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“Showed Early American Industry”
Review of Saugus Iron Works

Saugus Iron Works
Ranked #1 of 8 things to do in Saugus
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: In the 1600's, on the banks of the Saugus River, something extraordinary happened. Explore the place where European iron makers brought their special skills to a young Massachusetts colony. This nine-acre National Park includes working waterwheels, hot forges, mills, an historic 17th century home and a lush river basin.
Reviewed 5 weeks ago

This park tells the story of the first iron works in North America with rebuilt buildings based on extensive archaeological research. This was all done so well that it gave me a good idea of how the iron works worked. It made me appreciate how clever the people of the 1600's were. The rangers were very nice and their presentations were very good. It also was a lovely setting with nature trails around the tidal river, so if someone was not as interested in the history, it was still a nice natural site to visit.

1  Thank Kathleen H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"national historic site"
in 6 reviews
"nature trail"
in 6 reviews
"making process"
in 4 reviews
"blast furnace"
in 8 reviews
"junior ranger"
in 3 reviews
"wood beams"
in 2 reviews
"seventeenth century"
in 2 reviews
"ranger led tour"
in 2 reviews
"park ranger"
in 5 reviews
"new england"
in 7 reviews
"better understanding"
in 2 reviews
"few hours"
in 5 reviews
"great history"
in 4 reviews
"learn something"
in 2 reviews
"gift shop"
in 4 reviews
"visitor center"
in 3 reviews
"history buff"
in 2 reviews
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3 - 7 of 120 reviews

Reviewed 24 May 2018

We are grandparents from CA on our annual May visit to see our grandchildren and were assigned to get the older grandchild, Harley, a home schooled 6 year old, out of her mother’s hair for a few hours. We were also told that this child gets restive in a car after 20 minutes so we crossed Gloucester off our list, and after much searching, decided on the Saugus Iron Works, which according to Google Maps, is a mere 17 minutes from Brighton; our 2 hr. visit took place on a weekday, and we arrived just after opening time. Perfect! Easy parking!

After a trip to the bathroom, a few steps from the parking lot (pristine and practically hands-free), we walked even fewer steps to the Visitor’s Center / gift shop and asked about joining the Junior Ranger Program. We were shown a huge backpack, which I assumed was full of tasks to complete and decided becoming a junior ranger could take place at another time. However, Harley was given a Junior Ranger badge, which she quickly pinned on her sweater; I think this was the highlight of her visit. Her mother and aunt were once junior rangers, participating in various programs in the numerous National Parks, and we are enthusiastic supporters of the experience.

My husband wanted to start at the museum. I can’t say that my granddaughter was enthusiastic about his explanations although she listened politely and liked pushing the red buttons that made things go. We were too late for the movie but saw a group of 4th graders listening to a presentation. We asked and received permission to sit in the back. I wanted my granddaughter to see a class in progress, and she seemed fascinated by the kids seated on the floor listening to the ranger.

We heard the last 5 minutes of the presentation and then got up to leave when the kids were going to break up into groups to work on some tasks. The person who gave us permission to sit in on the presentation said he could fit Harley into one of the groups! I would have loved to take him up on his kind offer but thought it would probably be a good idea to move on since our time at the site was limited.

After spending a few minutes sitting on the bench enjoying the view (and a small snack), we walked to the bridge and then walked down the sloping gravel path to the waterwheel, where Harley met her first park ranger. The very first thing she noticed was that he had the same badge as she did. This very personable and informative ranger has been on the job for 30 years and was comfortable interacting with a suddenly mute 6 year old, awed by the size of the waterwheel, the bellows and just about everything else in the building.

We then headed for the big pond. As we were crossing the bridge, one of the men, who was working on one of the numerous restorations, stopped to tell us about all the wildlife in the park; earlier that morning he spotted an osprey and the biggest snapping turtle he’d ever seen. After hearing this, I had wanted to walk around the pond to look for wildlife, but Harley wanted to go back and sit on the bench. After that we returned to the very attractive gift shop, and I told a ranger there what a nice visit we had and that perhaps the next time Harley returned she could become a Junior Park Ranger. The ranger told Harley he would love to give Harley the oath, but she seemed a bit overwhelmed by his offer.

As we were looking at informative Junior Ranger handbook, which I bought, the ranger from the waterwheel exhibit walked in. To make a long story short, Harley accepted his offer to give her the JR oath. He got down on his knees to do this, which must have made Harley comfortable enough so she could squeak out the oath. A proud day for Harley and her grandparents!

The friendly staff, the beautiful, peaceful outdoor setting, which allowed exploration without the pressure of crowds, provided a shy 6 year old child with the perfect introduction to the NPS and its Junior Ranger program.

Thank pilikiax2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 October 2017 via mobile

The site is significant because this is where Saugus set up his first Iron Foundry along the river in the US. The displays were very informative. It gave me a better understanding of the founding of this country and the industries that brought fortune to some.

Thank Susan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 October 2017 via mobile

This visit was last on our 5 day vacation to the area and sure glad we didn't miss it. The early iron making process was certainly a process that required much patience as well as strong men. The ranger we had took us through the entire process and answered all our questions.

Thank Phillip W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 19 September 2017

Another FREE National Park. You can tour the House & Industrial Site. There's a museum about the Iron Work, Hike the Nature Trail & take in the sites.

Founded by John Winthrop in Saugus, MA & in operation from 1646 to 1670. The area at the time was Lynn, MA & Winthrop believed the colonies had cheap & abundant supply of raw materials, an iron works in MA could produce good that could be sold profitably in New England & Chesapeake Colonies. Skilled workers were brought over from England to ply their trade at the iron works. A blast furnace for producing pig iron & gray iron (firebacks, pots, pans, kettles & skillets).

The workers from England did not fit with the local Puritan society & often ran afoul of its law. Many were arrested for crimes like drunkenness, adultery, gambling, fighting cursing, not attending church & wearing fine clothes. The less experienced local men who worked at Iron Works met with frequent & sometimes Fatal accidents. After the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, 60 Scottish prisoners of war were sent to the Iron Works to work as servants.

Although the Iron Works produced a respectable quantity of iron, due to the high cost of labor, financial mismanagement which may have included embezzlement, and a number of lawsuits, it seldom operated at a profit. The Iron Works closed around 1670.

Iron Works House – Was built few years after the Iron Works shut down. Only original seventeenth century building at the Saugus Iron Works site. In 1916, Wallace nutting “restored” it.

Thank Cheryl A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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