14 votes

High Rock Park, Tower and Observatory

High Rock Street, Lynn, Massachusetts USA

  • Independent
  • Public
  • Outdoor
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“former home of the Electricizers and their "God Machine"”

Lynn's High Rock is an outcropping of porphyry (crystal filled granite) a half a mile from the Atlantic Ocean, some 200 feet above sea level, the highest elevation around. The 85-foot high tower and observatory at the top of High Rock can be easily seen from Lynn City Hall and the downtown area. The poetry of High Rock is concerned with the view from High Rock and its elevation. Because High Rock is as close to heaven as a Lynn poet can get, it inspires divine thoughts in poets who visit its summit. To get to High Rock, follow Essex Street away from downtown Lynn, and turn left up Rockaway Street. Then turn up High Rock Street and proceed to Circuit Avenue. Park at the end of Circuit Avenue where High Rock Park, the tower, and the observatory are located. The inspirational nature of High Rock is well illustrated by one interesting moment in its history. In 1853, the Hutchinson family gave former Universalist minister and then obsessive spiritualist John Murray Spear permission to use their woodshed while he worked on constructing an electrical machine that would revolutionize life and be a New Messiah. Spear believed he could channel messages from dead spirits, and when the "Band of Electricizers," as he called them, spoke to him, they instructed him to build such a machine at High Rock. They also told him exactly how to build it. The crowning moment of the God Machine, as some came to call it, came in June 1854, when, with the machine completed, and about the size of a dishwasher, a pregnant woman, known only as New Mary, lay down in front of it while in labor. When she got up and touched the machine, Spear claims it moved, animated by what he called New Motive Power. Naturally, the claim proved controversial, but in retrospect, Spear's experiment at High Rock shows a pre-Civil War fascination with electricity and underscores the character of High Rock as a source of inspiration and spiritual energy. Read the full, weird tale, including a suit of gemstones and the eventual, sad fate of the "God Machine" here.

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  • 11 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
July 24, 2016
Rated 3.0

This is a hidden find with a great view of the coast AND a great story. The tower sits right above the High Rock Cottage (a boarded up structure) where the story of a man seeking to communicate with God through his electrical machine takes place (story can be found under the cottage location). There is parking and 2 nice playgrounds.

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High Rock Park, Tower and Observatory

High Rock Street
Lynn, Massachusetts

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