Lynn Harbor lies on the northeastern shores of Massachusetts about 12 nautical miles (12 kilometers or 7.5 miles by air) northeast of Boston. Lynn Harbor is also about 15 nautical miles (9.5 kilometers or 6 miles by air) southwest of Salem. In 2010, more than 90.3 thousand people called Lynn Harbor home.
Lynn Harbor has a diverse economy that includes health care, telecommunications, trade, and manufacturing. General Electric Aviation makes jet engines and electrical instruments in Lynn Harbor. It is also the 1860s birthplace of the Christian Science movement at the Mary Baker Eddy House.
Long before Europeans arrived on the shores of the future Lynn Harbor, the Massachuset Nation occupied the region. Part of the Algonquian family, the Massachuset probably descended from native peoples who have been in the Northeastern United States since the end of the last glaciation period from 15 to 30 thousand years ago.
After Europeans arrived, John Eliot converted some of the Massachuset were converted to Christianity. They subsequently created an alphabet and a Bible in their own language. English laws limited the Massachuset to living in what were called praying villages in an attempt to convert the indigenous people. In 1869, the State of Massachusetts passed a law that made the Massachuset citizens of the United States and ended their status as a sovereign Nation.
The future Lynn Harbor was settled by Edmund Ingalls in 1629, followed by John Tarbox in 1631. Incorporated in 1631, Lynn Harbor was called Saugus at the time. The City of Lynn was incorporated in 1850.
Lynn Harbor was a center for the tannery and shoe-making industries that appeared in about 1635. The boots that the soldiers of the Continental Army wore during the American Revolution were actually made in Lynn Harbor. By the mid-1830s, over 20 stagecoaches traveled between Lynn Harbor and Boston every day.
Shoe manufacturers in Lynn Harbor invested in the infant electric industry. In 1883, the Thomson-Houston Electric Company opened its doors. In 1892, it merged with Edison Electric Company to form General Electric (GE). The first two GE plants were located in Lynn Harbor and Schenectady. Elihu Thomson later served as the acting president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
A mainstay of the local Lynn Harbor economy, the GE plant initially produced electric motors, arc lights, and meters. Later, it made electrical systems and engines for aircraft. The Lynn Harbor plant evolved into a jet engine plant during World War II, a role it still plays today.
Several big fires plagued Lynn Harbor in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1981, a devastating fire destroyed 17 buildings in the downtown area that was being redeveloped. Lynn Harbor has also been plagued by a reputation for crime since industrialization began, so much so that a proposal was made to change its name to Ocean Park in 1997.
In the 21st Century, city leaders have embarked on several development projects. Hoping to spark a renaissance in Lynn Harbor, vacant industrial buildings have been transformed into loft spaces, attracting young buyers from Boston. Other projects involve redeveloping Lynn Harbor's waterfront.