History of Lynn

Old buildings and timeless architecture in Lynn, Massachusetts.
How Lynn, MA Got its Start

Lynn, MA has a very interesting history, and it is currently known as the shoemaking capitol of the world. The city began way back with the earliest pilgrims, who bargained for the land the city rests in so that they could spread out and start farming more land. It was originally owned by the Sagamore Indians. The city wasn’t named until several years after it was founded, when its first real minister, Samuel Whiting, came across the Atlantic from England. Whiting was from King’s Lynn, England, so the settlers renamed their then small town Lynn in honor of the minister.

One of the most interesting parts of the history of Lynn, MA is how it became the world’s shoe center. Basically, when the town was first settled, most people farmed, but the settlers’ way to get goods from the outside was to make leather shoes and to trade them for goods they couldn’t grow or make in their own communities. After a while, the town placed a special tariff on Lynn shoes, and it became the world center for, especially, shoes for women.

Because shoes were made in town, there were also many tanneries set up to tan the leather needed to make the shoes. As the Eastern Railroad went up through town, the shoe and leather businesses were booming. Factories grew, and areas were set up with tenements for the factory workers to live in, becoming the start of the downtown Lynn area.

Another interesting part about the Lynn, MA history is that just when the downtown area was drawing more low-income families with its work, high-income families were building huge mansions and summer homes on the seaside. It was during this time that the town began to have a dichotomy of manufacturing areas and tourist attractions. Eventually, the town morphed into a large city with both a booming downtown area and a seaside drive that featured high-rise apartments and condominiums for vacationers, which is where it is today.

Throughout Lynn, Massachusetts history, there have always been shoes manufactured in the town, and that is no less true today. Today, though, the economy isn’t based totally on shoes and agriculture. Instead, the city has a diverse downtown area with lots of different businesses and jobs available for workers, although many of the city’s workers who live in the suburbs actually commute to nearby Boston.


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