. 27, 2007, p. A6
"Wm. P Hussey of Danvers dead: made his millions by exploiting Coal Mines at Broad Cove, Cape Breton" Salem Evening News, Apr. 27, 1910, p. ?
The Ancestry of Marguerite Ingalls Hussey Chisolm Compiled by R. Thresher, p. 44-53
New England Homes for the Deaf website