Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site

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Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site
Saugus Iron Mill.jpg
Reconstructed Forge and Mill
Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site is located in Massachusetts
Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site
Location Off U.S. 1, Saugus, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°28′4″N 71°0′32″W / 42.46778°N 71.00889°W / 42.46778; -71.00889Coordinates: 42°28′4″N 71°0′32″W / 42.46778°N 71.00889°W / 42.46778; -71.00889
Area 9 acres (0.04 km²)
Built 1648
Visitation 11,153 (2006)
Governing body National Park Service
NRHP Reference # 66000047[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 15, 1966
Designated NHLD November 27, 1963
Designated NHS April 5, 1968

Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site is a National Historic Site located about 10 miles (16 kilometers) northeast of Downtown Boston in Saugus, Massachusetts. It is the site of the first integrated ironworks in North America, founded by John Winthrop the Younger and in operation between 1646 – 1668. It includes the reconstructed blast furnace, forge, rolling mill, shear, slitter and a quarter-ton drop hammer.

The facility is powered by seven large waterwheels, some of which are rigged to work in tandem with huge wooden gears connecting them. It has a wharf to load the iron onto ocean-going vessels, as well as a large, restored 17th-century house.


Sixteen years after the Puritans settled Boston, they built this impressive, large manufacturing complex. At the time there were only a dozen such high-tech plants in all of Europe. Skilled metallurgists John Turner and John Vinton were brought in to manage the fineries. Unskilled laborers cut wood for making charcoal, and quarrying the bog ore and flux.

Site reconstruction and restoration[edit]

The blast furnace, forge, rolling and slitting mill, warehouse, and dock area are all reconstructed on original sites and are based upon extensive archaeological excavations done between 1948 and 1953 by Roland W. Robbins. Hundreds of court records, inventories, and accounts of the original iron works were also consulted to produce a full-size (albeit, conjectural) model of the seventeenth century iron works. The "Ironmaster's House" is a timber framed, 1680s mansion house, still standing on its original location. It was constructed about a decade after the iron works ceased production.[2]

Between 2005 and 2008 the historic site underwent significant renovations. The 1917 museum building (a chicken coop, turned, blacksmith shop, turned museum) underwent major restoration work and new exhibits were installed during the winter of 2006-2007. Most areas reopened in fall 2007 or spring 2008, however the park is closed seasonally from November to March.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ The Saugus Ironworks Restoration, First Ironworks Association, 1951.
  • Carlson, Stephen P., First Iron Works: A History of the First Iron Works Association, Saugus Historical Society, Booklet No. 5., Saugus, MA, 1991
  • Hartley, E. N., Ironworks on the Saugus, pp. 3-20, University of Oklahoma Press, 1957.

External links[edit]