Sept 13 – Salem, MA

Our trip from York, ME to Salisbury, MA was the shortest one-day drive we've ever made … just 34 miles. 

Pike School (1882), Salisbury, MA

As a result we were in to our campground well before noon

and, afer hooking -up, decided to drive to Salem, an historic city we'd never visited.

Our drive tooks us through the traffic congested center of Peabody where the electrical boxes all been creatively painted,

there is a

Soldiers and Sailors Monument

A 10' high granite sculpture of the allegorical figure of Liberty stands on a globe on top of a 40' by 15' square concrete base. Liberty is wearing a helmet and long flowing robes. She is holding a sword vertically in her right hand.  The globe, which carries the inscription E PLURIBUS UNAM, sits on top of a round shaft which is decorated at the top. The shaft rests on a square base with inscribed dados flanked by a pair of fasces on all for sides.

The south side of base contains the year of dedication, 1881 and is inscribed in recessed block letters:



and we passed a small restaurant of interest.


We quickly discovered that traffic in Salam was no better than in Peabody and looking for a parking place became an adventure.  Eventually we spotted a metered spot, did a U-turn on a two-way street, pulled in, ate the lunch Debbie had packed and then fed quarters into the meter before striking out on foot.

Located north of Boston, it was settled in 1626 and became one of the most significant seaports in early American history and played an important role during the Revolution.  However, for most people, Salem is remembered for the witch trials of the late 17th century.

So it was perhaps not coincidental that on the way to the Visitor's Center we passed one "witch"

and Witch Trial Memorial, recognizing each of the victims of the infamous Salem Witch Trials.  They began during the spring of 1692, after a group of young girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts, claimed to be possessed by the devil and accused several local women of witchcraft.  As a wave of hysteria spread throughout colonial Massachusetts, a special court convened in Salem to hear the cases; the first convicted witch, Bridget Bishop (age 50),

was hanged that June.  Five more people were hanged that July; five in August and eight more in September. In addition, seven other accused witches died in jail, while the elderly Giles Corey (age 71)

was pressed to death by stones after he refused to enter a plea at his arraignment

In addition, some 150 more men, women and children were accused over the next several months.  By September 1692, the hysteria had begun to abate and public opinion turned against the trials.  Though the Massachusetts General Court later annulled guilty verdicts against accused witches and granted indemnities to their families, bitterness lingered in the community, and the painful legacy of the Salem witch trials would endure for centuries.

At the Visitor's Center we saw a bell forged by Paul Revere in 1801,

a scale model of the Brigantine Leander

The original brig Leander was built in the shipyard of Benjamin Hawkes, next to Derby Wharf in Salem in 1821.  She made 26 voyages to Europe, India, South America, Africa and three profitable voyages to China.  In 1826, the Leander was the first vessel in Salem to pay over $90,000 in customs duties on a cargo of tea, sikl, porcelain and fireworks from China. 

Our walking tour continued down the Esseex Street pedestrian Mall

 In 1637, the first muster was held on Salem Commons, where for the first time a regiment of militia drilled for the common defense of a multi-community area, thus laying the foundation for what became the Army National Guard.  In 1637, the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony ordered the organization of the Colony's militia companies into the North, South and East Regiments. The colonists adopted the English militia system, which obligated all males between the ages of 16 and 60 to possess arms and participate in the defense of the community.  In August 2010, Governor of Massachusetts Patrick signed HB1145, "An Act Designating the City of Salem as the Birthplace of the National Guard."  This was later approved by the U.S. House of Representatives in March 2012, and was signed into law by President Obama on January 10, 2013.

Each of the street lights along the mall is adorned with the replica of a shop's foresprit figurehead

Street Museum

Folks all dressed up for the witch scene can be found on almost every corner

First Church

Gathered by the English Puritan settlers of Massachusetts Bay Colony in August of 1629, The First Church in Salem is one of the oldest churches organized in North America and the first to be governed by congregational polity.* During its long history the theological position of the Church has changed, most significantly in the early 1800's when Unitarianism was embraced. 

Starting in 1718, the Church itself broke into five different churches, with all but one rejoining the original First Church in later years. Today, the congregation worships at the meetinghouse of the North Church, built in 1836. The one congregation that remains independent is the Tabernacle Church in Salem, which separated from the First Church in 1734 over a row about a minister at the time. 

The present church edifice (dedicated in 1836) is the second Meeting House of the North Church which separated from the First Church in 1772 and reunited with it in 1923. It is early English Gothic style in design and is constructed of Quincy granite. The First Church in Salem has been responsible for several of the well known landmarks within the town of Salem including the Daniel Lowe Building on Washington Street (the meetinghouse for the First Church up until 1923 when they merged with the North Church) and the Witch Museum on Salem Common (the meetinghouse for the Second Church in Salem which split from the First Church in 1719 and reunited with it in 1956).

eventually ending up at the Bewitched statue.

We continued our trek through the city

Immaculate Conception Church – Mary, Queen of the Apostles Parish

Old Town Hall and Cobblestone Street

The Town Hall is the earliest surviving municipal structure in Salem, Massachusetts (dating from 1816-17) and an outstanding Federal Style building.   It is a beautiful federal style building located in the heart of downtown historic Salem, Massachusetts. Our venue is a two-story, brick structure featuring Palladian windows, carved wood details, antique chandeliers, decorative columns and wooden floors.  The second floor of the building, Great Hall, has always been used as a public hall, and contained Town offices until 1837. 

The Salem City Seal’s design is based on a very important aspect of Salem history, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.  With a merchant dressed in colorful robes standing next to palm trees on an island, and a ship in the background under full sail, the seal is actually representative of Salem’s spice trade history. The merchant featured on the seal is not meant to portray a Salem merchant, but rather a local Sumatran, where the spice trade with Salem was first established. Below the imagery are the words “Divitis Indiae usque sinum,” which translates to “To the farthest port of the rich east.” Above sits a dove holding an olive branch, symbolizing Salem’s designation as the “City of Peace.” The seal also features two specific years: 1626 when the town of Salem was incorporated, and 1836 when the city was incorporated.

The Pirates Museum

Reverend Thoebald Mathew, Apostle of Temperance (1790 – 1856)

eventually reaching the

On Derby Wharf, the Friendship is being reconstructed

Friendship of Salem

The Friendship of Salem is a 171-foot replica of the Friendship a 1797 East Indiaman.  It was built in 2000 in the Scarano Brothers Shipyard in Albany, NY. The ship usually operates as a stationary museum ship during most of the year.  But it is a fully functioning United States Coast Guard-certified vessel capable of passenger and crew voyages; it makes special sailings during various times of the year.

Masts, booms and rigging

Internet photo

The original Friendship was built in Salem in a shipyard at Stage Point on the South River.  The Friendship was launched 28 May 1797.  It weighed 342 tons and was registered at the customs house on August 18, 1797.  The Friendship was 102 feet long and 27 feet 7 inches wide.  She regularly recorded speeds of 10 knots and was known to have logged a top speed of 12 knots.  The Friendship made fifteen voyages during her career and visited Batavia, India, China, South America, the Caribbean, England, Germany, the Mediterranean and Russia.

At the far end of the wharf is a small lighthouse.

Across the street are five building that date to the eaarly 18th century, a time that Salem was one of the nation's most important seaports.

Custom House

The Custom House at Salem is the last of 13 Custom Houses in the city.  There has been a Custom House in Salem since 1649, collecting taxes on imported cargos first for the British Government during the Colonial period, then for the American Government after the establishment of the U.S. Customs Service in 1789. This Custom House was built in 1819 and housed offices for the officers of the U.S. Customs Service, as well as an attached warehouse, the Public Stores, used for the storage of bonded and impounded cargo.

In 1826, a wooden eagle was placed on the roof. It was carved by Salem craftsman Joseph True, and its original cost was $50.00. In 2004, the original wooden eagle was replaced with a fiberglass replica. After undergoing several years of conservation work, the original wooden eagle is on display inside the Custom House.

Collector's Office

Customs Officer's Private Offices

Nathaniel Hawthorne – Salem's Customs House Surveyor

Pens and Ink bottle used by Hawthorne

Hawthorne's Register of Revenue Laws

Dearborn Scale

Derby House (1762)  – The oldest surviving brick building in Salem and one of the fines examples of Georgian architecture

Richard Derby

Home for Aged Women – originaly Custom's Scale House

Hawkes House (1780)

West India Goods Store (circa 1800)


Our final stop was at the House of the Seven Gables.

On our way back to Salisbury we passed



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