Last Saturday we spent the day exploring historic Salem, Massachusetts. Salem is a tourist hot spot for those looking to learn about the Salem witch trials, but we discovered that if you look a little deeper, Salem has a lot more to offer than just witches.
Historic Salem has an abundance of architecture – the earliest dating back to the 16th century – and behind each and every structure we visited was a story that took us back to a time when puritans, merchants, and captains walked the streets.
128 Essex Street – The Gardner-Pingree House 1805.
The Gardner-Pingree House was built in 1805 by a famous Salem builder, Samuel McIntire. The house is widely recognized for its lavish details and is considered to be an architectural masterpiece by those in the industry.
126 Essex Street – The Crowninshield Bentley House c. 1727- 1730
The Crowninshield Bentley House was built in 1727 by Capt. John Crowninshield. The house has historical significance because the diarist William Bentley resided in the home between 1791-1829.
310 Essex Street – The Jonathan Corwin House 1675
The Jonathan Corwin House (The Witch House) was built in 1675. It was the home of Judge Jonathan Corwin, who was directly tied to the Salem witch trials in 1692. The trials were prompted when two girls became ill and acted out of sorts, and were eventually accused of witchcraft. As family members and neighbors turned on each other, 19 people (14 women, 5 men) were accused of witchcraft and punished by execution.
9 Brown Street – The John Ward House c. 1684-1723
The John Ward House was built in 1684 by a currier, John Ward, and is one of the first colonial-era houses to be opened as a museum.
160 Derby Street – The Custom House 1819
The Custom House was built in 1819 for use by the U.S. Customs Service. The building housed Nathaniel Hawthorne’s office and was also the inspiration for the preface in The Scarlett Letter.
168 Derby Street – The Derby House 1762
The Derby House was built in 1762 by Richard Derby for his son, Elias Hasket, and his wife as a wedding present, and was America’s very first millionaire. In 1796, The Derby’s sold their home to Capt. Henry Prince, who built the West India Goods Store. It’s considered to be the oldest brick house in Salem.
164 Derby Street – The West India Goods Store 1804
The West India Goods Store was built in 1804 by Capt. Henry Prince. The “West India Goods Store” is a generic term to describe a store that sells items from all over the world. The store is believed to have sold imported goods from the East Indies.
Useful links if you wish to learn more –