590 Washington St., Lynn
The oceanfront community of Lynn is famous for its shoe manufacturing, for pioneering developments in electronics and for the 19th century reformers who lived there. Exhibits and tours highlight the innovation and industry of Lynn, the turn-of-the-century shoemaking capital of the U.S. Compare the craft and tools of a hand made shoe with a factory made shoe. Experience the struggle of shoe workers during the Strike of 1860. Find out why Lydia Pinkham’s medicinals were known the world over. A boardwalk stroll at the nearby Waterfront Park features an extraordinary mosaic mural on Lynn's history.
Lynn Heritage is located just north of Boston. To reach the Visitors Center at the corner of Washington and Union Streets:
From the North: Rtes. 128/I-95 South to exit 44, Rte. 1 South. Take first exit to Rte 129 East. Follow Rte. 129 East to Downtown Lynn. After MBTA commuter rail trestle, Visitors Center will be on the opposite left corner.
From South and West: Rtes. 128/I-95 North to exit 44B. Follow Rte. 129 East to Downtown Lynn. After MBTA commuter rail trestle, Visitors Center will be on the opposite left corner.
From Salem: Route 1A South to Lynn. At North Shore Community College, take a sharp right onto Union Street, then right onto Washington Street. Parking and Visitors Center on left.
From Boston: Route 1A North to Lynnway. Turn left following Rt. 1A onto Market St., then right onto Broad St. At North Shore Community College bear left onto Union Street, next right on Washington Street. Parking and Visitors Center on left.
MBTA Public Transportation to Central Square-Lynn: Bus routes 426, 429, 433, 435/6/7, 439, 441/2, 455; the Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Rail line.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Visitors Center hours: Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, Noon to 4:00 PM
- Admission is free.
- Group tours may be arranged by scheduling in advance.
- Parking at both locations is limited. Additional parking for $2 at the MBTA station on Market Street.
- Lynn Heritage is wheelchair accessible. Assisted listening equipment is available for better hearing access for park programs and guided tours. Reasonable accommodations available upon request.
Educational and Interpretive
- Interpretive Programs
- Outreach Programs
- Park Resources
- Self-Guided Brochures
Settled in 1629, Lynn flourished as a plantation and site to early leather and iron industries. Shoemaking began in 1635 as a traditional hand craft, often done at home during the winter. In 1750, Welsh immigrant John Adam Dagyr introduced local shoemakers to improved techniques of making high quality women’s shoes. By the early 1800s, shoemaking had become a prosperous industry, supplying the nation through nearby maritime ports. Machinery introduced in the 1850’s ushered in the modern shoe factory, creating work opportunities that attracted labor from all over New England and later from Europe.
In 1882, Elihu Thomson brought a thriving electrical business to Lynn. These included manufacturing industrial motors and arc lighting. His ground-breaking experiments with electricity led to the formation of General Electric with Thomas Edison in 1892. Shoemaking declined in the 1920s and 30s while General Electric expanded. During World War II the nation’s first jet engine was built under great secrecy at the Lynn plant. These fascinating stories and more are included in the Visitors Center exhibits.