• Saugus Iron Works Panorama

    Saugus Iron Works

    National Historic Site Massachusetts

Frequently Asked Questions

Where did the ore come from?
The iron ore used at Saugus was "bog ore". Bog ore is a sedimentary rock that forms in the still waters of bogs, marshes, swamps, ponds and shallow lakes when dissolved iron in the water precipitates and settles to the bottom accumulating over time. It contains 30 - 50 % iron. Bog ore is thought to be the first iron ore mined by humans during the Pre-Roman Iron Age. It was the primary iron source mined during the Iron Age, the Viking era and in 17th and 18th century colonial America.

Bog ore was mined locally on the adjacent farm of Adam Hawkes and other nearby locations in Lynn, Wakefield and Reading, as well as more distant locations. Vagueness of citation in the historic documents makes precise identification of mining localities nearly impossible Another rock called Gabbro or "rock mine" was used as a "fluxing agent" to draw away the impurities in the bog ore. Gabbro, a coarse grained basalt containing calcium and magnesium, was mined in Nahant.

Are those the original buildings?
The blast furnace, forge, rolling mill, warehouse, and dock area are all reconstructed on original sites and are based upon extensive archeological excavations done between 1948 and 1953. Hundreds of court records, inventories, and accounts of the original iron works were also consulted to produce a full-size (albeit, conjectural) model of the seventeenth century iron works. The "Iron Works House" is a timber framed, 1680s mansion house, still standing on its original location. It was constructed about a decade after the iron works ceased production.

Is there a gift shop or book store there?
Yes, there is. The Saugus Iron Works cooperating agency is Eastern National. Many items are also available on their eParks web site.

How far is it to the airport?
Logan airport is about nine miles away and is typically about a twenty minute ride. If you are looking for a place to visit on your way to the airport, stop by!

Did You Know?

essexite

A type of gabbro was used as flux at the Saugus Iron Works. Gabbro refers to a large number of dark, coarse-grained, igneous rocks, but the specific type of gabbro used at Saugus Iron Work was unique to Essex County, Massachusetts. It is named Essexite after the county.