Swampscott mourns death of unofficial town historian in Saugus home fire

"If I didn't have an answer, I called Lou.”

Members of the Swampscott community are mourning the death of Louis Gallo, who died Saturday with his sister when a fire broke out at their Saugus home

Gallo, 78, and Rosemarie Naples, 80, were originally from Swampscott. Gallo was known as the town’s unofficial historian, according to The Boston Globe.

According to to The Daily Item, Gallo was 9 years old when he became interested in the town’s history during Swampscott’s centennial anniversary celebration, a passion that never flagged and prompted officials to call on him over the years. 

“Lou was the go to person for anything historical in Swampscott and had recently come back to town to work on the revival of the lilac garden,” Ted Kennedy wrote in a post on Facebook.


A flood of people shared memories of Gallo and mourned his death in the post’s comments, paying tribute to the man with “a gentle soul” who was always willing to help and loved his hometown.

Gino Cresta, assistant town administrator for operations and director of public works, told the Item that Gallo was his “go-to guy.” 

“If I didn’t have an answer, I called Lou,” he said.

“Rest in peace knowing you were loved by so many and thank you for all you’ve done for our town,” Laura DiLisio McCall wrote on Facebook.


Gallo worked as a commercial artist for 15 years before working first at Swampscott Public Schools and then the public library, according to a profile of him in 01907 The Magazine. For more than two decades, he was a member of the Swampscott History Buffs, a group that gathered the first Friday of every month at the library for discussions that were open to the public. 

Susan Conner, assistant director and head of technology at the Swampscott Public Library, told Boston.com that Gallo was responsible for keeping the dedicated group going. 

“They just really enjoyed sharing stories about what they knew of Swampscott and other local history,” she said. 


Gallo was a fun person to know, who always had a smile on his face, she said. 

“He was funny and a little sarcastic, and [he] never took things too, too seriously, which was kind of a nice thing,” Conner said. “He was a font of information.”

And if it turned out he didn’t know something, he still knew where to find the information he needed, she said.

Swampscott Select Board Chair Peter Spellios told the Item that the town has lost a “forever friend and caretaker of Swampscott” with the 78-year-old’s passing.


“Louie provided us with a greater understanding and appreciation of our hometown and his passion to keep Swampscott’s history alive will forever be felt and valued,” he said.

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