2008/04/29 Antiquities

While generally uses the date of its incorporation, May 1, 1998, as its official birthday, it actually had content online earlier than that. In fact, it first went live under the name "" on February 9, 1998.

This date doesn't quite tell the whole story, though, as our first servers were put into place through the holidays of 1997 and were all made fully functional in January. For the technically minded, these machines were all Sun Microsystems servers running Solaris, and the content they hosted was accessible via direct number during this early period. Each of the servers was named after a different member of the Scooby-Doo gang and had its own specific duties. One handled Web hosting, one handled FTP and Gopher hosting (more important then than now), one handled e-mail, one was used for testing new services, and one served as an emergency replacement should any of the others fail.

Today all of these original servers have long been replaced. In fact, the first Web server is now part of the Saugus Historical Society's collection.

Of course just setting up these machines didn't do much; what really made was its content, and in those early days much of its content came from even earlier sources. founder Eric Brown had been maintaining a few scattered Saugus-related resources on the Web as a hobby; he'd set up a page of Saugus-related links in 1992, created a Saugus public transportation reference in 1993, and (as a member of the Planning Board) converted the Subdivision Rules and Regulations to electronic format in 1995. All of these were removed from their original locations and relocated to in early of 1998. Eric created some new content, too; he converted all the other Saugus by-laws and assembled an online collection of Saugus-related post cards, and made it all public in May.

In around that same time, Jim Harrington built his excellent Saugus Photos Online site on the new servers, pulling in some material that he'd been keeping elsewhere plus creating lots of new content.

Eric had also maintained quite a few computer resources. Some of these he thought would be of general interest, and he moved them over to, too.

Starting on May 4, 1998, an almost daily log of updates made to the site (known internally as the "Dailies") helped keep readers aware of changes and developments. Less than two weeks later the Town Hall had published its first notice through this new channel.

The combination of these factors (plus a bevy of Saugus-related links organized by topic, a community events calendar that allowed free public posting, and various other resources) shaped's early identity and helped it to become what it is today.

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