Duston Heights is a city in northern Massachusetts situated along the Merrimack River.  It is the home of Johnny Dixon, Professor Roderick Childermass, and Byron "Fergie" Ferguson.


  • Library
  • Haggstrum College
  • Hannah Duston Orphanage
  • Merrimack Street
  • Saint Michael's Church and School
  • Peter's Sweet Shop
  • Round Pond
  • Spy Pond


Just as New Zebedee was based on Marshall and surrounding central Michigan, Bellairs used his adoptive hometown of Haverhill as his model for Duston Heights, a small, prosperous, mill town nestled along the Merrimack River: of the widest and longest rivers in New England, flowed through the middle of Duston Heights. Along its bank stood abandoned factories, long red brick buildings with tall brick smokestacks rising above them. Many years ago these factories had made cloth, but now they were closed, and their narrow windows broken. Johnny liked the old factories. They were almost like haunted houses (The Curse of the Blue Figurine, 100).


Bellairs didn’t look far for the name of his fictional community: the bronze statue installed in Haverhill’s Grand Army of the Republic park of Hannah Emerson Duston (1657-1736). Duston was a colonial New England woman living with her family in Haverhill when, in 1697, the town was attacked by Abenaki Indians and she, her six-day-old baby Martha, and nurse Mary Neff were captured and forced to march into the wilderness. The Indians took the baby from Hannah and killed her by smashing her against a tree. Days later, near present-day Penacook, New Hampshire, Hannah led a revolt with other captives and used the Indians' tomahawks to kill ten of the twelve Indians. Haverhill’s statue – of Duston brandishing a tomahawk – has been on display since 1879.

Johnny Dixon Series
Bellairs Corpus
By John Bellairs
Completed by Brad Strickland
By Brad Strickland
Who's who Johnny Dixon | Byron Ferguson | Roderick Childermass | Thomas Higgins | Charles Coote | Henry Dixon | Kate Dixon | Sarah Channing
What's what Saint Michael's Catholic Church
Where's there Duston Heights, Massachusetts