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Information for the
City of Lynn, Mass
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Lynn was settled by colonists from the New England Company in Salem in
1629. Early settlers relied primarily on family farming and shell fishing
although an iron works was established in the city in 1643.
Leather tanning became a major industry very early on and by 1775 there
were a string of tanneries along Black Marsh Brook, called Tanney Brook,
to the harbor. When the MBTA was extended from Boston to Salem in 1837, it
went through Lynn, encouraging growth in the shoe industry and a factory
district was created as well as shoe workers' neighborhoods of
boardinghouses. The Civil War brought great prosperity to the city and
further growth of the shoe factories. Even the fires of 1869 and 1889,
which destroyed much of the central business district from Central Square
to Broad Street, didn't stop expansion. The gutted buildings were simply
replaced by five and six story shoe factories.
While Lynn developed its major industrial capacity, handsome summer
estates were being built along its shore by the middle of the 19th
century. These established the city as a fashionable Boston resort area.
At least a dozen large shore estates were built and other land was
subdivided for increasingly suburban residential development. When Lynn
Shore Drive was opened in 1910, it encouraged the development of high
rises to take advantage of the shore view.
Lynn, now the largest city in Essex County, is an urban manufacturing and
commercial center, densely populated and culturally diverse. Residents are
proud of the city's long history, which parallels the history of New
England as a whole.
It is located in eastern Massachusetts on the northern shore of
Massachusetts Bay and is bordered by Saugus and Lynnfield on the west,
Peabody and Salem on the north, Swampscott and the Atlantic Ocean on the
east, and Nahant and Revere on the south. Lynn is 9 miles north of Boston;
51 miles east of Worcester; 95 miles south of Portland, Maine; and 229
miles from New York City.
Narrative compiled by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and
Community Development (DHCD).