The Significance of Saugus Iron Works to the United States and the World
Saugus lron Works is a reconstruction of the ﬁrst successful, integrated iron works in the New
World. It produced wrought iron and cast iron products from 1646 to approximately 1670, utilizing the most
advanced iron making technology in early Colonial times. On April 5th, 1968 the site was renamed Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site and became part of the National Park System because of its significance to the character, development and history of the United States.
Elements of Significance
- The Massachusetts site is nationally signiﬁcant because it is considered the birthplace of industry in Colonial America, initiating and sustaining an advanced iron making technology in the New World. The subsequent dispersal of former workers and their descendants to other parts of Colonial America, where they established other iron producing centers, was critical to the development of industry and technology in the emerging country. Saugus iron Works demonstrates the crucial role of iron making to the 17th century settlement of the Colonies and its legacy in shaping the history of the nation.
- Saugus lron Works National Historic Site has intemational signiﬁcance because it is considered by scholars and museums throughout Europe as the ﬁrst source for information on the development and technology of early iron production in America. Scores of inquiries and requests for information and docu- mentation from universities, museums, and individual researchers in Great Britain and the Continent have been received and handled by the park staff.
- Structures at the Saugus iron Works are signiﬁcant examples of the historic preservation move- ment in America. Restoration of the Iron Works House by the noted preservationist Wallace Nutting marks the beginning of the early 20th century preservationist movement in New England and, subsequently, the entire United States.
- The National Register of Historic Places calls the Saugus lron Works "the ﬁrst chapter in America's book." With its requirement for a large labor force, the iron works served as a conduit, fowarding the movement of technology and people from the Old World to the New. Through the experiences of Puritans, English freemen, and Scots prisoners engaged for its operation, the iron works recorded the British immigrants' journey in the New World. The lron Works at Saugus sen/ed as the historical prelude to independence, marking the beginning of economic self-reliance in the American Colonies. Through the manufacture of ﬁnished products for local use and trade abroad, the country began its ﬁrst steps in transition from colonial status to sovereignty.
- Saugus lron Works serves as a learning laboratory to understand and explore the stories of archaeology, Native American settlement, and life in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The interrelationship of humans in the natural environment and the ecological effects of industrial development are clearly evident and understood.
- In recognition of its signiﬁcance as the birthplace of the iron and steel industry in America, the American iron and Steel institute reconstructed the primary elements of the original iron works after extensive archaeological excavations beginning in the 1940s. Saugus lron Works Restoration opened to the public in 1954 and was operated as a private museum until the National Park Service began its administration "to preserve in public ownership the ﬁrst sustained integrated ironworks in the Thirteen Colonies." The site was donated by the lron and Steel institute.