Originally settled in 1693 because its rocky, inland location offered protection from pirates and enemy natives, this abandoned settlement called Dogtown is one of the Essex National Heritage Area’s hidden gems. Dogtown is known for its charming woods, giant boulders and rock formations left behind when the last glaciers melted. It was formerly called “The Commons” but as legend has it, Dogtown earned its strange name from the dogs that women kept while their husbands were fighting in the American Revolution. Falling into decline as settlers moved towards the harbor, Dogtown has been hauntingly abandoned since 1830. Today Dogtown offers miles of criss-crossing trails and abandoned roads that traverse nearly 3,600 acres. Pathways are dotted with 3 dozen boulders into which unemployed Finnish quarry workers carved inspiring sayings during the Great Depression. This progressive public art work was commissioned by Gloucester philanthropist and founder of Babson College, Roger Babson. Notice that numbered cellar holes of original settlers are also visible, marking former homes. Explore these mysterious and inspiring pathways of the Heritage Area’s forgotten town and see how many “Babson Boulders” you can spot along your path.