History of Lynn

Lynn, MA has a very interesting history and has been called "the shoemaking capitol of the world".

Originally settled bye the Sagamore Indians, the city was founded by the earliest pilgrims, who bargained with the Indians for the land the city rests.  This allowed them to spread out and start farming more land.  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. When the town was was originally settled, most people farmed the land.  However, the settlers’ also began to make leather shoes and trade them to other towns 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 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 both 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 what we still find 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.