Lynn, Massachusetts

Lynn is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 89,050 at the 2000 census. An older industrial center, Lynn is home to Lynn Beach and Lynn Heritage State Park. Currently, Edward "Chip" Clancy, Jr. is serving his second term as Mayor.


The area known as Lynn was first settled in 1629 by Edmund Ingalls (d. 1647 and incorporated in 1631 as Saugus, the Nipmuck name for the area. The name Lynn was given to the area after King's Lynn, Norfolk, England, in honor of Samuel Whiting.

After Lynn's re-settlement many parts of the town were set off as independent towns. Reading was created in 1644, Lynnfield in 1782, Saugus in 1815, Swampscott in 1852, and Nahant in 1853. Lynn incorporated as a city in 1850.

Colonial Lynn was a major part of the regional tannery and shoe-making industries that began in 1635. The boots worn by Continental Army soldiers during the Revolutionary War were made in Lynn. The shoe-making industry drove urban growth in Lynn into the early nineteenth century. This historic theme is reflected in the city 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 till 1858.

Lynn Shoe manufacturers, lead by Charles A. Coffin and Silas Abbott Barton, invested in the early electric industry. Specifically in 1883 with Elihu Thomson and his Thomson-Houston Electric Company. That company merged with Edison Electric Company forming General Electric in 1892. Charles A. Coffin served as the first president of General Electric. Elihu Thomson later served as acting president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1920 to 1923.

Initially the GE Electric plant specialized in arc lights, electric motors, and meters. Later they 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 has kept the jet engine plant in Lynn ever since.

Like many industrialized urban areas, Lynn began a decline in the 1950s with Suburbanization. Lynn's population peaked at 99,000 in 1950. Lynn was too far away from Route 128 to benefit significantly from the 128 technology companies.

Lynn suffered several large fires in the late 1970s and early 1980s, including a devastating inferno among former shoe factories at Broad and Washington Streets on November 28, 1981. The blaze destroyed 17 downtown buildings undergoing redevelopment, with property losses totaling in the tens of millions of dollars. The site has since been largely redeveloped into a satellite campus of North Shore Community College.

Lynn remains home to some of the jet engine division of General Electric, a major employer, as well as West Lynn Creamery (now part of Dean Foods's Garelick Farms unit) and Durkee-Mower, makers of "Marshmallow Fluff."

Famously known as, "Lynn, Lynn: the city of sin. You never come out, the way you went in," the city of Lynn created an advertising campaign in the early 1990s, to improve the city's image, and help rid the town of that negative slogan. This was the "City Of Firsts" campaign, which boasted that Lynn had the:

Later, some of these claims were found to be inaccurate or unprovable. For example, the first air mail delivery in the U.S. occurred on Long Island, and the first baseball game under artificial light seems to have actually occurred in Indiana. While the jet engine claim is legitimate, the engine was heavily based on a prior British design.

The twenty-first century

In the early 2000s, a number of new development projects have contributed to what officials hope will be the city's renaissance. Industrial buildings that were formerly vacant have been converted into loft spaces by real estate developers, and bought by young home-buyers who seek the urban lifestyle of Boston proper, but can't afford the higher prices of Boston's South End and similar neighborhoods. Encouraged by local developer Tom Kennedy, renowned New Urbanist architect Robert Orr proposed a series of charettes for the redevelopment of Lynn's waterfront in conjunction with Lynnfield Engineering. City Hall is encouraging the community's resurgence, with new antique-style lighting, signage, brickwork, and a multipurpose municipal football stadium. The North Shore Spirit, a professional baseball club, played in Lynn at renovated Fraser Field through the 2007 season. Lynn has also become home to one of the largest Russian communities in the North Shore. The first wave of immigration began in the early 1990s when Jewish people in Russia were granted refugee status by the American government. The Great Stew Chase Road Race is a 15K (9.3 mile) event held in early February. It is the 3rd oldest 15K race in the United States.

In December 2007, the Massachusetts Seaport Advisory Council approved $750,000 in funding at City Hall, paving the way for a commuter ferry from Lynn to Boston.


Lynn is located at (42.473996, -70.955583).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.5 square miles (34.9 km²), of which, 10.8 square miles (28.0 km²) of it is land and 2.7 square miles (6.9 km²) of it (19.87%) is water. Lynn is located beside Massachusetts Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.


Lynn is loosely segmented into the following neighborhoods:

    • Business District / Downtown
    • Central Sq.
    • Veterans Village
    • Pine Hill
    • McDonough Sq / Barry Park
    • Tower Hill / Austin Sq - Saugus River Banks
    • The Brickyard
    • Walnut St./ Lynnhurst
    • The Common
    • Diamond District/ Lynn Shore
    • Wyoma Sq.
    • The Highlands
    • The Fay Estate
    • Ward 1/ Lynnfield St.
    • Goldfish Pond
    • The Meadow / Keaney Park


As of the census of 2000, there were 89,050 people, 33,511 households, and 21,044 families residing in the city. The population density was 8,233.7 people per square mile (3,177.7/km²). There were 34,637 housing units at an average density of 3,202.6/sq mi (1,236.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 67.89% White, 10.55% African American, 0.37% Native American, 6.43% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 9.82% from other races, and 4.85% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 18.40% of the population.

There were 33,511 households out of which 32.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.7% were married couples living together, 17.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.2% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.31.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.0% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 31.0% from 25 to 44, 20.1% from 45 to 64, and 12.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 93.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $37,364, and the median income for a family was $45,295. Males had a median income of $34,284 versus $27,871 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,492. About 13.2% of families and 16.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.9% of those under age 18 and 14.6% of those age 65 or over.


Lynn is served by the Newburyport/Rockport Line of the MBTA commuter rail, and several bus routes that connect it with Boston and nearby communities like Revere. There are ongoing studies on the feasibility of extending the Blue Line subway to the city.

A main commercial thoroughfare through southern Lynn is "The Lynnway", which carries Route 1A. Minor state routes include Route 129 (mostly Eastern Ave. and Lynnfield St.) and Route 107 (mostly Western Ave.).

Points of interest


Lynn has three public high schools (Lynn English, Lynn Classical, Lynn Vocational Technical Institute ["Lynn Tech"]), four junior high schools, two alternative schools, and, as of Autumn 2008, 16 elementary schools (two were closed over the summer because of city budgetary constraints). They are served by the Lynn Public Schools district. There is also an independent Catholic high school, St. Mary's High School, and three religious K-8 elementary schools, and one interdenominational Christian.

KIPP: the Knowledge Is Power Program operates the KIPP Academy Lynn, a 5-8 charter middle school, in Lynn.

Notable residents


  • United Press International. "Blaze destroys urban complex in Lynn, Mass." 'The New York Times,' November 29, 1981. Page 28.

External links

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