City of Sin; City Of Firsts
Location in the United States
|Incorporated (City)||May 14, 1850|
|Named for||King's Lynn, Norfolk, England|
|• Type||Mayor-council city|
|• Body||Executive Branch (Mayor) and Legislative Branch (City Council)|
|• Mayor||Jared Nicholson (D)|
|• Council||John M. Walsh Jr |
(President, Ward 7) (D)
(Vice President, at-large) (D)
Brian M. Field
Brian P. LaPierre
Hong L. Net
Wayne A. Lozzi
(Ward 1) (D)
Richard B. Starbard
(Ward 2) (R)
Constantino “Coco” Alinsug
(Ward 3) (D)
Richard C. Colucci
(Ward 4) (D)
(Ward 5) (D)
Frederick W. Hogan
(Ward 6) (D)
|• Total||13.53 sq mi (35.03 km2)|
|• Land||10.74 sq mi (27.83 km2)|
|• Water||2.78 sq mi (7.20 km2)|
|Elevation||30 ft (9 m)|
|• Density||8,776.90/sq mi (3,388.92/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (Eastern)|
|GNIS feature ID||0613376|
Lynn is the 8th largest municipality in Massachusetts and the largest city in Essex County. Situated on the Atlantic Ocean, 3.7 miles (6.0 km) north of the Boston city line at Suffolk Downs, Lynn is part of Greater Boston's urban inner core. Settled by Europeans in 1629, Lynn is the 5th oldest colonial settlement in the Commonwealth. An early industrial center, Lynn was long colloquially referred to as the "City of Sin", owing to its historical reputation for crime and vice. Today, however, the city is known for its contemporary public art, immigrant population, historic architecture, downtown cultural district, loft-style apartments, and public parks and open spaces, which include the oceanfront Lynn Shore Reservation; the 2,200-acre, Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Lynn Woods Reservation; and the High Rock Reservation and Park designed by Olmsted's sons. Lynn also is home to Lynn Heritage State Park, the southernmost portion of the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway, and the seaside, National Register-listed Diamond Historic District. The population was 101,253 at the time of the 2020 United States Census.
The area that is now known as Lynn was inhabited for thousands of years by Native Americans prior to English colonization in the 1600s. At the time of European contact, the area today known as Lynn was primarily inhabited by the Naumkeag people under the powerful sachem Nanepashemet who controlled territory from the Mystic to the Merrimack Rivers. Colonists would not establish a legal agreement with the Naumkeag over the use of their land in Lynn until 1686 after a smallpox epidemic in 1633, King Philip's War, and missionary efforts significantly reduced their numbers and confined them to the Praying Town of Natick.
English colonists settled Lynn not long after the 1607 establishment of Jamestown, Virginia and the 1620 arrival of the Mayflower at Plymouth. European settlement of the area was begun in 1629 by Edmund Ingalls, followed by John Tarbox of Lancashire in 1631. The area today encompassing Lynn was originally incorporated in 1629 as Saugus, the Massachusett name for the area. Three years after the settlement in Salem, five families moved onto Naumkeag lands in the interior of Lynn, then known as Saugus, and the Tomlin family constructed a large mill between today's Sluice and Flax Ponds. The mill not only supplied grains and sustenance for the settlers and trade with the Naumkeag people, but was used to create brews and many fermented casks of hops and wines to send back to King George in England.
A noteworthy early Lynn colonist, Thomas Halsey, left Lynn to settle the East End of Long Island, where he and several others founded the Town of Southampton, New York. The resulting Halsey House—the oldest extant frame house in New York State (1648)—is now open to the public, under the aegis of the Southampton Colonial Society.
As English settlement pushed deeper into Naumkeag territories, disease, missionary efforts, and loss of access to seasonal hunting, farming, and fishing grounds caused significant disruption to Naumkeag lifeways. In 1675, Naumkeag sachem Wenepoykin joined Metacomet in resisting English colonization in King Philip's War, for which he was enslaved and sent to Barbados. In 1686, under pressure to demonstrate legal title for lands they occupied during the administrative restructuring of the Dominion of New England, the selectmen of Lynn and Reading purchased a deed from Wenopoykin's heirs Kunkshamooshaw and Quonopohit for 16 pounds of sterling silver, though by this time they and most surviving Naumkeag were residents of the Natick Praying Town.
Further European settlement of Lynn led to several independent towns being formed, with Reading created in 1644; Lynnfield in 1782; Saugus in 1815; Swampscott in 1852; and Nahant in 1853. The City of Lynn was incorporated on May 14, 1850.
Colonial Lynn was an early center of tannery and shoe-making, which began in 1635. The boots worn by Continental Army soldiers during the Revolutionary War were made in Lynn, and the shoe-making industry drove the city's growth into the early nineteenth century. This legacy is reflected in the city's seal, which features a colonial boot.
In 1816, a mail stage coach was operating through Lynn. By 1836, 23 stage coaches left the Lynn Hotel for Boston each day. The Eastern Railroad Line between Salem and East Boston opened on August 28, 1838. This was later merged with the Boston and Maine Railroad and called the Eastern Division. In 1847 telegraph wires passed through Lynn, but no telegraph service station was built until 1858.
During the middle of the nineteenth century, estates and beach cottages were constructed along Lynn's shoreline, and the city's Atlantic coastline became a fashionable summer resort. Many of the structures built during this period are today situated within the National Register-listed Diamond Historic District.
Further inland, industrial activity contemporaneously expanded in Lynn. Shoe manufacturers, led by Charles A. Coffin and Silas Abbott Barton, invested in the early electric industry, specifically in 1883 with Elihu Thomson, Edwin J. Houston, and their Thomson-Houston Electric Company. That company merged with Edison Electric Company of Schenectady, New York, forming General Electric in 1892, with the two original GE plants being in Lynn and Schenectady. Coffin served as the first president of General Electric.
Initially the General Electric plant specialized in arc lights, electric motors, and meters. Later it specialized in aircraft electrical systems and components, and aircraft engines were built in Lynn during WWII. That engine plant evolved into the current jet engine plant during WWII because of research contacts at MIT in Cambridge. Gerhard Neumann was a key player in jet engine group at GE in Lynn. The continuous interaction of material science research at MIT and the resulting improvements in jet engine efficiency and power have kept the jet engine plant in Lynn ever since.
One of the largest strikes of the early labor movement began in the shoe factories of Lynn on February 22, 1860, when Lynn shoemakers marched through the streets to their workplaces and handed in their tools, protesting reduced wages. Known as the New England Shoemakers Strike of 1860, it was one of the earliest strikes of its kind in the United States.
In 1841, abolitionist Frederick Douglass, moved to Lynn as a fugitive slave. Douglass wrote his first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, while living in Lynn. The publication would become Douglass' best-known work. Douglass, his wife, and their five children lived in Lynn until 1848.
Lynn experienced a wave of immigration during the late 1800s and early 1900s. During the 30 years between 1885 and 1915, Lynn's immigrant population increased from 9,800 to 29,500, representing nearly one-third of the city's total population. Polish and Russian Jews were the largest single group, numbering more than 6,000. The first Jewish settlers in Lynn, a group of twenty Hasidic European families, mostly from Russia, formed the Congregation Anshai Sfard, a Hasidic, conservative Jewish synagogue in 1888.
Catholic churches catering to the needs of specific language and ethnic groups also testify to the waves of immigrants. St. Jean Baptiste parish, eventually including a grammar school and high school, was founded in 1886, primarily for French-Canadians. Holy Family Church conducted services in Italian beginning in 1922, and St. Michael's church also provided church services and a grammar school for the Polish-speaking community, beginning in 1906. St. Patrick's church and school was a focus of the Irish-American community in Lynn. St. George's Greek Orthodox Church was founded in Lynn in 1905. Later in the 20th century, the city became an important center of greater Boston's Latino community. Additionally, several thousand Cambodians settled in Lynn between 1975 and 1979 and in the early 1980s.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Lynn was the world-leader in the production of shoes. 234 factories produced more than a million pairs of shoes each day, thanks in part to mechanization of the process by an African-American immigrant named Jan Ernst Matzeliger. From 1924 until 1974, the Lynn Independent Industrial Shoemaking School operated in the city. However, production declined throughout the 20th century, and the last shoe factory closed in 1981.
In the early 1900s, the Metropolitan District Commission acquired several coastal properties in Lynn and Nahant, in order to create Lynn Shore and Nahant Beach Reservations, and to construct adjoining Lynn Shore Drive. When it opened to the public in 1910, Lynn Shore Drive catalyzed new development along Lynn's coastline, yielding many of the early 20th century structures that constitute a majority of the contributing resources found in the National Register-listed Diamond Historic District.
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Lynn suffered several large fires. On November 28, 1981, a devastating inferno engulfed several former shoe factories, located at Broad and Washington Streets. Seventeen downtown buildings were destroyed, with property losses totaling in the tens of millions of dollars. (The affected area has since been largely redeveloped into a satellite campus of North Shore Community College, with many adjacent warehouses converted to loft apartments.)
A reputation for crime and vice gave rise to a taunting rhyme about Lynn which became popular throughout Eastern Massachusetts: "Lynn, Lynn, the city of sin, you'll never come out the way you went in, what looks like gold is really tin, the girls say 'no' but they'll give in, Lynn, Lynn, the city of sin." Another variation was "Lynn, Lynn the city of sin: if you ain't bad, you can't get in!"
In order to counter its reputation as "the city of sin", Lynn launched a "City Of Firsts" advertising campaign in the early 1990s, which promoted Lynn as having:
Some of these claims were subsequently found to be inaccurate or unprovable.
In a further effort to rebrand the municipality, city solicitor Michael Barry proposed renaming the city Ocean Park in 1997, but the initiative was unsuccessful.
Despite losing much of its industrial base during the 20th century, Lynn remained home to a division of General Electric Aviation; the West Lynn Creamery (now part of Dean Foods's Garelick Farms unit); C. L. Hauthaway & Sons, a polymer producer; Old Neighborhood Foods, a meat packer; Lynn Manufacturing, a maker of combustion chambers for the oil and gas heating industry; Sterling Machine Co.; and Durkee-Mower, makers of "Marshmallow Fluff".
In the early 2000s, the renovation and adaptive re-use of downtown historic structures, together with new construction, launched a revitalization of Lynn, which remains ongoing. Arts, culture, and entertainment have been at the forefront of this revitalization, with new arts organizations, cultural venues, public art projects, and restaurants emerging in the downtown area. In 2012, the Massachusetts Cultural Council named downtown Lynn one of the first state-recognized arts and culture districts in Massachusetts.
Formerly vacant industrial buildings continue to be converted into loft spaces, and historic homes, particularly Lynn's Diamond Historic District, are being restored. In 2016, several large land parcels in Lynn were acquired by major developers. In November 2018, construction began on downtown Lynn's first luxury midrise—a 259-unit, 10-story building on Monroe Street. in December 2019, ground was broken on a 331-unit waterfront development on Carroll Parkway. Many of the recent and pending large real estate projects in Lynn are Transit-oriented developments, sited within a half-mile of Lynn station, which provides 20-minute train service to North Station.
In 2017, swaths of the city's downtown were transformed by a series of large-scale murals, painted on buildings by local, national, and international artists, as part of the city's inaugural Beyond Walls festival. Light-based interventions, including projections onto High Rock Tower, the installation of vintage neon signs on downtown buildings, and large-scale LED-illuminations of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority rail underpasses bisecting Lynn's Downtown, also have been deployed. In 2017, Mount Vernon Street, in the core of the downtown Central Square area, began to host block parties, food trucks, and other special events.
On August 18, 2021, the new Frederick Douglass Park on Exchange Street was dedicated, directly across the street from the site of the Central Square railroad depot where Douglass was forcibly removed from the train in 1841. The park features a bronze bas-relief sculpture of Douglass. The park had been in the works since at least 2019 when a bill was filed in the Massachusetts Senate to designate the park area and its management by the Massachusetts DCR.
General View, 1909
Market Street, 1911
Newhall House, 1913
City Hall Square, c. 1906
Public Library, 2009
High Rock Tower, c. 1910
High Rock Tower, 2006
Goldfish Pond, 1905
Lynn Marshes, c. 1905
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.5 square miles (35 km2), of which 10.8 square miles (28 km2) is land and 2.7 square miles (7.0 km2) (19.87%) is water. Lynn is located beside Massachusetts Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Lynn's shoreline is divided in half by the town of Nahant, which divides Lynn Harbor to the south from Nahant Bay to the north. The city lies north of the Saugus River, and is also home to several brooks, as well as several ponds, the largest being Breed's Pond and Walden Pond (which has no relation to a similarly named pond in Concord). More than one-quarter of the town's land is covered by the Lynn Woods Reservation, which takes up much of the land in the northwestern part of the city. The city is also home to two beaches, Lynn Beach and King's Beach, both of which lie along Nahant Bay, as well as a boat ramp in Lynn Harbor.
Lynn is located in the southern part of Essex County and is 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Boston and 22 miles (35 km) west-southwest of Cape Ann. The city is bordered by Nahant to the south, Swampscott to the east, Salem to the northeast, Peabody to the north, Lynnfield to the northwest, Saugus to the west and Revere (in Suffolk County) to the southeast. Lynn's water rights extend into Nahant Bay and share Lynn Harbor with Nahant. There is no land connection to Revere; the only connection is the General Edwards Bridge across the Pines River. Besides its downtown district, Lynn is also divided into East Lynn and West Lynn, which are further divided into even smaller areas.
Lynn is loosely segmented into the following neighborhoods:
Lynn gets cold, snowy winters and warm, humid summers. The climate is similar to that of Boston.
|* = population estimate. |
Source: United States census records and Population Estimates Program data.
As of the census of 2010, there were 90,329 people, 33,310 households, and 20,988 families residing in the city.
The racial makeup of the city was:
Hispanic or Latino of any race were 32.1% of the population (10.5% Dominican, 6.3% Guatemalan, 5.4% Puerto Rican, 2.8% Salvadoran, 1.7% Mexican, 0.6% Honduran, 0.4% Colombian, 0.4% Spanish, 0.2% Peruvian, 0.2% Cuban).
Cambodians form the largest Asian origin group in Lynn, with 3.9% of Lynn's total population of Cambodian ancestry. Other large Asian groups are those of Vietnamese (1.0%), Indian (0.4%), Chinese (0.3%), and Laotian (0.2%) ancestry.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 24.9% under the age of 18 and 75.1% over 18. Males accounted for 49% and females 51%.
In 1990 Lynn had 2,993 persons of Asian origin. In 2000 Lynn had 5,730 Asians, an increase of over 91%, making it one of ten Massachusetts cities with the largest Asian populations. In 2000 the city had 3,050 persons of Cambodian origin, making them the largest Asian subgroup in Lynn. That year the city had 1,112 persons of Vietnamese origin and 353 persons of Indian origin. From 1990 to 2000 the Vietnamese and Indian populations increased by 192% and 264%, respectively.
By 2004 the Cambodian community in Lynn was establishing the Khmer Association of the North Shore.
|Rank||ZIP Code (ZCTA)||Per capita
Lynn was among the first communities in America to set aside a significant portion of its total land areas for open space—initially to secure a common public wood source. In 1693, Lynn restricted use of areas today encompassed by the Lynn Woods Reservation, and imposed fines for removing young trees. Although this land area was subsequently divided, in 1706, rights of public access were maintained, and, during the 19th century, recreational use of the woods increased.
In 1850, the first hiking club in New England — the Lynn Exploring Circle — was established. In 1881, a group of Lynn residents organized the Trustees of the Free Public Forest to protect Lynn Woods by acquiring land and gifting it to the City. Frederick Law Olmsted was hired as a design consultant for Lynn Woods, in 1889, whereupon he recommended keeping the land wild, adding only limited public access improvements.
Lynn Woods was among the natural resources that inspired landscape architect Charles Eliot and others to create Boston's Metropolitan Park System. In 1893, Eliot noted that Lynn Woods "constitute the largest and most interesting, because the wildest, public domain in all New England."
Today, Lynn has 49 parks encompassing 1,540 aggregate acres, representing about 22% of the city's total 6,874-acre land area. Consequently, 96% of all Lynn residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park or open space. The city's parks and open spaces include:
Lynn has three public high schools (Lynn English, Lynn Classical, and Lynn Vocational Technical High School), four middle/junior high schools, two alternative schools, and, as of Autumn 2015, 18 elementary schools. They are served by the Lynn Public Schools district.
There is also an independent Catholic high school located in the city, St. Mary's High School. There are two Catholic primary schools, St. Pius V School and Sacred Heart School. There is also one interdenominational Christian school, North Shore Christian School.
Lynn has no Interstate or controlled-access highways, the nearest being U.S. Route 1 in Saugus and Lynnfield, and the combined Interstate 95 and Route 128 in Lynnfield. (The original design of Interstate 95 called for a route that would have paralleled Route 107 and crossed Lynn - including Lynn Woods - but the project was cancelled in 1972.) However, Massachusetts State Route 1A, Route 107, Route 129 and Route 129A all pass through Lynn. Route 107 passes from southwest to northeast along a relatively straight right-of-way through the city. It shares a 0.5 miles (0.80 km) concurrency with Route 129A, which follows Route 129's old route through the city between its parent route and Route 1A. Route 129 passes from the north of the city before turning south and passing through the downtown area and becoming concurrent with Route 1A for 1 mile (1.6 km). Route 1A passes from Revere along the western portion of the Lynnway, a divided highway within the city, before passing further inland into Swampscott. The Lynnway itself runs along the coastline, leading to a rotary, which links the road to Nahant Road and Lynn Shore Drive, which follows the coast into Swampscott.
Lynn is served by Lynn station on the Newburyport/Rockport Line of the MBTA Commuter Rail system, as well as River Works station (which is for GE Aviation employees only). A number of other stations were open until the mid 20th century. Numerous MBTA bus routes also connect Lynn with Boston and the neighboring communities. An extension of the Blue Line to downtown Lynn has been proposed, but not funded. A ferry service to downtown Boston was operated in 2014, 2015, and 2017. The nearest airport is Boston's Logan International Airport, about 5 miles (8.0 km) south.
When the first official minister, Samuel Whiting, arrived from King’s Lynn, England, the new settlers were so excited that they changed the name of their community to Lynn in 1637 in honor of him.
The administration of the fiscal, prudential, and municipal affairs of the city, with the government thereof, shall be vested in an executive branch, to consist of the mayor, and a legislative branch, to consist of the city council.
The first Electric Trolley in the state ran from Lynn in 1888
1888 The first electric trolley in the state runs in Lynn.
1629 The first tannery in the U.S. began operations in Lynn.
On Friday, November 19th, ... a ribbon cutting to officially open the newly completed paving and improvements on the Northern Strand in Lynn.
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|Wikisource has the text of the 1921 Collier's Encyclopedia article Lynn.|