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Abandoned Dogtown Commons

11 Dogtown Road, Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930 USA

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“allegedly haunted colonial-era ghost town”

Anyone exploring the grounds of an old ghost town probably know to expect a creepy vibe, but those heading to Dogtown in Massachusetts might get a little more creepiness than they bargained for. Inhabited mostly by witches and vagabonds, and peppered with enormous boulders that have odd, aspirational sayings on them, Dogtown is a weird place, but despite the bizarre vibes, it's definitely worth a visit. Dogtown Commons is the main area of what was once a bustling Colonial village. The area was settled in the 1690's because it was far enough inland that it was safe from the pirate attacks that frequently occured along the coast. Around the start of the 19th century, the town's population reached its peak, with about 100 or so families calling Dogtown "home". However, it wasn't long until the War of 1812 ended, and with it ended the bulk of the fears of coastal attack... so many of the famers moved to be closer to larger urban centers.  Some of the last residents of Dogtown were suspected witches, like Thomazine Younger, who, as local legend says, placed a curse on any oxen carrying shipments of fish from the harbor across the local bridge, unless a toll was paid to her. Another alleged witch was Peg Wesson from nearby Gloucester. Mostly only the town oddballs, or those with no family left, stayed behind, further fueling the witchy rumors. As houses were slowly abandoned, vagrants and bums moved in to them, which gave the area an even worse reputation. By 1830, there were no living souls left in Dogtown. The forest has reclaimed most of Dogtown, but you can still see the cellar holes from where the citizens had built their homes. Gloucester resident John J. Babson wrote a thorough history of the village, and he numbered the cellar holes, matching them with the families who lived in the houses that once existed there. It was John Babson's grandson, Roger, who put the mysterious boulders across the site, hiring unemployed stonecutters during the Great Depression to carve uplifiting sayings on the stones. The thought behind the stones was actually quite positive, and today they're intriguing to ponder upon as you take a pensive walk through the woods. That hasn't stopped locals from concocting some spooky legends about the place, though. Rumors about feral pets (hence the name "Dogtown"), mysterious lights, strange booming noises and spooky shadows, mostly remnants from the days when witches inhabited the town, haunt the mysterious patch of forest to this day. -Roadtrippers

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Reviewed by
Tim

  • 17 Reviews
  • 7 Helpful
August 10, 2015

Very cool site. The site is mostly not on private property and we had no issues getting in just by punching in the address into a GPS. Most of the site is gone but they are markers for each individual cellar/house location along with some other areas of note. It has an abundance of trails going around the main of the site that intersect and it is possible to get lost if you don't have a map (they have a bunch of free ones at the front gate information post). the Babson boulders are very cool as well and are scattered throughout some of the trails and are worth checking out as well. Overall its a good light hike with some cool history and sites.

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Abandoned Dogtown Commons

11 Dogtown Road
Gloucester, Massachusetts
01930 USA

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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
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