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The Saugus Iron Works will be on your way from Danvers to Boston. It is between Routes 1 and 1A, just below Lynn. Once you get out of Danvers onto the main route, Saugus will be about 20 minutes South. Do Not Miss This Stop. Saugus is critical to fully understanding the early Massachusetts Bay Colony because it challenges our assumptions about how primitive a lifestyle the people led. The Saugus Iron Works was built in 1646. It was the first integrated iron mill in North America. It included a forge, foundry, slitting mill, rolling mill, and other facilities key to ironmaking. It was water powered, and the largest water wheels yet built in the colonies were constructed to drive the machinery here. For a century Saugus was the key provider of anything made of iron to anyone in New England. They forged wagon wheels and tongues, a dozen kinds of farm tools, hinges, handles, nails, bolts, rails, beams, rods, axles, hubs, gears, pulleys, braces, screws, nuts, washers, and even bells and large iron rings. As Saugus became fully functional, those items no longer needed to be imported from England.
Saugus was one of the reasons Massachusetts became the dominant New England state. It was the beginning of an industrial base that would last four centuries. But the labor force was not Puritan. They were Scots, war prisoners who were sent over here as indentured servants. They worked seven years to earn back their freedom, at which time most stayed in America. During their time off, the Scots would get drunk, dance, sing, play strange stringed instruments and bagpipes, and generally infuriate the more conservative Puritans, who did not even allow music in church. The Puritans spent 40 years trying to civilize the Scots, without any success. But the Puritans would not endure the intense heat, and did not know how to forge items out of iron, so for the Saugus Iron Works to succeed they knew they had to tolerate the Scots.

Located at the top of the hill from the Iron Works is the 1640 Massachusetts Governor's Mansion. This was a pretty impressive building. This was where Hester Prynne (whose name in real life was Anne Christian) came to plead her case with the governor. This was where Sarah Cloyse sent her petitition. And this was where the Magistrates held their Inquiry into the Salem Witch Trials. You will immediately notice that this house was used in both The Scarlet Letter and Three Sovereigns For Sarah. The view seen here shows the side entrance Hester and Pearl depart from. If you have recently read or seen The Scarlet Letter you will recall Mistress Hibbins having a conversation with Hester from that second floor window. If it seems odd that the governor's mansion would be out here, far from town, remember he was the governor of all the Massachusetts Bay Colony by 1640. That meant Plymouth, Salem, Boston, Gloucester, Rockport, Chatham, Wellfleet, and the farming expanses in between. A neutral location for the governor's residence was needed to avoid the appearance of favoritism.

This is the front door you saw Sarah Cloyse entering in the film Three Sovereigns For Sarah. The red door indicated government. That red door contained an extraordinary number of nails, which was typical for a front door of a governor or wealthier civilian. In 1640, nails were expensive, so they were a sign of wealth. A man who could afford it thus filled his door with nails. Obviously, a governor had to have more status than anyone, so the nails would have helped create that impression.

The upstairs right window opened into a room where conferences, hearings and other public procedures would be held. That was where the Court of Inquiry was conducted where Sarah Cloyse presented her case to the Magistrates.

The Governor's Mansion is open to the public from 10 am to 5 pm five days a week.

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