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Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site

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1647–c. 1670 archaeological site; 1949–1954 reconstructed, Perry, Shaw and Hepburn; Kehoe and Dean. 244 Central St.
  • Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)

The premier site in the history of American iron manufacture, this reconstruction commemorates the first serious attempt to forge iron in the region. The Undertakers of the Ironworks in New England acquired the land in 1647 and continued to operate the forge with mixed commercial success. Here most early ironmasters in New England learned their practical skills; the site thus became the hearth of the later American iron industry. The First Iron Works Association (funded by the nation's iron and steel industry) acquired the site in 1944, conducted extensive archaeology, and hired the architects of the Colonial Williamsburg restoration to reconstruct the buildings and the landscape. The clap-boarded gable-roofed buildings and stone furnace remain an exuberant triumph of reconstructive imagination on the foundation of backhoe archaeology. The National Park Service assumed control in 1969 after the steel industry lost interest in the project.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site", [Saugus, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 383-384.

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