Nahant is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 3,410 at the 2010 census. With just of land area, it is the smallest municipality by area in the state. It is primarily a residential community.
Native Americans called the area Nahant, meaning "the point" or "almost an island." The original Indian name of the place, Nahanten, signifies twins or two things united, referring to the two connected islands forming it. Located on a tied island jutting into Massachusetts Bay, it was first settled in 1630, in the second year of the Puritan coming. The servants of Isaac Johnson grazed his cattle on the land, and it was also often used by citizens of Lynn for grazing cattle, sheep and goats. Before 1800 there were only three homes on the island: those built by the Breeds and the Hoods, and the Johnson home built by Jeremiah Gray. The first hotel was built by one of the Johnsons 1802, and in 1817 a steamboat ran daily between Boston and Nahant. The town was originally part of Lynn; when the temperance movement threatened the summer resort trade in 1853, Nahant incorporated as a separate town. In the late 19th century, it was home to some of the country's first amusement parks, as well as a popular summer retreat for the wealthy, including the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. During World War II, East Point was the site of a coastal artillery. It is now a town park, and location of the Marine Science Center for Northeastern University.
The old Nahant Life Saving Station (NLSS) on Nahant Road and the new War Memorial erected across the street from the NLSS were renovated in 2004.
In 2003, the dilapidated Valley Road School was refurbished and re-commissioned as the Nahant Community Center, which is now home to many local activities and banquets, including the local Boy Scout Troop 50.
On September 25, 2005, the Town of Nahant officially commemorated the completely rebuilt Bailey's Hill Gazebo as the Calantha Sears Gazebo. The original was built for the bicentennial in 1976, and over the years had fallen into disrepair. With funding from the Woman's Club of Nahant and collaboration with the town of Nahant, local residents contributed to its reconstruction. Besides the cement base, the only remaining piece of the original is the wooden cylinder in the center of the roof, which still bears the "1976" emblem – repainted by Nahant local Octavia Randolph.