Saugus Massachusetts, 1890

Saugus occupies the southwestern extremity of Essex County, and has Lynnfield on the north, Lynn on the northeast, Revere on the southeast, the latter and Melrose on the southwest, and Wakefield on the northwest. The post-offices are Saugus (centre), East Saugus and Cliftondale; and these, with Pleasant Hill, are stations on the Saugus Branch of the Boston and Maine Railroad. Other villages are Bowkerville, Oaklandvale and North Saugus.

The assessed area of the town is 6,009 acres; and there are about 800 acres of woodland. The southeastern extremity consists of salt creeks and marshes; the latter yielding annually many hundred tons of hay. The remaining part, though having some nearly level areas, is in general rolling and broken, and abounds in picturesque scenery. The geological basis is sienite and porphyry. The notable elevations are Castle Hill in the northwest, 288 feet in height, and Vinegar Hill near the middle of the eastern border. South of the latter is Pirate's Glen, a wild and craggy spot, rendered more interesting from having been the abode, in 1657, of four recluses said to have been pirates. Three were captured by a force from one of the king's cruisers but one named Thomas Veal escaped, and made his dwelling in a cavern in the Lynn woods until the great earthquake of 1658 rent the rock. This catastrophe was supposed to have entombed him alive; but "Dungeon Hole" (as the cavern came to be called) was blown open on July 4, 1834, and nothing found except a few iron articles.

Saugus River, which issues from Quanapowitt Lake, in Wakefield, and receives Hawkes' Brook from Lynnfield, and Central Brook from Melrose, winds medially through the town, spreading into a beautiful lake of about 75 acres near the centre. Heaps of scoriae on the eastern bank of this river mark the location of iron works established here about 1645. The village at the old foundery was at an early period called "Hammersmith," from a place of that name in England, whence some of the workmen came.

Fifteen machinists now pursue their trade in the town. The largest manufactories are the two woollen mills, employing, in June, 1885, 128 persons and four shoe factories, employing 252 persons, and making goods to the value of $70,700. Other manufactures are lumber, boxes, bricks, cabinets, and food preparations. The aggregate value of goods made was $730,20l. The product of the 35 farms amounted to $88,397. The population was 2,855, of whom 817 were legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $2,271,299, with a tax-rate of $19 on $1,000. There were 704 taxed dwelling-houses.

The public schools consist of a high school and several of primary and grammar grades. There are six school buildings, valued at about $25,000. Cliftondale Public Library has about 1,000 volumes, and the high school has upwards of 300. There are also two private circulating libraries containing about 2,000 volumes. The "News is the weekly journal of the town. The churches are one Congregationalist, one Universalist and three Methodist.

Saugus was formed from Lynn territory and incorporated February 17, 1815; and in 1841 it received an addition from Chelsea.

pp. 583-584 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890