Dogtown was once known as the “Commons,” a heavily wooded area where settlers could cut timber and pasture sheep and cattle. When the woods were gone, 18th century families took up residence. A century later, the village was practically abandoned. It is now a natural preserve with 2nd and 3rd growth forest and an easy place to get lost (take a map and someone who knows the territory).
The Saga of Cape Ann by Copeland and Rogers contains fabulous Dogtown lore and a map pinpointing inhabitants’ houses.
A 1930s WPA project, this wall was built to keep the rich red iron ore in Brier Swamp from leaking into the public water supply.
As any Gloucester resident will tell you, it didn’t work.