Lynn’s Gem: Lynn Woods
By Rianon Prushinski
Lynn Woods Reservation, found on Pennybrook Road, is a 2,2000-acre park that offers trails for running, hiking, biking, horseback riding, etc. The Reservation was founded in 1881. It occupies a lot of space and is the second-largest municipal park in the United States. Every year, many people find their way to Lynn Woods to enjoy nature amongst the trees, trails, and scenic water spots.
At the beginning of the history of Lynn Woods, the area began to shift toward recreational use in the mid-nineteenth century. Groups such as Trustees of the Free Public Forest worked to create a space for hiking, walking, and general enjoyment of the park by residents of Lynn. Their main goal was to protect the land just Friends of Lynn Woods helps protect the park today. As development in the surrounding areas began to increase in the latter part of the nineteenth century, locals banded together to create the first regional park system in the United States. The love for Lynn Woods has been there since the beginning and continues to grow and thrive.
One of the more well-known attractions within Lynn Woods is Dungeon Rock, a small cave with a long history with ghosts and pirate’s treasure. After entering via a door, you can go down a staircase into the cave about 150 feet before you can no longer stand upright. According to local legend, a pirate in the 1700s named Thomas Veale came to Lynn but was wanted by the colony’s law enforcement. Veale resolved to live in this cave, only making a few trips into town when needed. All of his belongings, including his loot, stayed in the cave with him. One day, the caved collapsed, trapping the pirate and his loot inside.
In 1852, a resident of Lynn named Hiram Marble, a spiritualist, believed he was getting messages from the ghost of pirate Thomas Veale relaying information on the whereabouts of Veale’s lost treasure. For years, Hiram Marble and his son, Edwin, dug into Dungeon Rock in search of the treasure, but they were both unsuccessful in their venture.
Another notable attraction of Lynn Woods is Stone Tower which sits on Burrill Hill. It was built of stone and mortar in 1936 by the WPA as a fire observation tower. In 2010, Stone Tower underwent a massive refurbishment project funded by the Richardson family to renew the Tower after it had deteriorated significantly in the 80s. Since being reopened to the public, you can head to Stone Tower and climb up a spiral staircase that will lead you to the upper levels previously inaccessible before the Tower’s revamping.
Lynn Woods also has its place in pop culture as it can be found in the video game, Fallout 4. The game is carried out in a post-apocalyptic environment around the Boston area. Players can roam Lynn Woods in-game and even enter a rendering of Stone Tower where they hide from the game’s monsters.
TripAdvisor says it is the number 1 out of 17 things to do in Lynn. 71.6% of reviews of Lynn Woods were ‘Excellent’ with no instances of reviews that said the Reservation was ‘Poor’ or ‘Terrible.’
Lynn Woods Reservation has so much to offer the community and beyond, giving locals and visitors a place to enjoy the trails or hidden gems such as Dungeon Rock within nature. The Woods are rich with local history and clues to the stories attached to Lynn community’s beloved park.
Rianon Prushinski is a senior English major at Endicott College in Beverly, MA. She’s written collections of both fiction and nonfiction. As she concludes her career at Endicott, she’s working on her first novel (about a circus! Shhh, don’t tell…). She has grown up in Lynn all of her life, graduating from Lynn Classical High School in 2017. Her attendance at Endicott was made possible by the Learning and Leadership Program which creates collegiate opportunities for Lynn students. Currently, she is interning at Lynn Museum/LynnArts during her final semester…and she has totally gotten over that one time when she went skiing and broke her nose. Really, she has.