High Rock Tower

Lynn, Massachusetts
High Rock Tower, built in 1905, stands not only as a symbol of Lynn, Massachusetts’ history but also as a beacon of education and community engagement.
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High Rock Tower, perched atop a rocky outcrop in Lynn, Massachusetts, is not only a historic landmark but also a testament to the legacy of the Hutchinson Family Singers and the city’s vibrant history.

The story begins in the 1840s when the Hutchinson family, known for their significant contributions to the abolitionist movement through music, purchased a 5.5-acre plot of land. Jesse Hutchinson and his family, collectively known as the Hutchinson Family Singers, aimed to use the land for both artistic and social endeavors. In 1847, local architect Alonzo Lewis completed the construction of a wooden tower on the property. Alongside the tower, two Gothic cottages and an auditorium were erected, creating a cultural and artistic hub.

High Rock Tower became a significant gathering place for the community. On August 17, 1858, approximately 8,000 people converged at the tower to celebrate the completion of the first transatlantic telegraph cable, a momentous technological achievement. During the early years of the Civil War, the Hutchinsons organized nightly rallies and concerts at the tower. Tragically, the original wooden tower was consumed by fire during a celebration of the Fall of Richmond and the end of the Civil War in April 1865.

In 1904, the city of Lynn recognized the historical and cultural significance of the Hutchinson family’s land and acquired it to establish the High Rock Reservation. The following year, in 1905, the city commissioned the construction of an 85-foot stone High Rock Tower, designed by architects H.K. Wheeler and Charles Betton. The tower was formally dedicated in 1906 and offered breathtaking panoramic views of Boston, Nahant, Swampscott, and the Atlantic Ocean.

High Rock Tower also serves as an educational and astronomical resource for the city. The city of Lynn installed a 12-inch Meade telescope at the top of the tower, enabling visitors to explore the wonders of the night sky. This powerful telescope allows observers to witness Saturn’s rings, Jupiter’s moons, galaxies, star clusters, nebulae, and more. It provides an opportunity for individuals to study the moon’s surface, identify different celestial formations, and develop a deeper understanding of basic astronomy.

In recognition of its historical and cultural significance, High Rock Tower and the surrounding park structures were added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 11, 1979, under the designation “High Rock Tower–High Rock Cottage and Daisy Cottage.” This prestigious listing ensures the preservation of this historical treasure for future generations. The tower’s reference number, assigned by the National Park Service, is 09000086.

Today, visitors can easily access High Rock Tower by parking at the end of Circuit Avenue and taking just a few steps to reach this iconic landmark. The city of Lynn generously offers free access to the tower and observatory, allowing the public to utilize the telescope and immerse themselves in the wonders of the night sky. The Trust for Public Land has also played a crucial role in conserving the acres surrounding the tower, which were transferred to the City of Lynn in 1988. High Rock Tower stands not only as a symbol of Lynn’s history but also as a beacon of education and community engagement.


Address: 30 Circuit Avenue, Lynn, Massachusetts
Place GPS Coordinates: 42.468064, -70.946431
Parking GPS Coordinates: 42.468064, -70.946431
Parking Notes: Free parking is available at the circular lot at the end of Circuit Avenue in Lynn. The tower is just a few steps from this parking area.

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