Plan Your Visit
By contrast, the Puritans settled in tightly knit communities based on the strict practice of religion and tried to cultivate the rocky soil. Timber-framed houses took place on the land, while new shallops (small ship) collected the codfish that was a staple food. The self-reliance and spirit of these early New Englanders created many of the institutions that are still regard as distinctively American today.
By the early 18th century, this Area began to prosper, finding its greatest source of sustenance and wealth in the sea. The early coastal settlements, which had started as small fishing outposts, grew into prosperous seaports. Sailors, shipbuilders, blacksmiths, and carpenters flocked to the towns in the Area, which specialized in shipbuilding, coastal fishing and exporting fish overseas.
News of manufacturing jobs that offered a foothold into America spread across the world, and immigrants flooded into the Area. Soon, the boot and shoe industry grew until it employed more people than any other industry in Massachusetts. Lynn became the largest producer of women's shoes in America; Peabody emerged as the nation's leather processing center; Lawrence grew into the world's largest producer of wool; Massachusetts emerged as one of the most heavily industrialized areas in the world, second only to England. The great prosperity had its price. The deplorable conditions in the mills caused workers to protest. And it was in this Area that some of the first labor strikes took place.