An artist’s rendering of the new Round Hill site.
By BRIDGET TURCOTTE
SAUGUS — The Round Hill Historic Site project is nearing completion after more than five years.
The site sits at the base of Round Hill and showcases the area’s history, culture, and natural resources. It was chosen by local historian Alonzo Lewis to be the focal point of the town seal in 1870.
The hill is cone-shaped and rises 125 to 150 feet high on a 600-square-foot parcel. The Saugus Public Safety Building sits on one side. The remainder of the wooded property is unused and overgrown with weeds.
The area that encompasses Round Hill, Vinegar Hill, and properties along the Saugus River, is known to have rich Native American heritage, said Marilyn Carlson, vice-chairman of the Saugus Historical Commission.
The project started with a $10,000 allocation from Town Meeting in 2010, which was intended to restore and install a cast iron fence that was donated by retired Saugus teacher Ruth Backer, said Carlson, The donation and funding sparked a project to create a historic site, where visitors can reflect and learn about the town’s history.
When the project is completed, a paved area with two granite benches, an obelisk, and a wayside sign outlining the site’s history will be surrounded by a cast iron fence.
Carlson said she hopes schools will visit the site during field trips and tourists who stop by Saugus Iron Works will make the short walk to the site.
A park dedication ceremony honing in on the land’s Native American history is planned for mid-September, said Carlson.
During the ceremony, elementary school students will be invited to listen to speakers and recite Native American poetry. A time capsule filled with items gathered during the town’s bicentennial in 2015 will be buried at the park.
Since 2010, about $20,000 has been raised through donations from local businesses and residents to install a park on the site. Carlson added that the commission is seeking additional donations to complete the project.
Bridget Turcotte can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte.