Saugus was first settled in 1629. Saugus is an Indian name believed to mean "great" or "extended". In 1637, the territory known as Saugus (which also contained the present day cities and towns of Swampscott, Nahant, Lynn, Lynnfield, Reading, and Wakefield) was renamed Lin or Lynn, after King's Lynn in Norfolk, England.
The Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site, in operation from 1646–1668, was the first integrated iron works in North America. It is now a U.S. National Historic Site.